Approach the end of Martham Ferry Dyke in late June 2004 and at first glance you would think that you were looking at just another SeaHawk undergoing some maintenance work. For example, cleats for the halyards were missing and the remnants of masking tape show that the boat was in the process of being repainted. Fittings on the foredeck and a lack of tabernacle suggest that "Scorpio" had had a sea-going past.
The position of the masked-off non-slip pads reveal the same pattern as that found on a boat known to be of 1973 vintage, so this one is likely to be of similar date. (It turns out that the owner reckoned 1980 when applying for insurance!) However, unlike the other boats, this one has perfectly clear windows, suggesting that the original persplex has been replaced as part of the current overhaul.
At the stern, a number of through-the-structure bolts both here and at the front show the cabin has a number of internal fittings. However, there are no jib cleats in the standard place. Instead the gunwales show the owner has devised his own sheet management arrangements.
However, none of that is particularly special. what makes "Scorpio" interesting is the cockpit floor! There's an irregular glassfibre hatch in front of the cabin door. That it would reveal an inboard engine is clear from the fuel filler cap mounted on the bench in the foreground and the swivelling plate on the hatch itself, which can be expected to reveal a dip stick.
The cockpit lockers and three point main sheet anchorage points are identical with those found on Reedcraft boats, so it can be assumed that this SeaHawk dates from the 1970s rather than 1980s. Cockpit canopy hooks are visible on the gunwales, showing another owner addition made to this boat at some time in its life.
On the transom the final confirmation that the hatch in the cockpit floor will reveal an engine is the exhaust/cooling water vent seen to port of the port cockpit drain. The exact location of the fuel tank remains a mystery. The filler is immediately above the starboard locker, but no special tank is visible within the locker, which suggests that a filler pipe runs around the locker housing and the tank is much lower in the boat.
Having seen Scorpio pictured on the site, Peter Hilton got in touch to report that his brother-in-law is the owner. He confirmed that the refit was finished in time for some summer sailing in 2004 saying, "Unfortunately, the local fishermen have somewhat spoiled the paint job". Peter continued,
"She has been to sea (Lowestoft to Great Yarmouth with the previous owner, I think) but not for the twenty-ish years that my brother-in-law has owned her and based her at Martham. We still have the sea-going equipment as you surmise and she often taken below Potter!"
Peter also supplied the following picture, showing the prop, saying...
"She has a Stuart 1.5 BHP Marine Engine inboard. This is a two stroke (50:1 mix) petrol engine by Stuart Turner Ltd. of Henley-on-Thames. The original spares brochure is from 1976, so it was fitted after that!"
Peter says his brother-in-law "takes his sister, our kids and sometimes me out sailing. So I helped him renovate the boat." It is Peter, seen at work on her.