Dozens of iconic sailing boats designed and built in Plymouth are returning to Britain’s Ocean City this summer to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the line.
The Hurley Owners’ Association is celebrating a half century since the Hurley 18 and 22 were created by staging a weekend-long event in Plymouth called Bring Your Hurley Home from July 22nd-24th.
King Point Marina in Millbay is hosting more than 40 Hurley vessels expected to celebrate the milestone anniversary by taking part in the weekend rally, the highlight of which will be a major social event held at the Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club on Saturday 23rd July.
The event is being supported by a generous donation of £1,000 from Muse Developments, one of the partners in English Cities Fund (ECf) which is leading the redevelopment of the Millbay area into a vibrant new waterfront quarter for Plymouth.
Stephen Dart from the Hurley Owners’ Association said: “We’re delighted to be staging the Bring Your Hurley Home event this summer to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the new Hurley line here in Plymouth where it all began.
“This will be a free, weekend-long event open to anyone with an interest in the Hurley line of boats, and we are especially keen to make contact with ex-Hurley Marine employees, or anyone who was involved with the creation of Hurley boats during the last 50 years.”
Boats will gather at King Point Marina during the afternoon of July 22nd. There will be a sail-past on Saturday 23rd before the social evening and presentation at the Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club, which itself has close historical links to the line as George Hurley was a keen member of the club, and was presented with a plaque by the club in 1986 to celebrate his retirement.
On Saturday 23rd, organisers hope to gather as many ex-Hurley Marine workers as possible on the balcony of the Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club from 12pm until 3pm to witness the sail-past and to chat about old times.
On Sunday 24th July, boat owners will walk from King Point Marina to nearby Richmond Walk, where early Hurley Marine and South Coast Marine Hurleys were built, and where a plaque will be unveiled.
During its heyday, Hurley Marine was one of the UK’s largest boat builders. The company was started by George Hurley, a carpenter and shipwright who worked in Plymouth’s dockyard during World War Two and set up his own business from a shed in his backyard, originally trading as A.G Hurley Ltd.
In 1952 the business expanded into new premises in Stonehouse at Richmond Walk and built the famous Silhouette cruisers, before the company became Hurley Marine and relocated to a purpose-built factory in Plympton in the 1960s.
At its peak, Hurley Marine employed 140 people and turned out 17 fully completed boats a week. Two of the most famous designs were the Hurley 18 and the Hurley 22, of which more than 1,200 were built, and many were exported to Europe and the USA. Both remain popular sailing boats today, outliving many more recent designs.
Hurley Marine closed down in 1974, though Hurley boats continued to be built by other firms until 1991.
The Hurley Owners’ Association (HOA) was formed in 1998 and has 250 members from the UK and across the world who join together to celebrate and foster an interest in the line in all its forms.
The HOA chose to use King Point Marina for the Bring Your Hurley Home event, which is being supported by marina owners and operators Sutton Harbour Holdings Plc.
The stunning, contemporary marina opened in the heart of Plymouth’s newly revitalized Coastal Quarter in Millbay in 2013 to provide berthing for 171 vessels.
Mark Brimacombe, Marina Manager, said: “The Hurley line is a classic line which has more than stood the test of time, with these sailboats remaining hugely popular today as a true testament to the quality of the design and build first carried out in Plymouth.
“We’re delighted to be supporting Bring Your Hurley Home which is going to be a fantastic celebration of the Hurley line’s strong heritage in Britain’s Ocean City, and as Plymouth’s newest marina, King Point Marina is proud to be welcoming Hurley owners into the city for the rally this July.”