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Preloved Interview – Classic Yacht Bantab

The moment we saw Bantab appear for sale in Preloved’s listings we fell in love with her traditional good looks. Dick and Sara, her current owners, kindly agreed to an interview with us, which uncovered some interesting facts about her design and her history.

What type of boat is Bantab?

She is a unique one off design, 36ft LOD with a bowsprit of 5 ft. She was originally a gaff rigged cutter but in the 1960’s was converted to a bermudan rigged ketch as the gaff rig was too cumbersome to handle with a small crew.

She is handled by two easily enough although it does take teamwork having a cutter rigged ketch and all the sails associated with this.

She is constructed of teak on oak frames, the teak is between 1″ and 7/8″ thick and she is carvel construction. Above the waterline she is splined with teak, below the waterline is traditional caulking. The deck is teak.

There is a Perkins 4008 engine which is a proven reliable engine that is easily worked on and spares are always available.

Can you tell us something about the history of the boat?

She was built by Master Boat builder Henry Banham of Horning for his wife Tabitha as a birthday present in 1936. Henry Banham had a successful Broads boat building business at the turn of the century and there is still a Banham yard in Norfolk. Banham built a number of sailing boats and this was the largest that was built in the yard. As it was a one off, there was no expense spared and the quality of the build is a testament to how she looks today.

We were fortunate to meet an older gentleman in Yarmouth a number of years ago who lived near Horning and remembers Bantab from 1940. He was lucky enough to go onboard as a young boy. We invited him onboard and he confirmed that the interior remains the same from when she was first built, there is a stained glass window in the door to the heads that is original, the cockpit had changed slightly to accommodate the mizzen mast but in general she had not changed in 70 years.

What is the living accommodation?

7081012-929-640x480Being a traditional build she has separate living spaces. The main saloon has a large dinning table under which resides the engine. There are two bench seats either side of this which are used as berths when required, the port berth can be used as a double as the bench slides out creating more space. The head space throughout is also generous, at least 6 feet forward to the forepeak.

The heads and galley are amidships. There is a stove and sink to port and the heads is to starboard, these are separated by the lifting keel housing which runs forward from the main mast. Forward of this is the owners cabin with a double berth to starboard and space for storage to port. Forward of the main mast is the forepeak which is ideal as a storage locker for sails, outboard, dingy etc. There is a forepeak hatch which opens up to create a large space for getting things in and out.

There are a number of electric lights for reading and general lighting although we generally used the 3 oil lights in the cabins. While not ideal to read from, they gave the interior a warm and inviting feel.

I notice she has a lifting keel – that’s unusual for a boat of this size isn’t it?

The lifting keel was incorporated as she was built in the Broads and therefore it was envisaged that she would occasionally spend time in the rivers. There is a chain attached to the aft end of the keel and this is routed up through the interior to a block which in turn then leads to a winch for lifting, it is not that difficult to lift the keel and one person can do it in a few minutes.

The advantage of this set up is that with the keel up there is only a draft of 1.2 metres meaning that it’s easier to get in and out of creeks that boats of a similar size will not be able to do. With the keel up she sits nicely in a soft seabed and we did keep her at Hayling Island for 3 years where she had a drying berth, as each low tide she would settle down into the soft mud of the area. This did a world of good for the hull as it kept it nice and moist.

With the keel down, she draws 2.4 metres.

She looks in great condition – what work have you done on her?

Over the past 5 years we have completed a large amount of work on her.

When we brought her the previous owner had been in ill health for a number of years and therefore the boat had unfortunately deteriorated. In addition to the general stripping and re-varnishing of all the bright work, including the mizzen mast, booms and bowsprit we have:

  • Re-wired throughout, including a new control panel, new lights, new batteries and cables, new log and depth sounder, replaced the radio, co-ax and antenna.
  • Replaced the steering tube as the old one had “welded” itself to the steering making turning the wheel very difficult
  • Fitted sister frames to six cracked frames that were noted in the survey when we brought her, replaced all the through hull fittings, including new stop cocks
  • Removed the deck paint that the previous owner had used, re-caulked and then sanded the deck, this included removing all the paint from the gunwales inside and out and taking back to wood then varnishing
  • Replaced all the gas fittings
  • Replaced cutlass bearing, this required a bespoke new one being made as the cutlass bearing was a one off for this boat.
  • Re-splined the topsides. This required all the old splining to be removed then 540ft of teak to be inserted between all the planks. The splines were epoxied in then planed by hand, sanded then 10 coats of varnish were applied. At the same time any rusted through fitting was replaced and also over half the rubbing strake was replaced
  • Re-caulked below the waterline. We dug out all the old caulking and then re-caulked with caulking and red lead.
  • Stripped all the bilges, cleaned all the pig iron, painted the bilges and replaced the limber lines once the limber holes had all been freed up of grit and dirt
  • Stripped the heads, serviced the toilet and re-seated to make more of the space available
  • Both the Yankee and the Stay sail are brand new and there is a also a brand new roller reefing mechanism for the Yankee. This does need fitting but all the elements are there to do this
  • There is an Eberspacher heater which has recently been serviced. This needs to be fitted back in but all the fittings are in the boat.

Where have you taken her?

We have owned her for 5 years and during that time have sailed extensively along the South Coast. We have been down to the West Country and have had some memorable sailing down and around Dartmouth.

Our most favourite sailing was being able to leave work early on a Friday and ghosting up towards Itchenor, dropping anchor and spending a lazy weekend just living on the boat away from everything.

Are you moving on to another boat?

We are selling as our circumstances have changed, we’ve just brought an old house which requires a large amount of work and we have both had promotions at work, Dick has a global role which requires him to travel a lot and Sara’s week doesn’t allow for any spare time.

As a result we thought it best to sell Bantab whilst she was still in a good state, without the time to be able to spend on her she will deteriorate which would be a sad sight, she is also the sort of boat that needs to be sailed and for people to be able to see her. It would be selfish to keep her in a marina and only get to use her 2 to 3 times a year.

We will be very sad to see her go as she’s been a large part of our lives for the past 5 years but there comes a time when it is not possible to focus on everything at once. When the house is complete and work has calmed down we may look to replace her with another classic.


Update: Bantab is now sold. However you will find more yachts for sale in our Yachts and Motorsailers category.

Our thanks go to Dick and Sara for this interview. If you are selling an item with an interesting history, let us know and you could be featured on these pages.

Amy Lockley

Amy Lockley

Writer and expert

Amy is the Head of Community at Preloved. In her spare time, she loves volunteering for a rabbit charity, having crafting weekends and kite boarding in Morecombe which is always combined with a camping adventure! She is always on the hunt for a bargain whether that be at car boots, house clearances or charity shops.