I can’t claim any more knowledge about this than can be gleaned from references made to these boats over the years on the internet, but as I recall it, Western Lady Ferries operated four Fairmile Bs for many years, which as public service boats, would have received regular maintenance, with more money spent on them than any other Fairmile motor launches still existing were likely to enjoy. Having presumably reached the stage where they had to be retired, Western Ferry commissioned new purpose-built boats, at which point they dispensed with their Fairmiles, but kept Western Lady III, RML 497.
As I recall from the owner’s web site at the time, it was taken out of the water to undergo an overhaul, and painted grey, before being put back into service for a ‘third’ life, as an historic boat/excursion ferry, running from Torquay to the Dartmouth River. This is the boat passed to the Royal Navy Museum, who despite their funding capacity, have found the ship’s hull to be at life’s end, and have had to commit it to a static exhibit at Hartlepool. So it strikes me that if RML 497, having had so much care & attention, and money lavished on it over the years can go no further, then any of these boats still in private hands stand no chance, unless their owners are extremely wealthy.
I also get the sense, that not withstanding general ‘austerity’, award bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund with money for MGB 81, HSL 102, and others in recent years, consider that the lot now for these boats. A sad end to one of the last of its kind, but I can’t see any fault due to its owners, who have presumably tried their best and possibly incurred debt through it.