Camper & Nicholsons Historic Victorian Motor Yacht for sale

Burnham-on-Crouch, United Kingdom

£150,000 GBP

Tax Paid / Included

Camper & Nicholsons Historic Victorian Motor Yacht
General information
Camper & Nicholsons Historic Victorian Motor Yacht
Used power boat for sale
£150,000 GBP
Tax / VAT status
Paid / Included
Name of boat
Camper & Nicholson
Length overall
20.70 metres
3.28 metres
1.70 metres
Burnham-on-Crouch, United Kingdom

About this Camper & Nicholsons Historic Victorian Motor Yacht


After many years in her current ownership 'Undine' is now looking for a new custodian, and represents a unique opportunity to own possibly one of the most historic Victorian gentleman's yachts left in the UK, if not the world. Originally built by Camper & Nicholson in 1897 as an auxiliary steam yacht she is believed to be the last survivor of her class, and although updated across the years, including conversion to diesel power in 1947, she still retains much of the charm of the Victorian era. Her fascinating history includes serving as a luxurious platform for prominent guests (including Royalty) following the J-class sailing regattas, as well as surviving active service in WWI and WWII, so is of significant historic importance. She is currently stored undercover in a yard that specialises in restoring classic wooden motor yachts and is believed to be in very good structural condition, awaiting her next owner to complete her current restoration allowing them to decide on any modifications or works to suit their own requirements and intended use.

Viewing by appointment only through our Essex office +44(0)1621) 785600.


Although currently traditionally laid out with crew quarters and separate fore and aft accommodation, Undine could be modified to offer a number of different layouts depending on her next owner's requirements (see drawings for current and suggested). 

CREW FOREPEAK:  Fitted with bunk berths to port, sea toilet and wash basin centre forward, storage bench to starboard, and further storage aft. Accessed from the foredeck forward hatch via a steel ladder, this could be retained for crew, upgraded to make an ideal cabin for younger guests, or combined with the midship forecabin and made into a luxurious en suite. 

MIDSHIP FORECABIN:  Currently fitted with two single berths on either side of a vanity unit with lockers aft, this cabin could be adapted to offer either single or double berths, and combined with the forward crew cabin or other midship areas to offer a more luxurious owner's accommodation. Door leads aft to the passageway.

MIDSHIP PASSAGEWAY:  Accessed from the mid-deck hatch via wooden steps this area leads forward to the midship forecabin, and aft to the midship aft cabin. It is currently fitted with separate heads and shower compartments to port and starboard, however, it is thought this area could possibly be modified to provide more convenient access with steps down from the wheelhouse, and it has been suggested that the whole midship accommodation could be converted into a luxurious owner's suite. 

MIDSHIP AFT CABIN:  Beautifully lined with traditional hardwood paneling and cabinetry, with an offset double berth to port, vanity unit, corner settee, and a range of lockers. 

WHEELHOUSE:  Laid out with a central helm position, instrumentation, aft bench seat, storage areas, and doors to both port and starboard side decks. It is believed that this could also be remodeled if required to provide staircase access to the midship passageway, and it may also be possible to do the same to the aft accommodation.

AFT ENTRANCE:  Accessed from the aft deck companionway with seats on either side of steps leading down to the saloon.

SALOON:  Steps lead down to the luxuriously paneled aft saloon, with settees to port and starboard, and a passageway leading forward to the galley and aft heads compartment. If desired, the starboard side seating area could be adapted to convert to a double berth, shaped to still allow a passageway.

GALLEY:  L-shaped galley to starboard fitted with ample storage and work surfaces, stainless steel splashbacks, and equipped with a 4-burner gas hob, separate gas oven, sink, and fridge. 

AFT HEADS:  Located to port and fitted with a marine toilet, washbasin, and space for a shower, it has also been suggested that this area could be reduced in size to allow for a passageway leading forward with a staircase to the wheelhouse, and other alterations could include reducing the size of the engine room to allow a toilet or shower compartment forward of the galley.

ON DECK:  Although there are no dedicated exterior seating areas yet, it would be easy to create both fore and aft fixed or folding seating which could be fitted with removable awnings from the spars. 

Mechanical Systems

Located in a large engine room, Gardner 6LXB 6-cylinder 127hp 10.45L marine diesel engine (believed reconditioned or new upon installation in approx. 1987). Freshwater cooled via heat exchanger. Shaftdrive via a PRM gearbox and Aquadrive (new 2008) to bronze 3-bladed propeller. 

During her current restoration the engine and all related systems have been checked and many areas either repaired or replaced, however, as this was all over ten years ago before the project stalled they will need checking and recommissioning. It is also worth noting that the engine room is currently significantly larger than is necessary due to the more compact nature of the Gardner engine compared to earlier installations. Although useful for providing superb access to systems, it is believed that this space could be rearranged to allow for a staired passageway leading forward to the wheelhouse, and possibly a heads or shower compartment between the galley and the engine room, whilst still offering excellent working space. It may also be possible to reduce the height and have a cosy seating area cabin tucked behind the wheelhouse if desired without significantly altering her current lines. Although perhaps not the highest consideration for her next owner, she is said to be surprisingly economical for a craft of her size due to her sleek proportions, easily propelled hull form, and frugal Gardner engine, making long-distance cruising a very realistic prospect!

Electrical Systems

Undine is fitted with 24v and shorepower systems via a Victron Multiplus 24v 3000kw 70ah combined inverter, shorepower system, and battery charger, with secondary 12v supplies for navigation and other uses. Diesel generator. Electrical breakers and distribution panels.

It is expected that all batteries will require replacement and that her next owner may choose to make some changes to the current installation, but all wiring and systems have been checked, overhauled, and replaced where necessary during the current restoration.

Spars and Sails

Schooner rig with timber spars mounted in fore and aft tabernacles are included together with associated rigging, designed for smaller steadying sails to improve stability in poor conditions.

Deck Equipment

  • Manual windlass
  • Fore and aft deck davits for lifting
  • Solid all-round guardrails
  • Brass deck winches
  • Mooring cleats

Navigation Equipment

  • Gimbal-mounted steering compass
  • ICOM IC-M411 DSC VHF radio
  • Raymarine ST60 depth sounder
  • Raymarine C90W colour GPS chart plotter
  • Furuno RA48 radar with scanner
  • Furuno GP32 GPS navigation system (for DSC coordinates)
  • Robertson AP40 autopilot
  • Furuno Navtex
  • Clock and barometer


'Undine' was built by Camper & Nicholson, first launched at Gosport in 1895 as a gentleman's steam yacht. She is constructed of pitch pine planking below the waterline with teak planking above on sawn oak frames. Her teak decks are laid on oak and other hardwood frames, and her wheelhouse, superstructure, skylights, and hatches are all also teak. Her centreline structure is of oak and elm, with cast lead keel ballast which will need to be supplemented with further ballast. When first constructed this extra ballast would not have been necessary, however when she was converted to diesel power pig iron ingots were used which have since deteriorated and should ideally be replaced with lead. 

It would appear that 'Undine' has tended to be rather more fortunate than most yachts of her period and received an unusually high level of care and attention across the years, possibly due to her historic importance. In more recent times, the eight year restoration carried out in the 1970s certainly secured her future when many others disappeared, and was followed by an interior and mechanical refit in the late 1980s finishing in 1990, before the current restoration was begun in 1997 following a structural survey advising on necessary works to keep her in seaworthy condition for the foreseeable future.


Although much of her story has now been lost in the mists of time, even the little that we do know of her earlier years is full of intrigue and historic importance. Originally named 'Molly' and built for a Mr G.A. Hackett, little is known of her until she was purchased by George John Marvin of Cowes in 1913. The only son of George Henry Marvin, who created both the famous Minerva and Shamblers boat yards in Cowes, George continued in the family business working alongside his father, eventually taking over the running of both yards upon his father's death.

During this time he had the honour of serving a great number of prestigious clients and was apparently considered to be one of the most important yachting contacts for the Royal family, carrying out work for Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V, King Alfonso, and Princess Beatrice, as well as other Royalty and prominent members of the Royal Yacht Squadron. In particular, it would appear that he was held in particularly high regard by King George, who not only sold the beautiful ketch 'Corisande' to him in 1908, but also entrusted him with the care of his most loved yacht 'Britannia'. Indeed, so loved by the King was she that his dying wish was to have her follow him to the grave, and when the time came for Britannia to be prepared for this and her equipment removed and sold the sale was held at George Marvin's Minerva yard. During their ownership between 1913-1939, 'Undine' was used as a platform for watching the racing on the Solent and further afield following the J-class regattas, hosting many prominent guests, and silver and gold souvenirs being gifted are seen from time to time for sale on the antiques market place. 

Although this was clearly the golden period of her life, it wasn't all plain sailing for 'Undine', and when war arrived she was called upon to play her part in both the first and second world wars, together with George Marvin's other auxiliary steam yacht at the time, 'Valhalla' of Trans-Atlantic race fame, considered by many to have been the finest of her type ever made! Her exact duties aren't known, but due to her limited range as a steam yacht it is believed she was used for general patrol duties and as a 'maid of all work'. During the second world war she was renamed 'Watermaiden' as the name 'Undine' was already in use on a U-class submarine, but returned to 'Undine' when she was released from service in 1945.

As George Marvin had passed away during the war she was then sold to a Commander Kirby, who brought her to Tucker Brown & Co, Burnham-on-Crouch (the very yard that the maina where she is currently based was built on!) for a refit and conversion to diesel power. In his ownership she was mostly seen cruising the Cornish coast and was based out of Salcombe in both his and her next ownership. She then moved to Kent, where she was purchased in 1971 by the local shipwrights and boat builders Machin Knight and Sons, and was the subject of a thorough eight-year restoration and refit, completed in September 1979, then happily enjoyed before being sold into her current ownership in August 1985. 

After his initial program of works, including replacing the rather senior Atlantic diesel with an excellent Gardner, her current owner enjoyed cruising the UK, Scotland, and France. After seven years of extensive cruising it was decided that the time was right for her to get a comprehensive overhaul of all systems, together with any other restoration works, and so the decision was made to return her to Burnham-on-Crouch where an excellent team of shipwrights and engineers began work. Unfortunately, although the structural works together with many works on other systems were carried out, this restoration was paused for personal reasons over ten years ago and requires a new enthusiastic custodian to complete to suit their own needs and requirements. She has been living in a workshop throughout this period, and the yard where she is lying specialise in refits and restorations of classic motor yachts of this style, so are ideally suited to working with her next owner to see the works completed. 

The company normally acts as broker for the vendor who unless otherwise stated is not selling in the course of a business. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of these particulars the correctness is not guaranteed and they are intended as a guide only and do not constitute a part of any contract. A prospective buyer is strongly advised to check these particulars and where appropriate and at his own expense to employ a qualified marine surveyor to carry out a survey and/or to have an engine trial conducted which if conducted by us shall not imply any liability on our part.

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1 x Gardner 6LXB
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Broker/Dealer Information

Clarke & Carter - Essex

Mr Aaron French
Burnham Yacht Harbour
Burnham on Crouch
United Kingdom
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