Bought, whilst ashore, by Les Weeks in 2007 as a project for forthcoming retirement, the restoration sadly failed to be completed in time for her centenary in 2012. Robert Taylor had previously started the restoration, but sadly died after owing her for just a year, having only managed to remove the rotten cabin top and coamings.
Built in Teignmouth in 1912 by Gann & Palmer, whose business ended when their yard was destroyed by fire, White Cloud is obviously based on the lines of a Falmouth Quay Punt, and is gaff rigged with a bermudan (leg of mutton) mizzen. She has a straight stem and transom stern and is 25ft along the deck and waterline. With bowsprit and bumpkin she'll be about 35ft in total.
Despite being a hundred years old, the pitch pine planking was all in good condition and only five frames needed attention. All the nails and roves needed hardening up and the other original, galvanised, fixings were merely a memory of rust! Notes from the registrar of ships suggested that she was built for a 'Gentleman' (Col. Golightly of Torquay), however documents at the Teignmouth and Shaldon Museum (who have some of the yard records) say that she was orderd by, and built for, Peter Hoare of the famous banking family. She has an impressive list of previous owners (including Lord Cranbrook in the late 1920s).
Les Weeks' restoration is as 'in keeping' as possible, but with no original accommodation plans, this was slightly imaginative. He was fortunate to meet some of the previous owners, one of whom sailed her to Finland, with wife and three daughters, in the early 1950s. Hopefully she'll still be that seaworthy when restored.
In 2012 Les received a Transort Trust Restoration Award for his work in restoring White Cloud.
Finally re-launched in September 2013, she had one outing in October before the season ended. In 2014 she sailed on the Blackwater and in September entered the Maldon Town Regatta where the first, post restoration, photos of her afloat were taken.
The next priority was some new sails as some of the existing ones were date stamped 1963! The replacements were designed and made by Mark Butler at James Lawrence in Brightingsea, in 2015-16.
After about 10 years at Downs Road Boatyard in Maldon, including six for the restoration, in 2015 White Cloud was moved to Bradwell Marina which is now her 'home port'. However, she still flies the burgee of the Maldon Little Ship Club (MLSC).
Slowly the leaks are being eradicated!