In 1939, only a few months after she was launched, Lawrence Biddle and his crew Tony Hills, completed a remarkable, engine-less cruise from the Solent to southern Brittany. They went as far south as Le Palais on Belle-Ile, before returning to Cowes via Camaret and Brixham. The log of the cruise won the Vertue Cup, awarded annually for the best cruise of the year by a member of the Little Ship Club. The cup had been presented to the club by one of the founder members, Michael Vertue in 1927, a year after the club was formed.
Subsequently, it was decided to provide the growing number of these five-tonners with a class name, and after 1946 they became known as the Vertue Class.
Sadly, Epeneta was eventually caught out in storm force winds to the southwest of Portugal in 1972. Her Canadian owner was taken off by a Russian merchant ship and it was presumed that the boat foundered shortly afterwards.
I am delighted to say that Lawrence Biddle, the original owner’s son, has recently, very kindly, sent me these photos of Epeneta. They show the classic ‘early Vertue’ hull form and short, low doghouse, enabling the dinghy to be stowed upon it.
- Laurent Giles design No: 51
- Builder: Woodnutt & Co, St. Helens, Isle of Wight.
- Launch Date: 1939
- Hull Material: Probably Mahogany or Pitch Pine on Oak
- Deck: Probably canvas over pine.
- Engine: Unknown
- Ballast keel material: Probably lead
- Doghouse: None. Built to Monie drawings.
- Cockpit: Probably not s/d
- Berths: Probably two plus focsle pipecot.
- Rig: As Monie.
- Mast: -
- Heads'ls: -
- Backstay arrangement: -
- Home Port: LOST in 1972.
- Current Owner: NONE
- Contact details: -
- Email address: -
- Other comments: EPENETA was built for Lawrence Biddle by Woodnutts, Isle of Wight in 1938-9.