Type: Motor Yacht
Beam: 9ft 6ins
Draft: 3ft 3ins
Displacement: 11 tons
Engine: 2 x Perkins Diesels
Construction: Carvel, teak and oak
Builder: W King & Sons, Burnham
In many ways, the Little Ships of Dunkirk are like the soldiers they rescued. War was not their profession and it took them from an entirely different environment into a dramatic event, almost like a bad dream. Then, after it was all over, the Little Ships returned to their previous existence. But they were never quite the same again. It was the making of some of them, which would probably not have survived and would certainly not have been cherished as they are today, had it not been for their moment of glory at Dunkirk. Others perished and have now mostly been forgotten. Yet, not all of them have a heroic or dramatic story to tell. We know that they took part, or they would not be in this book. But fifty years on, there are no details and the simple story of how they went to Dunkirk, made a number of journeys from the beaches to the transport ships and finally returned to Ramsgate, becomes repetitive.
Bou Saada was one of these. Built at Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, by W. King & Sons in 1935, she belonged to Edmund Dreyfus, a member of the Royal Burnham Yacht Club. She was requisitioned and went to Dunkirk. No details of her achievements are recorded. After the war she was sold into private ownership and spent some time in Yorkshire where her present owners, Donald and Carolyn Hamilton-Khaan bought her.
Donald had been a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy and served in Combined Operations. He landed in Normandy on D-Day and is therefore an experienced mariner who appreciates Bou Saada's war record.
Little has been altered on Bou Saada except for her rebuilt wheelhouse and the replacement of her original twin 4-cylinder Morris petrol engines with Perkins diesels. She has had a larger mast fitted enabling her to carry a steadying sail. This provides additional safety if her engines fail. She still has the original shining teak panelling below and is a fine cruising boat which has taken her owners to Belgium, the Friesian Islands, the Dutch canals and the pretty River Ling.
Bou Saada was owned by the Mortimer family during the 1960s. While she was normally kept on the Ouse at York she was regularly taken down the Ouse and Humber into the North Sea (Once in gale force conditions, even the pilot was sick!) A wonderful sea boat.
Bou Saada was bought in September 2021, under new ownership she is undergoing a complete restoration at Dennett Boat Builders on the Thames in Chertsey.