MV Canfly, 1922

Builder Harry Breaker, Bowness
Length 28'
Beam 5’ 6”
Hull Carvel Mahogany
Engine Rolls Royce Hawk 6 cylinder aero engine, 7.4 litre, 85 bhp at 1350 rpm
Speed 30 mph

Built in 1922 by Harry Breaker, Canfly has a vertical bow and straight stern, finished in varnished mahogany with red below the water line.

Canfly was built specifically to house the engine it is powered by and is fitted with a 1917 Rolls Royce 85 HP Mk1 Hawk Engine, serial no. 332. The engine was originally used in a World War I airship, which was decommisioned after the end of the war.

The engine has been modified from an aero engine by fitting a large flywheel operated via direct drive onto the vessel’s propeller shaft, it is started by hand and has no gearbox.

History and ownership

Canfly was built to the order of E.H. Pattinson, George Pattinson’s uncle. The engine had been acquired in 1922 from the Royal Air Force disposal board for £75.00.

Between 1922 and 1937 Canfly was used for racing on the lake and on occasions as the official’s boat during record attempts. E.H. Pattinson gave the Rolls Royce Hawk engine to the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club at Broad Leys and in 1960 the hull was sold by the estate of E.H. Pattinson.

With the opening of the Windermere Steamboat Museum the engine was loaned to the Windermere Nautical Trust to enable Canfly to be restored to working order in 1977 by the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust.

Restoration plans

Canfly is a particularly interesting example of this kind of vessel and the hull is to be restored and preserved. The covering board on Canfly is not original and this element will be researched to find the original specification.

The interior hull lining will be removed to inspect the topside planking and frames in the vessel. The flooring is also unoriginal and will be replaced and the seating will be re-upholstered. Future operation of Canfly will be very limited, it has a minimum speed of 30mph and is extremely difficult to handle and manoeuvre. It will instead be put on dry display where its design and history can be fully explored.

Lakeland Arts received a grant from the PRISM fund to purchase the original engine from Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club ensuring that the engine and hull remain together on display at the museum.


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