Bon voyage to Stormy Dawn after 47 years

Clive Baker with Stormy Dawn

Clive Baker with Stormy Dawn - Credit: Archant

The decimation of Sidmouth’s beach has forced the owner of the town’s ‘most photographed boat’ to sell it – but the vessel is being given a new lease of life on the Isle of Man.

After 47 years together, Clive Baker was determined not to see wooden Stormy Dawn rot away - so sold it along with his fishing licence.

He blames the town’s sea defences and the erosion of the Port Royal beach as he cannot launch the nearly three-tonne boat without the shingle that one populated the area.

“I could fill the paper with 47 years of that boat,” said the 69-year-old.

“When I wake up my first thought is that the boat’s gone.

“There’s no beach left, Alma Bridge is in scaffolding and the cliffs are eroding – it’s nothing but an eyesore. What do the visitors think?”

The vessel was photographed for nearly five decades by tourists and merchandisers looking to sell them souvenirs.

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Stormy Dawn’s picture was put on postcards, mugs, calendars, T-shirts and all sorts of other items that have been sold around the world.

Clive had the vessel made specially by boat makers in Seaton in 1968 and finished the inside himself.

He lovingly maintained it every year as he worked his 60 lobster pots, but as there was less and less shingle each season, it became more difficult.

“It came to a point where I had to make a decision,” said retired carpenter Clive.

“I decided to sell it rather than see it fall into disrepair.

“Everything has to come to an end.”

He listed the boat for sale online, but received offers from people clearly only interested in his fishing licence - as no more are being issued.

Clive wanted to find the right person, someone genuinely interested in using a wooden boat – or it could have been left rotting outside his Moor View Close home.

He found a ‘real nice lad’ on the Isle of Man who promised Stormy Dawn is going to a good home, and who said he would keep in touch.

And, importantly, he is keeping the name.

“Good luck to him,” said grandfather-of-four Clive.

“There’s plenty of life left in that boat.”

Clive and his wife Janet plan to stay in touch with the new owner and hope to see the boat’s first launch.