Charmain - Admiralty Pattern Pinnace

The 36-foot pinnace Charmian is a traditional wooden boat, built in 1905.  Rowed by up to 12 sailors, Charmian would ferry officers from ship to shore, transport goods and supplies and carry landing parties in wartime, and is reputed to have once served the great battleship HMS Dreadnought.

Charmian is a traditional wooden boat, built to the same Admiralty pattern used since the 1600s.  The type of ship she served, however, was a devastating new breed.  HMS Dreadnought was built here in Portsmouth Dockyard and launched in 1906.  With steam turbine engines and heavy guns, she gave her name to a new class of similar battleships built in the years leading up to the First World War.

After her navy years, Charmian became a private yacht and then a houseboat.  During restoration work on her return to Portsmouth, the shocking discovery of dozens of artillery shells from the First World War, acting as ballast, caused the swift evacuation of the Historic Dockyard and harbour!

Boat Stats

Length Overall





1ft 8 in


5 tons


Originally oars, was later converted to a motorised houseboat.


Double diagonal teak planking.

Date Built


Boat Yard

Boathouse 6, HM Dockyard, Portsmouth.


Supported by:

Supported by Regional Growth Fund