A History Of Tally Ho

At 47ft 6in LOA and 30 tons TM, Betty was the largest transom-sterned boat designed by Albert Strange. She was built for Charles Hellyer of Brixham, who had fishing interests in that port, as well as in Hull, where he owned one of the first steam trawler fleets, and was a member of the Humber Yawl Club.

Betty was built by the well-known and reputable yard of Stow & Sons at Shoreham to Lloyd’s highest class. The ’midship section drawing shows the hull was to be planked in American elm below the waterline, with teak above.

The commentary which accompanied the publication of the design in The Yachting Monthly in 1910 remarks that Hellyer required a yacht in which he could ‘cruise in comfort whilst indulging in deep-sea fishing’. This explains the barrel windlass forward of the mast and perhaps the unusually clear flush deck. It continues:

The transom stern, rather unusual in a yacht of this tonnage, was adopted in deference to the wishes of the owner, in order that she might lie in the crowded harbour of Brixham in the smallest possible space.

The boat has had a colourful career. When Hellyer commissioned Strange to design the larger Betty II of 50ft waterline in 1913, Betty was sold and in 1927 passed into the ownership of Hugh Grosvenor, Lord Stalbridge, who renamed her Tally Ho. The photograph by Beken of Cowes shows her at this period under racing canvas, with the short pole mast changed to a taller fidded topmast rig, and sail area increased by some 400 sq.ft. or about 20%. Her celebrated win of the 1927 Fastnet Race in storm conditions is related below. Alf Loomis, crewing on the Alden schooner La Goleta, wrote of it:


At the time, this contest between Tally Ho and La Goleta was characterised as the hardest fight between two yachts that had ever been sailed in English waters over so long a course and under such heavy weather conditions.


A full account of this dramatic race can be found in Tally Ho's Fastnet.


There is less recorded of Tally Ho in the following decades, although these delightful photographs from the Clark family album show her at the outset of a year-long transatlantic cruise in 1958. It seems that she completed more than one trans-Atlantic trip after the Second World War, whilst still based in the Southampton area. Then, in 1967, New Zealander Jim Louden set out in Tally Ho from England heading for home, via the Panama Canal. He paused to charter for a few months in the Caribbean and then sailed on single-handed to Rarotonga, in the Pacific, which he reached in July 1968. Here he was offered a charter to fetch 20 tons of copra from the island of Manuae (Hervey Islands), 120 miles to the northeast. With a young lad as crew, he reached the offing during darkness and hove to waiting for dawn. As they slept, the current carried the yacht down onto the island, where the surf lifted and drove her onto the coral reef and stove in her port side amidships.

She was eventually dragged off the reef, after seven tons of lead ballast had been removed from her bilge and her cabin filled with empty oil drums. As she came off, she rolled over and was dismasted, also losing her rudder and bowsprit. But the drums kept her floating just awash and, in that condition, she was towed the 120 miles back to Rarotonga, something of a tribute to the strength of her original deck construction. In Rarotonga, she was rebuilt over a period of years, during which time she changed hands, and eventually found her way, via Tahiti and Hawaii, to the west coast of America. There, with aft wheelhouse and twin trolling poles rigged on the mast, she went to work periodically, under the name Escape, fishing for tuna and salmon out of Brookings Harbour, Oregon. During this ownership, in the 10 years between 1977 and 1987, Dave Olson sailed some 20,000 miles in her, twice to the Marquesas, to Tahiti, a frequent visitor to Hawaii, even Pitcairn.

At this time she was still in remarkably good condition for a boat of her age and usage. But when Dave Olson wanted to move on, a new owner could not be found and she languished in Brookings Harbour for some years.

It was during this period that the Albert Strange Association became aware of Tally Ho, and that she was potentially running into trouble. In 2008 the Port of Brookings sold her at auction to a local artist, fisherman and shipwright, Manuel Lopez, who formed a charitable foundation and set out to restore her, with the idea of making her a show-piece for Brookings. Manuel did extensive work on the hull, but sadly died in early 2010 without having got her back in the water. With the loss of Manuel’s driving force, Tally Ho found herself again ‘in limbo’, with storage fees accumulating which the charitable foundation had no means to pay. After negotiations, the Port offered to prepare a piece of ground and move Tally Ho away from the busy working area she had occupied, and to waive overdue charges. The Association formed a wholly owned UK limited company for the sole purpose of holding title of the boat, and through which it would pay storage fees at a very reasonable rate.

Pat Kellis, a retired waterman in Brookings, undertook to thoroughly shore and cover the boat to protect her from the ravages of summer and winter weather.


Jeff Rutherford, a very experienced yacht restoration specialist from Richmond, California, kindly inspected Tally Ho and gave us his preliminary assessment of her condition and a projection of possible restoration costs.

Throughout her long life of cruising, racing, fishing, injury, repair and neglect, she has retained her all-important shape and not inconsiderable degree of structural integrity - a great testament to the quality and strength of her original construction.


A Rescue Plan for Tally Ho

The ASA has now embarked on a campaign to raise awareness of Tally Ho, and to locate that person or syndicate with the passion and resources sufficient to get her back on the water. The task ahead should not be underestimated, but it is particularly encouraging that throughout her long life of cruising, racing, fishing, injury, repair and neglect, she has retained her all-important shape – a great testament to the strength of her design and construction.


2017 - Brookings

On the tenth of January 2017 the Albert Strange Association (ASA) received notice that "The new Port Manager wants all 'dead wood' out.", and that includes Tally Ho. By 13th February 2017.

Fortunately with huge help from our relatively local ASA member Pat Kellis and with appropriate letters from ASA about Tally Ho's historic significance, Brookings Harbor has extended the deadline for removal until June 2017 and also agreed to not apply the rather high storage charges they were proposing.

But that means Tally Ho must be relocated by that time or be destroyed.



2017 - We Have A Mission

Whilst Tally Ho has some significant American heritage as a fishing boat out of Brookings, her real heritage is as a classic British yacht, designed by an eminent British yacht designer, winner of a particularly difficult Fastnet Race. Whilst also we have a number of American enthusiasts for Albert Strange designs, it is also obvious that, as a rule, British heritage will inevitably be less significant to most Americans than America's own heritage. As indeed it should be.

For that reason, the ASA believes that, if we must move Tally Ho, then we should make every effort that we can to repatriate her to Britain, with a view to restoration to seaworthiness and with an eye on the Fastnet Race centenary in 2025, and the centenary of Tally Ho's original race in 2027.

She can also again be a very beautiful and capable yacht.