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Over the weekend of Friday 22nd - Sunday 24th July 2016, the Hurley Owners Association held a celebratory weekend in Plymouth. Under the title 'Bring Your Hurley Home' the HOA marked 50 years since the first production of the Hurley 22 and Hurley 18 and celebrated the history of Hurley Marine and the companies which succeeded it which continued to build Hurley boats into the 1990s.

Hurleys gathering at King Point Point Marina

On the Friday some 38 Hurley boats gathered at King Point Marina and crews were welcomed with a reception provided by Sutton Harbour Holdings, owners of King Point. Nearly all classes of the Hurley boat were represented, Silhouettes, 18s, a lone Signet, 20s, 22s, 24s, 27s and a 30. Boats came from many points along the coast, from the Solent to Falmouth and one H22 came from Bude. A number of the smaller boats were trailed across country to take part. One of the particularly notable voyages was made from the Solent by David and Justine Edwards in their diminutive but beautifully renovated H18 'Womble'.

Steve's sailpast briefing
Pictures of the sailpast

On Saturday, after a briefing by Steve Dart the BYHH coordinator, the Hurley fleet sailed into Plymouth Sound for a photo shoot by Robin Price Studios and sail-past of the Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club (RPCYC), where friends, family and ex-Hurley Marine employees were gathered to watch. Among the watchers were Mrs Marion Hurley, widow of George Hurley the founder of the Company, and members of her family. The sail past was a spectacular success, helped by fine weather and an ideal wind from the west. Many skippers and spectators reported feeling distinctly moved as the fleet of over 30 boats sailed past the club in good order. The sight of so many Hurley boats sailing in the Sound, then forming-up for the sail past, made a huge impact on all who witnessed it.

On the Saturday evening, 100 people met for a presentation supper at RPCYC, including members, their families, ex-Hurley Marine employees and Mrs Marion Hurley and some of her immediate family. George Hurley had been a member of the club and in 1986 had been presented with a hand-made plaque depicting a Hurley 22, in recognition of his support over many years. This plaque had been refurbished by Mr Tom Eaves, President of the Silhouette Owners International Association and Mr Andy Thomas, Rear Commodore Sail of RPCYC presented it back to Mrs Hurley. She in turn kindly suggested that it should remain in the club in a prominent position.

Finally, on the Sunday morning HOA members gathered in Richmond Walk, Stonehouse, to witness Mrs Hurley unveil a blue heritage plaque commemorating her husband's pioneering work in production boat building methods. The HOA recorded its gratitude to Plymouth City Council for their generous provision of the plaque, which is fixed to one of the several buildings in Richmond Walk used by the Hurley Company. Thanks were also given to Pat Ferguson and Jay Whitehead, co-owners of the building, for their support and permission to install the plaque.

Mrs Hurley unveiling the plaque

HOA also owe many thanks to the English Cities Fund who gave a generous donation of £1,000 (this fund was set up by the Government to stimulate regeneration within our cities and one of the main partners is Muse Developments who are undertaking development in the area around King Point); Plymouth Gin, Force 4 and Noble Marine for their generous support to BYHH.

We are also grateful to the BBC for covering the event. To get the reporter to the right place at the right time took considerable coordination.

Steve Dart recalls "In the clip of me at King Point after the sailpast I am actually wearing Tim’s shirt because he told me the T shirt I had was not good enough and I didn’t have another (typical Navy !) We nearly didn’t get the BBC there at all as just when Tim was telling me over the radio to start the sailpast I got a mobile call from the BBC who were stuck in traffic 2 miles away ! I told him to get there in 10 mins and deliberately ignored Tim’s plea to start the sailpast by pretending radio wasn’t working etc (please don’t tell him as I never have and hate disobeying an Officer !)"
Picture on right of Steve being interviewed by the BBC. Taken by Tim Sharman.

steve dart interview

Tim also recalls the events. He writes....
"It was at the 2012 AGM in Plymouth that Bruce Carter first brought to our notice the approaching 50th anniversary of Hurley Marine as we know it, the opening of the Valley Road factory and the market launch of the H22 (at the London Boat Show). It seemed a way off but planning began in outline. Over the next three years the idea was examined, moulded, refined and agreed in ultimate detail. We tried to keep it simple whilst including some really enjoyable and meaningful elements. It had been my great pleasure and privilege to get to know George Hurley’s family whilst researching the History of Hurley Marine, which was published in 2011. George’s widow Mrs Marion Hurley and her daughters Mrs Linda Reeves and Mrs Margret Miller were enormously helpful in identifying photos and filling-in the many gaps in my knowledge and gave myself and Nick Vass great encouragement in the venture.So it was evident that BYHH should not only mark the opening of a factory and the first marketing of a boat but commemorate and honour the man and the family who made it all happen. My close accomplice in this was Steve Dart who had a real passion for capturing this little slice of British social history and especially making it a special day for Mrs Hurley who was then in her mid-90s.I think that many skippers felt a strange mixture of emotions as the fleet sailed past the Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club, where Mrs Hurley and her family were witnessing the event. For many of us, this link with the people who were associated with Hurley Marine, not a few of whom joined us for the event, made owning a Hurley boat not just about a vehicle to go sailing but being a part of something of significance, something with heritage and consequence in people’s lives. It was a poignant but happy moment when Mrs Hurley unveiled the blue plaque to her husband, which is mounted on the wall of one of the early HM buildings in Richmond Walk, Stonehouse. If you get a chance to see the BBC video, look out for Mrs Hurley and also another dear soul, Rene, whose husband worked for HM and whose was so delighted to be a part of our celebration.One incident remains in memory which caused a laugh at the time. Back in King Point marina after the sail past, a few of us were gathered in a couple of adjacent cockpits, enjoying a beer and feeling elated after the fabulous morning’s sail and photo shoot in the Sound. Steve Dart was about to do his interview piece for the BBC, you can see it on the video clip. However, just in time, I spotted that he had on a rather scruffy t-shirt (sorry Steve), not really the thing for an ‘official’ HOA news piece! Quick as a flash, I stripped off my, smart polo shirt and ball cap, both sporting the HOA logo, so that Steve could be properly attired for his 60 seconds of fame. I got in a short, unplanned, sunbathing session!"

The BBC report and other media coverage can be found here

The BYHH Team

The outstanding result of BYHH was due to many things. Firstly, the support of the membership. From the early request for expressions of interest it was clear that there was a real buzz and enthusiasm for the event which was carried through into our being fully booked for berths and dinner places.

Secondly, the planning team. Especial thanks are due to a few key members:

Steve Dart. Steve was the energy and vision behind the event. His efforts over the previous year or so, covered many areas:

  • Liaising with the Queen's Harbour Master about the sail-past, including planning the route, de-conflicting with other activities and completing the various forms and declarations needed;
  • negotiating with King Point Marina;
  • planning the berthing;
  • seeking sponsorship from local businesses;
  • putting together publicity material;
  • liaising with the BBC and Plymouth City Council PR teams
  • liaising with Plymouth City Council over the heritage plaque
  • Collecting the contents of some 50 welcome packs - requiring visits to Plymouth Gin and Force 4;
  • taking the important role of 'Hurley lead' in the sail-past;
  • working with RPCYC to plan the presentation supper - including a trial run of the menu in February, just ahead of the AGM;
  • obtaining the services of Robin Price as official photographer
  • …being the glue that help it all together!

Adam Husband Having previously worked at King Point, Adam agreed to act as liaison with the marina and to have overall responsibility for managing the berthing. In the event, berthing went very smoothly and 38 boats berthed safely in the marina, in addition to leaving and returning again on the Saturday! Adam also, at short notice, came up with a large van to protect the area in front of the heritage plaque from unwanted parked vehicles!

James Green. As a local businessman in the marine leisure industry, James provided important contacts regarding the building in Richmond Walk, enabling us to progress the installation of the heritage plaque.

Ian Sinclair. Behind the scenes, in addition to running the routine HOA finances, Ian created the on-line booking form; managed the receipt of member's payments for dinner tickets, paid our creditors, managed boat and dinner bookings in the last 3 weeks and engaged in many 'clarifying' e-mail exchanges!

Tim Sharman. Tim provided strategic direction and guidance, managed the budget and liaised with the Hurley family and the Plymouth City Council maritime heritage curator.

The shore crew. Steve, Adam, Tony & Hilary Littlewood, Colin Spraggs and Ralph Smith, welcoming arriving boats and their crews with the assistance of Buster Pender the renowned acting Jack Russel (Ghost Ship (2014)).

  shore team  
The shore team

Finally, a few more pictures