Friday 1 March 2013

Tar Baby

Brass monkeys, icicles, puddings, word games about blackberry's but what about the boats? Well there was a reference to kite boards, but it's not the same thing. So there I was thinking about interesting boats which might make an worthwhile post when a local boat motored up the river, a boat which is worth mention.

Tar Baby was built by Camper and Nicholson in 1939, and was for a time owned by the Nicholson family. For as long as I can remember Tar Baby has sailed from the Beaulieu river and is often see around the solent or heading for the west country during the summer.

The hull shape reminds me of the popular Nicolson 32, which was built in grp and which Tar Baby pre-dates by many years. I've always liked the pilot house, I spent several hours making a detailed sketch when we were moored close by some years ago in Fowey during a summer cruise, with the thought that it might be possible to build something similar onto a Nic 32.


  1. wow. it looks amazing. traveling on this would have been a fun activity, i really want to try it for once.
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  2. I used to crew for Derek Balls on Tar Baby. If you are interested in my experiences doing this, feel free to contact me on
    John Mander

  3. I have Cinder, sloop 1939...." Cinder was one of the six 30-footers John had designed and built in 1939. He had kept her 'one ice ' for his father in case Flame proved to big for Charles when peace retourned. This proved to be the case-Flame was sold in 1948- but after Keeping Cinder for a couple of season Charles sold her to Group-Capitan Haylock, then editor of Yachting World. He did so on condition that Haylock changed her name as Charles wanted to use the name Cinder for his New boat, à 35 footer he had designed and launched before the war as Tar Baby." ( Ian Dear text )

  4. My family owned Tar Baby from about 1964 to some time in the early 1980's. We sailed out of Burnham on Crouch. Do you know where Tar Baby is now. I sail from Lymington.

    1. Richard Balls. We bought Tar Baby in 1984 and sailed her for the next 28 years. Initially from Bursledon, but then from the Beaulieu. We sold her in 2012 after my late wife developed Alzheimer's
      She is now kept in the Elephant Boatyard at Bursledon.
      A lovely, kindly ship which it was a privilege to own.


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