In the 1937 season, Alpha cruised to Portsmouth, attending the fleet review on May 20th to mark George VI’s coronation; according to the log, the Royal Yacht sailed within 100 yards of Alpha. That summer she was left on the Hamble, and later in the year she cruised to Belgium, Holland and France. At the end of that season she wintered at Shoreham for work to be carried out on her. In 1937, too, a new petrol engine was installed which, according to the log entries, caused plenty of problems at the outset, before eventually behaving. No entries exist in the log for 1938. In 1939 Alpha sailed from the Hamble to Trouville, Cherbourg, Guernsey, Dartmouth, Fowey and Falmouth. The log shows that on September 1st 1939 the women on board were put ashore in the Yealm river, after news of Germany’s invasion of Poland. The boat then sailed to Dartmouth, and there she was laid up for the duration of the war.
After the war
Alpha was fitted out again after the war in 1947, and her first sail was from Dartmouth to St Mawes. There are no further entries for 1947. The entries for the post-war years are not as comprehensive as for the pre-war ones. Mike Humphries has a letter from Neil macFadyen, who says that his father, Eric, was a joint owner of Alpha, with David Warner. However, the surviving log entries appear to relate solely to Warner. In 1948 and 1949 Alpha was based in St Mawes. There was a voyage to Guernsey, Lezadrieux and back to Plymouth. Apparently in 1949 she wintered in the Hamble, and she seems to have been based there until 1952, when the log entries cease. During that period she cruised the south coast of England and the north coast of France. Neil MacFadyen says that during that period, his family used Alpha for a summer holiday a year, cruising as far afield as the Scillies and bits of Brittany and Normandy. The behaviour of the bowsprit, according to Neil MacFadyen, caused consternation on more than one occasion.
David Warner and Eric MacFadyen owned Alpha until at least 1957. By 1959 she was owned by P.C. Doyle of Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk; no homeport is given. By 1961 Alpha had been acquired by Neil Pettifer and his sister, Pauline. Pettifer appears to have been inspired by Frank Carr’s book “A Yachtsman’s Log”, and he looked at a number of Bristol Channel pilot cutters before plumping for Alpha. Pettifer was a solicitor in Lincolnshire-another legal connection for Alpha. Though the Pettifers were not able to use Alpha as much as they had hoped, the cutter was nonetheless kept in first-class condition.