3 Tonner 





3 Tonner.


John Burke has sent in these pics of his unique 3 tonner.  She is undergoing repairs at Hoylake Sailing club on the Wirral.  At present she has no name...   She has never been launched!  To my knowledge it is the only one so far to have been clinker built!  Must have been yard built I suspect, someone has made a nice job of her.


My historical knowledge of the boat is "patchy" but I know that it was built here in Hoylake, possibly in the late 70's or early 80's. Unfortunately, it was never completed due to the death of the builder so it has never been in the water. The planking is larch on oak frames which are spaced at 9 inch centres. I have some of the plans including drawing 109, sheets 1 to 6 and an additional sheet by Maurice Griffiths detailing how bilge keels can be attached.  The sail plans are Bermudian sloop and gaff sloop. My first job is to take the old paint work off and check for signs of rot in the planking.



Hopefully John will be able to continue sending in update pics and a few words to explain what is going on her.  Work seems to be well under way anyway!


May 2008,

John has been in touch and words are on their way! JW.

The first shows a view of the new carlins primed in grey and also the new bulkhead finally in place. I have also built a shelf in the forepeak. There is still work to do on the port sheer plank before I can fit the deck.

The second photo shows a new main beam and a view of the bulkhead from inside the cabin. Sorry about the centre board in the foreground.

Please find attached a few shots of the hull repair on my boat. I had this job done professionally by one of the few remaining craftsmen who can do this sort of work in this area. The rotten planks were removed all the way aft to the transom and then scarfed at the forward end. Fortunately the ribs were okay.
John Burke


November 08.


Hi John,

Please find attached some more pics of my restoration.

As you can see, I've started on the cab sides. They are made from recycled lab worktops splined together. The wood is Iroko.

I still need to taper them towards the forward end before I finally glue them in place. The corner post is made from the same wood but is 3 pieces glued together.



November 2009.





Late November 2009

John has sent these pictures in.


He is making good progress, the foredeck beams are in place and the decks going on.  the odd shaped little window, he assures me is only because the frame is not secure and it has slipped.  He admits it will be a problem to seal the vertical tongue and groove on the cabin, but with modern mastics it is possible and it will look right!

The boat is re-enforced with sensible galvanised steel angle  alongside the hog.


Hopefully the winters snows will soon be past and progress reports will come in thick and fast once work restarts!

John W.

August 2010.

Hi John,


Apologies for not being in touch for so long. Please find up dates of the boat attached. These two photos of the rudder show the fastenings. I have remained faithful to the drawings with these. They have got to come back off to be galvanised very soon. Thankfully I acquired the rudder when I got the boat. It has been very well built with two sheets of inch thick ply glued and screwed together. The tiller still needs a lot of work to bring it back to life



As you can see the cockpit is now under construction. It will only be a small cockpit as the side decks are wide. Making the cockpit bigger would have meant altering the beam arrangement which I didnít really have the will to do. Nevertheless it will suffice.



The companionway hatch is nearly finished. It's made out of old gymnasium teak floorboards. They have come up quite well but still need more work yet before it is complete. The cabin roof is finally on but as yet not sealed down mainly because I still have the fitting out to do in the cabin.

The fore hatch is also completely new and as you can see is much more substantial than the original plywood hatch that came with the boat. I have kept the old hinge arrangement here.

The last pic for now is to show you that I still have my little crooked window in the rear bulkhead!! It is now one of the next jobs for me to tackle.

Well done John, Good to see her going back together!


April 2011. 

John has sent in a few more pictures to show us how he is getting on, and getting on well he is by the looks of it!

Hi John,
Sorry it's been so long. Please find attached some pics of my progress. The rubbing strake was made out of an old balancing board that children used in primary school.  It's made out of iroko and is 1 and 1/2 inches thick.  I steamed it and preformed it before screwing into place.  Still a little short for the stern end though. You can also see in the same picture the chain plates in position.

I thought I'd better do something about my crooked window in the cabin bulkhead to stop further comments from your good self.

There is also a picture of the engine beds finally in place although as you can see not painted up yet.

Kind regards
John Burke



The little window was still there then!

Gunwale on and chain plates secured

Hello that window looks neater!

Engine beds going in!

Aft locker and stern deck area.

Good coat of primer on to protect her.

Looking more like a boat now!

Will not be long before she gets her bottom wet surely!

Look forward to the next batch now spring has come and outdoor work has begun again in earnest.

John W.



April 2013.


John has rigged the mast, first with the old rigging, then with new.


John is promising more pics and more progress reports shortly. all we need is some decent weather to allow us all to get on outside!

Look forward to more updates.

John W.

April 2014.

Hi John.

sorry it's been so long. Please find attached a few more pics. I've been working quite a lot in the cockpit area and it's coming along quite well.


As I was working on the boat a couple of days ago I was approached by a gentleman who informed me that he indeed had the boat built in 1967 by a boatbuilder by the name of Sid Higgins. Sid had a workshop by the railway sidings not too far from West Kirby Sailing Club. As you know 3 Tonners are usually carvel built but Sid wanted to build it in clinker and the owner agreed. Unfortunately Sid died before he could finish the build and the original owner sold it on as a part completed boat. It lay unfinished for 40 years before I acquired it. And so the historical jigsaw is now complete.

John Burke

John you are to be congratulated, she is nearing completion and looks terrific. Not long before that tiller comes alive in your hand.

John W.

June 2017.


After 10 years of 'restoration' and building completion, she is afloat in Hoylake...


A very proud owner and restorer!


So OK John, what eventually was she named!

John W.





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