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As one would expect with a vessel of this age (100 years and counting) she has a venerable history. It is believed that 'Humble' was built as an open electric launch in the early 20th century by a boatbuilder with a fine eye for lines in the Kingston-on-Thames area (reuptedly Golding of Windsor). The original name was Abel.

The hull is mahogany on oak frames and it very similar to the shape of the launch which Mr Palmer of the Huntley and Palmer biscuit company presented to the National Maritime Museum.

During WW II she was used as a fire tender in the London Docks. At that time she had a diesel engine from a bus and a steam driven fire pump which produced a jet of water powerful enough to reach warehouse roofs affected by the bombing. Post war she ended up in Windsor where the Golding Borthers operated her as a passenger launch for 36 passengers for a 90 minute trip to Bray and back.

They renamed her Humble after their grandmother whom had been nicknamed 'Humble' after her nature.

In 1981 Patrick Kelly and John Morrell commissioned the late Peter Freebody to refurbish her and to fit a saloon to the owners' design which in turn was influenced by the Huntley and Palmer's launch. They decided to convert the boat to electric power and during the conversion by Classic Boatworks' Rupert Latham he discovered that owing to the design of the original engine bed, she was probably originally built as an electric launch.

HSC sold the boat for the previous owners to a Californian lady who has always been passionate about history and about boats. She has been the ideal owner for 'Humble', never hesitating to lavish funds on maintenance and throwing some legendary parties, particularly at the Henley Festival.

'Humble' lends herself perfectly to entertaining with her massive forward cockpit (18ft +) where 12 people can sit for drinks and canapes while staff prepare a sit down dinner in the main saloon area (14ft). She has a loo compartment, lots of cupboard space for storage of crockery and glasses, as well as good preparation surfaces both amidships and just forward of the aft cockpit. There are two freestanding tables in addition to the engine cover which enhance the entertaining possibilities.

A full length cover protects the varnish both winter and summer. The propulsion unit relies on a bank of 24 zero maintenance gel batteries replaced in 2009. These are charged by an intelligent onboard charger enabling the owners to head off for longer trips, recharging as they go at certain enabled locks.

'Humble' used to be moored on an idyllic riverside mooring and used to appear at all the major river Thames events. She returned with her owner to California where she won best in show at the Newport Beach Balbao yacht club classic boat event. The owner quite rightly thinks that her future lies back in the UK as this is a very special historic British boat built in Windsor during Victoria's reign.

The vendor will cover all repatriation costs. We await recent photos following a full revarnish program.


Believed to be Burgoine
Year of build
52 ft
8.3 ft
5 kW 72V Electric Motor

Please call Gillian on 01491 578 870 for more information


Henley Sales and Charter Ltd have gained a reputation over the last 30 years for selling and chartering beautiful, classic boats. Experience of operating and selling boats on the river Thames enables us to offer expert objective advice to prospective owners on all aspects of boat ownership including purchase, surveys, repairs and moorings. We will do our best to find the ideal craft to suit your individual needs - for a day or for a lifetime.

Henley Sales & Charter Ltd

29 Station Road
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire


01491 578 870

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