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Foam sandwich Half Tonner Humbug
Cold moulded Half Tonner Solan Goose
The Conquest 23 - the first Humphreys production boat

Despite enjoying his work at YACHTS AND YACHTING magazine what Humphreys really wanted to do was design. After three years on the full-time payroll he left to set up his design business, but with no imminent commercial viability as such he kept his column with Y&Y and furthermore freelanced for other overseas yachting magazines. He also carried out a huge amount of rating consultancy work, advising owners on the International Offshore Rule IOR and drawing up modifications for their boats. This still did not seem to leave very much time for his own design work, but by the mid-Seventies he was beginning to see some opportunities.

In this period he designed a couple of Mini Tonners and a pair of Half Tonners, all of them essentially owner-build projects (it used to happen a great deal in those days). The Mini Tonner SHH-AM, for example, was built in London mews garage by owner Paul Howard (she was placed best British boat in the Mini Ton worlds in La Rochelle in 1977), while the Conquest 23 Mini Tonner was built as a production boat by Peter Lloyd and his son-in-law Clive Phippard under the banner of CK Marine of Weymouth.

Wally and Pat Naismith built the Half Tonner Solan Goose themselves of cold moulded cedar under the inspiration of the Gougeon’s excellent book on their WEST system, while Nick Palmer built Humbug of foam sandwich construction. There was an explosion of Half Ton interest at the time with over 50 boats competing in the British trials in 1977 just to qualify for the Half Ton worlds. Unfortunately, neither Solan Goose nor Humbug made the grade.

Solan Goose was later sailed across the Atlantic by Bob Salmon and she is believed to be in Antigua now.