Caronia was built on the beach in 1927 at Tolcarne, Newlyn, Cornwall by Henry, Theodore & Sidney Peake. She was built for Mike Peters of St. Ives as a St. Ives Gig and registered at St. Ives as SS70
Launched at Tolcarne over greased spars, she was then towed round into the harbour by a punt. Here her engines, a 26hp Kelvin in the centre and a 13hp to port were fitted. The engines were installed by Tresidders of St. Ives. She cost ?180. The boat was paid for by Mike Peters and the engines by his brother James.
She was completed with tiller steering and a mizzen lug sail. She didn't come home to St. Ives but remained at Newlyn for the summer's pilchard drifting. 'Going to the Wolf', as it was called, was such a success that she was paid for in her first season. Soon after this she was raised and fitted with a gaff mizzen and wheelhouse.
By 1934 the fishing at St. Ives was in a poor state and she was sold to Mr. B. Bennet Burley, a solicitor in London, who lived at 22 River Road, Littlehampton. Mike Peters sailed the boat to Littlehampton. Mr. Bennet Burley employed his own carpenter to convert her into a motor yacht under Mike Peter's supervision. Mike stayed at Littlehampton for two years to supervise the conversion and skipper the boat as a motor yacht.
The 13hp Kelvin was taken out and the 26hp moved to the side. A National Diesel was installed on the centre line. The net and fishrooms were converted into a saloon and a toilet, bunks were fitted in the forepeak. The Peters family remained at Littlehampton for two years with Mike running the Caronia. They retired to St. Ives in 1937.
At the outbreak of war Caronia was in Le Havre requiring a return to these shores in a hurry. She returned to the continent to take part in the evacuation of Dunkirk.
Following the war she returned to use as a pleasure yacht on the South Coast of England. By the mid-1960's she had returned to her original use as a fishing vessel engaged in trawling from Brightlingsea. She then underwent her second conversion to a pleasure yacht in the 1970's at Pin Mill.
By the mid 1990's she was in Shoreham in generally poor condition. The subsequent years have been engaged in a major restoration, however she has taken time off during this period to visit the International Festival of the Sea at Portsmouth where she met up with many other Dunkirk Little Ships.
Source: 2, 3, 4, 5, 11 & 19