I am still trying to piece together the exact history and provenance of early GRP mirrors such as the one above. We know Bell Woodworking started producing a GRP boat moulded by Ferranti in March 1986. However, the boat shown above, and others I have come across differ from the Bell/Ferranti boat in some important ways. One has a sail number dating to 1979, another to 1985 so pre-dating the Bell/Ferranti boat. I'm now of the view these were built by Holt (who were also Licence holders). We know that Holt made 70 GRP composite Mirrors (GRP hull, wooden interior) around the early 80s (again, exact dates are unknown), so it would be logical for them to have made an all GRP version. They are quite similar to the Bell/Ferranti with very rounded corners inside the hull where the topsides meet the aft and the bow transoms, following in plan view, the profile of the normal bow shapes and quarter knees. Constructed using chopped strand mat. Similar deck layout to most wooden Mirrors (i.e. Mk2 interior) but no inner gunwales, no bow shapes or quarter knees.The differences between the Holt boat and the Bell/Ferranti are:
- The deck moulding goes up to the gunwale (so is uniform in colour) and wraps over onto the hull mould. There is a lip along each side deck edge by the cockpit and strengthening knees around the rowlock locations. This is a much stronger construction than the Bell/Ferranti boat where the deck mould stops just above deck level.
- They often have a coloured hull (dark blue, red, light blue,...) and different, uniform colour decks (white or beige/yellow).
- They have a wooden skeg (just visible in the photo above). The Holt composite Mirrors are the same, evidence that the same hull mould was used by the same builder. The Bell/Ferranti has a two part GRP skeg.
- They have wooden thwarts
- They originally had Holt sails