Volante Of Ville is a 38 foot
classic cruiser racer designed and built by Camper &
Nicholson of Gosport in 1961.
After being at Dolphin Quay in 2008 for a serious
programme of repair work, she has had most of the
major things wrong with her hull structure put
In 2009 her owner Tony Harwood
entered the Fastnet race with 'Volante' and won the
Iolaire Trophy (prize for the oldest vessel to take
Update 16 August 2015
Volante had her mast unstepped for survey. The
survey found degradation in the timber around the
upper most rigging attachment point. We were going
to carry out a repair but found even more problems.
Repairs suddenly looked like becoming most of the
way towards the cost of a new mast.
It was a tough call for the owner, so we had a quote
for a new mast from Jeremy Freeland at
which considering the size of the mast was far less
frightening than expected!
So now 'Volante' awaits a lovely new mast to arrive
at Birdham Pool.
The pictures show the decay in the old mast and also
'Volante' in the shed at Endeavour Quay, Gosport
before we took the old mast to Birdham Pool. She is
alongside a state of the art, Open 60's racing
machine; talk about chalk and cheese!
26 March 2017
'Volante' really needed one more sizable repair
done. In 2008 we removed all the iron strap floors
and repaired the underlying timbers, regalvanised
the floors and refitted them on new bedding with new
bolts except the ones that were underneath the
engine and loo compartment. The ones under the loo
compartment were a lot more involved because they
incorporate before and aft fabrication (or girder)
that forms the mast stop. The loo compartment needed
to be completely dismantled to gain access and at
the time it was a job just too big to contemplate in
view of all the work that had been done already.
In Spring 2016 however the fact that this area of
the boat's structure required attention came to
light when the lovely new Collars mast was stepped.
Shortly after she had been returned to her berth
(still in Birdham Pool) she settled on the bottom.
Fortunately there was less than a foot of water
under her keel so the inrush only came up to just
below the top of the saloon settee tops and as she
settled down by her head raising the stern, engine,
batteries and electronics all survived the sinking.
It was a terminal leak. Our lange submersible pump
would empty her but if the leak had occurred at sea
her own pumps would not have coped. The location of
the leak under the loo compartment floor was
un-accessible as the whole thing had been built in
permanently sometime earlier by another owner.
When 'Volante' was lifted out and a surveyor from
the insurance company had looked at her the cause of
the leak was very obvious - a length of plank seam
over a metre long had opened up.
The boat stayed ashore as it would have been
completely inappropriate to attempt a temporary
repair and then re-launch her. Tony Harwood thought
for a while how he wished to proceed. We were given
the all clear to remove the loo compartment
structure to have a clear view of what was
underneath and discovered that the mast step
fabrication associated strap floors and underlying
timber were in very poor condition.
On drawing sample floor bolts, all were found to
have wasted very badly.
Tony instructed us to start the repairs in November
2016. Hopefully 'Volante' will be able to be
re-launched for the new season in Easter 2017.
28 June 2017
We completed all the timber, planking repairs and
fitting of the new galvanised mast step assembly at
the end of May 2017. We also rebuilt the loo
compartment joinery over the repair area.
Volante then had a full survey carried out by Mike
Andrews, who recommended that a few other items
ought to be addressed, including checking/replacing
chain plate fastenings.
She was re-launched and the mast re-stepped on 19th
Update 4 June 2018
After leaving Birdham Pool in June 2017, Volante got
close to the harbour entrance and suffered an engine
failure. With a Spring ebb under her, there was no
time to get some sail on her before she was put
ashore on the edge of the Winner bank. All the crew
were taken out of her, but she had to wait until the
night tide to be towed off by The Harbour
Conservancy and Hayling Rescue, then taken back to
Itchenor. A horrible experience for her owner Tony
Harwood and his crew, especially in view of all the
work that had just been carried out on the boat.
Volante was then brought back to Birdham again and
lifted out of the water. The engine was found to
have seized, and it was decided to replace it with a
new engine of the same type (Yanmar 3GM). The hull
below the waterline was surveyed again by Mike
Andrews, and many of the splined seams were found to
have failed as a result of the grounding. It was
agreed then that the best way forward was to remove
the timber splines from the under water seams after
removing all the paint coatings, then check all the
caulking, harden up or recaulk if necessary, then
pay the seams with read lead putty instead of
The hull was then reprimed and some minor chafing of
the after deadwood was repaired.
Tony Harwood then, in spite of the expense of the
recaulking decided to have us attend to all the
bright work and repaint the top sides. Volante came
out of our shed looking very smart indeed, and after
re-rigging, we took her back to Haslar Marina,
Gosport, with Tony on board, just before Christmas
Update 13 June 2018
It was with great sadness that
we heard that Tony Harwood, owner and great friend
of Volante of Ville,
passed away suddenly in May. Please take the time to
read the post on our
23 May 2021
first week of May 2021, Volante’s new keel bolts
arrived, and we reunited her with her ballast keel
on a new tarred felt gasket. When this work was
completed, the boat was moved back into our shed,
and work commenced on re-splining the hull topsides
30 October 2021
Volante now has had her
topsides planking repairs completed, all the re-splining
done, and many coats of primer undercoat applied
before final topcoats. She is getting much closer to