We purchased Poplar Diver – a twin-hulled cruising ex-lifeboat – from Bob Theakston in May 2000. Formerly known as “Charles H Barrett”, Poplar Diver was built to rigorous RNLI standards in 1965 by Yarrow’s on the Clyde. The 70ft Clyde Class lifeboat was the “culmination of ten years of development” being the first “liveaboard” lifeboat ever built in the UK as well as being the first modern lifeboat built from steel.
The first of her class – 70-001 – Poplar Diver represented a radical change of concept for the RNLI, with crew sleeping on board the vessel. Just two boats of this design were commissioned. The second – “Grace Ritchie” – worked for the Icelandic Rescue Service for many years before being sold into private ownership.
Poplar Diver first worked with the RNLI Relief Fleet from 1966, taking part in trials at Clovelly, Kirkwall and Ullapool. In 1968 she was stationed permanently at Clovelly until 1975 when she returned to the Relief Fleet. She was finally withdrawn from service in 1988. In her 22 years as a lifeboat Poplar Diver responded to 287 calls and saved 83 lives.
After leaving RNLI service Poplar Diver was expertly converted by new owner Bob Theakston at a cost in excess of £100,000. He ran the boat for a number of years taking her to some exciting destinations such as Greenland. He sold the boat to Mark and Hannah in May 2000. Early in 2002 we sold her to Rob Barlow from Tobermory and in February 2004 Rob delivered Poplar Diver to her new owner in Antwerp before purchasing Elizabeth G – a sister ship of Hjalmar Bjorge – the following month. The bottom two photos are of Poplar Diver – now renamed “Dolphin” – in the Port of Rotterdam during 2009 and in dry dock in Stellendam.
DID YOU KNOW?
The correct Norwegian pronunciation for Hjalmar Bjørge is "YAL-MUH B'YOR-GAY" but we call the boat "HAL-MUH GEORGE"