Tally Ho… will sail again!

Well, I’ve gone and done something very silly. I’ve bought Tally Ho.


She cost me £1, and she’s not quite ‘ready-to-go’.


She’s a 107-year-old Albert Strange designed Gaff Cutter, 47’ on deck, and she needs a total rebuild.



I know she’s going to consume a lot of time and a lot of money before she gets on the water again, but I want to explain now why I left a good job on a beautiful superyacht to go and live in sawdust and squalor in the middle of nowhere; the stunningly beautiful but very remote Sequim, WA.


On a personal level, it’s the calling of independence and challenge. It’s about risking everything for something stupid and beautiful. And most of all, it’s about doing something that will make a good story – because for me, that is important in life; to have good stories to tell, and to have good people to tell them to.


In the bigger picture, it’s about a piece of history that is in danger of being lost forever. Tally Ho is a notable yacht from an esteemed designer. She gained fame for winning the third ever Fastnet race in 1927, beating proven vessels such as Jolie Brise and Ilex. Later in life she proved herself as a sea-kindly world-cruising yacht, although she was eventually nearly lost to a Pacific reef and subsequently disappeared off the radar. She was rediscovered years later in a tiny port in Oregon, where she had been fishing Salmon before being left to rot on the dock. Since then there have been various attempts to save her, but her obscure location and state of disrepair have made it very difficult.




When I went to look at her (see my short video of the visit here) I was astounded by the amount of work to do, but also surprised to find that the planks are mostly in very good condition, and that the huge keel timber is solid teak.


Still, I doubted the project until I started looking at boatyards in Washington State (the nearest place with a traditional sailing community). I was very generously offered the use of a piece of land and a workshop for the project, which crucially is big enough to accommodate a few beds. Then the Albert Strange Association, who already offered to sell the boat for just £1, told me they would also contribute towards the cost of moving her from the funds they had already raised. It would still cost me a lot to move her to the site, but things were starting to line up in a rather serendipitous way, and people were coming out of the woodwork offering help and support.



When I was asked about how the project made me feel, I replied “excited and terrified”, because I knew the scale of the work to be done. When I considered my answer further, I realized that I felt the same just before every silly decision I’ve ever made – just before travelling alone to India as a teenager; just before spending my life savings on my first wooden boat; and just before crossing the Atlantic on my own in a tiny leaky pile of wood (read about that here). And I can safely say that those are the most important and worthwhile decisions I have ever made.


Anyway, I’ll let you all know when I’m bankrupt and broken and am looking for a job in the city. Until then, I will continue to make silly videos as I get to work on Tally Ho.




I have already moved her by truck 600 miles up the Western Seaboard to her new home, in beautiful Sequim WA, and am just about to start building a shed to cover her. There will be a video on its way soon.


Thanks for all your thoughts and advice; whether encouraging or discouraging, I know you all meant me well, apart from Joe – his comment was useless and he can sod off.


Tally Ho in her new home –

119 thoughts on “Tally Ho… will sail again!

  1. You actually make it look really easy in your presentation, but I regard it as a true one that feels that you can never understand this. It feels very complicated and very expansive for me. I am prefetching your next submission, I will try to persist it!

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  11. Hey Leo,
    I’ve been following your progress and I was wondering if you were looking for some help.
    I’m not a boat builder but build higher end furniture in my own shop. So I’m accustomed to using basically every tool. I would enjoy the work and opportunity to help with something as cool as the Tally Ho

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  22. Hey Leo, I found you. Ha, what a brilliant project, I admire your courage and determination.
    Funnily enough, after seeing you last, and getting those tuners to you, I found a really nice old flamenco guitar, about 50 years old, which i bought from a vicar in Keynsham of all places!! it had spent most of its years in South Africa, playing gentle christian songs no doubt… and it didn’t need any tuners.. haha. Hope you enjoy playing again. And all the best with your mad but perfectly sane project. Gem

  23. Absolutely amazing yacht!. You only regret the things you didn’t do when your old. I own a small David Hillyard and she will sail again one day,till then she lives in my yard. Best of luck.

  24. Leo…..I surfed across to your videos the other night and watched as many as my eyes would allow me into the wee hours of the morning. You are a brave man. And as I have seen in your vids, very knowledgeable and competent. To take on such a large project solo is commendable. …..I am in the process of a complete renovation of my home and have a small boat and 3 motorcycles also in the works…. I like you are living single but retired…
    Your boat is a monumental task and I wish you all the luck possible for a quick uncomplicated refit and no interference from bitchy neighbours. I really look forward to your future videos and to watch your progress. I would love to be part of this but alas I have my own projects. cluttering my shops and house here in Canada. Did I mention I have two airyplanes sitting in the wings (no pun intended) to be rebuilt as well….?
    I’ll definitely subscribe…and I’v already spread the word.

  25. Hello Leo, I’m enjoying your videos and the scope of your task. Having rebuilt an iron-fastened cutter, I’m sigh in relief each time I see you pull a copper/bronze fastener. My boat was only 5 tons, but the heart-ache and pain to re-frame and refloor the iron-sickness stills lingers with me. It appears you have the “luxury” of dedicating your efforts full time to this job. I don’t know how you managed it, and such a nice shop, but clearly you are resourceful, and it takes that in spades to get this job done.

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  27. beautiful and romantic enterprise! You also do a service to sailing humans recovering such a historic yacht! bravo

  28. I must say Leo that from the few videos I’ve seen you have a huge amount of passion and energy for your project. If I were still a resident of the Oregon and Washington coast, and much younger, I would put my life on hold and ask to assist you. I am a jack of all trades and have a pretty good head for problem solving. Alas I am now 74 years old and live in retirement in Kentucky. I congratulate you for choosing to make this decision and will follow your endeavors till you dock in England. I have no doubt you will succeed. God bless you.

  29. Hello Leo, came across your ‘project’ this afternoon on a YouTube video and had to watch them all! All that energy and knowledge, it’s wonderful to see and you are and should be an inspiration to so many – I’m hooked and will follow you now and hopefully we can help you along the way. I have an engineering background with my own business so if I can help out, get in touch. I bought my first boat this year so learning as I go but hope watching your endeavours will educate and inspire me too. Good luck with it all

  30. I wouldn’t worry about rain. Sequim WA is the most arid spot on the west coast outside of San Diego CA!
    I am only half an hour away from you would love to drop by some time.
    Fair Winds,
    Jay Greer

  31. Ship it to bequia we will rebuild all new planks and fram spline resurf and give a merow finish

  32. Thanks John. No GoFundMe yet, butI’m thinking about it.. watch this space! Cheers

  33. Thanks David, that’s much appreciated! Please stay in touch, or send me an email 🙂

  34. Thank Mark, much appreciated. I hope she does see the water again – and if so, it’ll be partly thanks to your amazing driving!

  35. Thanks a lot guys, really appreciate it! I have not set up a crowdfunding page yet, but I am thinking about doing so… Stay tuned and I will let you know. Cheers

  36. We’ve just discovered this most arduous, existential, and beautiful project, Leo!
    Congratulations and looking forward to following your progress!
    As another comment said, is there a financial fund where we can contribute to this….such as GoFundMe?

  37. Place a call in sequim to Admiral Robert McClinton. He would be up there in age but he would know the people who could find your project of great interest. Served as a Quartermaster with him on AOE 4, talked to him 4 years ago and he was still racing.

  38. This is Mark, the driver who brought Tally Ho up to Washington. I have moved thousands of boats in the last 32 years and unfortunately most that are like this one never see the water again. Something about this boat and you tells me this one WILL see the water again and be better then she ever was. Good luck and I look forward to seeing the day she goes to the water.

  39. Reading this far far away, across an ocean, but feeling near to this beautiful, passionate, optimistic and great project! All the best, a lot of courage, a few beers, good friends on your side, is what I wish you! We need more of your kind! “Bon vent” from Switzerland, Jérôme

  40. You will tell your grandchildren yesterday when I was young I followed a dream……..

  41. At first I thought this was pure insanity. A worthy goal but impossible. Something I’ve seen other start and fail. Then I was prompted to read the entire post and suddenly I realized this would be a good story and there is no doubt in me that you will succeed. You have a good location and volunteers. I have a feeling you will meet many new people in your journey. I won’t wish you good luck. I don’t think you will need it. Instead good fortune.
    Capt Conrad

  42. You may be familiar with “VICTORIOUS LN109” resurrected by a completely mad Englishman name of Russell Ferriday. She was abandoned at the wall in King’s Lynne, filled with mud and all detritus and was about to be excavated and broken up when Russell, in the finest tradition of Mad Brits everywhere, decided to dig her out, haul her off to a friends property (somewhere) and rebuild her.

    YOU are NOT alone!

    I’ll include two url’s, one of her in the mud (http://www.frayedknotarts.com/images/victoriousbefore-sm.gif) and the other of a 6 minute youtube video showing the process in an almost coherent fashion. (http://www.frayedknotarts.com/images/VictoriousReborn.zip)

    Let me know if these did not come through for you.

  43. Sequim WA is not remote at all.
    Port Townsend is wood boat mecca around here. We have a 46 ft wood ketch based at Kingston.

  44. Good luck to you Leo….this is one hell of an undertaking. One day you will know the immense pleasure of bringing a piece of history back to life and passing it on to the next generation of dreamers who have your drive and determination. I will follow this project with interest…..

  45. Took me 17 years but I am now on my fifth season sailing… there will be times when you cant see the water (apart from the rain!) for timber, but when you do… my heart and soul is eith you!

  46. A big step to take, but congratulations, i think you are aware of the level of work and money you have committed yourself to. This is a beautiful craft and deserves all the love you can give her, Ive been keeping an eye on this one and Im glad she’s going to a worthy party.

    I humbly offer my advice, such as it is. Ive been restoring and building wooden boats most of the 30 years I’ve been on this planet, and I’ve seen it all!

    All the best!

  47. How wonderful your past proves you can follow your dream I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing her as a bonny sailing gaffer once again with you at the helm look forward also to updates.

  48. Good luck, sounds like an amazing project. I found you via a friend on facebook. We will enjoy living a boatbuilding adventure vicariously through you, while we sail our fibreglass boat out of Falmouth, which for now is quite enough real adventure for us.

  49. Congratulations Leo. She could not have fallen into better hands. I think it was intended. The aims of the Albert Strange Association (“to trace and preserve the little ships of Albert Strange “) will, I`m sure, have as successful a result with” Tally Ho” as with “Mist”. .She is still beautiful even as she is now; when you`ve finished she will be exquisite !. A brave decision on your part which will change your life———for the better ! ( Not that it`s been too bad up till now from all accounts . !)

  50. Hats off to you and Godspeed! Do it well and do it right as we are mearly stuarts of these lovely craft for a time. They give back so much more in return than we give them. She is now in your care and she is depending on you.

  51. Great use of time and resources Leo! What an awesome and delightful project, best of luck. Sam

  52. Mate the sea breeze has gone to your brain! This is awesome! Best of luck with this incredible project. For a moment I thought you were in Western Australia – aka WA 🙂

  53. Sequim, WA is a lovely place, plan on it raining a lot which will of course slow you down but it appears you have more than enough to do when is pours. Get her buttoned up, when it rains, it may not stop for weeks. Been there, done that, in restoring an old Chris Craft off the Oregon Coast. Good news is, there are many competent boat works in the area. Best of luck, you’ve got your work cut out for you but the pay off will be magnificent. Robert

  54. Well done and best of luck. Determination and Good Health to you. Do you have a “Go Fund Me” or something we can contribute
    too? John Carlson

  55. Best of luck with your task.
    She has beautiful lines, and I Look forward to watching your progress.

  56. Great good luck from Downunder. She may be an ugly duckling now, just give the stem a years’ long passionate kiss on the stem and she’ll transforn into the beautiful princess that is hiding there. Cheers

  57. We have some of the best wooden boat building in st.vincent and the grenadines an island call Bequia we have built the largest scooner in the Caribbean

  58. My husband says the only thing we have at the end of our lives iare memories. The rest means nothing. Good luck.

  59. Enjoyed reading your story of crossing the Atlantic in a Folkeboat. You have the RIGHT DETERMINATION to make this project a success.
    Wishing you all the Best of Luck because you need it… LUCK IS WHERE PREPARATION MEETS OPPORTUNITY

  60. Wishing you the best of luck with your project, will be good to follow the gradual progress before she’s ready for the off once again.

  61. Absolutely Fabulous! Good Luck and Godspeed… I’ll be keeping up with you and if I see a chance where I may be of some assistance I’m happy to help… Cheers

  62. Good luck, there are several 100year olds here (Ipswich UK) doing fine, so why the hell not?

    All the best from catamaran Pas De Deux (blog Pied à l’eau)

  63. This is the most awesome thing I’ve read in a while. Well done sir! A voyage of a thousand miles starts with the first step. As my old man used to ask, “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer: “One bite at a time” Will you put video on YouTube or how can I follow you? I don’t want to miss any of your work or progress. Thank you, Chuck Jenkins,