Type: Motor yacht
Length: 55 ft
Beam: 12 ft 4 ins
Draft: 5 ft 3 ins
Displacement: 30 tons
Engine: 2 x DAF 6 cyl Diesels
Construction: Pitch pine on oak
Builder: James Silver, Rosneath
Moiena is the only Dunkirk Little Ship known to have a criminal record! In five trips between Turkey and Belgium during the 1970s, she carried a total of 10,000 kilograms of hashish before the authorities swooped in 1976 and confiscated both the boat and its illegal cargo.
Designed by John Bain and built at Rosneath, Scotland by James A. Silver in 1934, Moiena was commissioned by J.B.P. Weir of Hampstead who wanted her as a comfortable Thames cruiser and enjoyed her there for five years. She was then acquired by Mr. Trower of Guildford less than a month before war broke out, but he had little chance to sail in Moiena. Within a few months she was at Dunkirk, credited with lifting 1,500 troops from the beaches and coming back loaded with men. She returned from Dunkirk with H.M.S Wakeful and H.M.S. Grafton, neither of whom survived the heavy enemy bombardment.
She was immediately put on auxiliary patrol at Brightlingsea, Essex and very soon afterwards sent to Lowestoft, Suffolk, for hydrophone training. The luckless Mr. Trower then lost his ship, by compulsory purchase, to the Admiralty in 1941. When Moiena finished her distinguished war service she was owned for five years by Mrs. Caroline Sears, in Northampton and then by a distinguished wartime RAF pilot, Wing-Commander Alex Ingle DFC, AFC, who moved to Holland in the 1950s and used Moiena to explore the North Sea and the Baltic.
She changed hands twice more and then, in 1957, was acquired by John Stuart Marriner who registered her in Jersey and changed her name to September Tide. He was a travel writer who cruised as far as Scandinavia, the Baltic, Poland and France. Then he took September Tide to the Mediterranean, Spain, Italy, Malta, Yugoslavia, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey collecting material for his books. In 1966 she went along the Bulgarian and Rumanian coasts and up the river Danube to Vienna. These were the golden years of the ship's life. John Marriner sold September Tide in 1967 and it was in 1970 that the much-travelled ship got into bad company.
Her drug-running trips nearly ended her life. When the customs authorities caught up with her, her owners went to jail and she became the property of the customs who let her fall into neglect, so that she almost sank several times.
Dutchman Eric Zandwijk bought her at a customs auction in September 1984. On board he found documents, correspondence and books which enabled him to trace her fascinating history. To his delight he learned that she was one of the heroes of Dunkirk and he set to work restoring her. In 1989 she lay at Ibiza in Spain where her owner has a restaurant.
Her present owner, Vincent van Gervan, saw Moiena for the first time in 1989 when he was visiting his brother, who lived in Ibiza. As Vincent had always been very interested a Silver 54ft. ?Brown Owl?, he contacted the owner. At the beginning of 1990, Mr van Gervan was back in Ibiza and contact with Eric Zandwijk was renewed. He mentioned that September Tide might be for sale and in April the sale was finalised.
Then the race began to get September Tide to the 1990 Dunkirk Return. A course was set to Barcelona and then Marseilles to travel North through the French river and canal system. Frequent fuel and engine trouble slowed the journey so much that the reunion was missed. On arrival in Holland September Tide was given back her original name of Moiena.
Since then she has been the subject of an ongoing maintenance programme. She is now painted and varnished in her original colour scheme, a new mast has been made and her decks repaired. In 1995 Moiena made it (just) to the Dunkirk Return and her entry has already been submitted for the Diamond Return in 2000.
Moiena is used regularly on the Dutch, Kaag lakes, where she is moored next to her owner’s house. Mr. van Gervan would very much like to hear from people who have more information and/or photographs from her early years. Also, any books by John Marriner, especially from his September Tide days would be very much appreciated. Information can be e-mailed to email@example.com
Tue, 28/02/2012 - 22:06
September Tide, Jersey
My uncle owned this boat for a while in Jersey.
I can remember trips to Guernsey and Sark on her. And also piloting her near Corbiere lighthouse. This was in the late 60's early seventies. She was moored beside Elizabeth(?) castle. Many happy days on board this boat.