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Constance - 1895 48' 6" Electric Cabin Launch 

This is a completely unique and beautiful vessel dating back to the reign of Queen Victoria. Originally built for Colonel Shuttleworth to act as a steam driven tender for his many fine sailing yachts.

Constance is built in teak on oak, a carvel construction, copper fastened, with an elm keel, she retains her original elegant hull boasting an especially graceful counter stern. She was restored in 2006.

Now available with modern and whisper quiet electric propulsion. She has been lovingly looked after for over 15 years by the present owner and is now available for dreamy days on the river and entertaining. Constance would make an ideal boat for either private ownership and would make that special adornment for a riverside property or could be used for commercial charter subject to the requisite preparations.

Her saloon has 8 bevelled glass arch topped windows.

Her electric engines are charged by connecting the ship to shore cable housed on board to her intelligent charger outlet and to an on land power source.

constance postcard copy

Ownership and Accommodation

Constance can carry up to 12 passengers and 2 crew and its current owner has used the boat for occasional private charter on the River Thames.

Constance has comfortably provided long days’ of cruising on the River Thames following a very economic overnight charge. Shorter charging periods can be used to top up the battery power. The additional advantages of electric propulsion on inland waterways are many. Cruising is virtually silent and pollution free providing both passengers and wildlife with a wonderfully peaceful experience not achievable with other forms of propulsion.


The Environment Agency annual charge is reduced by 25% for electrically powered vessels and priority is given for mooring at river locks providing electricity outlets.

Getting on board and merely flicking a switch to get cruising is a pure joy. LED displays easily visible to the helm give constant indication of amps being drawn and power left in the batteries. The steering is hydraulic and unusually, Constance is helmed from the bow. On board facilities and accommodation Measuring nearly 50’ in overall length with an 8’6” beam, Constance offers very adaptable cruising.

She has a velvet upholstered and teak lined covered saloon seating 8 which incorporates plenty of locker storage space, hardwood preparation surfaces, foldaway teak table top, brass fresh water pump with fresh water available from inboard water tank and also a W.C. plumbed to inboard charcoal filtered waste water tank suitable for inland river cruising.


The saloon offers room for staying overnight on board and has 8 bevelled glass arch topped windows. For external cruising, Constance has an unusually large open foredeck where large parties can comfortably sit, drink and dine, with a removable bespoke cloth canopy for shelter on sunny days. There is a large forepeak cabin which houses her intelligent charger and controls for electric propulsion and which also offers good space for other boat equipment, folding table, chairs etc. Her stern deck has locker seating for 6 people. 


Constance, is on the historic ships register no 2036.


She was originally named Jap, was commissioned in 1893 by Colonel Frank Shuttleworth as an auxiliary launch to his large sea going steam yachts moored at the Royal Naval Squadron, Cowes. Originally steam powered, she was designed and used for ferrying his VIP passengers from ship to shore in the sophisticated fashion expected in those grand and opulent maritime days.


After a 20 year successful military career, her original owner Frank Shuttleworth inherited his father’s estate and became a wealthy and successful industrialist with a great love of sport, racing and the acquisition of beautiful things. As owner of large Bedforshire estates at Old Warden Park and an elegant house in London – number 17 Berkeley Square - he owned and raced a succession of thoroughbred horses.


In 1890 he was elected to the exclusive and elite Four-in-Hand Club where he drove fabulous carriages at meets held in London’s Hyde Park or Horse Guards Parade. His cars included Rolls Royce, Lanchester, Daimler, De Dietrich and in the 1890’s his enthusiasm also turned to racing yachts.

As a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron he owned a succession of luxurious yachts moored at Cowes, Isle of Wight – Primrose, Oberon, Mohawk, Paulina, Xarifa, Zanita, Mera- and Constance (Jap) was the beautiful launch which attended them.


Since her illustrious beginnings, she has had several owners and her history sees her moving between the south of England coastal waters and periods on the River Thames until the 1960’s when her fate becomes less clear. Constance underwent extensive restoration during the 1990’s and again in 2005-7 when she was converted to electric propulsion.

She was awarded the Peter Allen Restoration Award in 2009 by the Transport Trust presented by HRH Prince Michael of Kent. She was entered in the Lloyds yacht register in1898/9. Construction Constructed by Henry Guy of Cowes and originally launched in 1895. 

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