The Original
Deben 4-Tonner

Deben 4-Tonner
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Specification
LOA (deck) 6.833 m 22' 5"
LWL 5.791 m 19' 0"
Beam 2.134 m 7' 0"
Draught 1.067 m 3' 6"
Headroom 1.448 m 4' 9"
Displacement 3.005 t 3.31 tons (6625 lbs)
Ballast 914 kg 18 cwt (2016 lbs)
Trimmimg Ballast 305 kg 6 cwt (672 lbs)
Thames Measurement   4 tons
Mainsail 19.510 sq m 210.00 sq ft
Jib 6.968 sq m 75.00 sq ft
Engine 2.983 kw 4.00 bhp
More specification info ...
In 1936, Claude Whisstock commissioned W. M. Blake to design the Deben 4-tonner for a customer. Subsequently, at least 35 of these robust little sail boats were built by the yard from 1937 through to 1960.

Most "Debens" are still sailing today; some have been lovingly restored and I am regularly in touch with many of their current owners.

A list of Deben 4-Tonners is available here

A scan of a boatyard brochure (c. 1948) for the Deben 4-Tonner is available here (loads in a new window). The original is in a poor state so the scans are not especially good.

A scan of a slightly later brochure (c. 1950) for the Deben 4-Tonner and 6-Tonner is available here (loads in a new window).

Deben Honour was chosen to be exhibited at the Festival of Britain 1951 – here's a photo of her at the exhibition and the Exhibition Certificate

Here's a quote from the 1951 brochure which I think sums up these great little boats:

September 1948. Gosport. "The passage was completed in 72 sailing hours, first port of call Calais, then Folkestone and Gosport. We had about 12 hours of good weather, the rest violent to fair, but the boat behaved excellently, even when hove to off the Kentish Knock and in some really heavy seas off the French coast. I am very pleased with the way she behaved at sea."

Our original tracings of the Deben 4-Tonner are so fragile that printing from them would be very difficult. In order that the design details can be perpetuated, we have transcribed the original Table of Offsets into our design program, and faired the lines to fit the offsets as closely as possible.

This is basically the same process that would have been carried out full size on the loft floor at Whisstocks in 1936. The loft was still standing through to 2016; now the whole boatyard site is, sadly, being redeveloped for expensive apartments.

The photograph top left is of Claude Whisstock and Ted Marsh (Ted is at the helm) sailing the Deben 4-Tonner Cyrelia, Yard No. 124, at Woodbridge on 21st October 1939.

We have now recreated all five original drawings and these are available to as a free download. They are:

Offsets (1936)
Lines (1936)
Construction Plan (1936)
Sail Plan, Gaff Rig (1936)
Sail Plan, Bermudian Rig (1937)

The Offsets are set out a little differently from a modern Table of Offsets. We have provided some explanatory notes and a brief description of the Laying-off, or Lofting, process here.

To access the Deben 4-tonner plans you just need to register, and the Deben 4-Tonner plans, together with other free designs, will appear in your design portfolio. You don't need to make any purchase.

Existing members will be able to see and download these recreated plans from their design portfolio.