[L] Sir Alan Cobham. [R] With Lady Gladys, preparing to fly around Africa.
In 1936 the aviation pioneer Sir Alan Cobham decided that he should have a boat. Having been told that the best boats were to be found in Scotland he sent his wife, the former stage actress Gladys Lloyd, there to find one. She found Cupid lying at Greenock and, with the help of an Irishman named Sullivan, arranged to buy her for £900 (about £50,000 in today's money, an extraordinary bargain even then). Sir Alan combined his wife's name with his own and named the boat Glala. In his memoirs A Time to Fly, Sir Alan wrote;
"Early in May  we set forth from Greenock to take her down to Itchenor. Sullivan and a mechanic were with me. Our voyage south started magnificently, the weather being perfect and the sea like the proverbial mill-pond. The day passed, and I went below to sleep, but was soon woken up by a lot of alarming noise, and found that the port engine had failed. The mechanic got it going again, but soon afterwards the starboard engine failed as well, and then the port engine once again; we just managed to limp into Milford Haven on practically no power at all."
Sir Alan thought that Glala had been built for an expedition up the Amazon;
"We had great fun with her. She had been specially designed to be easy to get off any shore or sandbank on which she might run aground in those Amazonian waters..."
Many years later their son Michael visited Glala. In a letter written afterwards (1989) he recalls cruising in the Irish Sea; engine trouble and repairs at Milford Haven; the whole family living aboard for two months at Itchenor and a trip to Dartmouth where he saw the 'J' class yachts racing. He mentions that the 1980s interior was not as he remembered it, there used to be a lot of dark mahogany, but the wheelhouse was much the same and he says that there was no direct engine control, the helmsman communicated with the engine room through an impressive brass telegraph.
Sir Alan sold Glala to "a determined lady" for a small profit. Who she was is not recorded but in 1938 Glala was sold by Thomas Needham to AEC Ltd, an engineering company best known for their buses and lorries.