set him on
a life's journey. Only later did he realise how annoying little
boys can be when you're trying to do a survey.
In 1955 Ian
was apprenticed to Fred Parker in Poole for 3 years which was
a very creative period as they were designing and having built
some of the top racing yachts of the time. Fred Parker thought
after 3 years of Ian he would let somebody else have the problem
and recommended that a spell at Camper and Nicholsons in Southampton
would be beneficial.
At this time
he considered National Service in the Fleet Air Arm as flying
was one of his new loves after being given a flight in a Spitfire,
but there were 2 problems, he was colour blind and perhaps more
importantly if he had to use the new ejectors seats he would have
left his legs behind. So yachts it had to be.
When at Camper and Nicholsons Ian had a girlfriend called Lynn
living at Hamble who decided to move to Devon, for the summer
season, partly so that he would concentrate on getting qualified
as a Naval architect which he did on 8th March 1962. Having
been at Camper and Nicholsons for 4 years he followed her to the
West Country. Lynn then moved back to Hamble, but by then Ian
was putting down roots. However they remained lifelong friends.
The next job
was in Salcombe on a fishing boat called Newbrook owned by Richard
Cove. This is where Ian learned his skills of spotting and identify
fish and seabirds. He also learned the power of the sea which
is why all his hulls are so sea kindly and seaworthy.
the James Bond film "From Russia with Love" was being
made & the final sequence was filmed in Scotland. The film
company chartered five power boats from Fairey Marine, but there
was a shortage of Drivers. Ian was asked to join the crew and
as it happens he was quite a look-alike for Sean Connery for whom
he dubbed in many of the scenes. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience
which he found most enlightening!
This was followed
by a new job with George Hurley in Plymouth building Silhouettes
-he was yard manager. A job he didn't really enjoy that much because
for the first time he had the commercial pressure with production
boat building - up till then it had been a very relaxed gentlemanly
affair which of course Ian always was.After 2 years George and
Ian decided that one of them needed to move on, so Ian left, but
on good terms.
Ian got a
job in Dartmouth at Philips and Sons the Shipbuilders. It was
during this time George Hurley contacted Ian and asked if he would
like to design a new yacht - he jumped at the chance and designed
the Felicity. The drawing board was a piece of plywood on top
of his bed in his flat at the Boatel in Dartmouth. Ian could never
find out how many were built. George Hurley had to pay him royalties
on each boat, so he could only guess at around 300 for which he
got paid for, but it could be more. After this came more design
requests from George for a 18 and an 22 footer of the same line.
Naomi James launched the 1000th Hurley 22 for Ian in Plymouth
and a total of 1300 where built which was the best selling boat
in the UK at the time.
By now Ian had a design practise in Dartmouth and started a Company
called Western Approaches Limited with a Partner, Bruce Wingate
which imported Troll motor sailers from Norway. These 32 footers
were fully fitted out in Dartmouth and were sold for £ 3750
and still made a profit!
The Hurley 22 was followed by a Hurley 24 - this was a very successful
version and people appreciated the full headroom. This may have
been something to do with Ian's 6ft 5 height. This was followed
by Hurley 28 which grew into the Hurley 30.
In 1969 Ian was asked by Jack Holman of Uphams Shipyard at Brixharn
to design a yacht and the Sovereign 32 was born. After about a
year Ian asked Jack what he intended to do with the wooden plug
for the hull, asking if he wanted to sell it. He was told that
he would want a lot for it as it had cost a lot to produce and
a figure of £ 7000 was floated
A year later Ian asked Jack again. He said just make me an offer,
so Ian said £500 Jack said you robbing so and so and yes,
so Ian started on the task of building his own boat up Old Mill
Creek in Dartmouth which is where John first met Ian. She was
called ' Inamorata ' mistress or lover in Italian for that was
the position she had taken up in his life. We still have her in
There were other designs which followed the Seatream 34 and 43,
the Countess 33 and 37, the Anderson 30 and the MRCB 37, a design
before its time. Ian was very supportive of the Countess Owners
Association and Hurley Owners Association
At this time
Moley entered Ian's life. At first she did his interior design
work, but love grew and on one of their skiing holidays Ian got
down on one ski and proposed and John gained a great stepfather.
They lived between 2 properties. In Dartmouth. Moley got fed up
with the "your house or mine" question each night so
they moved to a large dilapidated farm house in Broadclyst with
lots of outbuildings at Moley request, mainly to deal with Ian's
"might come in handy policy".
was also when Ian talked John in to going into the boat business.
A year later John had a factory in Falmouth with Ian building
Seastreams and Countess Yachts.
Ian had strong opinions especially on his designs- a bit like
Margaret Thatcher.when his mind was made up it was not for turning,
or his hearing aid was not functioning! This could be very frustrating
for both the builders and the clients.
The business was sold to Chris Matthews who liked the boat so
much he bought the company so we where back were we started. However
they had been good years. Ian was always fun and it was time well
The next 18 months for Ian was great fun as he got to fly Chris's
twin engined plane across Europe, landing at international airports.
A very able pilot he was too.
In 2006 Ian and Moley brought a house in France which was in need
of major renovations, Ian always liked to be creative and occupied
and he was able to develop his love of languages as well. He also
took up gliding again and brought his own glider.
It was during this time that Ian had to become Moley's main carer
which he did with great kindness and love.
He loved the country side the wind and sea and he will be hugely
missed by all those he touched.