The History of Gull

  Jon Mendez   Jul 28, 2016   Blog   9 Comments

“Gull” was originally built in 1958 by R A Hamper in Fareham Hampshire for use as the Hamble – Warsash Ferry. She was licenced to carry twelve passengers and worked through to 1985 when she was retired from service. She then had a succession of owners before falling into disrepair and was laid up in Hamble. She was brought in 2011 by two local brothers as a Saturday morning ‘project’ this turned into two years of Saturdays whilst they painstaking restored her to her former glory with a new transom, keel and stem and several new planks and frame repairs. They had re-engineered her with an old two cylinder Petter diesel and had two eventful years enjoying her. But the engine become unreliable so with after much frustration with it they put her up for sale. We brought her in 2015 as I had spent many passages up and down the Hamble admiring her fine lines as a tidy up and re engine project.

Whilst chatting through the plans with boys at R.K Marine Boatyard, the idea dawned that there was the possibility of transforming the boat to electric power, which would be a fine way to explore the peace and tranquility of the upper reaches of the Hamble. This gem of an idea moved on to could she actually go back to her original task of carrying the public for their enjoyment. Hence the new version of ‘Gull’was born.

She is now available for pleasure trips and private charter, from her base in Hamble River Boat Yard, when the tide is high we can go upstream towards Manor Farm Country Park and the Horse and Jockey pub, when the tide is low she explores downstream to the picturesque village of Hamble and Warsash. Life like in times gone by is organised by the ebb and flow of the tide.

Here we have produced a brief pictorial history of Gull over her life. If you or your family remember her and have photos of her past we would be delighted to hear from you.


Gull in her prime.


As found in 2011.


The brothers doing their bit.


What they ended up with.


What I passed most days on the river.


When we bought her the engine was poorly.


That will be why, main crankshaft snapped!


Every bit of paint was scraped back, rubbed down and she was repainted to within an inch of her life.


Gleaming again 🙂


New electric engine in place, lots to do.


Batteries lined up ready for re power.


A busy engine bay, motor, controller and charging system.


New rope fender stretched and whipped, then stretched and whipped again!


Gull ready in the slings for her re-launch.

To read about and watch the launch of Gull after her restoration click here.


  1. Peggy Dorothy nee Lewis Says: 1st August 2016 7:53 pm Reply

    She is beautiful you have done a great job. Great picture of Ray. I do remember her but have no photo.
    Would love to hire her but am away in campervan for most of summer when I return

    • Fran Gibson Says: 2nd August 2016 10:32 am Reply

      Hello Peggy, thank you for your kind words. We are very pleased with her and hope that many people will enjoy her on the river. Can I confirm, is the gentleman helming in the first picture called Ray Sedgwick?

      • Peggy dorothy Says: 2nd August 2016 3:54 pm Reply

        Yes it is Ray. My dad kept his launch on a mooring near the old ferry hard so I saw a lot of gull and Ray crossing the River she carried the bikes balanced across her bow. I will be in touch shortly to hire her and reminisce on a trip up the River.

        • Rob Says: 12th December 2019 7:27 pm Reply

          I remember going on the ferry with Ray at the Helm with Dad, now 81. it was great to find this picture and site as my Dad has dementia but fondly remembers Ray andthe Gull. She look really good fully restored

      • Peggy dorothy Says: 2nd August 2016 4:10 pm Reply

        Hello Fran yes it is definitely Ray. My dad kept his launch by the ferry hard so saw plenty of Ray and Gull going across the river. They used to carry bikes across her bow to my knowledge never dropped one. I will definitely be booking her shortly just looking for suitable date.

  2. Denise Johnson Says: 19th August 2016 3:31 pm Reply

    Had a lovely experience going down the river on Gull. Beautifully restored and so quiet when it is running that on the calm sea it was a relaxing journey which I thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommended.

  3. James Dyer Says: 18th March 2017 9:42 pm Reply

    I was a friend of Rays and built a fishing boat on the hard outside his ferry huts. Gull at onetime had a number of alloy test engines
    fitted by Petters of Hamble for endurance testing .and marine gearbox testing.(this lasted years )and Ray kept a log of fuel used and time running.
    For a number of years you would see Ray coming or going to Warsash with his white rescue dog Snowy as look out in the bow
    (she was left on the hard by someone as she was in pup and Ray kept her)
    It is good to see Gull in such good shape Ray would be very proud .well done Jim D

  4. Pete Vinton Says: 16th July 2018 10:40 am Reply

    That brought back some childhood memories. I lived near Ray in Sydney ave and he asked if I wanted a part time job at the weekends. I was appox 14 and it was late 60’s. I started work with Ray and the other lads down on the ferry,tasks varied from cleaning his hire boats out,scrubbing the ferry hard both sides of the river, painting, anti fouling, dropping off and picking people up from their boats.So i remember Gull very well. I still pop down to chat with Ray.

  5. Tim Adams Says: 23rd March 2019 7:56 am Reply

    I also worked with Ray as a fourteen year old and used to run Gull backwards and forwards with passengers on Gull. My brother kept his old gaffer on Rays moorings and my dad worked at Petters and negotiated a deal with Ray to test the engines. Our history with Ray and Gull is why my brother and I bought her in 2011 as a wreck and rebuilt her as is shown in the photos. On our first voyage after relaunching her we took her down to show Ray and he was thrilled. Whenever I see her on the river I am proud to think we have her a new lease of life. She is beautiful now with her new electric motors and if you get the chance then she is well worth booking for an afternoon of nostalgia. Well done Fran for keeping her alive and well.

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  • Hamble River Boat Charter
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    Liam Dobbin
    Liam Dobbin
    Great morning today onboard Gull. Very well maintained and quiet boat. Highly kitted our and very safe. From emailing... to getting the key the service was amazing. Looking forward to chartering again but when it’s much warmer, highly more
    Ruth Cole
    Ruth Cole
    It was such a lovely experience, so quiet and unspoilt. The electric motor really helped see more wild life. Thank you.
    Phil Clark
    Phil Clark
    Lovely way to spend a few hours, bareboat pottering on the Hamble. Not stupidly expensive, and lovely and peaceful. ... Just make sure you don't go too heavy on the throttle as the battery will only last a few hours!read more
    John Westgarth-Pratt
    John Westgarth-Pratt
    A fantastic way to explore the Hamble, and the history of Gull, and the wonderful restoration work just adds to it.
    Llinos Ogwen Westgarth-Pratt
    Llinos Ogwen Westgarth-Pratt
    We had an absolutely lovely time on the boat! It was so peaceful and lovely! We had our dinner on the Hamble! We... couldn’t recommend it more!! So different and just brilliant. Thank youread more
    Steve Cross
    Steve Cross
    We had great fun with Fran on our skippered tour of the Hamble, getting to see all the sights we wanted to cover, and... quite a few more surprises too. A relaxing way to spend an afternoon with friends. Highly recommended with great service provided. We will be more
    Matthew Chambers
    Matthew Chambers
    We had a great time exploring the river on Gull for a few hours this weekend. The booking process was simple and good... instructions and all the kit you need are on the boat and made It easy to drive and get going quickly. Very happy with the whole experience and will certainly do it more
    Tom Gillespie
    Tom Gillespie
    What a day to be on the water! Had such an Amazing time cruising up and down the river. Definitely will be returning to... the Gull in the future!!read more
    Moore Lisa
    Moore Lisa
    What a lovely day spent with family exploring the river. Could not have asked for a better way to spend Father’s Day... on a relaxing trip aboard the Gull. The service we received from the Hamble river boat charter was more
    William Smith
    William Smith
    A great trip out and a delight for anyone who would like to learn about wildlife photography or to capture some unique... shots. A great time is in-store with a brilliant guide and a group of like minded people who are friendly and passionate about more
    Richard Webb
    Richard Webb
    Fabulous morning out under the expert guidance of David. The Gull is a fantastic boat beautifully maintained and the... electric motor makes a real difference in enabling you to get up close to the wildlife along the river which is invaluable for the group of photographers that I was part of. A brilliant day out and I highly recommend Hamble River Boat more
    Sam Hughes
    Sam Hughes
    A lovely way to relax and experience Hamble river! The boat is so simple to use and such fun, we had a great time... pottering along with the family and enjoying the sights. Excellent service, easy to book and go!read more
    Matt Sherman
    Matt Sherman
    Just got back from 2hrs on the water with my wife, 2 year old and 3year old. Can say we throughly enjoyed ourselves and... would recommend highly. Thanks Fran 👍🏻 Matt sherman and family 😀😀😀read more
    Paul Stovold
    Paul Stovold
    Had a great morning trip up the Hamble. David made the most of the wildlife sightings manoeuvring the almost silent... electric boat as close as humanly possible to each subject. My only disappointment is not being able to go on any of the planned trips due to other calendar commitments. Can’t wait until our diaries coincide again!read more
    David Luetchford
    David Luetchford
    Excellent way to explore the upper reaches of the Hamble.
    Ian Smith
    Ian Smith
    Just back from an excellent couple of hours on the river. Plenty of room & easy to manage. Lovely little boat, an... ideal way to take in the scenery. Highly recommended, we will definitely be hiring again. Thank you 😊read more
    Paul Willis
    Paul Willis
    Fantastic way to spend a morning cruising up the river Hamble in an electric boat, so quiet. Went on a photo trip with... a few local photographers. Saw some wonderful local wildlife. Being that close to the water gives a whole new prospective to you Photography. Big thanks to David Luetchford for the invite and our wonderful friendly skipper Fran Gibson. Would throughly recommend for a different photo experience in beautiful more
    Vanessa McCabe
    Vanessa McCabe
    Run by a great person with a beautifully restored boat that you can wile away a few hours on the Hamble
    John Desty
    John Desty
    We have just spent an idyllic couple of hours pottering up to Botley aboard Gull the restored ex Hamble/Warsash ferry.... Now available to charter she has been converted to electric propulsion she is almost silent and vibration free. I have not been up the upper reaches of the river for 40 odd years and it doesn't seem to have changed it that more
    Charlotte Smith
    Charlotte Smith
    A fantastic trip on Gul today, first time for all of us, five adults and a dog and definitely won't be the last. We had... a lovely amble up the river. It started raining so we moored up and walked the dog along Brook lane Botley, then had a great picnic (in the rain�) would thoroughly recommend this we had a great adventure!!!!read more
    Ian Johnston
    Ian Johnston
    We had a lovely family morning, cruising Hamble river. The boat was immaculate, quiet and easy to helm. The kids were... excited to see so many other boats up close! The boat was so easy to moor at the local public houses using their more
    Mike Robinson
    Mike Robinson
    A wonderful, relaxing afternoon on the river, enjoyed by the whole family - ages 8 to 80! Everything was pristine and... easily operated. 'Gull' attracted admiring comments as we cruised past the yachts through Bursledon and Hamble. Felt like a miniature holiday in an afternoon!read more
    Fran Gibson
    Fran Gibson
    James Gibson
    James Gibson
    This is excellent. We had an amazing evening, gentle 'glide' up the Hamble river, stopped off for a bite at Port Hamble... Marina, and a gentle glide back to the backdrop of the sun setting - just more
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