Canfly was built in 1922 specifically to house the engine it is powered by, a 1917 Rolls Royce 85 HP Mk1 Hawk Engine, serial no. 332. The engine was originally used in a First World War airship, which was decommissioned after the war. The engine bought from the Royal Air Force disposal board for £75.00, by Harold Pattinson, George Pattinson’s uncle.
The engine has been modified for use on a boat by fitting a large flywheel operated via direct drive onto the vessel’s propeller shaft, it is started by hand and has no gearbox.
Between 1922 and 1937 Canfly raced regularly on the lake and was the official’s boat during record attempts, including Sir Henry Segrave’s tragic world waterspeed record in 1930, when she raced to the scene of the accident in time to rescue the only survivor.
Canfly is dangerous to operate and difficult to control within the Windermere speed limit. The boat has to be pointed out into the middle of the lake before starting, and can only be stopped by cutting the engine.
Harold Pattinson gave the Rolls Royce Hawk engine to the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club at Broad Leys and in 1960 the hull was also sold by his estate.
The engine was restored to working order in 1977 by the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust. In 2012 Lakeland Arts received a grant from the PRISM fund to purchase the engine from Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club ensuring that the engine and hull remain together on display at the museum.
Canfly’s engine is extremely rare and too significant to risk damaging it through operational use. The boat and its engine will therefore be conserved for display in the main exhibition space, where they can be appreciated at close quarters. The log book for the Rolls Royce Hawk engine will be on show close by along with film footage of them in action.
|Builder||Harry Breaker, Bowness|
|Beam||5’ 6” (1.5m)|
|Engine||Rolls Royce Hawk 6 cylinder aero engine, 7.4 litre, 85 bhp at 1350 rpm|
|Speed||30 mph (approx. 48 kph)|