Hi Thomas, Greetings from Sydney, Australia.
I'm not sure which letter of mine that you found on the web,
but if it is the one to a message board it must be at least three
to four years old and I'm amazed that it is still there. I've
just tried it and I can't find it. Inside the web (the original)
has closed down and Data Boat (later) is reorganising it's forum
system and there do not appear to be any links to the old messages,
though they say a searchable directory will be established soon.
I also think those gave an earlier ISP address. So where did you
From those messages I developed contacts with several other
Caprice owners and we got quite a healthy discussion going, though
it has been a bit sparse lately. Seemed to drop off during the
English winter and hasn't really got going again since. Your message
prompted me to contact them again but as yet I have not had any
replies. One of them was an America, a John Roumbanis
from Pollock Pines CA which he says is 3,750 feet elevation and very close to a lake. I don't know where this is and after several contacts he seems to have disappeared as emails sent get returned as user unknown. He had completed the construction of a very nice timber Caprice a couple of years ago and seemed very enthusiastic about it. Maybe you could try him at email@example.com but I have had no success for a while now.
Re your enquiry, Robert Tucker is an English naval architect
who specialised in small yachts for home builders. He was a great
enthusiast for bilge keels
and many of his designs were of this type. Several of his designs became production boats also and in the process transformed from timber/ply construction to fibre glass. Amongst these were the Matilda 16ft, Caprice 18'6" which developed through five versions to 19'10", your Ballerina, Capriccio 21'6", and larger Debutant about 24ft. He also designed in steel, i.e. the 29ft Squaw, and epoxy carvel planked, i.e. the 32/33 ft Isis and many others.
My own boat is a stretched Caprice which he extended for me to 20'6" back in 1966 and called a C20, for proposed Pacific voyaging. The boat was completed, but marriage and children postponed the trip somewhat. We still have her and she has performed the role of a family boat admirably for all those years. The last I heard of Robert was about eight years ago when I was in England and contacted his son who is also a naval architect but who concentrates on large commercial vessels. He told me that Robert had retired and had moved to I think Manchester, was in very poor health and no longer practiced as an architect. The last address I had for his son, whose first name I have forgotten is: Tucker Designs, 15, Wrensfield, Hemel Hempsted, Herts., HP1 1RN, England. He advertised until fairly recently in the English magazine Practical Boat Owner so I think he would be able to assist you with any information you may require.
As for the Ballerina design, I have only seen pictures of them and very pretty they look too. I think quite a few were built but do not have any numbers. I gather yours would be a fibre glass version - quite a trip from Cornwall to the US eh! Having had no first hand experience of them, all I can say is that if she sails as well as my C20, she should give you a great deal of pleasure.
I'll attach some photos of my boat, Alinga. I hope this will be of interest and look forward to hearing from you again soon.
Cheers, Alan Deeley.
LINKS of interest relating to the BALLERINA II:
Ballerina Home Page compiled by Thomas Lee, Librarian
PENRYN, Ballerina Sail Number 217, owned by Margaret Carr Lee, Ontonagon, Michigan.
BALLERINA Sail Number 220, owned by Dave Corkum, New Brunswick, Canada.
DANCING GIRL a Ballerina II being restored by Jon Palmer, Liskeard, Cornwall, England.
ALINGA, a Caprice design by Robert Tucker. Owned by Alan Deely, Sidney, Australia.
TWIN-KEELER: A Quarterly (newsletter) for Owners and Admirers of Twin Keel Sailing Craft.
SEA DART home page.
SHRIMPY a 18 foot Robert Tucker designed bilge keel boat that sailed around the world.
TUCKER DESIGNS, 15 Wrenfied, Boxmoor, Hamel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England
BALLERINA a Yachts and Yachting Test. Reprinted from Yachts and Yachting October 25, 1968.
PENRYN Boatbuilding & Engineering Co. Ponsharden, Penryn, Cornwall. England
ROBERT TUCKER British yacht designer