The Silhouette was designed by Robert Tucker, a naval architect who
loved dinghy cruising, which involved sailing by day and camping on
the bank or beach by night. Mr Tucker felt that it would be a good
idea to make a dinghy with a lid on it and avoid sleeping on the cold
ground. He did not fancy a capsizable craft, so he set-to and designed
a little cruising yacht and the Silhouette was born. In 1953 the first
one was built, called "Blue Boy", for the cost of £85.
This was the Mk1
and 29 were built. With the success of "Blue Boy" Robert
Tucker redesigned and built the Mk 2 and the first was named "Susanne";
she was built for just over £100 by Yarmouth Boat Builders.
In 1957 a Mk2 was put in the London Boat, Caravan and Camping Show.
It was at this show George Hurley first met Robert Tucker and saw
the Silhouette, Mr Hurley was showing caravans at the same show.
Around the same time Ernie Miners, a carpenter who worked for George
Hurley, asked permission from George to build himself a 'Redwing'
dinghy on the premises at Richmond Walk. Seeing the dinghy being built,
George decided that his factory could also build boats. In 1958 George
Hurley started to build Silhouette Mk2s and at the London Boat Show
that year entered a Silhouette for the all-up price of £265.
Around 1830 of these ply Mk 2s were build between 1958 and 1966 when
Hurley had changed over to just GRP.
In 1961 experiments
where made with this new material called glass fibre, this was first
used for sinks for the caravans and boats, then a mould was made for
a Silhouette deck fitted into a ply hull. In 1963 Hurley also started
building the Mk 2 in glass fibre. About 370 of these were built between
1963 and 1967.
In 1967 the Silhouette
was redesigned again as the Mk3: round bottom, all GRP. About 365
of these were built between 1967 and 1972.
In 1971 the Mk 4 was designed and built at Hurley Marine between 1967
and 1972 and 25 were built.
After Hurley Marine went out of business in 1974, the moulds were
sold to Russell Curnow of Marazion, Cornwall and Silhouettes were
built there up to 1979. R Curnow also built a Mk 5, the price in 1979
was £2413 complete. R Curnow also built the H18 after Hurley
From there the moulds for the Silhouette went to and were built by
Varne Yachts who later became Weston Boats and they went out of business