Type: Motor Yacht
Draft: 4ft 6ins
Displacement: 12 tons
Engine: 2 x Ailsa Craig
Construction: Mahogany on teak
Builder: Wm Osborne, Littlehampton
Benjamin Taylor of Hampton Wick and his daughter Joyce delivered Aquabelle to the Royal Navy to go to Dunkirk. Her twin Ailsa Craig diesels with a 100 gal. fuel tank gave her the endurance to tow 5 others back. She was dirty, her hatch covers were broken and the soldiers had left their khaki socks and mugs aboard. Fitted with a gun she went on to defend lighthouses from air attack.
After two post war owners she went to France where she was owned by Patrice Lolostuzzo, a canal boat skipper at Aigues Mortes. Our picture comes from the Dimbylow family album.
In late 2010 we are advised that Aquabelle has a new owner who plans to renovate her to her previous glory.
Aquabelle is under restoration by a group of enthusiastic Frenchmen on the Mediterranean coast near Montpellier. The restoration has been greatly assisted by making contact with the Grandson of the first owner who has supplied images and memorabilia to assist the group in returning Aquabelle to her 1939 condition. She is afloat awaiting final cleaning and painting of her hull and is expected to be complete by the end of 2013. The group have an aspiration to join the other Little Ships for the 2015 Commemorative Channel crossing.
Updated from 2017 information provided for the 'Spring ADLS Fleet News'.
Aquabelle spent two months cruising the South Coast and Thames following the 2015 'return'. Heading back to southern France in July via the canals she was feted at several towns en route and featured on French television. She was back at her home port of Palavas les Flots by September.
In 2016 she attended a classic boat meet at Escale a Sete near Montpellier, and then went on to carry the relics of a local saint at St. Gilles on the Canal du Rhone.
She was re-decked in 2016, prior to her appearance at the Telethon (similar to our 'Children in Need') complete in 1940's rig with bicycle and machine gun.
2020 - Aquabelle had her engines replaced at Dennett Boat Builders ready for her participation in the 2020 return. Her new equipment is Nanni 115hp Diesle Engines x 2