B Class – Large Working Boat
Sail number: 18
Designed by: Percy Dalton
Built in: 1972
Built by: Terry and Martin Heard
Hull material: Glass reinforced plastic
Owner/Skipper: Robin Edwards
Former owners: Martin Heard, John Watkins, Matt and Paul Pullen, David Noakes, John Peters
Former names: Meloris, Rita, Moonlight, Rita
Hull colours: Mid Blue
Topsail colours: White/mid blue/vivid yellow
Length: 28 feet (8.5 metres)
From 1965 ,Terry and son Martin Heard had been running the Gaffers and Luggers boatyard in Mylor, in 1976 they engaged with local designer Percy Dalton to design and build the very first 28ft. Glassfibre Oyster dredging boat,
The yard was already maintaining and serving the local wooden built Oyster fleet some of which engaged in racing in the summer months when the fishery was closed.
They launched ‘Meloris’ in 1972 and Martin used her for dredging oysters for several years,she was followed by Three Sisters 1973, Kindly Light (Demelza)1974, Helen Mary 1974,Rebecca 1977 and several more before the mould was modified to a deeper and beamier model.
Racing in fleet had become more popular and competitive and Martin sold the boat to Falmouth sailor John Watkins who renamed her ‘Rita’ after his Grandmother. ‘Watty’ raced her for several years including Fowey Week .
Rita was the taken over by Paul and Matt Pullen who gave a complete refit and had extremely successful racing seasons with her.
The next owner was Falmouth man David Noakes who changed the name to ‘Moonlight’ with reference to the pub song ‘ moonlight all night long’ ,also changing the colour of the hull to Dark- blue. Eventually, David laid her up in a mud berth in Penryn where she lay neglected for quite a while.
In 2010 John Watkins (Watty) approached John Peters (Cygnus Marine Ltd.) to save her and she was purchased and refitted returning her to ‘Rita’ and Mid blue hull.
John Peters (born in Portscatho) raced her until 2023 winning the annual Championships, Falmouth Weeks, and numerous regattas along the way, being one of the most consistent top rated in the fleet of up to nineteen boats. In 2023 she was taken over by another Portscatho sailor Robin Edwards ( Roseland Marine Services) who has a wealth of experience and has now based Rita in St. Mawes