Type: Motor Yacht
Beam: 10ft 6ins
Draft: 3ft 7ins
Displacement: 19.9 tons
Engine: 2 x BMC 2.2L Diesels
Construction: Carvel, oak frames
Builder: Rampart, Southampton
The nineteen thirties were a time when the well-to-do English middle classes developed elegant leisure pursuits. Mrs. Louisa Alexander had a most comfortable 45-foot motor yacht built and named after her by Rampart Boat Builders, in Southampton in 1938.
Alusia was not only considered luxurious, but extremely innovative. Instead of having access amidships, from the narrow side deck, she was designed to be boarded aft, through the cockpit. From there one conveniently enters the saloon, the tiled galley and heads. The raised wheelhouse provides excellent visibility all round and separates the public and entertaining areas of the yacht from the magnificent forward stateroom.
This was beautifully fitted out in varnished mahogany, with deep-sprung mattresses on two comfortable berths, a large wardrobe and even a full-length mirror. The stateroom has its own separate heads and washbasin. Oak floors were laid throughout the ship to give her not only durability, but an air of elegance to match any country house.
Forward of the stateroom is the foc'sle with a further guest or crew berth and a large locker.
Alusia was strongly built and powered by twin Morris Commodore petrol engines which gave her an easy cruising speed of 9 knots. One engine was fitted with a powerful pump, which could serve as a most efficient bilge pump or as a salt water power wash for the decks. The engines were well insulated to make the ship glide through the water with hardly a murmur. There was even room between the engines for a mechanic's workbench.
Alusia's strong davits were fitted to support her exceptionally fast 12ft 6in dinghy, which had an Elto outboard, capable of propelling it at a reputed 27 knots - suitable for water skiing.
Mrs. Louisa Alexander pronounced herself well pleased with the performance of her boat on its South Coast trials in the year before war broke out. Her sleek lines gave the impression of length, and her owners had in mind to slip through France to the Mediterranean. Yet the Alexander family were to have but a few months use of her in the next nine years.
Alusia only enjoyed a single season fulfilling the role for which she was built: cruising in French waters as an ideal pleasure boat. Soon after the outbreak of war she was called up for more serious duties as a patrol boat (some members of the Royal Navy must have blessed the day!). Then, at the end of May 1940, under the command of Gunner A.J. Northcott RN, with a civilian crew, she assisted in the evacuation of Dunkirk.
After the war her original owners, the Alexander family, bought her back from the Admiralty.
Since then, Alusia has changed hands five times. Her original petrol engines were replaced with twin BMC diesels in 1958.
Sources: 17, 20
As of April 2018, no further information concerning this historic vessel has been received. We would invite persons with knowledge of her history and whereabouts to contact the Association.
Updated April 2018.