Scouse Mouse

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After parting with Rocinante, seven boatless years passed painfully by and I’d moved to Liverpool.

On Friday 3rd August 2001 while on holiday in Cornwall, I bought the Amarantha.

She was a standard Pandora 22 Mk 1 and cost £2,650.

The Amarantha was to become the Scouse Mouse, but that was seven years later.


Early Days

It felt like it had been a long time since I last sailed and I didn’t venture far.

I took things easy to begin with.

On fine days I’d sail out into Falmouth Bay, head for the Lizard, turn back towards Dodman Point and then back to Falmouth again. It became quite a routine and I followed the same route many times.

On other days, I’d potter around the local area or tinker with the boat.

By the end of September, it was time to return to the real world and head home.


Back to Reality

I paid for the boat to be transported to Liverpool and then paid for twelve months berthing at Liverpool Marina.

The money for this little extravaganza had come from a windfall. I blew the lot and my membership of the idle rich club came to an abrupt end.

Taking the first job I was offered, my annual income of £10,000 plus the £7.92 monthly pension meant I was going to be in the budget category as far as yachting was concerned.


Seven Years in the Irish Sea

There’s a lot you don’t find out when you learn to sail in Cornwall. I certainly found the Irish Sea to be rather challenging, with a huge tidal range, strong currents, few cosy anchorages and mile upon mile of mud banks.

On the other hand, any form of yachting isn’t usually considered some sort of imposition, so it was a case of making the best of things, even if I did quietly long for the cruising grounds of Cornwall.

The tides dictate two options when cruising out of the Mersey or Dee rivers. Go for a “day” sail which involves about one hour getting swept in one direction and an hour getting swept back to your mooring again. Alternatively, there’s long distance sailing.

My best trip was to the Isle of Man, across to Northern Ireland and back again. It was long enough to be satisfying, yet short enough to fit into a normal holiday.


© Jester Banner – Jester Challenge
© Joshua Slocum – Joshua Slocum Society

The Origins of the Scouse Mouse

A new event called the Jester Challenge took place in 2006, but I didn’t know about it until afterwards. It seemed like a great idea to me and I sent off an email to Ewen to express my approval and best wishes, and how I would have been even more interested if I had known about it rather sooner. Ewen replied to suggest that it might be repeated every four years, so I added my name to the list of people interested in “JC10”.

At that time, my longest ever passage was Liverpool to the Isle of Man, in pretty fabulous weather. I lacked experience. On top of that, my boat was not suitable, financially I couldn’t afford the time off work, and then there were domestic responsibilities to bear in mind.

At 21 feet 10 inches overall, the Amarantha was at the smaller end of the Jester range of 20 to 30 feet. I did receive some suggestions that it would make sense to save up and buy a bigger boat. It’s an attractive idea but the more I thought about it, the more worried I became about not having a boat at all. Past experience suggested to me that I ought to hang on to what I’d got and make the best of it, rather than sacrifice it for some pie in the sky dream that might never happen.

The following year I took an angle grinder to the Amarantha and cut through the fibreglass cockpit seats like a knife through butter. Either I would fashion something I considered seaworthy, or I would simply destroy any financial value in the boat to no purpose.

Joshua Slocum rebuilt the Spray from a rotten oyster sloop lying in a field at Fairhaven, Massachusetts, in 1892. The stem of the boat was the only part that remained after the old boat was repaired, but Slocum maintained that if the stem is retained then it is still the same boat and should keep the same name. Three years later he set off on the first ever solo circumnavigation of the world.

I felt differently about the Amarantha and I’m not superstitious. This was to be a new life for her. A famous yacht of the post war era was Capt. J. H. Illingworth’s Mouse of Malham, so I decided to tip my hat in her direction and the Amarantha became Scouse Mouse in 2008.


History of the Pandora

The story of the Pandora starts way back in 1962, when the renowned Dutch Yacht Designer E. G. Van de Stadt devised the “Randmeer”, a dayboat with a low freeboard. The Randmeer is still raced today in the Netherlands with a very active class association and its own website Randmeer Klasse Organisatie.

Later developments of the Randmeer included adding a deck with a cabin thereby converting the boat into a cruiser, which was then, renamed “Trotter”.

The Trotter was handicapped with its low freeboard, so Van de Stadt designed a new faster hull with higher freeboard but still using the Trotter deck. The new boat was call a “Trotter-Pandora” and was very popular and successful on the Continent, with about 200 boats being sold. In addition the boat was also licensed to be produced in the USA, Australia and Japan.

In 1967 Grimsby Plastics, who built no more than 20 boats, introduced the Trotter-Pandora to England. Rydgeway Marine Ltd. of Lowestoft Suffolk then succeeded them in 1970 by acquiring the moulds and marketed the same boat but under a new name “Pandora”. This Pandora later became known as the “Mark 1”.

In 1971 Rydgeway made two very minor modifications to the original Trotter deck. However, it was not until circa 1973 that a major redesign/modernisation was undertaken, with the introduction of the “International”.

The International had a deeper, higher aspect ratio fin keel and the rig was modified in line with the then current IOR fashion. This consisted of a higher mast and a shorter boom.

In 1976 the last modernisation was undertaken with the introduction of the “700”. The 700 had now stretched to 7.01 meters (hence its name) with the introduction of a retrousse stern and associated inboard rudder and an even taller mast and shorter boom. Production of the 700 ceased in October 1991.

Purchasers of all boats had the choice of a Fin keel, Twin keel or Centreplate configuration (the Mark 1 also had a triple-keel option).

Since the demise of Rydgeway Marine, no further Pandora’s have been built and the total yachts produced is estimated to be in the region of between 850 to 900 (including the 200 Continental Trotter-Pandora’s). Van de Stadt’s later developments of this design include the Splinter – built by SOS – and the Spirit 24.

The main Pandora racing fleet in the UK has long been based in Abersoch, sailing under the burgee of the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club.

The Pandora Owners Association was originally formed in Abersoch, North Wales in 1980 to encourage all types of sailing of the Van de Stadt designed Pandora yacht.

© The  Pandora Owners Association websites are no longer maintained. The History, Specifications and Brochures have been retrieved from and using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.


 Pandora Specifications

Scouse Mouse is, or was, a Mk1 Pandora.

Pandora Specifications
Dimension Mk1 International 700
Length (Overall) 21′ 10″ 21′ 10″ 23′ 00″
Length (Waterline) 18′ 9″ 18′ 9″ 18′ 9″
Beam 6′ 11″ 6′ 11″ 6′ 11″
Draught (Fin-Keel) 3′ 3″ 3′ 9″ 3′ 10″
Displacement 2427 lbs 2500 lbs 2500 lbs
Ballast 980 lbs 960 lbs 980 lbs
Sails Mk. 1 International 700
Main 97sq ft 92sq ft 84sq ft
Genoa 146sq ft 160sq ft 172sq ft
No.1 Jib 94sq ft 124sq ft 125sq ft
No.2 Jib 78sq ft 80sq ft 85sq ft
Storm Jib 40sq ft 40sq ft 45sq ft
Spinnaker 309sq ft 349sq ft 356sq ft
PYS 1130 1124 1103


Pandora Brochures

Rydgeway Marine Brochures

Pandora Mk1 Brochure

Pandora Mk1 Brochure ©

Pandora International Brochure

Pandora Int Brochure ©

Pandora 700 Brochure

Pandora 700 Brochure ©