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1964 G L Watson Motor Sailer

$343,060 Listed price: £225,000 France
Make G L Watson
Model Motor Sailer
Year 1964
Condition Used
Price £225,000
Fractional Shares 1
Type Sail
Class Motorsailer (Sail)
Length 47 ft
Fuel Type Diesel
Hull Material Wood
Location France
Tax Status Tax Paid
LOA 52 ft 5 in
Length at Water Line 42 ft
Beam 14 ft 8 in
Max Draft 6 ft
Engine Make Cummins 6-cylinder Diesel
Fuel Type Diesel
Designer G L Watson
Builder Toughs of Teddington
Fuel Tanks 1 x 1209.83 gal (UK)
Fresh Water Tanks 1
Holding Tanks 1



When the current owners of this vessel bought her in 2005, their surveyor, at the time of purchase commented that the 50ft Motor Sailer, FREDELA, proved to be an absolute joy to survey……adding she was constructed to the highest standard our of the best materials. After purchase and with few recommendations, after survey, the new owners put FREDELA with one of the best known wooden boat yards in France and further refined this unique vessel, including MCA coding for charter, although they have never chartered her.

It would be hard to find a better built or more characterful motorsailer of this length, in wonderful condition and totally ready for the season. A beautiful cruising boat, FREDELA, oozes such charm it would not matter when you arrived, or in fact, if you ever left the dock!

FREDELA is a G.L. Watson design, built by Toughs of Teddington, launched in 1964. FREDELA is a big, full-bodied yacht with a long keel, canoe stern and a wonderful flair to the bow. She was built for the original owner, Mr. Fred Francis the founder of Francis Yacht Winches. He was the originator of the Scalelectrix system for slot car racing. Fred Francis was a skilled and obsessive Engineer; he had considerable input into the design of many aspects of the yacht.

The original build was to the highest quality of design and materials of its day. FREDELA’S present first class structural condition was confirmed by a comprehensive survey in April 2002 and April 2005. Following the 2005 survey FREDELA has a certificate, (renewed in 2008), for MCA Small Commercial Vessel Coding and is certified for charter use.


On Tuesday 6 January Fred Francis finally lost his thirteen-year battle against cancer. Though not a household name, his most famous achievement will be known to many - Fred Francis invented Scalextric, one of the most popular toys ever, and began the whole slot car racing phenomenon.

Born in Hampstead in October 1919 Fred showed little academic ability but, once free from school at fourteen, he showed great enthusiasm for engineering and a sharp business mind. In 1939 he began a tool-making company, which ran twenty-four hours a day throughout the war years. Then, in 1947, he decided to fulfil a childhood ambition and become a toy-maker, and founded Minimodels Ltd which, among other toys, produced Scalex and Startex clockwork cars.

The same year Fred took a flight in a light aircraft - and was hooked. So much so that within three weeks he had gone solo and bought his own plane. He had discovered a passion which would continue until ill-health forced him to remain grounded.

By 1952 demand for Minimodel toys was so great that in order to expand the company, he relocated to a new, purpose-built factory at Havant in Hampshire. This gave Fred more opportunity to indulge his other great passion - sailing. Then suddenly, in early 1956, the demand for clockwork cars collapsed and the future of the company and its one hundred employees was threatened. However, at a London toy fair Fred saw a display featuring battery-powered cars running around a track, but without user control. He saw at once that this lacked any real 'play value' - which his Scalex cars could add. The reactions of his marketing people as they tried to control the now electric-powered Scalex cars - renamed Scalextric - on a moulded rubber track convinced Fred that he was onto a winner. The launch in January 1957 was a triumph, and best of all the North American market was completely captivated. After two hugely demanding years he sold the expanding company at the end of 1958.

Fred loved boats, sailing and the sea as much as he loved flying. He had owned two large craft - ALAUNA, a 43ft Silver motor cruiser, and then YVALDA, a 46ft Watson motor yacht which he lived aboard in Chichester to avoid the daily journey to the Havant factory. He also took YVALDA through the rivers and canals of France and around the Mediterranean. He was a great Francophile and spent much of his leisure time there.

With time on his hands he went looking for a new boat, finding what he was looking for at Burnham-on-Crouch. SITA II was under construction for an overseas customer who had abandoned the project, so Fred did what he described as 'a little polite haggling' and then spent the next six months fitting her out. Sailing SITA II to the Mediterranean gave Fred opportunity to think about what he wanted to do - it was already obvious that the lotus-eating life held no long-term appeal. On his return she needed some repairs, so he took her up the Thames to Tough's Boatyard by Teddington Lock. Doug Tough was a legendary character who, in 1940, had organised an armada of little ships from the upper Thames to Dunkirk. Fred discussed with him the possibility of developing the boatyard, but instead became involved with a project to re-engine a steam tugboat with diesels to tow barges on the lower river. Soon the barges were replaced by lorries and the company found new work in pile driving and river works - an activity Fred stumbled upon quite by chance while building a jetty for himself at Tagg's Island. He certainly possessed an acute nose for profitable opportunity!

By 1965 Fred had had enough of the river. He now owned the FREDELA, a new boat purpose-built by the Tough Brothers, and was keen to take her to the Mediterranean. Among her equipment was an electric windlass which, being unhappy with the performance of the anchor winches available at that time, he had designed and had built. It was fully enclosed, with load sensing and automatic gear shift, and he was so impressed by his creation that he decided to market a commercial version. However the response was disappointing - in 1963 the market then was conservative, slightly masochistic and, above all, mistrusted electricity on boats. Gradually though, word spread that it was pretty good and to his great delight the RNLI began fitting a modified version of the second-generation Type 2000 to their new
lifeboats. Typically, once the winches were selling well Fred found other things to do and sold the rights to Simpson Lawrence.

By 1977 the market was greatly expanded and Fred re-entered the game with a third generation of windlass. In addition he introduced a vertical winch, still utilising the tried and tested load sensing and automatic gear shift. Once again it was adopted by the RNLI and for the next few years Francis winches, together with powered furling gear, continued to establish themselves.

In 1985 it seemed that, at last, Fred's luck had finally run out. He was diagnosed as having cancer of the lymph system and the most optimistic opinion gave him no more than a year. In typical fashion he prepared himself for the battle ahead. The winch business was sold and he concentrated all his efforts in proving the doctors wrong. Continually improving treatments, a cast iron resolve to beat the illness, and the care and support of the family turned that one year into thirteen, much to the amazement of the medical profession.
Despite several relapses and undergoing extensive chemo and radiotherapy treatment Fred retained a cheerful spirit and, with his alert and active business mind, continued to be involved in his many commercial interests. He also, with a small crew, sailed his beloved FREDELA over to France and down through the canal system. The debilitating effects of chemotherapy were taking their toll however and, although in remission, a viral infection for which he had no resistance placed him in hospital. This was a battle which, despite his tremendous strength and courage, he could not win.

He leaves his wife Diane, and daughters Catherine and Julia.
Diane Francis

Obituary provided by reference to the Royal Cruising Club

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Displacement: 39 tons


Total Power: 130


  • The boat is constructed as follows:
  • Teak planking (1 1/2”) with a perfectly fair external finish, all copper fastened to 4" x 3" laminated oak frames at 2' centers with 2 steamed timbers between, doubled across the keelson.
  • External lead ballast keel with bronze bolts + some internal lead trimming ballast.
  • There are 20 bronze portholes in the topsides.
  • The boat has a classic solid teak deck, laid to a king plank, caulked and laid with butyl rubber between, varnished teak toe-rails and moulded cover-boards, guard rails over on bronze stanchions with a teak capping rail.
  • There are heavy bronze cleats and fair leads and twin chain rollers on the stemhead.
  • The teak superstructure is varnished, the coach-roof and wheelhouse decks laid with teak. Opening windows in bronze frames with handle winders.
  • The forward windscreens were made by the aero industry, the upper windscreen full width curved in one piece, the lower forward window in 2 pieces to a centre post behind the mast. The doors each side of the wheelhouse provide excellent visibility forward and aft.
  • The boat has:
  • A Mathway rod and gear steering to traditional spoked wheel.
  • A Vetus bow thruster.
  • An electric anchor winch forward and electric capstan on the aft deck.


  • FREDELA has lots of deck space, with an easy walkway each side of the superstructure, spacious aft deck with a folding table and twin storage boxes. There are twin flush deck hatches in bronze frames. The lazarette is right aft with access through a deck hatch.
  • The accommodation is divided into 3 compartments - 2 aft cabins (3/4 berths), wheelhouse and saloon with engine room under and a companion way through to a well equipped galley, heads with shower and a fore cabin (2 berths).
  • The large owner's cabin aft has generous berths with drawers under each and a dressing table between with mirror over on the white painted aft bulkhead. There two large hanging lockers with a door into the en-suite bathroom fitted with a sea toilet, basin and a full size pink bath.
  • In the middle of the bulkhead is a door to a small lobby, steps up to the wheel-house and a door either side: to starboard into the heads compartment and to port into a into a single berth cabin with generous berth and extra pipe cot, hand-basin and large hanging locker.
  • The boat has 6 foot + headroom throughout with white deck-head and light and ventilation from port holes. There is oak joinery in the aft cabins and teak joinery in the wheel-house, saloon and forward cabin. The boat is carpeted or teak decked throughout.
  • In the wheel-house the helm is to port with doors to the deck on each side. There is excellent visibility all round through bronze framed windows with winders to drop them. On the port side of the companionway against the aft wheelhouse bulkhead is a single upholstered seat, in green vinyl: to starboard is a drawer unit for tools with a flat surface chart table, all in varnished teak. A box rises up from this flat surface on an electric screw jack mechanism; this box originally contained a large radio. The electrical control panel is placed alongside the helm by the forward companionway.
  • Centre steps go down forward into the sunken deck saloon, a spacious cabin with good light and ventilation from the wind down windows with full a span window forward. In the aft starboard corner by the steps is a surface over a drinks cabinet unit with cocktail bar whose lid doubles as a second chart table. A further cupboard and drawer unit is alongside. To port of the steps is L-shaped upholstered seating. Forward to starboard is an extendable table with a bench seat and four chairs.
  • Centre-line steps go down forward to a passageway into the fore cabin. To port is a heads compartment with electric Lavac sea toilet and shower, all with original chromed fittings. To starboard is the galley with a stainless steel surface along the ships side with 2 sinks forward and 3 electric hobs with a big, fold-up fiddle rail around them. Against the aft bulkhead the stainless steel surface continues with built-in deep-freeze and fridge operated on 24v. Against the forward bulkhead is a recessed microwave oven with shelves above.
  • Louvered teak door to the fore cabin with V-berths, 6' headroom, hatch to deck over, drawers under the berth all in varnished teak. The forward bulkhead has small door to the chain locker.
  • The accommodation is all in original condition with a great feel of generous space and comfort.


  • The dedicated engine room, with access through a deck hatch in the wheel-house, is in clean condition with steel plates along each side and good stooping headroom.
  • The main engine is a Cummins (HU-170-M) 130hp 6-cyl diesel with hydraulic self changing gears, single lever gearbox to 3-blade right handed 39" x 36" bronze prop, giving 9 knts. The engine is fresh water cooled with a heat exchanger.
  • Four steel fuel tanks each side under the side decks can contain approximately 1200 gallons (5,500 litres) of diesel with balancing pipes between them. Cruising consumption is approximately 4 gallons per hour, (18 litres per hour).
  • There is a 90 amp alternator on main engine and 4 x 12v batteries in the lazarette giving 24v supplies, separated for service and engine start
  • There are twin Constavolt diesel generators:
  • A G&M diesel 7.5Kva 240v in aft port corner of the engine room.
  • A Perkins 4-cyl 49hp diesel engine on the centerline at the aft end of the engine room over the prop shaft driving a 9.5Kva 240v alternator. Both provide charge for all batteries via a Dolphin battery charger.


  • Bermudian ketch rig is on varnished hollow spruce masts stepped in galvanised tabernacles on the deck. The tabernacles also double as ventilators to the cabins below.
  • Alloy booms with winch outhauls.
  • The main sheets to a horse across the wheelhouse roof, the mizzen sheets to a horse on the aft deck.
  • The mainsail and mizzen are set on vertical stainless steel sections turned by electric motors to reef the sails in towards the masts. Both masts carry unique, custom made chromed bronze halyard winches with twin brake wheels and drums, cranked individually from forward, fitted with wire halyards.
  • The headsail is on a stainless steel section turned by identical electric motor drives to the main and mizzen. These are believed to be some of the earliest electric furling systems installed by Fred Francis.
  • A varnished lifting boom on the mizzen hoists supports the starboard side boarding ladder. There is a pair of self-tail headsail sheet winches on the cover-boards by the wheelhouse doors.
  • FREDELA has stainless steel rigging with bronze rigging screws to through bolted bronze eyes on the deck. There are twin spreaders to the main, single spreaders and jumper struts to the mizzen. Main backstay to the mizzenmast spreaders and down to deck.
  • The mainsail, mizzen, roller genoa are all in white terylene setting approximately
  • 675 sq ft, (63 sq m). This is a tall and adequately powerful, easily handled rig.


  • Navigation Compass
  • Raymarine Sounder
  • Raymarine Windex
  • Icom VHF
  • Simrad CP42 GPS colour chart plotter with 10" colour screen
  • Simrad AP 26 Auto helm
  • JRC RADAR 1500 MK2 radar
  • 2 x plough anchors, 100m + of chain and electric windlass.
  • 6-man life raft, serviced to July 2009
  • 2 x life buoys, Danbuoy
  • Fire extinguishers throughout and CO2 engine room extinguisher.
  • Zodiac 4 man tender with outboard.
  • 300 gallons (~1400 litres) water in 4 stainless steel tanks, with two separate pressure pumps.


The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.


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