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Old 10-11-2009, 04:31   #16
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: On the banks of the River Colne, Essex, England; grew up on the banks of the river Hamble in Hampshire, England. I just can't get away from yachts! I even helped to build a wooden 50 footer once.
Boat: I have a spinal injury, so my armchair is my boat these days
Posts: 10
Contour Craft, Cox Marine, and Lodestars

Dear All, just finally to clarify the early sale of Pivers in the UK, and other Lodestar matters.

'Contour Craft' of Gorleston made high-quality speedboats until they went into business with D H Clarke, who was Piver's UK agent, to make Piver tris. It seems the venture was capitalised partly by Clarke himself, partly by the directors of Cox Marine. Between 1962 and 1966 they exported over 750,000 worth - about US $19,000,000 in 2009 money.

Clarke did not like the look of the British economy or the policies of Wilson's labour government, so he decided to quit while they were ahead.
The venture was all wound up by early 1967.

Cox Marine built some Pivers under their own name in 1967-8, but switched to their own designs, eg Cox 32. If Clarke says that Cox 32's designer was someone called Bennett, then I agree with him and not the AYRA, especially as the design is nothing like any Piver I've ever seen. It's quite attractive but typical of British GRP yachts of the period, mono or multi.

A Lodestar, Folatre, might have won the 1964 OSTAR, but Derek Kelsall collided with something, probably a whale, which damaged his daggerboard and rudder, forcing him to retire. As mentioned elsewhere, Piver was lost in a Mariner, not a Lodestar. Clarke thought Mariner a very poor design, and this example was apparently badly-built. Piver must have been desperate to qualify for the OSTAR to take such an ill-found boat to sea.

The worst failure of a Lodestar at sea in the first decade was probably Om, which got caught in a series of gales and broke up between New Zealand and Australia in 1969. The crew survived because the wreck functioned as a raft until it eventually drifted ashore on the Isle of Pines (New Caledonia). There is apparently an article in Seacraft, November 1969, if anyone can find an on-line archive. Four feet of the port ama broke off, causing the yacht partially to disintegrate over the next few hours. After that it was a survival epic.

On the other hand there are, as we all know, Pivers still afloat and sailing 40-50 years after being built. I guess they're still good enough cruising boats - for the money - if you know their limitations. The key phrase is 'for the money'. Anyone who can afford something less obsolete will buy it for preference, unless he's obsessed with Pivers. But to go back to the start of this thread, really to up-grade a Piver as C&S Forums contributor Bob has done will obviously require drastic surgery. I'm sure we'll all be interested to hear how his resurrected Lodestar performs.

All best to all

John K.

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