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Born with superb purpose revealed in her name - as original tender to the J-Class racing yacht VELSHEDA - and subsequently cherished as the beautiful yacht that she is, BYSTANDER is a remarkably untampered with survivor from another age: exuding authenticity and atmosphere while still offering all that one would expect of a motor yacht of her length - a wonderful size that, depending on experience, requires as few crew as one desires – maybe even none. With her after accommodation reinstated after her J-Class tender days, she continues to offer stately comfort for eight guests in four cabins and turns heads in Riviera anchorages.
BYSTANDER was born with superb purpose revealed in her name - as original tender to the J-Class racing yacht VELSHEDA - and it is a little known fact that she was far from a spectator at Dunkirk in 1940 when saving 99 souls from drowning. Subsequently BYSTANDER has been cherished as the beautiful yacht that she is: a remarkably untampered with survivor from another age, exuding authenticity and atmosphere while still offering all that one would expect of a motor yacht of her length; a wonderful size that, depending on experience, requires as few crew as one desires - maybe even none. With her after accommodation reinstated after the J-Class tender days, she continues to offer stately comfort for six guests in four cabins, and to turn heads in Riviera anchorages.
This is a preliminary presentation of a New Listing with fuller specifications and more images to follow.
A season of racing his J-Class racing yacht VELSHEDA around the coast will easily have persuaded BYSTANDER’s commissioning owner and relative newcomer to yacht ownership, Woolworths stores chairman WL “Bill” Stephenson, of the need for his own handy and comfortable tender to act as mother ship, floating hotel, tow-boat and ship's stores.
But BYSTANDER began life as a "stock boat", laid down speculatively at Camper & Nicholson’s Gosport yard to keep their highly skilled workforce busy during a Great Depression-fuelled lull. Stock boats by famous yards with famous in-house designers are among the purest – because the architect was able to design and build what he thought was right, without client input. Charles E Nicholson certainly got it right with BYSTANDER; he never got much wrong.
Stephenson had first set eyes on her at an advanced stage of construction, and obviously liked what he saw. Before long all accommodation aft of the engine room was being removed to create space for VELSHEDA's equipment.
BYSTANDER was launched at Gosport on 14 April 1934, two days before the launch there of the UK’s 3rd J-Class yacht, T.O.M. Sopwith’s America’s Cup challenger ENDEAVOUR. BYSTANDER being fitted-out close to the launching slip features in photographs and newsreel film of that special occasion; it was her first act of bystanding!
Stephenson didn’t keep VELSHEDA for long. ENDEAVOUR II’s loss to RANGER in the 1937 America’s Cup match heralded the end of J-Class activity both sides of the Atlantic. The J was laid up on the Hamble River - she would remain there for over 40 years until her first 1980s restoration - and BYSTANDER was replaced as Stephenson’s motor yacht by the larger MALAHNE, also designed and built by Camper & Nicholson.
Her new owner was long time managing director of the Daily Mirror newspaper and Rear Commodore of the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, Wallace D Roome, but the advent of the second world war made this a short-lived affair, with BYSTANDER becoming government requisitioned for war service.
Decommissioning was followed by a post-war series of short ownerships in UK waters, including Wing Commander (later Group Captain) J Shepherd, who was stationed in the north of Scotland, with her port of registry changing to Inverness, followed by retired naval commander H B Crane CBE.
She then enjoyed a brief period of use as the floating studio of American born sculptor and yachtswoman Mrs Pauline Boumphrey and her artist friends, including time in Paris and on the Seine.
BYSTANDER was a participant in the 1953 Coronation Review of the [Royal Navy] Fleet off Spithead, probably under the ownership of publisher and Member of Parliament Colonel Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, MP.
Life was never boring during her first 20 years: many different roles and owners, not all mentioned here…
At some point in the early 1960s she headed south to the Mediterranean and her ownership history, hidden behind company names, becomes harder to trace, though one known owner in the early 1970s was French operetta composer Francis Lopez. What is clear is that BYSTANDER has always been cherished.
The main image is from the COME CRUISE WITH US blog: http://blog.murdochs.net.au
These particulars have been prepared from information provided by the vendors and are intended as general guide. The purchaser should confirm details of concern to them by survey or engineers inspection. The purchaser should also ensure that the purchase contract properly reflects their concerns and specifies details on which they wish to rely.