Wanderer

Wanderer is an ingenious life-saving vessel from WWII – the parachuted airborne lifeboat.

A rare example of the Mark II Parachuted Airborne Lifeboat, this vessel also illustrates the techniques of a pre-war racing dinghy.

It was invented by English boat designer Uffa Fox. This type of wooden lifeboat was modelled on the lines of a pre-war racing dinghy and would have been carried underneath aircraft to be dropped by parachute into the sea, as close to possible to airmen who had been forced to ditch their planes, to try and prevent German capture.

These self-righting and self-bailing boats were well-equipped with all the survival kit the airmen needed. They even had a supply of cigarettes and rum to lift the spirits of the airmen and each boat had a big arrow painted on it to show where the bow was, for those unfamiliar with the layout of a boat. The Uffa Fox airborne lifeboat was also equipped with sails, motor engines, radio equipment, food rations and spare clothing.

After the war this boat was sold from Leuchars Aerodrome on the east coast to a St Andrews woman who converted it into a sailing yacht. It is one of only 500 built and is estimated that these lifeboats saved over 600 lives in total. They were used all over the world, including the North Sea, Bay of Biscay, Norway and the Pacific.

A rare example of the Mark II Parachuted Airborne Lifeboat, this vessel also illustrates the techniques of a pre-war racing dinghy.