Traditional Vessels - Alf Smythers, Shadow, Moyana & Boy Phil

Alf Smythers Fal Oyster Hole & Corner Magazine
A really great article was published by Hole & Corner Magazine
Photo by Alan Clarke - Check it out here

 6,200,000 views on YouTube... Wow!

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Alf Smythers


25' 10" Truro River Oyster Dredger built Penryn & Cowland

Alf Smythers was one of the very last boats built of wood specifically for oyster dredging on the River Fal. A typical Percy Daulton design, very similar to the Meloris that was used by Martin Heard’s father Terry to make the now famous mold for GRP hulls. She is a 26ft Pitch Pine on Elm and Oak, Gaffer, built by Alf Smythers and Peter Mayes between 1966-71. Sadly Alfie died before she was complete, so Peter finished her of at Cowlands Creek and as Alun Davies once said in Martin’s kitchen, its was he that suggested Peter named her after his friend.

It was in fact Martin Heard who acted as the agent for Peter Mayes and found him a suitable young man to restore and work the Alf Smythers. With the help of many friends at Tregartreath in 2008 Ranger stripped her right back to replace the deck and beams and totally rebuilt her during the summer.

Relaunched in time for the Falmouth Oyster Festival 08 she has proved to be a welcomed sight in the harbours around Cornwall. At the Falmouth Oyster Festival she entered her first Working Boat Harbour Race and due to Golly's good sportsmanship actually took the Bottle of Whiskey prize for the licensed dredging class. It was in fact the same skipper who surrendered the prestigious Silver Oyster Race to give Alf Smythers her first ‘completed’ race and winning a trophy! 


Shadow... More info






15ft Oyster Punt built circa 1900 by H. Johns of Flushing for Mr Berryman, A long overdue rebuild of the garboard plank and keel, luckily I found some Cornish Elm from Jo Sawmills


Boy Phil or Jubilee

Boy Phil


25' Truro River Oyster Dredger built 1908at Calenick


Boy Phil was worked very hard in her days on the oyster fishery, but when the time came for a good old refit she was simply 'glassed over' and sent back out to work again. Finally she was driven up the beach in 2004 until she broke her leg and fell over, when she was then lifted onto the hard in 2006. I couldn't see the old girl destroyed, but with six years of yard fee's due and an estimated 1500hrs to restore her, no one could see her ever going back in the water. With the help of a friend and his saw mill I could see the way so I purchased her from Dave Cockwell (£1 as settlement of fee's if removed from the yard) and Sam Heard (£1 as trustee to the Boy Phil following the passing away of John 'Squitcher' Walls in 2009).

I then sold some of the rusty old ballast for £67 and a few of the 56lb weights for another £40 to pay the £100 transportation cost, so for a very brief while I was a fiver up...

Redeemable Shares priced £400 are available in this vessel, we have sold 3 of 22 that will represent 1/3 ownership. 1/3 of the seasons landings will be split 22 ways! Contact us for more information