The Gelyce, which sailed the America's Cup around in the 1930s, is now valued at the staggering figure following extensive restoration - two years after it was snapped up for around £20,000

Motorboat The Gelyce is worth £2m after restoration

An historic motorboat that used to ferry around the rich and famous has been lovingly restored to its former glory and is now worth £2million.

The Gelyce, which sailed the America’s Cup around in the 1930s, is now valued at the staggering figure following extensive restoration – two years after it was snapped up for around £20,000.

The elegant 50ft vessel, built in 1930 by Camper & Nicholsons, the oldest leisure marine company in the world, was given to legendary yachtsman Sir Thomas Lipton to be the tender for his J Class racing yacht Shamrock V.

Sir Thomas – a merchant who established the renowned Lipton tea brand – and his yacht challenged five times for America’s Cup glory and enjoyed the company of sailing enthusiasts King Edward VII and King George V.

The Gelyce, which sailed the America's Cup around in the 1930s, is now valued at the staggering figure following extensive restoration - two years after it was snapped up for around £20,000

The Gelyce, which sailed the America’s Cup around in the 1930s, is now valued at the staggering figure following extensive restoration – two years after it was snapped up for around £20,000

The rotting boat was snapped up at for little more than £20,000 by west London engineer and wooden boat enthusiast Wint Taylor

The rotting boat was snapped up at for little more than £20,000 by west London engineer and wooden boat enthusiast Wint Taylor

Boatbuilder Stephen Messer, of Classic Restoration Services, spent 18 months and thousands of man hours carefully restoring Gelyce to her former glory

Both Gelyce and Shamrock V were then subsequently taken on by Sir Thomas Sopwith, for whom Camper & Nicholsons also built the America’s Cup challenger Endeavour.

Gelyce was once again used as her tender to transport guests to the bigger boat, and ferry about spectators.

But the outbreak of war meant her life as a tender was relatively shortlived, and she was then used as a vessel in the barrage balloon effort to fend off low flying aircraft over the Solent in World War Two.

Sir Thomas Lipton - a merchant who established the renowned Lipton tea brand - and his yacht challenged five times for America's Cup glory and enjoyed the company of sailing enthusiasts King Edward VII and King George V.

Sir Thomas Lipton – a merchant who established the renowned Lipton tea brand – and his yacht challenged five times for America’s Cup glory and enjoyed the company of sailing enthusiasts King Edward VII and King George V.

From the 1960s and '70s, she was largely forgotten about as she began rotting away in a boatyard in Hurley, Berks.

From the 1960s and ’70s, she was largely forgotten about as she began rotting away in a boatyard in Hurley, Berks.

Following the war, she was owned through the mid 1950s by yachtsman Hugh Goodson, who made an Americas Cup challenge in 1958 with Sceptre.

When she changed ownership again, she was transported to the River Thames and used as a riverboat.

Yet from the 1960s and ’70s, she was largely forgotten about as she began rotting away in a boatyard in Hurley, Berks.

Over the years she even sank a few times, and degraded to such an extent she was barely recognisable – as photos prior to her restoration revealed holes in the decking and a desperate need of a lick of paint.

Photos taken around two years ago show Gelyce decaying in away in a boatyard before she was bought Wint Taylor

Photos taken around two years ago show Gelyce decaying in away in a boatyard before she was bought Wint Taylor

Photos prior to her restoration revealed holes in the decking and a desperate need of a lick of paint

Photos prior to her restoration revealed holes in the decking and a desperate need of a lick of paint

But in 2015, she was purchased by engineer Wint Taylor, a wooden boat restoration enthusiast from West London.

Mr Taylor, 70, paid around £20,000 and has spent a further six figure sum on the restoration once it was dragged by tug to be worked on by Classic Restoration Services in Windsor, Berks.

Mr Taylor said: ‘Gelyce is particularly historic, and it’s particularly beautiful.

‘It’s had some fantastic bums on the seats as these boats were used for spectator duties.

‘I imagine there are some royals and all sorts of famous actors that have been on board – the elites as they call them nowadays.

‘It’s been admired all these years by wooden boat enthusiasts like me and eventually I got the guy to sell it to me.’

He added: ‘I have really enjoyed renovating her.

‘It seemed a project that was well worth doing. This was a no brainer.’

Boatbuilder Stephen Messer, of Classic Restoration Services, spent 18 months and thousands of man hours carefully restoring Gelyce to her former glory.

The 55-year-old said the consensus among enthusiasts is she would be worth as much as £2 million, based on previous sales of similar boats.

Her previous condition is a farcry after she was brought to the highest possible standard following a complete restoration of the hull

Her previous condition is a farcry after she was brought to the highest possible standard following a complete restoration of the hull

Sadly she never tasted America's Cup success - although Sir Thomas Lipton's well publicised efforts to win it earned him a specially designed cup for 'the best of all losers'

Sadly she never tasted America’s Cup success – although Sir Thomas Lipton’s well publicised efforts to win it earned him a specially designed cup for ‘the best of all losers’

Mr Messer, who runs the business with his brother Colin, 56, said: ‘In our business she’s been one of the most sought after restorations left to do because the boat is so famous and so beautiful.

‘The Gelyce was as ideal as a boat can be to view racing from.’

The two J-Class yachts which Gelyce served for have also been lovingly restored at a cost of £20million each – and it’s hoped they can now be reunited in competition.

Mr Messer said the consensus among enthusiasts is she would be worth as much as £2 million, based on previous sales of similar boats

Mr Messer said the consensus among enthusiasts is she would be worth as much as £2 million, based on previous sales of similar boats

Camper & Nicholsons only built nine similar tenders to Gelyce in the company’s former dockyard in Gosport, Hants, between 1912 and 1930 – several of which were for the use of Nicholson family members.

The name Gelyce is an amalgam of the Nicholson brothers’ wives names – Gertie, Lucy & Constance.

Sadly she never tasted America’s Cup success – although Sir Thomas Lipton’s well publicised efforts to win it earned him a specially designed cup for ‘the best of all losers’.

The vessel was certainly in need of more than just a lick of paint. The name Gelyce is an amalgam of the Nicholson brothers' wives names - Gertie, Lucy & Constance

The vessel was certainly in need of more than just a lick of paint. The name Gelyce is an amalgam of the Nicholson brothers’ wives names – Gertie, Lucy & Constance

It also made his tea famous in the United States, and he was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 1993.

According to archives, Gelyce was renamed ‘Sea Pecker’ following the war, when it served as a tender to move supplies and personnel between trawlers.

Blimps were tied to bigger ships by metal cables, and used to prevent low-flying aircraft getting close to key coastal targets.

Mr Taylor said: ‘It must have been a bit of a comedown for her, but she was doing her service for the country.’

The boat is now finished to the highest possible standard following a complete restoration of the hull, using three layers of structural mahogany veneers laid and fastened with modern epoxy and 75,000 polymer staples.

All of the superstructure and interior has been retained and refurbished.

The instrument panel, and all deck and cabin fittings are gold plated for easy care, as it is less susceptible to erosion.

Her engine is a concourse condition aluminium mid-1960’s Rolls Royce, producing 175hp – making her capable of reaching speeds of 28 knots.

The engine was restored by Brian Bax at Tim Walker Restorations.

Beneath the deck, in front of the boat’s engine, is an area large enough to fit a double bed in.

Posted on; DailyMail>>

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