The Designer



The designer of the Honey Bee was a Glasgow man who was apprenticed to Harland and Wolff at Sandbank. He later joined Alexander Robertson and Sons and worked with David Boyd, the designer of the Twelve Metre Sceptre. He returned to Harland and Wolff as Yard Manager and in 1947 went to the Berthon Boat Company at Lymington as Manager. There he designed the 20 ton Northele for the International 10 metre class. He drew the lines of Skirl, a five tonner built on the Clyde and joined Lloyds of London as a yacht surveyor. In the year of the £1000 yacht competition,1958, he was manager of J.Loynes and Son Ltd of Wroxham, Norfolk.
His design took the second prize in the competition. The judges considered the Buchanan boat and the Honey Bee to be the designs which most closely corresponded to the type of boat required by four people cruising the West of Scotland and the final decision between the two yachts was made on the question of probable costs.

10 thoughts on “The Designer”

  1. Hi

    I bought and restored Northele in 2002 and I always thought Berthon boat co designed her.
    From your very interesting article it was A K Balfour. Would you have any more information on Northele?. I understand she spent some years in Scotland.


    1. Thank you for your comment about A K Balfour.

      I have tracked very little information about Balfour and the information about Northele was from an article in theYachting Monthly about the competition to design the £1000 yacht. I always intended to do some more work on his history but it means spending some time in scottish library archives for which I have not yet found the time.

      I am glad to hear Northele has neen restored, Someone did mention that she had been in Scotland at some point but I do not have any details.

      I will keep you posted if I come across further information.

      Good Sailing,

      Keith Clark

    2. John I have happened upon this as I am looking for information about my grandfather. He owned Northele at some stage, the 1953 Lloyds register I have says it was built in Lymington by Berthon in 1949 for G Glynn Terrell

      I have a very good photo you can get a copy of from Beken on Isle of Wight it’s number 29943

      I hope that’s helpful

      Best regards

    3. A further note that having looked further I can confirm it was built for my grandfather in 1949 and then sold soon after presumably to Mr Terrell

      1. Thank you Tony

        I did see she was built for RR Burton your grandfather. She is a fantastic yacht and fun to sail.
        She is in Crosshaven and if you are ever in Cork give me a shout on 0862535081 and we can go for a sail. I will try and get the photo thank you

        best regards

  2. I was the owner of Dodo VI from 1978-1981 a 51 foot yacht built at Berthon and also designed by AK Balfour. For several years I have been trying to locate her. Maybe in the USA . If anyone has any information regarding this yacht please contact me at

  3. Does anybody have any information about yacht “Skirl”, I believe designed by A K Balfour.
    I have a photo taken by a friend in circa 1954 showing aground of Seaview Isle of Wight

    1. If you would like to send me a copy of your photo of Skirl I will publish it on my website. Thank you for contacting the site, i hope we may stir a few memories
      Keith Clark

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