Sadly Clive Curtis died earlier this week at the age of 78. Like Colin Stokes,John and me he was an Essex boy from Ilford.
Tarka was rebuilt following that crash; lorry through the side at a roundabout, I believe. The spruce mast was also in a fire and was planed down and saved. You could see the replacement planks and detect the black charred marks in the grain of the mast. I believe she was resurected by the late Ken Ford who ran Lea-Avon sc at Highams Park lake in Woodford Green, Essex, quite near Ilford so there may be a connection. The club members were all youngsters from 10-18yrs or so, building fly and british moths from raw materials, including the sails, spars and foils; quite an undertaking. During the last year I remember, about 10 flys and 4 moths were built. Tarka, fully restored, was in perfect condition. Ken's craftmanship was amazing. Riants must be among the best looking old merlins.
My Dad, Harry Harris, gave our first Merlin Rocket 'Dizzy' no. 490 to Ken Ford's club probably around 1958/59 when he replaced her with another Jack Holt boat 'Dizzytoo' no. 865.
Very sad news I remember Clive and "Tarka" very well sailing at Ranelagh. "Dizzy" was at Hampton in 59/60 - I replaced a number of broken ribs in her for the owner. As owner of "Squirrel" (235) I can only agree that Riants are very pretty boats!