Formanda off Beachy Head in 2006
Formanda off Beachy Head in 2006

Our current boat is Formanda, a 1974-built Searider 45 by Beecham Marine in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire (on the site that is now Tewkesbury Marina). Construction is GRP hull and wooden superstructure.

We acquired her in 2006, the vessel’s third owner. I’d seen her previously on a Motor Boats Monthly cruise in company to the Netherlands where she drew many admiring glances – little did I realise at the time she would come into our ownership.

The boat still had her original Perkins HT6.354 175hp diesels and much else was as constructed.

We cruised the boat to Poole and to the Netherlands in 2006 but it became obvious soon after handover that many faults had not been detected in the survey and that our plan to gradually upgrade might not be satisfactory. Accordingly much of 2007 was spent trying to decide what to do.

When we moved Formanda into Dave Skene‘s care at Endeavour Quay in November 2007 for what we hoped might be recaulking of the deck and some localised repairs to some soft spots in the wheelhouse the worst was realised. Not only had the survey missed many important things but there was some evidence that poor, bordering on deceitful, repairs had been made with a short-term view. The low point was the discovery of a garden fence post holding up the weakened port aft deck and superstructure.

In the end Formanda was stripped right back for a major rebuild that included new decks, new windows and hatches and a new pair of Perkins Sabre M135 diesels. The latter weren’t strictly necessary, but given the age of the HT6.354s and the likelihood of spares becoming more difficult to source over the next few years we took the additional cost on. We later also had to condemn the fuel tanks and these were also replaced.

Formanda at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant
Formanda at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant
We also decided to ensure all new fit-out was to a standard at least as good, or better, than the new build. This was to be a genuine 35-year fit-out. The fuel, electrical and plumbing systems have also been reconfigured and upgraded to better standards than was deemed acceptable practice in the 1970s. We also removed Formanda‘s EMI pneumatic stabilisers and her trim tabs and filled all redundant holes below the waterline, reducing by more than half the count of potential water ingress points.

Formanda was out of the water until August 2008 and then spent much of 2009 and 2010 undergoing further work at her berth in Haslar Marina, Gosport. All major systems are now complete and the focus has switched to the more cosmetic aspects of her interior, plus adding some additional facilities including heating and a holding tank.

Formanda is now taking us on journeys again. In 2011 she completed her first cross Channel passage for five years and then visited London to take part in the Major of London’s River Festival in September.

Thames Pageant Flag
Thames Pageant Flag
Formanda was one of just 60 vessels in the Recreational Motorboat squadron for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant in June 2012, for which she was registered R35 and granted the right to fly the Pageant flag. Her ensign dip and foredeck salute was acknowledged by HM Queen Elizabeth II.

See the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant photo album here.

Since then we visited the West Country in 2013 and Guernsey in 2014.

Further posts

Formanda related posts

Formanda 2010 specification

Make and model
Beecham Searider 45
Lesley James
Beecham Marine, Tewkesbury
Build no


Length overall
47ft 0in (14.3m)
Length excluding bathing platform
45ft 0in (13.7m)
Length waterline
41ft 6in (12.6m)
14ft 0in (4.2m)
forward 3ft 11in (1.2m)
Air draft
mast up 15ft 2in (4.62m) mast down canopy and radar up 13ft (3.96m)
forward 5ft 9in (1.7m) aft 4ft 4in (1.3m)
approx 17 tonnes

Main machinery

twin Perkins Sabre M135 diesels, 130hp at 2600rpm
Centek Vernatone Round exhaust silencers
PRM 500
1.75in shafts with Tides Marine seals and four-blade propellers
Vetus Hydraulic
HFL Marriner2 8kW 240V wih Vetus NLP waterlock and Halyard Separator

Electrical systems

Powermaster 3kW 240V
Main battery charger
Victron Skylla-TG24/50 with Skylla control panel
Secondary battery charger
Victron Skylla-TG24/30 with Skylla control panel
Main battery bank (domestic and port engine start)
Eight Trojan T145 6V 260Ah wired to give 24V 520Ah
Secondary battery bank (anchor windlass, inverter and standby)
Four Trojan T145 6V 260Ah wired to give 24V 260Ah
Starboard engine start batteries
Two Trojan 27TMX 12V 105Ah wired to give 24V 105Ah
Generator and standby 12V power start battery
One Delphi Freedom 12V
24V-12V converter
Victron Orion 60A
Main battery management switches
Six Blue Sea Systems 3000HD on/off
12V power management switch
Vetus 1-2-both-off
240V switchover unit
Blue Sea Systems 32A three-way rotary panel
240V breaker panel
Blue Sea Systems 8507 AC 13 breaker panel with meter
24V DC main breaker panel
Blue Sea Systems 8379 21 breaker panel with meter
24V DC hot panel
Blue Sea Systems 8023 eight breaker panel
12V DC breaker panel
Blue Sea Systems 8401 five breaker panel with meter
Subsidiary lighting panels
Custom made by Kim Hollamby using engraved plastic and stainless steel panels and ASAP and Arcolectric switches.
Wiring harnesses and terminations
All cabling up to 10 AWG Cobra marine tinned cable and numbered; battery cables in extra flexible copper and identified. All cable runs in Harnessflex NC conduit. Batteries protected with ANL main fuses. Terminal areas equipped with Blue Sea Systems terminals or similar. Lighting junction boxes by Britax terminal boxes.

Fuel system

Fuel capacity
Port and starboard main tanks stainless steel 139gal (631lt) ea
Day tank stainless steel 78gal (354lt)
Fuel transfer pump
ITT Jabsco Junior Gear Puppy
Primary fuel filter between main and day tanks
Separ SWK 2000 18M
Engine primary fuel filters
Single Separ SWA 90 filters for each engine
Generator primary filter
Racor 120 filter
Fuel management
Custom panel with Faria gauges and Sic Divisione Electronica 10/180 Ohm 12V liquid level sensors

Domestic water and waste systems

Water capacity
200gal (908lt) in two aluminium tanks, balanced
Water pump
24V Flojet R4305-501
Hotpot 40lt horizontal
Hot and cold water accumulators
Hotpot 5lt cold and Hotpot 5lt hot
Aft heads bath drain pump
24V Jabsco water puppy
Forward heads shower drain
24V Jabsco shower drain pump 37202-2024
Forward heads toilet
Jabsco Manual
Aft heads toilet
LeeSan Headmaster connected to a custom 44gal (200lt) TekTank holding tank
Deck wash and holding tank flush
24V Flojet R4325-343L

Bilge pump systems

Submersible bilgepumps
Three 24V Johnson 4000 submersible bilgepumps fitted forward, engineroom and aft
One 24V Jabsco 2000 submersible bilgepump fitted in the lazarette
Engine-driven pump
Jabsco impeller pump with electric clutch and Perko strumbox
Control panel
Custom, made by Kim Hollamby, offers manual override of all pumps and indicator lights when working automatically or manually

Fire fighting equipment

FirePro generator 670mm X 85mm diameter
Heat and smoke detectors
FPX104c panel with sounder beacon
1kg dry powder extinguisher in forward cabin
2kg and 4kg dry powder extinguishers in galley
2kg dry powder extinguisher in saloon
6kg dry powder extinguisher in aft quarter cabin
1kg dry powder extinguisher in aft cabin
1.2m x 1.8m fire blankets in galley and aft quarter cabin
First Alert combined smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in forward cabin, saloon, aft quarter cabin and aft cabin

Anchoring equipment

24V Lofrans Tigres 10mm gipsy
Lewmar 68000844 three-button wireless remote
Master Winch wired remote control
Lofrans 24V solenoid
Ground tackle
40m of 10mm chain
Boat’s original Danforth-style anchor, approx 30kg, regalvanised

Sound signalling

Air horns
Kahlenberg D-0A twin marine air horns connected to engineroom compressor and tank
Kahlenberg M-511C sound signal controller at lower helm and single press button at upper helm