Let’s Play Another Episode Of What Iz It Jet Style.

Hewlett-PackardFellow Woody Boater form over the pond Colin has a whopper for us here to try and figure out. If we can figure this one out we so RULE the world! So lets go! Here is Colins note.

Hi Woody Boaters, we bought this at a farm sale and saved it from certain destruction as the only other bidders were scrap dealers who wanted the trailer and the dead 2.0ltr Ford “Pinto” engine that came with it.We do know the jet unit is about 1957-58 and was built by Dowty marine in the UK under license from Hamiltons in New Zealand.

JB6 copyThe hull dimensions are very close to UK Dowty Turbocraft,U.S Buehler etc but even in 1958 these were fiberglass hulls.


As this is all wood we wondered if any Hamilton boats made it to the U.K for evaluation or as models for the fiberglass molds.The company that made the hulls for Dowty still exists but there are no records surviving after a fire earlier this year. A Dowty expert who’s restored a couple and also runs the oldspeedboats.co.uk website has had a look at it a made some observations.


He said the hull resembled early Hamilton types but wouldn’t have had the ribs running under the hull,also the transom has been modified (see pic from inside for original profile).


There is also some modification to the steering gear compared to his and he wonders if it may have had the earlier jet unit in it originally which may account for the cut-away in the centre of the transom. We have contacted Hamilton Marine division but they aren’t sure. Some people suggested it may have started out as an outboard but the general layout seems to suggest it was in-board and the original mounting points look long enough for the straight six Ford engine like the Dowty’s had. Does it resemble any obscure U.S built boats?
Cheers, Colin

24 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Looks like something Chris Craft may have played around with in their spare time in Algonac. Come to our Michigan Chapter show on June 27, and you may find out more! See you all “Where it all Began”.

  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    Shameless plug cleverly threaded into the conversation! HA.. We are very excited about getting there soon!

  3. Reddog
    Reddog says:

    Hey 22 more days til algonac. The countdown begins. (If it works for Dora it’ll work for algonac). :- ). Sorry not sure what the boat is. If its late 50’s, its before my time

  4. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I can’t tell you what it is, but I can answer a few questions.

    First, the transom mods are not from an earlier jet drive since there were no earlier jet drives. That model is a UK version of the Hamilton Chinook which was the first, and at the time only commercial jet drive.

    Hamilton put the drives in a number of hulls and licensed them to Dowty in the UK and Canada and Buehler in the US who also put them in a number of hulls and also tried to sell them to other boat manufacturers. Buehler sold to Century and Chris Craft who both put them in wood boats, and they also had Borum build a plywood hull boat sold as a Turbocraft model.

    It is possible Dowty built some wood Turbocrafts or had them built for them, or they also likely sold some jet units to other UK boat builders. That could be a prototype from another builder, or maybe a one off from someone who bought the jet from Dowty.

  5. Phillip Jones
    Phillip Jones says:

    Battens, early pump, Centry ?????????????? Kind of looks like the “65” I had.

  6. Colin Fanning
    Colin Fanning says:

    Regarding m-fine’s comments, we knew the jet unit was the chinook type and what sort of age it was but there are photos of Hamiltons (smallish ones) with the unit before the chinook 2 stage type that have the cut-away in the transom because the steering gear is closer to the hull.These weren’t commmercially available as he rightly states.We don’t think it’s Dowty as Attrill and sons made their hulls for them and they were all fibreglass.A wooden copy of someone else’s hull is a possibilty, we’ve been shown pictures of a Belton ( built in U.K ) which was a blatant copy of an Albatross and could it be possible that they copied the Dowty? Thanks for the comments so far

  7. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Do you have better pictures of the transom modification? The outside pic shows an added wedge which looks like it was necessary to get the correct thickness and angle for the nozzle section. The Chris-Craft ski-jets had a similar “modification” to the transom.

  8. Royce Humohreys
    Royce Humohreys says:

    M-fine has it correct IMO regarding the jet unit being an early model. I have the book entitled “White Water” by Joyce Hamilton thst chronicles et husbands 1960 Grand Canyon run with the first production Buehler Turbocraft Jet 35’s. Interesting reading and an insight as to how they were marketing this new system of propulsion. I think that there were many variations and constant refinements as they were developed. Buehler had marketed his as the turbopower division which sold the jet units to induvidusl boat manufacturers. I would believe that Dowty had done the same in England and Canada. Dowty had used the first Buehler hulls that they built in early 1959 in the 16, version that you see in so many of the early advertisements.

    • Colin Fanning
      Colin Fanning says:

      I appreciate all the suggestions so far.What i can say is that the boat is 14’6″, which is why we initially thought of the Dowty Turbocraft TC146 ( so named because it was 14’6″) these were in fact launched in 1958 but were fibreglass.We know that the jet unit is a Dowty-Hamilton 2-stage Marine jet (serial number 1220).I mentioned the suggestion it may have started out with an earlier unit because there seems to be modifications to the back of the hull (see m-fine’s comments). I will post photos of the inside of the transom and some inside hull detail soon. It’s really the origin of the hull we’re not sure about.

  9. Colin Fanning
    Colin Fanning says:

    The original transom is visible from the inside and is between the full height board on the back and the cross beam that mirrors it’s profile.if you look closely around the 8″ cut-away you’ll see both thicknesses.It was this cut-away that looks similar to the early Hamilton.You can also see the wooden “plates” around the jet unit mounting.

  10. Sam A
    Sam A says:

    Hi Colin,
    Have a look at the early Fenn & Wood runabouts, looks very similar. Maybe give the guys at IBTC in Lowestoft a call they restored one a few years ago.

  11. Mark Dominikovich
    Mark Dominikovich says:

    a wooden boat just the same with a falcon engine just sold on trademe in nz a few months ago same jet unit cheers Spike

  12. Colin Fanning
    Colin Fanning says:

    Thanks for all the suggestions,but we have a winner! Courtesy of the Fairey owners club.They said it could be by Bell Woodworking in Leicester here in the U.K. The company made mainly sailing craft in kit form including the famous Mirror Dinghys.A bit of research on-line and i’d found a period brochure ! When it turned up there was only two motor boats in it but one was a 14’6″ fast runabout called the Sportsman.The dimensions match our boat exactly and we even had the original screens with it.Designed with water ski-ing in mind they built it to take an outboard or an inboard engine.Although not originally a jet boat the hull and jet unit are in fact the same age,and as it is so close to the Dowty shape we will put the jet unit in it with a period straight six engine and do it in the style of the inboard boat in the brochure.Many thanks for the contributions,i’ll post a few pic’s when we’ve made some progress.

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