Fig. 1 - Charmian just after removal of Houseboat Accommodation
Length on Waterline:
1Ft 8 Inches
Number 6 Boat House HM Dockyard Portsmouth
Charmian was built in 1906 in Portsmouth Dockyard, possibly in Number 6 Boat House (located at the end of the Mast Pond, Currently housing the’’ Action Stations’’ project). She was a ship’s cutter the Battleship HMS Dreadnought used for carrying supplies out to the ship. She would have been manned by seamen, two to each of nine pairs of oars pulling from nine thwarts.
The positions of the stations are still visible today. She was obtained by the trust some three years ago as a houseboat located in Chichester marina where her owner had moored her. Following her service in the Royal Navy on board HMS Dreadnought she was sold and converted to a sailing ship and in the early 1930’s her owner sailed her round the world single-handed. She remained as a sailing boat until her owner retired and converted her to the houseboat.
Fig. 2 - Charmian as a House Boat at Chichester Marina
Although in her present state she looks in poor condition her hull is very sound and she is an extremely dry boat. This says a great deal for the skill of her builders and the materials used nearly 100 years ago. The hull is of double skin diagonal planked mahogany with a waterproofed sailcloth membrane between the two skins. The skin is fixed to the frames with roved copper nails forming tight fitting rivets. It is the intention of the Trust to restore Charmian to her original configuration over the coming years.
At the present time she is thought to be the only example of her type in existence.