Trio survived thanks to quality of timber


Yachting Monthly’s coverage of the 50th anniversary of Miles and Beryl Smeeton’s double capsize in the H S ‘Uncle’ Rouse-designed Tzu Hang, their 46ft ketch, in the January issue, sparked some happy memories from readers.

Yachtswoman Susan Elliot remembers sailing in the yacht as a young girl with her father Col. Denis Swinburne who had her built in Hong Kong and shipped to the UK in 1939 where she was laid up at Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex during World War II. After the war he cruised her to Northern Ireland and the West Coast of Scotland. Col. Swinburne later sold her to the Smeetons in 1951. They were to make her famous after their book, Once is Enough, was published about their two capsizes in the Southern Ocean

‘When she was built, dad inspected every single timber that went into her and I believe that is why she survived the pitch-poling,’ said Susan.

The owner of another boat designed by H S ‘Uncle’ Rouse and also built in Hong Kong in the 1930s, Moya Bowler called us to say that Tai-Mo-Shan is now chartering in the Aegean and was recently used by actor Tom Hanks’ Movietone company to feature in the film of the West End musical Mamma Mia. The yacht was the subject of a book: Voyage of the Tai-Mo-Shan, by Lt Col Martyn Sherwood, which told the story of her voyage back to the UK from Hong Kong at the hands of five naval officers and their covert search for submarine bases.