Interview with Des Pollard

Des Pollard’s interview with Tony B for the Twinkeeler Newsletter

Des Pollard was the owner of the former Russell Marine of Southen, Essex, England where most of the Alacrities and Vivacities were built. The info below was taken form an interview with him in the Twinkeeler Newsletter.

Between 1959 and 1980 Des built about 6000 boats. In 1959 he started with dinghies – building Enterprises, Albacores and GP14. In 1960 Peter Stephenson drew the lines for the hull of the twinkeeled Alacrity. The trial model was introduced at 17’3″ and adjusted to 18’6″. The Alacrity started life as a cold-moulded marine plywood craft, the hull being moulded by the same company that produced the DeHavilland Mosquito fighter bomber in WW2.

Within a year GRP hulls were produced. About six months after the production of the Alacrity started an extended version called the Vivacity20 was built, available with either twin or fin keels. A deluxe version was also which had more headroom and a divider which allowed separate cabins and privacy in the heads.

In 1963 the V20 was further extende to produce the V21/650 (6.5m) with it’s slightly odd looking flat level cabin/coachroof or raised deck,depending on your point of view. The V24 came along in 1973/4, designed by Alan Hill, again with twin or fin keel.

Des said “Although it [the V24] sold OK, I favoured the Alacrity, V20 and V21. At about the same time we produced the Islander23, another twin keeler. About 600 Alacrities and Vivacities were shipped to the States. Nine of them are believed to have sailed across the Atlantic Ocean.

V20’s were also built in Jo’burg, Barcelona and Sydney. The V21 and V24 were also built in Spain and the Islander was built in Nagoya which my search indicates is in Japan.

In 1975 Russell Marine linked up with Catalina in the States and produced the 22,25,27 and 30 footer Catalinas which were marketed as Jaguars in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Des had to fight the Jaguar Car Company in court to use the name, needless to say, he won!

Summary of Dates:

1959 Russell Marine builds dinghies

1960 Peter Stephenson designs the Alacrity

1961/2 Vivacity 20 produced

1963 V21/650 Launched

1973 V24 produced. Islander23 introduced.

1975 Links with Catalina

1980 Last boat built


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