Type: Motor Cruiser
Beam: 6ft 6ins
Displacement: 3970lbs - dry
Engine: Chris Craft A70 V8 225hp
Construction: Mahogany, hard chine
Builder: Chris Craft, Algonac, USA
Miss Margate was the fastest civilian boat at Dunkirk in 1940 with a speed of 45 miles per hour or 37 knots from her Jay W. Smith designed monster A70 225HP V8 petrol engine.
Note: The British Royal Navy Vosper-built Dunkirk Little Ship, MTB 102 was actually the fastest vessel at Dunkirk with a speed of 48 knots (55mph).
Miss Margate was originally built as a class 9 Sedan version, but before delivery to Ramsgate she was converted to a class 7 triple cockpit runabout. Following an accident and fire in 1936 at Supermarine Aviation, she was rebuilt one foot shorter at 25 feet by Hoyle Craft in Nottingham. Sold as a high speed trip boat, to run holidaymakers off Margate beach. Under the command of Mr George Rickwood from Brightlingsea, Essex, Miss Margate was sent by then Ramsgate Harbour Master, Mr D.R. Price to Dunkirk on 31st May 1940, towed by the Dutch Schuit Hilda.
Two other Chris Crafts were working at Dunkirk with Miss Margate; Chalmondesleigh and Bonny Heather.
Nothing else is recorded for her. The rest of the war was spent in Naval service at Ramsgate as a high speed cargo and contraband control vessel in the English Channel. She would make a fine sight in calm seas intercepting boats passing through from North Foreland and Dover.
Following her war service, she returned to Ramsgate Harbour to ferry holidaymakers off the Thanet beaches as a speedboat. Then she was pensioned off to the Norfolk Broads in 1958, when her engine was scrapped. Mr Edwin Wild converted her into a cabin cruiser, running her with an outboard motor for decades, on Horsey Mere Broad until Autumn 1988. In 1999 she was found in poor condition at Martham Ferry, Norfolk by Mr Richard Basey, a trustee and Chief Engineer of MTB102.
Her present owner bought her, had her moved to the Thames Valley in Berkshire where she is now under restoration.
She had cost $4850 in 1929, a tidy sum then (about $51,000 today). The original features have been retained in her restoration including the lifting hooks fitted for swinging on the davits of large millionaires’ yachts. Chris Craft were proud to list the names of rich and famous customers in their price lists.
Tue, 21/09/2010 - 11:56
My father Edwin (Ted) Wilde and my mother Audrey Wilde spent many happy hours on Miss Margate on the Broads in Norfolk. It was my father who identified Miss Margate from the brass feet that were left of a figurehead and discovered she was a Little Ship after extensive research. Marvellously he discovered that Miss Margate was connected to Ramsgate where my mother grew up and in fact her brother in law had taken a pleasure trip on Miss Margate when he was a boy!
My father spent many happy hours renovation Miss Margate and only using the best materials, and he was rightly proud to fly the flag on the Broads.
After my father’s death in 1987 she was sold reluctantly with the promise from the new owner that she was going to be cared for and returned to Ramsgate, unfortunately this was never fulfilled, and she was to be found at Martham some years later in disrepair.
My mother Audrey, who died this year as so pleased to hear that she had been rescued by the present owner who maintained a constant contact with Audrey and kept her updated as to Miss Margate's restoration.
My father's ashes were scattered by the MTB 102 and the Norfolk Sea Scouts during the commemoration voyage from Ramsgate to Dunkirk in 1990.
We wish Miss Margate's newest custodian all the best and many joyful hours aboard.
Jayne Wilde ()