Boat Type: Gentleman Motor Launch
Boat Length: 27ft
Boat Beam: 16ft 6in
Boat Draft: 18ft
Boat Construction: Mahogany on oak (originally)
Boat Builder: John Hart at Ravens Aft Surbiton
Boat Year: Boat Year

She was built in 1915 by John Hart in Surbiton near Kingston on Thames which was a busy area at that time for boat building. The builder’s plate is clearly visible on the forward gunwale. She was named on launch as Vacuna by her owner who ran the Elephant and Castle pub and lived locally. His chauffeur looked after the boat as was the custom at that time.

In 1922 she was bought by the owner of the upper part of Ravens Ait who had a summer house on the island. He was one Earnest Alfred Strange and it was he who renamed the boat Wise Folly

After a scandalous elopement by Ernest’s daughter the boat passed a couple of years later (in 1936) to the owner of the Bell Hotel at Hampton where it was moored at the end of the ferry staging. During the war it was moored in Shepperton and is rumoured to have been used by the Upper Thames Patrol as a Home Guard boat for 3 years. Following the war the boat was returned to its owner.

In 1952 Mr John Colman of Monksbridge Sunbury bought the boat for his mooring opposite Sunbury Lock. He used the boat for family holidays and as an umpire launch for Sunbury Regatta. He had another boat built with a cabin called Folly Two and then a large Broom which he called More Folly. Wise Folly had become surplus to requirements. In 1957 some youths had stolen her crashing into a barge up the weir stream and causing extensive damage to the bow and to some ribs.

In 1973 Robin Newlands was given the boat and became custodian of Wise Follow for over 40 years, he  ran the boat for 12 years, for  30 of those years  she remained laid up, protected awaiting restoration.

Robin asked us in 2017 to take the boat and restore it so that it might find a new owner. We extensively re built her replacing her covering boards, coamings, deck and lining all in mahogany with an English oak interior floor. Her engine was replace with a 6kw 72v electric motor and new hydraulic steering by Vetus and enlarged stainless steel rudder for improve manoeuvrability installed.

Now a stunning sight back on the reaches of the Thames where she was built for, at over a hundred years  old she is looking amazing.

She is currently for sale please email us if you are interested mdennettboatbuilder@yahoo.co.uk