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SEPTEMBER 2020

T H E W O R L D’ S M O S T B E A U T I F U L B O A T S

BIGGEST PILOT CUTTER

SMALL BOAT SAILING The Brittany coast

Luke Powell’s masterpiece

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STEFFAN MEYRIC HUGHES, EDITOR

THE BIGGEST PILOT CUTTER YET

PAGE 42

The building of the Pellew, Luke Powell’s ninth pilot cutter build in Cornwall, is something we, and much of the sailing world, have been following since the start. The most extraordinary thing about the project is not the size (although she’s by far the biggest pilot cutter replica of her sort to date), but the fact that one man has now built nine of these – and that there has been the market to support it. A decade ago, the pilot cutter replica building boom was unique: never has there been, that I know of, such a sudden appetite for large, working style sailing vessels costing the best part of half a million Pounds or more. The fever ended as quickly as it began, and there was a point a few years ago, when brokers had so many, they couldn’t shift them. Will Pellew reignite some interest in these aristocrats of the working class? Or will it be the full stop on an amazing, short-lived boom? At the other end of the scale, architect and dinghy-cruising maestro Roger Barnes relives the Brittany coast of 1970, scene of his childhood holidays, as he returns there as an adult in his French dinghy Avel Dro. Pure magic. COVER PHOTO: NIGEL SHARP

CONTENTS 4 ISSUE No 387

classicboat.co.uk Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London, SW3 3TQ EDITORIAL Editor Steffan Meyric Hughes +44 (0)203 943 9256 steffan@classicboat.co.uk Senior Art Editor Peter Smith +44 (0)203 943 9246 peter.smith@classicboat.co.uk

PELLEW

COVER STORY

4 . RETURN OF THE NATIVE Luke Powell’s ninth pilot cutter, the biggest replica of her kind COVER STORY

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20 . SLIPSTREAM The Broads racer that thinks it’s a Thames A Rater 32 . DRAGGING THE CLEW Our resident expert and seadog Tom Cunliffe on how to sort this 34 . TROUBLED WATERS It’s not the first time sailing has been put on hold; the Great War had the same effect

COVER STORY

40 . ROD HEIKELL The well known pilot on his early boats, pilotage, and the best showers

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S L I P S T R EA M

COVER STORY

42 . BRITTANY REVISITED Roger Barnes sails the Breton coast, 50 years after childhood sailing holidays

40

COVER STORY

48 . WORKING NINE TO FIVE This Great Lakes commuter yacht is the last word in inter-war style 56 . CABIN YACHTS UNDER £10K It’s the turn of the GRP Halcyon, one of the early glass classics 64 . ROBBINS TIMBER We visit the plywood supremos 66 . SAILS FOR CLASSICS A quick primer on the cuts and the cloths your yacht needs

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CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

3


LUKE CHAPTER 9 Pellew is Luke Powell’s 9th pilot cutter replica, and his biggest... by far WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHS NIGEL SHARP


Main picture: Luke at the helm Inset, left to right: Tackle for whisker stay; named after local hero Admiral Edward Pellew; end of bowsprit


PELLEW

P

ellew is the ninth pilot cutter to be built by Luke Powell in the past quarter of a century, but what sets her apart from the others is her size. With a hull length of 68ft (20.7m) she is significantly longer than the 46ft (14m) Agnes, the biggest of the previous eight. But it is in displacement terms that she really stands out: at 74 tonnes, she is triple the size. The previous boats were based on Isles of Scilly pilot cutters, whereas Pellew is a replica of the Vincent, a Falmouth pilot cutter. The Scilly boats were generally smaller than their Falmouth cousins, which often carried as many as eight pilots. One thing they have in common is that no original boats of either type survive today. The Vincent was built with a hull length of 55ft (16.8m) by Richard and Hugh Hocking at Stonehouse, Plymouth in 1852. Her first owners were William, John and Joseph Vincent, from a family of pilots based in St Mawes. According to Merchant Shipping records, in 1877 her hull was lengthened to 68ft, by cutting it in half and inserting a new mid-section. “Lengthening boats in that way was quite common practice, and with cargo vessels it was quite straightforward,” said Luke. “But with a boat like a pilot cutter, the drag of the keel, the changing midship sections and the shape of the sheer would have made it very complicated. It could be that they just scrapped the original boat and built a new bigger one, but claimed they had lengthened the original boat to avoid paying the 50 guineas fee to register a new one. But no one today could prove it one way or the other.” In 1887, Vincent was sold for £450 to the Falmouth District Pilot Boat Association, formed to pool the assets and income of the port’s pilots in the face of declining mercantile trade. By the early 20th century she was based in Falmouth and no longer owned by the Vincent family, but continued to work in her original role until 1922 – one of the last Falmouth sailing pilot cutters to do so. She then became a houseboat, until she was broken up at Freshwater Boatyard, St Mawes in the early 1930s. Some of her remains, including the companionway hatch, part of her boom, and her beaching legs, were incorporated into a house built soon afterwards near St Mawes. Luke built Agnes, his third Scillies boat, in 2003 for an American owner. “She was the ultimate Scillies pilot cutter,” Luke told me, “and if I was going to progress my ambitions at that time, then the next boat I would have built would have been a big Falmouth pilot cutter.” But

6

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

Below left: The saloon looking aft with the spacious companionway Below right: The well equipped galley, including Luke’s favourite topic – concealed lighting

potential clients seemed to want boats of around 44ft (13.4m), so that is what he built. When Agnes came on the market in 2005, Luke decided to buy her back and return her to the UK to live aboard. When it became apparent the banking crisis was hindering boatbuilding projects, he and his wife Joanna decided to put Agnes to work chartering. They have been doing so ever since. During all this, Luke kept discovering more about Falmouth pilot cutters, partly by accident and partly by actively looking. It started when Alf Jenkins (a Scillonian man with great knowledge of the islands’ history) showed him a photo of a 1:12 scale half-model of one. Alf didn’t know where the model was but several years later it turned up. Some time before, Frankie Peters, the last of the Peters family to build boats at Freshwater, had found it in a loft. He then passed it on to designer Percy Dalton, and from there it came into the hands of Cornish gig builder Ralph Bird. “It was a model of the original 55ft Vincent,” said Luke, “and it was the only existing DNA of a Falmouth pilot cutter.” Despite Ralph’s reluctance, Luke was eventually able to take the lines off the model, and over time he built up a collection of old photos of Falmouth pilot cutters. The final and fundamental piece in the jigsaw that allowed Luke to begin the new project was meeting Brian Pain, done through mutual friends in Faversham, where he had once lived and worked.

COMBINING PASSIONS At that time, Brian had just sold Rochester Independent College, which he had founded in 1984. He also owns a Thames sailing barge and was keen to combine his two passions by helping to create opportunities for education in maritime skills. Over a period of a few years, Brian sailed with Luke on Agnes many times and the two of them became friends. “On one voyage he asked me if I was ever going to build boats again,” said Luke. At that time, Luke didn’t think he was, and was seriously considering selling all his boatbuilding tools and machinery, along with all the timber he still had. “Don’t do that,” Brian said, and suggested instead that charity Artysea could provide funding for boatbuilding projects with an emphasis on training – in traditional boatbuilding initially and then for sailors on the completed vessels. The pair agreed to build a replica of the 68ft Vincent, and work started in January 2017 at a riverside site just outside Truro. They named the site the Rhoda Mary


PELLEW

Inset: Hatch to the aft cabin

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

7


PELLEW

Shipyard, after the 1868 Cornish trading schooner that has been lying derelict in the River Medway since 1925 – and which Luke has ambitions to restore at some point.

WE NEED A BIGGER CRANE Almost all of the new boat’s hull is oak, supplied by SH Somerscales. The keel is made up of two pieces of 9in (23cm) x 14in (36cm). The sawn frames are 4in (10cm) x 9in at the bottom, 4in x 6in (15cm) at the top, and are in pairs over most of their lengths. The bottom planking is 2in (5cm) thick with the upper part of the topsides 2¾in (7cm). “It is a good idea for the topsides to be thicker as they take more punishment – bashing alongside quays and other vessels, and potential collisions etc,” said Luke. “Also, the sheer strake in particular gives a boat the longitudinal strength it needs to stop it hogging.” The resulting chamfered step between the two thicknesses just above the waterline is an attractive feature that helps to break up the topsides. While Luke previously used chain blocks, he found a lorry with its own HIAB crane essential in handling the significant extra weight of the frames and planking on this boat. A 9-tonne external lead ballast keel reduces the requirement for internal ballast (although there is still 14 tonnes of it), in turn increasing cabin headroom. The 5in (13cm) x 9in oak deck beams support the 2in thick opepe deck planks, and the deck furniture is also opepe. Everything is bronze fastened. The spars were made from two Douglas fir trees, each about 65ft (19.8m) x 5ft (1.5m) and over 6 tonnes, from Gunnislake in Devon, having been planted in 1903. “It took two days to get here on a special low loader on a route which avoided various medieval bridges.” A “massive Wood-Mizer chain sawmill” was then used to machine the trees into squares before electric planes converted them to octagons and then rounds. They also provided enough material for the middle bulwark strakes (the upper and lower ones being oak), as well as the cabin sole. The rest of the interior joinery is oak. The initial team working with Luke included James Baker, who had helped Luke with various previous projects, and two young trainees, Arthur and Dom, who were completely new to boatbuilding. They took the boat to the stage where the frames were erected before work came to a halt for the summer while Luke took 8

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

Above left: Hydraulic barrel windlass by Webster Boat Machinery Above right: Pellew sailing in a decent breeze for the very first time

PELLEW LOS

91ft (27.7m) LOA

68ft (20.7m) LWL

60ft (18.3m) BEAM

18ft (5.5m) DRAUGHT

10ft (3m) DISP

74 tonnes SAIL AREA

2,600sq ft (242m2)

Agnes on charters. Then a new, larger team set to work: John Bray and Andy Cornish were joint head shipwrights, with up to four young trainees – Clyde, Ned, Shane and Katie, three of whom stayed until the boat was completed. Mylor Marine Team, from Mylor Yacht Harbour, did all of the electrical work; Colin Frake made all of the blocks; the sails came from North Sea Sails; and Bristol company Traditional Rigging made the standing rigging. All the metal fabrications were made in-house by Sam Coltman. The project slowed down in the autumn of 2018 when Luke was diagnosed with cancer and underwent four months of treatment. “We had to let a couple of people go to make the project more manageable, but the others carried on valiantly without me,” said Luke. “At the time I just hoped I might manage to see the boat sailing, but I’m still alive and I am hoping for a bit more now,” he added with a smile. “The boys did kindly offer to take me for the first sail in an urn!” It may have seemed obvious to name the new boat Vincent, but, said Luke, it has no “va va voom”. It was decided to call her Pellew, after local hero Admiral Edward Pellew who died in 1833. From a seafaring family, Pellew went to school in Truro but ran away to sea at the age of 14. “He fought in the American civil war and against the French. He committed great acts of bravery and he was very compassionate towards his crew – and towards captured enemy sailors. You don’t get a better hero than Edward Pellew.” Pellew was launched early one morning at the end of February and not long afterwards the world went into lockdown. By the end of May, however, Pellew was at last making her way down the Truro River to go sailing. One of Luke’s concerns was how Pellew might handle under power. After much debate about what sort of engine she should have, it had been decided to install a John Deer 125hp diesel engine with twin hydraulic drives, but this was later changed to a single hydraulic drive. So with a propeller shaft parallel to the centreline, but offset to port by about 3ft (0.9m), Luke’s fears were understandable. “I wondered if we would get round the first bend in the river, but she actually handles really well,” he said. “She does what you want. She can do 7 knots at full revs and 5.3 at 1,300rpm, and that is quite


Clockwise from top: In frame and ready for planking; Lofting the frames; Planking complete and caulking under way; Laying the opepe deck planks; The vast, empty interior looking aft


PELLEW

adequate. We’ll only need the engine to get in and out of harbour and cross the channel when there is no wind.” Luke drew Pellew’s rig after studying all the photographs and paintings of Falmouth pilot cutters he could get his hands on, and it is as close to what is known of the original as it could be. “It is much more authentic than the majority of other pilot cutters sailing today, as they have all tended to increase the sail area for racing,” he said. “I just thought that this is a big boat, no one alive has ever sailed a thing like this, and we have just got to trust the original people who designed and built them.”

INSTANT TRUST Accepting that “she won’t be the fastest boat in light weather”, Luke was, nonetheless, pleased with her performance in the gentle winds of her first sail. When, several weeks later, he had the chance to sail her in a decent breeze, he reported that he had “instant trust in her ability and knew that she would do all that is asked of her”. In due course, Pellew will have two topsails – a working jib-headed topsail and a jackyard topsail – the latter being nearly as big as the mainsail. “It’s going to be a big learning experience to use that one, especially when we need to get it down in a hurry,” said Luke. Her rig may be authentic, but Luke confesses to three “concessions to practicality” on deck: the doghouse in which the main companionway hatch is located (“to give the guests somewhere to sit on deck as well as a more spacious entrance”); the hydraulic barrel windlass, specially made by Cornish company Webster Boat Machinery (Falmouth boats tended to pick up moorings so didn’t have them, but they were traditional on Scilly pilot cutters, so all of Luke’s other boats have one); and two bronze electric capstans supplied by Italian Italwinch. “Everyone told me I was mad to operate a big cutter like this with a novice crew without some mechanical help,” Luke explained. “They will be used mainly for the mainsheet when gybing in a breeze.” Down below, Pellew has more of a “yacht interior” than an original pilot cutter. The layout, from forward, comprises a fo’c’s’le with a pipe cot and plenty of storage space; a large heads and shower compartment; a large semi-open sleeping cabin with four pairs of berths, each pair having a degree of privacy; to port a large saloon table with a freezer within it and plenty of seating around, a pilot berth and a heads compartment; to 10

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

Above left: Luke and some of his team Above right: Launch day arrives

starboard a large galley with an electric hob and oven, a dishwasher, a boiling hot water tap and under-cupboard concealed lighting (which Luke can’t stop pointing out to people, presumably because he is simply astonished that a traditional boat such as this would have such a thing); and aft of the companionway a three-berth cabin (one of the berths being athwartships), with a central table with a Northern Lights 18kVA generator in a soundproof box under it, a heads to port and chart table to starboard. This aft cabin doesn’t have standing headroom, but Luke describes “a lovely traditional old-fashioned aft cabin such as they had in the old West Country schooners”, adding: “There will be many a night sitting round this table telling salty tales washed down with a drop of rum.” For the next couple of years Pellew’s programme will concentrate on commercial chartering with occasional sail training, before balancing the two more evenly. On each voyage there will be a skipper, mate and cook (who will all live in the aft cabin) and an apprentice (in the fo’c’s’le), plus the guests or trainees. Initially, the skipper will be Luke, while he and his crew get to know the boat, particularly in bad weather, and ensure everything works properly. The plan then will be to have a “synergy of progression” whereby Agnes’s skipper replaces Luke on Pellew while Pellew’s mate becomes the skipper of Agnes, and so on. Meanwhile, Joanna will manage everything behind the scenes or, as Luke puts it:“Sailing Pellew will be the candy floss on the cake, while Joanna is there shovelling the coal into the boiler and keeping it going.” Pellew is licensed under the MCA’s Category 0, which means there is no limit how far she can go from a safe haven, and she can take a crew of up to 16 people. “That means we will certainly go to the Azores, for instance, and maybe take her across the Atlantic,” said Luke. The Rhoda Mary Shipyard will be developed further to promote traditional boatbuilding skills, not least by providing facilities for start-up marine businesses and restorations. Luke has talked about building a replica of a topsail schooner at some point, but I got mixed messages when I asked about future boatbuilding plans. “Building boats absolutely takes you over,” he said. “Joanna and I have lived and breathed the Pellew for over three years while we’ve put our personal lives on hold. There is more to life than banging out boats. But if someone came along now and said ‘build a replica of the Cutty Sark’, you would have to do it even if it killed you!”


Tell Tales

Classic Boat’s address: Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London, SW3 3TQ cb@classicboat.co.uk Follow the Classic Boat team on Twitter and Facebook

COWES, ISLE OF WIGHT

Round the Island Race plans The annual Round the Island Race, probably the biggest yacht race in the world in terms of participants, has rescheduled its big day to 28 September this year. The 50-mile circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight (Cowes to Cowes) is usually an early summer event and was initially scheduled to run on 30 May. Race director Dave Atkinson said: "As I'm sure you will appreciate, this has not been an easy decision for us to make. Valid arguments were made for the race to go ahead on 30 May with some modifications, such as cancelling shoreside activities and asking those over 70 or otherwise at risk not to take part.

Boat show in Southampton?

We have issued a new notice of race with the various date and timing changes, but in all other respects we expect to run it as planned." Online entry is open at roundtheisland.org.uk

British Marine is busy investigating options with the local Southampton council with regards to a smaller, outdoor event, after the Southampton Boat Show became the latest in a long line of cancellations, as Government advice continued to warn against large-scale gatherings. Organiser British Marine said the 52nd edition of the show would be held in September 2021. British Marine CEO Lesley Robinson said: “Annually Southampton International Boat Show attracts an attendance of over 100,000, with more than 430 exhibitors. An event of this size and format is simply not possible this year and as such, we have made the decision to postpone it until September 2021.” She added: “We’re naturally very disappointed that we cannot run the event this year in its usual magnitude and format, but the Southampton International Boat Show is a key international event, which will be back stronger than ever in 2021. We will ensure that we make the 52nd edition one to remember.”

SOUTH AREA

Solent bash for dayboats in 2021 Two back-to-back events planned for July next year will be of interest to

accommodate smaller keelboat classes in the main race. We’ve spoken to

classic dayboats.

many owners in the respective classes about this new concept and had a

The Island Sailing Club’s new event, the Windeler Cup, will not take

running the WIndeler Cup in 2021 and welcoming the whole fleet back to

planning to run it in 2021 and it will coincide with new dates announced

the Island Sailing Club Race Village in Cowes after they finish, to join in

for Cowes Classics Week.

the race-day celebrations.”

The Windeler Cup is open to classes including the Daring, Dragon, Etchells, Flying Fifteen, Mermaid, Redwing, Swallow, Sonar, Squib and XOD. Instead of sailing the full 50-mile course around the Isle of Wight, they will

Meanwhile the Royal London Yacht Club, organisers of Cowes Classics Week, has announced new dates for 2021 with the regatta now being held 3-9 July, with racing from 5 July. The original intention was to hold the

compete over a shorter course within the

regatta at the end of July, but the team at

Solent, starting from the Royal Yacht

the Royal London has opted for more

Squadron line off Cowes after the main

favourable tides over the earlier dates, as

Round the Island fleet is underway. The

well as giving owners the chance to take

event is named after Major Cyril Windeler,

part in the Windeler Cup on 3 July.

who created the Round the Island Race in

Cowes Classics Week usually attracts

1931 as an opportunity for owners of

more than 140 entries and it is anticipated

smaller yachts.

that even more will enter in 2021.

Rob Peace, the Island Sailing Club’s

12

huge level of interest. We’re therefore very excited at the prospect of

place this year as part of the Round the Island Race, but the club is

Regatta chairman David Gower said:

Rear Commodore of Sailing said:

“Following the disappointments of the

“Unfortunately, with today’s stringent

2020 season we are determined to make

safety restrictions, we’re not able to

2021 an even better regatta.”

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


LOWESTOFT, SUFFOLK

‘Determined not to lose her’ More than £7,000 has been raised in a crowdfunding campaign to keep the 99-year-old Lowestoft smack Excelsior sailing. The Excelsior Trust launched the campaign in May, with chairman Jamie Campbell saying at the time: “We are determined not to lose her as a result of Covid-19. Please help us to keep her sailing. A trip on Excelsior is often a life-changing experience, giving young people the opportunity to become part of the crew and learning new skills.” Like many historic vessels, Excelsior has been unable to put to sea with the groups of young people that were due to sail on her, translating into a significant loss of annual income. The trust fell between several stools in terms of qualifying for government support. Excelsior has taken nearly 10,000 young people to sea over 30 years as a charitable trust and many of them return as adults bringing their own groups on board. Her centenary year will be 2021.

crowdfunder.co.uk/excelsior-trust

ROB HOWARTH

TIM WRIGHT

LUDERS PHOTO BY JENNIFER SANSOSTI

Anne Marie 1911

Here’s a centenarian that was rescued from oblivion only a few years ago. We ran the story, over two issues in 2017, of English saviour Simon Allan, who found the Harris Brothers-built yawl Anne Marie in

MAINE

Rare Luders in Vinyl wrap

Vancouver and sailed her, pre-restoration, home to Cornwall across

This eye-catching 1941 Luders 24 belongs to the president of

the Pacific and North Atlantic.

Brooklin Boat Yard in Maine, Steve White, who has restored it

What a thing to take on! She’s a 72ft (21.9m) teak-planked yacht

over the past year. Running out of time to paint the boat before

with 46ft 5in (14.1m) of waterline and 9ft (2.7m) draught. It was a

the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, he had a temporary vinyl wrap

wet trip, with plenty of moments, including engine breakdown and a

put on. “People either love it or hate it,” he says. The boat is one

stopover at the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. And the homecoming

of seven, built using hot-moulding.

made it all worth it. These days, the yacht lives in Cornwall. CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

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TELL TALES

BOSHAM, SOLENT

Looking for classes The annual Classic Boat Revival in Bosham has been cancelled due to the pandemic but organisers are calling for class associations who are celebrating a milestone or anniversary to come forward for next year and further forward. The September regatta is a must-attend event for all classic

TUSCANY

Viareggio Historic Sails regatta to go ahead

dinghies, with fierce racing and lively shoreside activities.

The 16th Viareggio Historic Sails Meeting is confirmed and will take

future Classic Boat Revival. This would not be to the exclusion of

place in the Tuscan city from 15 to 18 October. Organisers says: “After

other classes but a way of making the event more interesting. We

the numerous and forced cancellations of many rallies due to the

are open to suggestions including celebration of designers,

Covid-19 emergency the appointment at the Versilia Nautical Club

builders or personalities who have played an important role in

could, in fact, represent an unmissable meeting opportunity for

classic racing dinghy heritage, as we did for the official Ian Proctor

boatowners and enthusiasts before the winter break.”Organisers are

Centenary in 2018.”

Organisers said: “We are keen to hear from any class association who might be due to celebrate a milestone event in the next few years with a view to our making that the theme of a

limiting entries to allow social distancing. classicboatrevival.co.uk Enter at velestoricheviareggio.org

OBITUARY

Tullio Abbate, 1944-2020 Racing speedboat driver, designer and boatbuilder Tullio Abbate, who died in April, embodied all the passion of a generation of independent Mediterranean boatbuilders, writes Gérald Guétat. Abbate’s boats were known as the Ferraris of the seas and he once famously claimed: “With the sound of my boats, I was able to enchant, just like Herbert von Karayan or Diego Maradonna!” When Abbate met his friends on Lake Como, it could feel like being on the starting grid of a Formula 1 grand prix. Some of the driving champions who were converted to powerboating through Abbate’s Tremezzo yard were René Arnoux, Didier Pironi, Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet, Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve, Niki Lauda, Keke and Nico Rosberg, Jacky Ickx, Giacomo Agostini and Ayrton Senna, who put his name to a special series of Abbate boats, shortly before his accident at Imola in 1994. Born into a line of Lake Como workboat builders dating back to 1873, Abbate was surrounded by powerboating champions from an early age and his life and career in many ways followed the development of the sport. He himself had his first major win in 1963, at the helm of a boat he designed and built in wood. Two world records followed in 1965 and then a long series of race and leisure boat builds over the subsequent decades, culminating in two projects with his son, Tullio Junior, in the last five years, replicas of early wooden world record-breaking designs.

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CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


M A S T ER PI ECE S

R E S TOR AT ION | BE SPOK E YACH TS | W I N T E R S TOR AG E | BE RT HS C L A S S I C S  R O B B E B E R K I N G . D E | W W W. C L A S S I C Y A C H T S . C O M

|


TELL TALES

PORSTMOUTH, SOLENT

Spirit 111 is commissioned The biggest single-masted yacht to be built in wood in Britain since 1930 has been undergoing sea trials off Gosport, Hampshire. The new Spirit 111 is the biggest British build of its kind since the J-Class Shamrock V. The Spirit of Tradition superyacht, which carries groundbreaking environmentally friendly technology, has been in Endeavour Quay for final commissioning. By coincidence, Shamrock V was built and commissioned at the same boatyard in Gosport, at what was then Camper & Nicholson’s. The Spirit 111 is capable of cruising without professional crew, designed by to be handled by the owner and friends. More about the 111 in Classic Boat soon.

James Wharram with Sir Edmund Hillary

RAMSHOLT QUAY, SUFFOLK

Happy birthday Bob Congratulations to Ramsholt harbourmaster George Collins who recently celebrated his 90th birthday. George, known locally as Young Bob, is Britain's oldest harbourmaster and follows in the footsteps of his father, known as Old Bob, who was harbourmaster at the River Deben landing

AUTOBIOGRAPHY

New James Wharram book James Wharram’s long-awaited autobiography has been completed and has been accepted for publication by Lodestar Books, due for publication in September. The book will include hundreds of unseen photographs and drawings. The publication date will be 17 September. Already work is in progress to get the book translated into French, German and Italian.

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CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

for 60 years. George and his twin brother Bill, who also helps out on harbour duties, celebrated their birthday with a party at the Ramsholt Arms. George said: "Things haven't changed much in the last 60 years. Some of the boats are bigger and posher but we still get mainly sail boats. I work a seven days a week and I will carry on with the job as long as I can. It's my life." Money collected by George goes to charities which include the RNLI.


20 ANS SEMAINE DE L’ASCENSION

Du

10 au

16 MAI

2021

VANNES ST-GILDAS DE RHUYS ST-ARMEL SÉNÉ SARZEAU PLOUGOUMELEN LOCMARIAQUER LE HÉZO LE BONO LARMOR BADEN ÎLE D’ARZ ÎLE AUX MOINES CRAC’H BADEN AURAY ARZON ARRADON To all the crews of traditional and classic boats: join us in the next and 11th edition of “Semaine du Golfe du Morbihan” to celebrate the maritime culture and the nautical practice through an exciting and genuine maritime festival in the gorgeous framework of the Morbihan Gulf. Come and live a whole week of exciting sailings, friendly gatherings and festive evenings… In 2021, our guests of honours are the actors of the European maritime heritage who Morbihan Gulf contributed to the previous editions and to the international fame of our Atlantic event... REGISTER NOW on www.semainedugolfe.com


TELL TALES

NEW ENGLNAD

Marilee sold and remains in USA

Q&A Cliff Grove, Grove Pond Yachts

How long have you been building

The Herreshoff-designed New York 40 Marilee (below) will

and restoring pond yachts?

remain in New England after she was sold in a pre-auction

Over 30 years– I started aged eight.

sale. The boat, built in 1926 and one of only four New York

My father bought me a 12in (30cm)

40s remaining, was put up for a no-reserve auction in

wooden Star Pond Yacht which I sailed

June. The sale was agreed shortly before the auction took

on Aldeburgh boat pond in Suffolk.

place. Jack Mahoney of Boathouse Auctions said:

As an adult, a career as a goldsmith

“Sometimes buyers don’t want to compete and they

took me to Thailand where I started

would rather simply buy the asset outright prior to the

crewing on full-sized Yachts in

auction, rather than risk the price being run up.”

regattas around Asia. Back in England, I started making pond yachts and it

to use lead outside the hull,

became a full-time business.

revolutionising model- and full-sized yacht design. Nathanael Herreshoff

What is a pond yacht?

trialled many of his ideas on models.

The term is not in the dictionary, so I

In 1875 he invented vane gear for

will give you my definition. As a

self-steering. In 1966-67, Francis

builder and restorer, my work

Chichester spent hours with model

encompasses all forms of vintage

yachtsmen experimenting with the

model yachts from small collectable

vane gear that was so vital to his

antique toys to 6ft (1.8m) A-class

world circumnavigation.

racers from the 1850s to the 1960s. Pond yachts are a sub-category of

How do you build your pond yachts?

vintage model yachts; they are model

Pond yachts can have solid or hollow

sailing craft in its simplest form. The

hulls. Solid hulls are carved from

hulls are traditionally carved with by

obeche which is an easily carved,

their makers (not having to comply

lightweight wood. Hollow hulls can

with any racing class rules) and built

be carved from solid or made from a

just for the pleasure of sailing. The

series of layers called lifts; this is

colour combinations of wood and

called bread and butter construction.

brass along with the purity of no

We make 100s of the pond yachts a

other embellishments makes them

year and build or restore four or 5

beautiful. The sailing properties are

more expensive racing yachts. The

also important to the pleasure of

18in (45cm) mahogany Kingfisher is

The 2020 Herreshoff Classic Yacht Regatta is going ahead

owning a pond yacht. It has to sail

our best seller.

in Bristol, Rhode Island from 28-30 August. Organisers of

consistently so we spend a lot of

the event, presented by sponsor Bristol Marine, say:

time testing our yachts on the water.

When was pond yacht’s heyday?

“Despite the challenges imposed by the global health crisis,

There is nothing more beautiful than

It was first recorded in the 1850s

we believe we can all still go sailing. In fact, we believe we

the sight of a pond yacht crossing a

when a few artisans started sailing

all NEED to go sailing, and the Herreshoff Marine Museum

lake on a warm summer’s evening.

model yachts on a lake in Green park

BRISTOL, RHODE ISLAND

Herreshoff is on

is happy to host a scaled-back version of our beloved

London. When the racing Schooner

classic yacht regatta on our normal weekend in August.

Are pond yachts free sailing or RC?

America came to England in 1851 it

The social programme, if there is one, will be entirely

Free sailing is without electronic

caused yachting fever the average

optional and would likely feature a return to simpler times

gadgetry. The yachts are trimmed

working man who could not afford a

with a keg or two on the museum’s waterfront, allowing for

lakeside and cannot be altered after

full-sized yacht could build and sail

appropriate social distancing.” Racing classes include

leaving the shore, until they reach the

his own models. It became one of the

Vintage, Classic, Modern Classic, Spirit of Tradition, One

other side. They rely on the yacht being

fastest growing hobbies of the era,

Design and S-Class.

perfectly balanced with the elements,

with its heyday between the wars.

the purest form of sailing. Some are

herreshoff.org

WORD OF THE MONTH

KELLET

Do customers typically sail them or

points. These range from a simple

put them on their mantelpiece?

reverse tiller to complex vane gear.

People do sail them. Many major towns in England still have model-yachting

What contributions have pond yachts

ponds. A map on our website shows

made to their full-sized equivalents?

new and historic model sailing lakes.

Many ideas were tested on pond

Even if you can’t find a stretch of water

underside of the boat. It’s a debatable topic, as is the term,

yachts before being used on full-sized

without full access, you can still sail a

also known as anchor sentinel, angle, chum, buddy or rider.

equivalents. In the 1880s, Cooper

pond yacht on a tether.

(the gunsmith) was the first person

See grovepondyachts.com

An anchor kellet is a weight added to the anchor rode to dampen jerking and help prevent the rode fouling the

18

fitted with sailing gear to sail on all

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


Grote Kerkstraat 23 • 1135 BC Edam, The Netherlands • Telephone: +31 (0) 299 315 506 • info@hoekbrokerage.com • www.hoekbrokerage.com

TC 90 KEALOHA Presenting you this exclusive listing of this beautiful yacht

which is in excellent condition and uniquely on the market.

She is a proven world cruiser

with a practical and comfortable layout, boasting two cockpits

and two deckhouses, ideal for

families and also for charters, with accommodation for 6 guests and 3 crew.

Having completed three

circumnavigations, we hope she will provide pleasure to another

family on their adventures soon. For more information please contact us.


KEEPING IN HER SLIPSTREAM This 1960s remake of a Victorian half rater was laid up in the 90s but has come back rejuvenated – meanwhile, her carbon fibre sister hasn’t quite seen the light of day WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHS RICHARD JOHNSTONE-BRYDEN


CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

21


Above: If you capsized the old Slipstream she had to be righted very quickly because the air tanks were not entirely airtight

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CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


T

he rejuvenation of a rare Broadland One Design has been a real family affair, as Richard Johnstone-Bryden discovered when he encountered the 24ft (7.3m) Slipstream Spindrift during the annual Oulton Week regatta. Her origins date back to the mid-1960s, when former civil engineer Mick Richardson drafted the lines for a high-performance wooden sailing craft inspired and named in honour of Victorian Thames half rater Slipstream, which he had owned for several years. Mick’s 20th-century derivative proved to be even quicker than the veteran half rater and went on to forge a reputation as one of the region’s fastest sailing craft. The combination of the nomadic existence associated with his civil engineering career, and a young family, prompted Mick to seek a better work-life balance, so in 1955 he moved to Norfolk to take on Potter Heigham’s Broadshaven Hotel. The seasonal nature of his new career meant Mick could indulge his passion for boats in the winter months, enabling him to buy a nearby boathouse and set up a small hire fleet of motor-cruisers. The two businesses proved to be a perfect fit: the hire fleet required most attention during the winter, while the hotel trade was busiest in the summer. Amid these peaks and troughs Mick managed to find the time to compete on the local regatta circuit with Victorian Thames half rater Slipstream, which he had acquired shortly after moving to Norfolk. She had been built in 1898 by Bathurst of Tewkesbury as Nancy and raced for many years against the other raters on the Broads, including Gentle Jane, Vixen and Wyvern. The friends and family who usually sailed with Mick were occasionally joined by some of the hotel’s guests, such as Peter Crook. He explained: “I was staying at the Broadshaven Hotel in 1958 when I went across to the Thurne regatta. It was blowing quite hard and Mick asked if I wanted to join him on Slipstream for a race. In those days she had a high aspect rig, no trapeze and was normally sailed three up. I sat up by the shroud and ended up completely soaked. I subsequently returned to the Broads for the next few years and regularly sailed with Mick as a crew before he eventually let me loose on her myself. Sailing Slipstream was exciting, wet and sometimes a bit scary. She didn’t pay off too well and occasionally ended up out of control. In light airs, the rater carried her way for a long while.

SLIPSTREAM Below: Patrick Richardson, his wife Julia and his son Ben take advantage of a gap in racing during the annual Oulton Week regatta to put the rejuvenated Spindrift through her paces on the open expanse of Oulton Broad

of hot milk and brandy which he thought we all needed.” By the mid-1960s, the old Slipstream was showing her age and falling to pieces. Mick took some measurements, made some moulds and sharpened up the lines to produce a design with an improved hull shape. The new design was named Slipstream (as was the first example to be built) in honour of the Victorian Thames rater that inspired it. Peter recalled: “I’d just finished my degree when Mick asked if I would like to have the prototype of his new design at a cost price of £760. It was a generous offer, although I still had to take out a loan to pay for it because it was a lot of money for me at the time. I remember going across to the boatyard to watch her being built before she was launched in September 1966. The new Slipstream was more comfortable to sit in thanks to her lovely rolled decks, in contrast to the sharp edges of her Victorian predecessor’s cockpit. Under sail she planed much more quickly, though there was little improvement when going upwind. With a couple of trapezes, Slipstream could be pushed hard, but was quite prone to capsizing, which Mick managed to do on several occasions on Hickling’s gybe marks!” Robin continued: “Sailing a Slipstream is a lively experience; things happen quite fast, not least, because she always seems to be sailing rather quickly in confined waters in which there’s little margin for error.”

TRIPLE DIAGONAL COLD MOULDED The first two Slipstreams to be built by Mick Richardson had triple diagonal cold moulded plywood hulls, consisting of an 1/8in (3.2mm) plywood and two 1/16in (1.6mm) veneers, plywood decks and a 300sq ft (28m2) bermudan rig. The Richardson family retained the second Slipstream, named Spindrift, which Mick took to the Pennine Sailing Club’s One-of-a-Kind regatta on the Underbank Reservoir in June 1967. As the name suggests, the invitation-only event attracted a fascinating group of 29 dinghies from a Merlin Rocket to a Javelin and a Unicorn Cat. Spindrift secured 5th place and went on to do well on the Broadland regatta circuit, including the annual Three Rivers Race. As Peter Crook recalled: “The Slipstream is ideally suited to the 50-mile-long passage race. Sadly, I never won the race, but Patrick Richardson and David Frary were both victorious in Slipstreams. On one occasion, I was neck and neck with Patrick at the finish having sailed all night and we were just stalled level

CIGAR SAILING “Mick often smoked a cigar and usually sailed Slipstream wearing a collar and tie. Whenever she capsized, Mick managed to keep dry by calmly climbing over the side and then straightening his tie while the crew did all the hard work!” Mick’s eldest son Robin continued: “If you capsized the old Slipstream she had to be righted very quickly because the air tanks were not entirely airtight. I remember one occasion when I was sailing in Slipstream with my parents and younger brother Patrick during a down-river race from Hickling. I would have been about 11 at the time and Dad managed to capsize Slipstream opposite the Holt. Before long there was a very loud hissing sound coming from the buoyancy tanks and Dad swiftly yanked Patrick out from under the centreboard casing. Meanwhile, Mr Kinder came across to offer assistance as well as a glass CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

23


SLIPSTREAM when he got a little puff of wind and went over the line 20 yards ahead of me. When the handicaps were worked out, he was first and I was third because a Wayfarer got in between us. I also remember another year when the wind strengthened just after we went under Acle bridge about 2300. We ended up planing upstream in the dark, which was one of the most exciting sails I have ever had.” Mick subsequently developed a GRP mould and entrusted a Southampton-based company with its build in 1969. The experimental nature of GRP construction at the time is underlined by Mick’s own experience of building GRP Slipstreams. The first was too heavy, the second was too light and the third was just right. Sadly, the run of GRP Slipstreams was brought to a premature conclusion when the mould was lost in a devastating blaze, along with Mick’s hire fleet, on 13 March 1971. Mick subsequently rebuilt the business and the replacement hire craft operated under the banner of Phoenix Fleet, which is now run by Robin and Patrick Richardson.

GUILTY FEELING The Richardson brothers continued to sail Spindrift until she was laid up at their Potter Heigham boatyard in the late 1990s. She remained in storage despite occasional requests by Robin’s son Ian to get her back on the water, Robin Richardson continued: “Although I occasionally felt rather guilty about leaving the Spindrift in the shed, it ultimately led to her recent restoration. Someone approached the yard about the possibility of building a new Slipstream in carbon fibre so I took down Spindrift from the boatshed roof to see if we could use her to take a mould. Wessex Resins was very keen to get involved in the project and we had several discussions with the company’s technical experts, who played a key role in the feasibility study, which indicated that the new craft would have weighed a third of the wooden Slipstreams and absolutely ‘flown’ in the lightest of airs.

Above: A new wooden Slipstream could be built for £20,000 – a feasibility study for a carbon fibre version priced it at twice that amount, but just a third of the weight

SPINDRIFT LOA

24ft 3in (7.4xm) BEAM

6ft (1.8m) DRAUGHT (centreplate up)

3in (8cm) (down)

4ft (1.2m) WEIGHT

400lbs (181kg) SAIL AREA

300sq ft (27.9m2)

“Unfortunately, the scheme was torpedoed by our potential customer injuring his back part way through our discussions, but it prompted me to finally do something about Spindrift in time for her 50th birthday. She had completely dried out during her long-term hibernation so I decided to remove the hull’s outer veneer, which was replaced with epoxy scrim, thereby strengthening the hull and effectively epoxy sheathing it. The hull was turned over again and the inner side was soaked with fine epoxy before the Bruynzeel plywood deck was replaced with 6mm (¼in) Robbins Super Elite Plus Veneer Sapele rotary cut. The deck was given three coats of fine epoxy followed by three coats of Ravilakk varnish to give a stunning finish. I initially cringed at the thought of spending £400 on the wood for the new decks, but I am delighted with the result, which was worth every penny!” The return of the rejuvenated Spindrift to the Broadland regatta circuit enabled a third generation of the Richardson family to enjoy the fast-paced experience of racing a Slipstream, when Robin’s son Ian and Patrick’s son Ben started taking her to local events. Ian Richardson continued: “I was about 10 years old when I started sailing on Spindrift and used to be tucked into the front of the cockpit so that I could just about see over the foredeck while enjoying an unbelievable feeling of speed over the water. My father did most of the restoration work and I helped where I could. As part of the work he decided to make a more efficient rudder because the original teardrop-shaped one led to some loss of speed through a turn. Andrew Wolstenholme suggested opting for a rudder shaped like a spitfire wing, which has proved to be a vast improvement. The new rudder is very efficient in a good breeze. However, it needs some refinement to handle lighter winds. I am excited to use it in a Three Rivers Race if the wind is right.” It will be fascinating to see whether the sight of the first two Slipstreams competing on the Broadland regatta circuit again will lead to the building of any further examples in either wood or carbon fibre. Phoenix Fleet’s recent feasibility study indicates that a carbon fibre version would cost £40,000 plus the cost of the rig, while a new wooden Slipstream’s hull and deck could be built for £20,000. Phoenix Fleet Tel: +44 (0) 1692 670460, phoenixfleet.com

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CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


2 Southford Road, Dartmouth, South Devon TQ6 9QS Tel/Fax: (01803) 833899 – info@woodenships.co.uk – www.woodenships.co.uk

34’ Morgan Giles sloop built in 1958. Bottom up rebuild by present owner completed in 2004, sailed extensively since then mostly single handed. Mahogany on oak hull with new teak on plywood deck. Volvo 29hp diesel new in 2004. 4 berths including double in the fore cabin with good headroom. Well equipped yacht and very smart condition, just completed a thorough cosmetic refit. Devon £30,000

41’ Laurent Giles Bermudan cutter built by Port Hamble Ltd in 1962. Pitch Pine on oak hull with teak superstructure. 6 berths with good headroom throughout. Well maintained in present 20 year ownership, sailed every season and updated each winter. A very elegant yacht which is an absolute joy to sail, easily handled by a small crew. In commission and ready to sail this summer. Devon £60,000

37’6” Sparkman and Stephens sloop built in 1979. Cold moulded diagonal hull, recent teak on plywood deck. Very well maintained in last 2 ownerships, constantly updated with modern engine and systems. 6 berths including double quarter cabin. Raced in Classic events some good results. A very spacious and comfortable yacht suited to shorthanded cruising or racing. Hants £45,000

25’ Laurent Giles Vertue No. 47 built in 1952. Complete professional rebuild completed in 2016. Full length teak planking, lead keel and bronze bolts. Hull rebuilt, new deck, new rigging and new sails. Superb condition and very smart finish, not many Vertues available in this condition. Yanmar 1GM diesel, 3 berths. March 2020 survey. Essex £18,000

28’ Kim Holman Sterling built by Uphams in 1968. Thorough refit in last 3 years including structural and cosmetic work plus upgrade of systems. Iroko and mahogany on CRE timbers. Lombardini 18hp diesel. 4 berths with 6’+ headroom. The Sterling is an excellent yacht with penty of volume and admirable well mannered performance. Kent £14,950

North Quay 19 built by North Quay Marine in 2008. A well respected design with great performance and sweet lines, perfect for day sailing and coastal exploration. Epoxy strip plank Cedar hull, the complete boat weighs only 975kg. On a 2016 road trailer, easily towed behind a moderate car. complete with camping awning giving 4 berths. Very smart fun family boat. Cornwall £13,750

49’ Gaff Ketch built as a North Sea Fishing boat. Converted to a yacht and perfect as a cruising home with 8 berths, shower and full domestic equipment. Daf 615 110hp diesel gives 7 knots. Dog house gives a sheltered space for night passages. Very impressive and lovingly maintained vessel ready to go cruising. Wales £85,000

40’ Kim Holman Landfall Ketch built by Whisstocks in 1972. The last of 7 built, Iroko on oak hull, Perkins 43hp diesel with 5 berths including 2 doubles. Spacious cockpit and interior with an easily handled rig makes her an ideal long distance cruising boat, well proven and very capable yachts. Recent yard refit. Hugely reduced price for a quick sale as owner is moving abroad. Hants £34,000

Another fascinating selection of traditional and classic yachts only from Wooden Ships. Call for true descriptions, genuine honest values and a service from people who know their boats.


Saleroom

By Dave Selby

BONHAMS/CHARLES MILLER LTD

Hair’s cruellest cut Two simple locks of hair, one sandy-coloured the other lustrous brown, reveal the twists of fortune that befell Nelson and his mistress Lady Emma Hamilton in life and death. From modest beginnings, the son of a Norfolk clergyman and the blacksmith’s daughter became the most celebrated couple of their age. Yet, when the hero of the Nile and Trafalgar died in 1805, Lady Emma Hamilton was cruelly cut adrift by family and harshly treated by the British Government, which ignored Nelson’s instructions to provide for Emma and daughter Horatia from his pension. Amid an outpouring of national grief, Nelson was buried in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral in a ceremony fit for kings. Almost nine years later to the day, and after a spell in debtor’s prison, the once-celebrated but now near penniless society beauty was buried in a humble public grave in Calais. BONHAMS/CHARLES MILLER LTD

The latest twist of fate came when locks of the lovers’ hair cropped up in separate auctions. The plait of Nelson’s fair hair, mounted in a turquoise brooch, made £10,062 at Bonhams, while the wisp of Emma’s dark brown hair fetched just £3,090 at Charles Miller Ltd. It’s poignant, as well as ironic, considering that Nelson gave out locks of his hair as freely as Elvis bought Cadillacs for his chums, while a lock of

MECUM

RM SOTHEBY’S

Emma Hamilton’s hair is a rarer artefact by far.

MECUM

The Cadillac of the American seas As companies like Riva and Chris Craft adopted American automotive styling cues in the 1950s, a Michigan boatbuilder went to extremes in its aspiration to create the “Cadillac of boats”. Whether it succeeded, and whether that’s even a good thing, you can decide for yourself, but there’s no doubt the astonishing Century Coronado is a head-turner. Though appearing to be made of GRP, its 21ft (6.4m) hull is

RM SOTHEBY’S

Pedal power

Offering all the fun of a pedalo with no risk of drowning, this

actually high-quality mahogany with GRP appliqués; its interior, with a dizzying

1968 Skipper Run-A-Bout pedal car must have delighted a

array of glittering chromium dials and padded dash, could be straight out of any

lucky little youngster, who most surely experimented with

American land yacht of the period; and, of course, power is provided by an

towing water-skier younger siblings on roller skates. How

automotive derived V8, which could propel the Coronado to 50mph. Its stand-out feature though, is the remarkable sliding landau GRP hard top. At $27,500, this 1960 Coronado would be a cheap way to stand out among the mahogany monochrome of Monaco.

that ended we’ll never know, but this delightful kid’s toy in restored condition, and complete with dummy outboard engine, made very adult money, selling for $4,560 in a US pedal car auction.

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CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


Yacht Brokerage

2000. Refit in 2008/14/18/19/20. Steel hull with teak superstructure, ELEONORA is an exact replica of the schooner Westward which was designed in 1910 by Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, the ‘Wizard of Bristol’, the designer of the America’s Cup defenders which turned back all six challenges from 1893 to 1920. Westward was arguably one of the most famous racing schooners in the world. ELEONORA not only follows Westward’s heritage of big schooners racing but she also offers with her comfort and space unforgettable cruising and relaxation experience. She was built at the Van der Graaf shipyard in Holland and was launched in March 2000. Since then, she has successfully participated in a number of classic sailing regattas and hosted on board a number of high-profile guests during her charter activities. ELEONORA shows astonishing beauty under sail, her slender hull cutting a pathway through the sea, an elegant combination of beauty and power. With no sacrifice to luxurious standards of comfort, her staterooms and the entire interior display the ambience and elegance of another age. ELEONORA is registered as a commercial vessel under MCA and classed under Veritas.

162.5ft New Classic Schooner

ELEONORA

2011. As a replica of the schooner ‘Germania’ launched in 1908, she was built at Factoria Naval de Marin in Spain. As opposed to Germania, which did not include a motor or generators or air conditioning, GERMANIA NOVA has been outfitted with these important features for a charter yacht of her kind. In fact, GERMANIA NOVA has full charter class under LY2. External decks, and sail plan are impressive. Under deck she is composed of two main zones (guests and crew). Guest area is composed of 5 cabins, including a master cabin and 4 guest cabins. All cabins with unsuited bathroom. One large saloon and a bridge house with all necessary radio and navigation equipment, complete the guest area. Crew area is all located forward, and houses 10 crew in bunk areas, two cabins for officers and captain, a crew mess, a laundry and a galley.

SALE, CHARTER & MANAGEMENT

Also specialises in Transoceanic Charter

196ft New Classic Schooner

GERMANIA NOVA

65ft Sangermani Marconi Yawl Giannella II

1966. Refit 2010. This Eugène Cornu design has been built by the legendary Cantieri Sangermani in Italy, one of the best wooden boat shipyards in the world. She is a wonderful classic sailing yacht ideal for family cruising in absolute comfort. She has won many regattas including The Voiles de St Tropez and Conde de Barcelona. She features lovely warm interiors and is easy to sail!

FRANCE: Montpellier (Head Office) - Paris - La Ciotat - Antibes Monaco • Palma, Majorca • Italy • Moscow Hong Kong • USA California • Auckland

60ft Bermudan Cutter Sloop Lasse

1940. Johan Anker Design, “Eva” (her original name) was given to Eva Braun by the King of Denmark during a visit before the war. Since it was a state boat, “Eva” was anchored at the naval academy in Flensburg and miraculously escaped Allied bombing. After passing between several owners and changing its name to “LASSE”, the boat was used by French film director René Clément in his 1960 film “Purple Noon” starring famous French actor Alain Delon, taking the name “Marge” for the production. The most passionate scenes were shot aboard, and if Alain Delon is decidedly the hero, LASSE is also at the heart of this detective film.

Bernard Gallay Yacht Brokerage

1 rue Barthez - 34000 Montpellier - France +33 467 66 39 93 - info@bernard-gallay.com www.bernard-gallay.com


Objects of desire

PANERAI EPIC

MACKRILL AT MESSUMS Classic Boat readers can claim a 10 per cent discount at the current Martyn Macrkill exhibition at Messums Gallery in London. The exhibition runs until 21 August and the gallery will have the unsold pictures thereafter. Mackrill illustrates the Bosun’s Bag column by Tom Cunliffe each month in Classic Boat and is one of the most sought-after marine artists in the world. The show contains a range of works, including some of the drawings done for Classic Boat.

We’re assured this is the rebirth of a legend, the new edition of the ‘epic’ Panerai Luminor Marina. Italian watch manufacturer Panerai, formerly the leading classic regatta sponsor and now a sponsor of the America’s Cup, says it is “rewriting the aesthetic vocabulary of this emblematic model”. Water-resistant to 300 metres. £POA panerai.com

messums.com

DRY ROSÉ GIN Salcombe Gin co-founders Angus

and other tipples that can boast a

WUZZO BRANKLET DECK SHOES!

wide and loyal following. The brand

These deck shoes from new brand Wuzzo have

is a big backer of regattas and other

seen some early post-lockdown time afloat,

sailing initiatives, including

dinghy sailing on the Thames and yacht sailing

being sustainability partner for

in the south of France. Remarkably comfortable,

Eilidh McIntyre, and Hannah

they are soft up top and neither of our two

and Howard, who met as sailing instructors at the Island Cruising Club, now offer a range of gins, rums

YETI TUNDRA 45 COOL BOX

28

Mills’ Olympic campaign.

independent testers needed to break in the

Pictured is the exceptional Dry

shoes in any way. The tan version is shown here,

Rosé gin, named after Sainte

but colours include dark navy and cognac. The

Stones Boatyard and Timber in Devon has

Marie lighthouse, which

recently become an approved Yeti distributor in

marks the southern

style and new tech, and they coped as well

Britain. These cooler boxes, bags and other

entrance to the Old Port

with a boiling hot day off Sète as they did

‘coolware’ are class leaders in their native USA

of Marseilles, where

with a blustery afternoon getting wet on

and reputedly indestructible. Tristan Stone uses

19th-century Salcombe

the river in Surrey. The inner is padded and

his for his fishing trips. The insulation, up to 2in

schooners would load

comfortable walking around ashore, but

(5cm) thick, apparently keeps ice from melting,

citrus fruits and herbs

dried well after a dunking, and there was

drinks cool or, in Tristan’s case, the daily catch

bound for England’s

no slippiness on the rubber sole. They

cold for days on end. Comes in four colours –

ports, such as Salcombe.

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21 years of passion

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www.franckroy.com pub classic boat copie.indd 1

21/07/2020 15:02

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


CHARLOTTE WATTERS

Adrian Morgan struggling for a while, and in 1971, 75 years after his father Knut began building boats in Gamleby, it folded. If the 1950s was the beginning, the late 1970s witnessed the final demise of wooden boatbuilding, succumbing to glassfibre’s ‘maintenance-free’ ascendancy. Derelict wooden boats reverting to nature in mud berths, some repurposed as houseboats, were a poignant sight on my travels: a Thames barge alongside a famous old racer with a makeshift shack nailed to the deck; an Edwardian cruising yacht, a wisp of smoke from a stove pipe, a sure sign that below, snugged up in panelled mahogany splendour, squatted a penniless dreamer. That boat is probably flashing through the Mediterranean regatta circuit these days, with a crew of white-boiler-suited professionals aboard, while an America’s Cup skipper spins a wheel once held by a coal magnate, or his paid skipper. If the yachts for sale in the 1950s were still predominantly wooden and fetching reasonable prices, by the 1970s, what we would call classic boats were two a penny and, even adjusted for inflation, a steal. In the ‘We’ve never had it so good’ 1960s, wooden boatbuilding had reached its zenith, for the wealthy at least. Scores of speculative boatbuilders, many no more skilled than kitchen fitters, were advertising glassfibre as the miracle material for the common man. A handful of yards alone still reckoned first-class materials and craftsmanship would always find a market among the discerning few... who were becoming fewer and fewer. The only wooden boats being built were often high-class racers with varnished topsides, as epitomised by Prime Minister Edward Heath’s Morning Clouds II and the ill-fated III, cold-moulded by Lallows in Cowes, in 1971 and 1973. The reasons given for sale and the descriptions can be summed up by this example: “Sturdily built 16-ton, gaff-rigged cruising yacht, built pre-war, best materials. Reputable south coast yard. Owner must sell, hence reduced price.” How many highly skilled hours went into that hull alone, and how many more thousands of hours were expended on the others listed on just one page of brokerage? How many exquisite yachts on those foxed pages are gone, broken up, decayed? How many found a new lease of life in the hands of a wealthy aficionado, via the temporary custody of a penniless dreamer? We may have to wait a while before the remains of a decaying, osmosis-ridden glassfibre hull lying up a muddy estuary wins a Classic Boat photographic competition.

Demise of the classic era When glassfibre rendered classic boats two a penny

Y

ou can date the start of the demise of the classic and the beginning of the modern yacht building era to 1953, or thereabouts, and if that is also the year of my birth, it’s coincidental. It was, in the UK at least, also the start of what we call the New Elizabethan era, which began with such hope after so much misery and destruction. It saw the opening up of the country after the years of war, despite the rationing that lasted into the late 1950s. For a golden decade or more, designers – Buchanan, Holman, Giles, S&S, Illingworth and Primrose, Griffiths and the like – would be thriving, and prolific builders such as Anderson, Rigden & Perkins, or Tucker Brown’s for instance, on the East Coast, would be turning out, or better churning out, the last of the bespoke wooden racing and cruising yachts, many of them designed by Alan Buchanan. As a marine pump rep in the late 1970s, I can remember well those yards as I circled the coastline clockwise from Berwick on Tweed, trying to sell to chandlers and boatbuilders – some of them even then building the odd wooden hull; a Deben, a Dauntless or a ubiquitous Folkboat. By then it was mostly glassfibre, and nostalgia alone kept the old craftsmen busy, and mainly on repair work in draughty, ramshackle sheds, rafters heavy with masts, earth floors deep in shavings. Yet still the names resonated: Hillyard, Whisstock, Prior, Moody, Berthon and of course the poshest of them all, Camper & Nicholsons, albeit shadows of their heyday pride, trying to reinvent themselves in a world where the skills of planking and caulking were disappearing and costs rising, as they had been all over Europe for a long time. In Sweden, the yard run by Tore Holm, the country’s most prolific designer, had been

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CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

‘Scores of speculative boatbuilders were advertising glass fibre as the miracle material for the common man’


EMCrosby-24CC-0220_Classic Boat_HalfHoriz.indd 1

10/02/2020 19:48

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

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BOSUN’S BAG PRACTICAL TIPS FOR THE TRADITIONAL BOATER

WORDS TOM CUNLIFFE ILLUSTRATION MARTYN MACKRILL

DRAGGING THE CLEW Two of my early ocean cruising yachts came to me with flax gaff mainsails from England’s east coast. The smaller boat, built in Norway in 1903, had an overhanging boom. The spar on the 1911 Bristol Channel pilot cutter that replaced her ended directly above a shapely counter. Both sails had the benefits and drawbacks inherent in the material and its associated handwork. These could not be changed, but each suffered from a wicked design fault that had no business being there in the first place. The boats carried their goosenecks low down on the mast for reasons well understood by their pre-war spar makers. With tack height cast in stone, the 1970s sailmakers slipped up by pitching the clews so that, with the peak properly tensioned, neither sail’s foot rose enough above the horizontal. If you look at photographs of the great yachts racing in the Solent during the golden age, you’ll see that when running, especially in light weather, the ends of the long main booms were sometimes perilously close to the water. These rigs were not designed for seagoing; their job was to maximise sail area. On the wind or reaching, some degree of twist lifted the booms to a more realistic angle, but for delivery passages, the hands replaced the giant spars with shorter versions more like those favoured by working craft able to keep the sea in rough weather. Running in a typical 8ft (2.6m) ocean sea, those two mainsails were the bane of my life. As the yachts rolled, the boom ends would go under the next-door wave, dragging the sail along in a shower of solid water at anything up to 9 knots and threatening horrible destruction. I could top up the boom end, and often did, but only at the price of increased twist bringing concerns that the gaff would chafe against the upper rigging. My old friend and long-distance sailor Nick Skeates used to rig vangs on the gaff of his cutter to hold it back on a run. Fair play to him, but his boat is smaller than either of mine; a vang was just one string too many for me. Bringing in a few feet of sheet to ease the situation was another solution, but this loaded up the helm and slowed the boat. The only real answer was to replace the sails. Penury meant that I never did this on the Norwegian. I suffered it until I sold her, and many was the night far from land that I watched, heartin-mouth, as the fiery lights of the phosphorescence burned 20 feet outboard while we rolled along. When I finally landed some money with the bigger boat, I went to David Spargo of SKB in Falmouth for a new mainsail. We discussed the issue of the boom end and he understood straight away. He cut a sail that looked like those in my collection of original photos of pilot cutters working. Without being extreme, the boom now angled

32

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

upwards from the gooseneck. It looked jaunty and I don’t recall it ever dragging in the water again. Another perk was that I could control the vital twist with the sail closehauled by heaving down on the lee quarter block. It was a great sail that turbocharged the boat for performance and did away with the ancient nightmares out on deep waters. A sail cut to sweep up with the main boom does more than lift the eye of the observer. It makes for better performance and is more seamanlike. Such a sail gets the prize all the way, so let’s have more of them!

ONE LIFT OR TWO? For reasons of pragmatic convenience, most of us are stuck with the topping lift arrangements we inherit. That being said, the advantages of having twin lifts, one either side, are inestimable. At sea, a boat is rarely, if ever, head to wind for sail-handling manoeuvres unless she relies on her engine. It follows that, half the time, a single topping lift will be to leeward, cutting into the bunt of the mainsail when set up. Nasty for bermudan yachts, horrible on gaffers. If you’ve a pair, the weather one is always used for reefing. It can also take the weight of the boom in light going, adding a degree of twist to an otherwise dead-flat rig with the life dragged out of it by the weight of the boom. Twin topping lifts are winners all ends up. When slung from strops carrying the blocks just below the hounds they sit well out of the way and the only downside is perhaps a little extra weight aloft. Compared with the benefits, do we really care?

FLAKING FOR THE DROP Assuming that a long, coiled halyard will run cleanly when you take it off the pin is expecting a lot. To be absolutely sure it behaves as it snakes cleanly upwards, the best plan is to flake it before letting go. Unlike a coil, a flake starts from the bitter end, because this will be at the bottom when the action commences. You can’t coil like this, of course. A coil must begin at the end that’s made fast. If you try forcing it from the loose end, the natural turns built into the lay of the rope compound towards the immovable part at the pin, but so long as the rope is allowed to follow a natural figure-eight pattern, it doesn’t twist up at all. If there isn’t time for such finesse, work through the rope towards the pin, encouraging it to fall as it will. Just remember that either way you must arrange for the bitter end to lie well clear. Leave it under the heap and it can get sucked into the running line and bring a smooth job to a messy halt. One final thought. A while back, I wrote about flaking ropes and was finger-wagged by an ancient mariner insisting that the correct term was ‘faking’. Suit yourself, is what I say. So long as the halyard runs free, what’s in a name?


FOR THE WORK OF MARTYN MACKRILL, VISIT MARTYNMACKRILL.CO.UK OR MESSUM’S GALLERY, MAYFAIR, LONDON MESSUMS.COM

MARTYN MACKRILL Son of a marine engineer and grandson of a trawlerman, Martyn is Honorary Painter of the Royal Thames Yacht Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron. His depictions of classic boats, from clinker rowing boats to Edwardian schooners, have made him one of the most sought-after marine artists, and his work forms part of major collections worldwide. He and his wife, Bryony, sail the restored 1910 gaff cutter Nightfall (CB328).

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

33


When life falls off a cliff edge At the start of World War One, within days the yachting scene had collapsed, all racing was cancelled and cruising sailors faced a host of regulations and restrictions – sound familiar? WORDS CLARE MCCOMB

Pre-war Cowes, before the winds of change

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CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


I

n 1914, initial rumours of political danger following the Archduke and his consort’s assassination were firmly quashed. On 30 June, the coffins were carried through Metkovich’s crowded silent streets, the Dalmatian

town draped and shrouded in black crepe, before being transferred to the yacht Dalmart and thence to a warship. Flags drooped at half mast, a foreboding of mourning still to come. Respectful sympathy to Austrian royalty was voiced in the British press, with the Times offering every Englishman’s well wishes and prayers. Back home the yachting scene remained vibrant, looking forward to a successful completion of the season, with the added excitement of the America’s Cup. Shamrock IV was attracting all the headlines. Towards the end of July she was racing trials in Torbay against her Shamrock sister, with her designer, Charlie Nicholson, in close attendance. Sometimes he steamed alongside, noting every twist of her rig; at others he clambered about fearlessly, checking the masthead gear aloft or down on the bowsprit – on at least one occasion swinging out on the mainsheet to the boom end in a fresh breeze. She was altered from sloop to cutter for different races. Everything was technical and exact. The designer was never satisfied being told how gear was standing; he had to see for himself. Meanwhile, crowds from their vantage points around Torbay had a marvellous view of the trials. At a municipal banquet in Torquay, Nicholson and Shamrock’s famous Corinthian helmsman, William Burton, were presented with gold cigarette cases, and Thomas Lipton with a specially commissioned cup. Given these three wise men and their magnificent vessel, few thought Shamrock could be beaten in America this time round.

BEKEN

As July ended, Cowes was building up for a climactic regatta. At other major regattas over in Kiel and in Norway, the Emperor’s Meteor and Herr Krupp’s Germania

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

35


;

HIATUS OF CHANGE leaving behind their previously promised racing bonuses and prize money. Newly commissioned officers on requisitioned trawlers and motor launches were often put in charge of these men, with their lifetimes of experience at sea. The wise among them did not pull rank but listened to advice.

PANIC BUYING On shore, life had also changed completely. There was a report of panic buying in Glasgow, which had put prices up and deprived ordinary people of basic commodities – sound familiar? Communities rallied round collecting for various relief funds. Yacht Clubs contributed their unused prize money. Yacht owners sent their crews’ blankets to the Navy after the YRA launched an appeal. had been fighting a battle royal. In the 15-Metre Class,

Above left: Herr

Rich owners offered their large steam yachts, kitting

British Pamela and Herr Ludwig Sander’s German Paula III

Krupp von Bohlen

them out as hospital ships.

were also providing excellent sport, demonstrating exactly

und Halbach,

why the International Rule had been created. All were

owner of

Falmouth on 21 July, crossed the Atlantic safely,

soon to head for the Isle of Wight. Meanwhile, Britannia

Germania

‘convoyed’ across by Lipton’s steam yacht Erin, avoiding

Meanwhile, Shamrock IV, which had set off from

German capture. Subsequently, Erin returned to Britain to

had been showing her paces up on the Clyde. Everything augured well for a magnificent Cowes Week. The King had

Above right:

be converted to a floating hospital and was sent to

offered a glittering gold cup for the Squadron, and the

Morgan Giles

France, accompanied by her doughty owner, 10 doctors,

German Emperor another for yachts over 80 tons.

many nursing sisters, 62 orderlies and a mass of medical

Scrubbing and painting were in full swing in the local

equipment.

boatyards. The big steam yachts had started to gather. By 4 August it was War. Within days the whole

After this juddering halt, the financial effects on British yachting were serious, with zero market for new racers.

yachting scene had fallen off a cliff edge and the season

Designers like Morgan Giles, who had not long split

was dead. Racing was being cancelled everywhere, while

acrimoniously from his partner Harry May, advertised in

cruising sailors quickly encountered a host of regulations,

vain. There were few takers. Harry had kept the yard,

restrictions and refusals to proceed.

which did well with Admiralty orders, but Frank struggled.

People had always talked of the naval potential of yachtsmen as being fiercely patriotic, well educated,

As time drew on, with shortages, prices rose. Boat builders took on naval contracts to survive, even prosper.

determined, strong, healthy and enthusiastic, familiar with British coastal waters and accustomed to picking up new skills quickly. Existing RNVR members hastened to enlist for duty, followed by many new recruits. Over a decade earlier, Erskine Childers’ bestselling novel, The Riddle of the Sands, had anticipated young British sailors as a fighting force, and the prophesy was now coming true. Signing up alongside these Corinthian amateurs were sea-hardened fishermen and summer crews for racing yachts. Many boats had been left disastrously shorthanded at Cowes within a few hours of the declaration of war, as paid hands departed to do their patriotic duty,

‘By 4 August [1914] it was War. Within days the whole yachting scene had fallen off a cliff edge and the season was dead. Racing was being cancelled everywhere, while cruising sailors quickly encountered a host of regulations, restrictions and refusals to proceed’

Above left: Nicholson and Burton’s sailing master at the wheel on Shamrock IV in 1914; Right: Cowes crews gather to enlist in August that year

36

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


;

HIATUS OF CHANGE

Main picture: Shamrock IV set sail across the Atlantic ‘convoyed’ by Lipton’s steam yacht Erin Above: MINA in Yachting Monthly, August 1914

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

37


HIATUS OF CHANGE

The main problem was finding work to keep skilled

Above left: The

launch income if boats are staying put. Smaller maritime-

workforces together. Yachting agents found already-

Kaiser’s Meteor

friendly museums teeter on the edge. However, some

agreed sales being cancelled because prospective owners

and Germania

months in, rising interest has been noted, especially for

were in France fighting and had no use for the boat.

rounding mark

family-sized boats, seen as a means to ‘staycation’ while maintaining social isolation. With restrictions still in place

As for yachting magazines – after a few months, the European ones either adapted or vanished. When the

Right: On board

for racing (apart for government provision for elite sports

entire staff of France’s Le Yacht enlisted, that publication

Britannia in 1914

such as our Olympic double-handed sailors), clubs large

disappeared. The Scandinavian magazines survived but in

and small, backed by grassroots organisations, are

adapted form. No one in Britain wanted to read the

working hard on ideas for competing safely, while

German press. Here, editors limped along relying on

mitigating risks and conforming to guidelines. The key

drawn-out retrospectives of the season, class by class,

thing is the crisis has encouraged people and

‘how to’ articles and accounts of pre-war cruises. There

organisations to work together, aided by communication

were lists of commissions and eventually of casualties,

technologies undreamed of in 1914. And there are going to

alongside the occasional review of yacht sales and

be some incredibly smart dinghies next season, given the

general pricing. One Yachting Monthly editor asked, rather

work being done in gardens and sheds under lockdown.

feebly, for contributions from the readers: he was clearly

RESONANCE IN LOCKDOWN

running low. It had initially been hard to recalibrate German friends

Yachting Monthly’s outspoken columnist MINA’s words

into enemies. Yachting Monthly’s ‘Portrait Study’ in August

from 1914 have a resonance even today: “The Country is

1914 had been another Austrian Archduke, well known on

not likely to forget how the Government threw its

British shores. Suddenly, the Kaiser, “the King’s cousin, our

protective arms around British Industry... [but] business

very frequent visitor”, had become a “Hun”, not the man

as usual... cannot be as usual... we must all suffer to some

whose golden cup people were vying to win at Cowes.

extent... If the [current situation] teaches us to live with

Meanwhile Herr Krupp’s great showpiece, Germania, and

less cant and hypocrisy, with a clearer sense of the great

Sander’s high-flying 15-Metre Paula III had been seized

value and object of our lives, the... calamity can be

before they could flee, both eventually being sold off as

turned into a blessing.”

spoils of war. After that seizure, which Germans saw as

MINA advocated financial support where it could be

dishonourable behaviour, Cowes week would never be the

afforded – paying all bills to boatyards up front, and even

same again. There could be no going back.

the commissioning of new builds, which were only going

In Covid-19 times there are many similarities for the

to be more expensive once the crisis was over. The more

sailing community. Here too everything stopped

war deprived yachtsmen of the thing they loved

suddenly, with most owners prevented from

best, the more they dreamed of returning to it, of

accessing their boats, never mind venturing out on

building new boats and repairing their old ones for

the water, despite the glorious weather. Those

their voyages under sail, as soon as circumstances

who did risked sailing uninsured. Events we were

allowed.

looking forward to were suddenly cancelled,

This was a time, he believed, when everyone,

including the splendid Fife Regatta and a full week

whether fighting the enemy or forced to stay at

of Morgan Giles Centenary celebrations, not to

home, must “play their part”. The war for him was

mention the annual rolling programmes of events

clearly only a break before men (as it was then)

that form the beating arteries of the Classic Boat

could race and cruise freely again, so individual

scene.

support, where possible, was vitally important to

At least our enemy is viral, not human, but the

protect the Clubs, yards and other associated

lockdown has been a financial shock to the

businesses that underpinned the British sailor’s

system. When manufacturing suffers a hiatus,

relationship with the sea, and the boats in which he

basic supplies often become harder to find and prices rise accordingly. Marinas lose lift-and-

38

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

expressed it. Le Yacht magazine

Plus ça change...


M

AY F LY

21

A CLASSIC LAUNCH FOR INLAND AND COASTAL WATERS

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

39


ROD HEIKELL

The pilot The Kiwi who came to the Mediterranean, fell in love, and never went home WORDS STEFFAN MEYRIC HUGHES

ROD HEIKELL BOATS: Roulette, Rozinnte, Tetra, and his current boat, Skylax, a 46ft Warwick Cardinal sloop

40

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


A

fter a lifetime of cruising by sail and writing pilotage of fuel for ports.” Flotilla sailing was taking off in the Med during guides, Rod Heikell is one of the most familiar names this period and, after some work boat cleaning, Rod soon found in the world of sailing and, if he had the slightest clue himself managing a new company, driving a company car and buying of his sales figures, probably a best-selling author. It entire fleets of yachts and equipment. He was now living on a Cobra says much about the laid-back, modest Kiwi, that he 850, a huge yacht compared with Roulette as far as he was genuinely has very little idea. concerned, leading the flotilla in the Saronic. At the time he was With Covid restrictions still in place, we had to content ourselves compiling charts to give to charter customers. “From that, I decided with a phone call to his home in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, where to do a pilot book on Greece. It has the biggest coastline in Europe, Rod has been finishing an opus of some gravity, his new book The so it took some time.” With Imray, Laurie, Norie and Wilson, one of Gift of a Sea: a Short History of Sailing in the Mediterranean. The the world’s oldest publishers, on board, that’s just what he did, over book’s gestation really started about four decades ago, when Rod the space of around three years. This was followed by guides to Italy, came to Europe, initially England, to pursue a then Turkey. By now (1981), Rod had bought a boat post-graduate thesis in the history of science. that remains strong in his affection to this day – the Oxford’s Bodleian Library was the centre of this wooden, 1962 Cheverton New Campaigner called ‘I like the research, but the city of dreaming spires was too Tetrnanora. Then came The Mediterranean Cruising anarchy of the expensive for a penniless student, so Rod lived Handbook, and some smaller, more detailed books: temporarily in nearby Milton Keynes, and his way the Greeks, “More blah blah and more charts too!” imagination wandered. “I started secretly buying By the late 80s, it was clear that Tetranora would or the French, yachting mags,” he confided, having done a bit of need a rebuild, a labour of love beyond monetary casual sailing back home in New Zealand. This common sense, so while that was being done in speak’ was soon followed by the £600 purchase of a Turkey, Rod bought a 19ft (5.8m) Mirror Offshore plywood, hard-chined, 20-footer, built in the and sailed across the Channel to the Danube. “It mid-1950s with reverse sheer but no other history. “I think it was a sailed terribly – triple keel, nothing ‘offshore’ about it at all! It had made up design,” says Rod. She came with a big, fractional bermudan orange, plastic sails – they weren’t even terylene, but they did get us rig (possibly off a Dragon) and a Stuart Turner – “I stripped that all the way to the Bosphorous. It started to sink in Czechoslovakia, engine down and rebuilt it so many times.” In 1976, and with little and this was pre-1989, in the Eastern Bloc era.” The men at the sailing experience, he and then-partner Bridget took off on Roulette nearby tug shipyard took the boat on, and Rod started to worry for The Mediterranean, via the French canals. “We had very little about what they might expect in payment. “People’s republic,” they fuel, charts marked ‘not for navigation’, a lead line and a compass – replied. “We will look after you.” “You know how there’s an amazing we later added a hand-bearing compass.” The voyage nearly ended blonde woman operating a lathe in every communist film of that up as a transat rather than a meander down to the sun. “The era?” says Rod. “There really was one there!” compass was fitted near the transom,” Rod remembers, “and I swung Reunited with Tetranora in the mid-1990s, Rod sailed, partly solo it before leaving so I knew it was right.” After hours of uncertainty, a and partly with friends and relatives, all the way to South East Asia, French frigate drew near to enquire as to their wellbeing. “I told them exploring India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia. This was we were fine, but could we please have a position? It turned out we followed by lots of Caribbean sailing and more than a few transats. were in the western approaches, heading out to the USA.” The fault Around the turn of the millennium, he bought the boat he sails to lay in the tiller bracket. Rod had swung the compass, then replaced this day, 46ft (14m) GRP sloop Skylax, and married compatriot Lu. the bronze tiller bracket with a galvanised steel fabrication. Once Today, his tally stands at 25 books, most still in print, and some re-sited safely away from the tiller, the compass read true, and the translated into six languages. The couple, these days, are cruising all couple made landfall in Saint Malo and on to the Mediterranean. the time, working on new books and updating old ones. Greek “People didn’t really do that sort of thing so much back then [late Waters Pilot, Rod’s first and most popular book, is now in its 13th 1970s],” Rod recalls. “Loads of people at my boatyard edition, and some of the others have reached 10 editions. with much bigger boats talked about going to the Med, but “It’s hardly the labour of Sisyphus!” says Rod. when we returned to England, they were still there talking “Sisyphus didn’t get to sail into lovely places and sit with a about it.” For the moment, though, Rod was busy falling in cold glass of wine and a plate of meze, looking out over the love with the Mediterranean and her shores. “If you’re a sea.” Greece clearly holds a special place in Rod’s heart. Kiwi, you fly 1,400 miles and you reach Australia – and When asked to name one place, it’s Plaka Lonidion in the that’s full of Aussies! In the Med, you have all these Eastern Peloponnese – crystal waters, an impressive countries sitting next to each other. That’s the magic of it. mountainous backdrop and a village that nestles in a And I like the anarchy of the way the Greeks, or the ravine. As for loo and shower facilities, Rod places Turkey THE GIFT OF A French, speak. There’s passion in their manner.” Whether top of the heap – modern facilities, lots of marble: “Some SEA: Rod’s all was better in the ‘good old days’ Rod finds hard to of the marina sanitary blocks are like five-star hotels!” lastest book answer. Certainly, the world was less blemished, but Rod, Recently, a Gocek marina manager asked Rod to sign traces the perhaps in the knowledge that to harp on about it is a tired his first-edition Turkish Waters & Cyprus Pilot. Rod history of set piece, asserts that “it was wonderful in the old days, but offered to replace it with an up-to-date one, but for its yachting in the actually it is wonderful still. That taverna you love – or a owner, the point of the guide was historical, a view of his Med, available seafood café in Bouzigues – they’re still there. It’s better to home stretch of water before he was born, and any marina from all good visit these places happily than to bemoan the losses”. had been built. “He turned me into an artefact!” laughs bookshops and On that first trip, Rod remembers comically slow Rod. “Maybe that’s why I wrote a book full of them.” online retailers, passage speeds: “Saint-Tropez to Corsica at an average The Gift of a Sea is out now, published by Taniwha including direct speed of 2 knots – we had to conserve our small quantity Press, priced at £32.50. See taniwhapress.com for offers. from Imray

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

41


SEA SOLACE Revisiting childhood Brittany holidays with his parents, Roger Barnes fills in some the gaps from those early travels but finds most joy in the human encounters

ANNE MERIADEC

WORDS AND PICTURES ROGER BARNES


I

t was late September before I could get away from work, and the weather in Britain had already broken. Happily I sail a cruising dinghy, so I could tow her south to the sun. After putting my car and trailer on the Roscoff ferry, I drove down to southwest Brittany. There was an end-of-season air to the marina at Loctudy. The bar was closed, its canopies slatting mournfully in the autumnal wind. But a friendly woman in the capitainerie took just €5 off me to use the slipway and park my car and trailer for two weeks. The afternoon was already over when I sculled Avel Dro away from the rows of white yachts, hoisted sail and slipped into the estuary. She lost her wind beside the high concrete breakwater of the Port de Pêche, but the strong ebb sucked me out through the narrows, past turreted villas perched heron-like on the opposite foreshore. The local fishing fleet was coming home. Gaily painted craft plunged pugnaciously past, thickets of flags on the pot buoys racked in their sterns. An arm waved from the wheelhouse of the last fishing boat as it disappeared round the breakwater. Then I was alone. I pointed Avel Dro’s bows at the empty horizon, and the green swells of the Bay of Biscay lifted under her. It had been a tough year, and I sought solace in the sea’s wilderness. My romantic partner and former crew had departed in a bitter breakup, and now the sea embraced me like an old lover.

Main picture: Île de St Nicholas, les Îles de Glénan; Below left to right: Roger Barnes; Penfret lighthouse, les Îles de Glénan; Avel Dro

RONAN COQUIL

alongside the quay, Île de St Nicholas; Avel Dro


BRITTANY VOYAGE

“It’s just you and me now, old girl,” I said to the boat as we left the shelter of the land. The wind was increasing and clouds began to cover the sky. The swells had become a sombre grey and Avel Dro began to sail hard-mouthed in the gusts. To a boat owner, their vessel is more than a mere pastime. She is intrinsic to the rhythm of their life. In winter she needs maintenance and by the spring there is fitting out. During the summer every sailing weekend is treasured, while the low light of autumn brings an inevitable sadness that there were not enough of them. So another year turns, and the darkness of winter is 44

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

Above: Roger Barnes (right), with his younger brother and mother, at Concarneau in the late 1960s

lightened by plans for new voyages and warmed by the memories of old ones. I stopped to pull in a reef close to the isolated Men Dehou seamark: a stone beacon rising from a tumble of granite in the churning sea, five miles offshore. With sail lowered, Avel Dro lay slightly stern to the wind, transom lifting to the waves that hissed beneath. I worked away, painstakingly rolling the sail and tying the reef points, alone in the heaving wilderness. Small open boats are creatures of the ocean fringe, happiest where sea and land mingle. You take them out of sight of land at your peril. But the islands were visible


BRITTANY VOYAGE the far west, little of this was apparent, and traditional Breton life still lingered. Women in long black dresses shopped in the street markets, lace coiffes atop their neatly pinned hair, or knelt under the open roofs of public lavoirs, beating washing on the stones. In the fishing harbours, high-bowed wooden craft with wide transoms and tall tangons for tuna lines, crowded the basins, their crews lounging on deck smoking Gauloises. Strolling on the quayside at Concarneau, a louche boatman in smock and high-waisted trousers asked if we wanted to go out to les belles Îles de Glénan on his sea-stained wooden craft, lying against the quay. My brother and I were keen, but our parents refused. “You wouldn’t enjoy it,” they said – as if they knew. This injustice had rankled down the years. Now I intended to put it right. I reached my GPS waypoint at the western extremity of the belt of shoals surrounding les Îles de Glénan, eight sea miles offshore. Avel Dro rounded the Les Bluniers west cardinal, perched on the end of a line of granite rocks, and reached deep into the maw of the shoals. My course led to a shallow sound between two little islands. The water shallowed, the sandy bottom slipping by, close beneath Avel Dro’s keel, then deepened again. I emerged into a wide, sheltered lagoon surrounded by low, grassy islands, guarded by the shear-faced walls of the castle on the Île Gigogne. Bringing her alongside a stone quay on the Île de Saint-Nicholas, I clambered up the iron ladder. There Right: On the quayside at Concarneau, in the 1960's, where Roger's parents refused a trip out to the Îles de Glénan Below: Women in long black dresses shopping in the street

now, a row of brown teeth breaking the horizon to the south. They looked desperately uninviting. What madness had brought me out into this horrible waste so late in the day?

LOOKING BACK In the late 1960s, we started taking our family holidays in this part of Brittany. I was too young to properly appreciate it, but French culture was utterly à la mode: Françoise Hardy in her mini-jupe, the sexy Citroën DS and nouvelle vague cinema. Students hunkered behind barricades, chucking cobbles at the Parisian police. But in CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

45


BRITTANY VOYAGE By dawn a wind had filled in from the east. Wise cruising sailors never go to windward unnecessarily, particularly those with no engines, so I shaped a course northwestward, back to the mainland. A couple of adorably pretty lighthouses led me through the outlying rocks and past the elegant seafront of Bénodet, and into the River Odet. Just after entering the river, a coaster came throbbing up astern, huge in the river channel, forcing me close to the steep wooded banks. My sail blanketed and with no steerage way, the flood tide sent Avel Dro spinning round a sharp bed in the river and into a gorge overhung by trees, like a spider in a spout. I dropped the sail and rowed to regain control. The river snaked inland, then widened into a lake surrounded by fields and low wooded hills, a soft breeze blowing across its waters. Hoisting sail once more, I tacked Avel Dro across this unexpected inland sea, a lonely explorer venturing into the interior of the continent.

QUIMPER TWIN SPIRES

was a scattering of stone buildings on the island, but no one about. The celebrated Glénan sailing school had shut for the winter, but I found a small bar with a handful of patrons, and ordered une bière. “Are you on the vieux gréement [tall ship] we saw coming in?” they asked respectfully, as if I was crewing a windjammer, not a 15-foot dinghy. Returning to my modest vessel, I anchored close inshore and unrolled the boat tent over a ridge formed by the yard and sail, and laid my mattress and sleeping bag to turn her into a snug floating home.

LATE MORNING, LISTENING I lay in my sleeping bag for a long time after I awoke in the morning, listening to the wavelets lapping along the hull planking and watching the sunlight dancing on the canvas above my head. At last I opened the tent flaps and looked out. Avel Dro was sitting in brilliantly clear water, suspended between sky and the sandy bottom below. Hardly a ripple disturbed the surface of the sea. The wind remained light all day. I rowed slowly from island to island, between rocky foreshores and opal beaches. The bows of my boat parted the silky water, and rows of little whirlpools slid astern from my oar strokes. Once I stopped and leant over the side of the hull, looking down through the clear water at the granite reef, close below. Little fish darted between fronds of sea wrack and the delicate tentacles of anemones. Finally I anchored at the eastern extremity of the archipelago, where the red beam of the ancient Penfret lighthouse swept over me all night. 46

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

Top: Approaching Hennebont, on the River Blavet Above: Very low bridges, approaching the centre of Quimper Below: Approaching Lorient, with Port-Louis visible under the sail

At the head of the lake the outskirts of Quimper came into view. The river narrowed between paved quaysides. I had lost the fair tide by this time, but the cathedral’s twin spires, rising above the huddled roofs of the surrounding houses, beckoned me onwards. So I walked along the quay, towing Avel Dro against the ebb. A series of low bridges spanned the canalised river. Jumping back into my dinghy, I dropped the mast and sculled under them, ducking to avoid the flowers decking their iron balustrades. Eventually I brought her alongside a flight of stone steps directly opposite the prefecture, right in the heart of the city. The bustle and noise were striking after the loneliness of the Glénans. I erected the boat tent, a scruffy sea vagrant setting up camp alongside the quays of an elegant tree-lined boulevard. The city had grown prosperous since I last visited Quimper as a child, with many fashionable shops and a youthful, arty population. I wandered aimlessly, enjoying the narrow medieval streets with their jettied halftimbered houses. It seemed remarkable that my little dinghy could bring me from a lonely archipelago right into the heart of this busy metropolis. The car ferry rumbling into its berth awakening me. It was my third morning on the Île de Groix, and it was


BRITTANY VOYAGE

still raining. Clambering onto the pontoon, I joined the huddle of yacht skippers outside the harbour office, looking glumly at the morning forecast. Even the large yachts were storm bound. I had been instantly attracted by the faded grandeur of Port Tudy. The quayside warehouses and tall villas bore witness to the lost prosperity of the island, founded on the Biscay tuna fishery. But the carcasses of the mighty thoniers that once thicketed the harbour now rot in the mud of Breton rivers, and modern Groix has little to live on, other than tourism. Feeling gloomy and trapped on that drizzly isle, I hankered to be out at sea, back among the waves and the soaring water birds. But the outlook was too unsettled to cruise further along the exposed coast to the east, as I had planned. The only escape was to head directly into Lorient, on the mainland opposite. I walked to the end of the breakwater to assess the conditions. A big sea was running in the five-mile strait between Groix and the mainland, but I judged the crossing do-able. Over breakfast in a quayside bar, I laid out the chart and planned my passage. Then it was time to leave.

TRIPLED-REEFED I hoisted Avel Dro’s triple-reefed sail under the lee of the stone breakwater. She wallowed in its wind shadow, with barely enough way to slip past the little lighthouse at its end. Then she emerged into the full force of the weather. The tiny sail filled, she heeled sharply and then she was off, thundering towards Lorient. Long seas rolled in from the beam, scooping her high and rushing away as she settled into the troughs. Avel Dro was sailing at her limit, sweeping over a spectacular

Above: Roger Barnes' drawing of Port Tudy Inset: The logbook of the passage from Port Tudy to Hennebont

landscape of blue rolling hills, shimmering in sudden sunlight, and awesome in their power. We stormed into the estuary between the angular fortifications of 16th-century Port-Louis and the 20th-century U-Boat pens opposite. Beyond the modern city of Lorient, another river led me deep into the shelter of the verdant Breton countryside. I finally moored beside the medieval fortifications of Hennebont, far up the River Blavet, where I spent a restful day drawing and reading Le Monde in a workaday bar on the quayside. Needing a decent slipway to haul out my dinghy at the end of the cruise, I returned down river to Port-Louis, from where I would travel back overland to Loctudy for my car and trailer. I had only just moored Avel Dro and put up the boat tent when a voice called from the pontoon outside: “Monsieur, voulez-vous un verre avec nous?” The crews of cruising dinghies get used to being invited round by complete strangers. This time it was the skipper of a trim French yacht, further along the pontoon. Once we were aboard, he pulled an old copy of Lloyd’s Register of Yachts from his bookshelf. “I looked up your burgee in here,” he said. “I see that you are in the Dinghy Cruising Association.” “Actually, I am its president,” I said. The French are very respectful of these social niceties, so we spent the evening drinking the health of the Association. Very much later, as I walked back to my little dinghy in the silky darkness, under the towering bastions of Port Louis, I reflected on my solitary dinghy cruise. The experiences I most treasured involved the people I met serendipitously along the way. It is the happenstance of human encounter that makes a memorable voyage. CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

47


1930S-STYLE COMMUTE TO WORK After some serious restoration it is hoped that Scout will motor on into the next century WORDS NIGEL SHARP PHOTOGRAPHS ALISON LANGLEY


I

n the early part of the 20th century, it was fashionable for wealthy American businessmen to travel, on a daily or weekly basis, between their country homes and their city offices through inland waterways. The vessels on which they did so were typically fast, luxurious, narrow, sleek and stylish and, not surprisingly, they became known as commuter boats. It was not uncommon for a businessman to leave home every morning in his dressing gown and then use the voyage time to prepare for work by shaving, dressing and having breakfast on board. New York was a popular place for such commuter boats, which typically travelled between various parts of Long Island Sound and Wall

Street, but this is the story of one that was almost certainly originally used on the Great Lakes. Cormar was designed by Walter McInnis of EldridgeMcInnis and built by Defoe Boat & Motor Works in Bay City, Michigan in 1930. Walter McInnis served an apprenticeship with Thomas F McManus, who specialised in designing American fishing schooners. He then worked as a draughtsman at George Lawley & Son in Neponset, Massachusetts until 1926. He then went into partnership with Albert E Eldredge, who had been vice-president and general manager of Lawley’s. Their firm produced designs for hundreds of motor cruisers as well as 13 out of 15 US Coast Guard classes designed


SCOUT between 1932 and 1950, and – often in conjunction with John G Alden – large numbers of military vessels in the Second World War. He retired in 1976 at the age of 83. Harry J Defoe started his working life as a school teacher, but built boats in his spare time. In 1905, at the age of 30, he left the teaching profession and formed Defoe Boat & Motor Works, in partnership with his brother Frederick Defoe (a New York lawyer) and his brother-in-law George H Whitehouse (a fish wholesaler). The company built a variety of vessels over the years, including fishing boats, kit boats and military craft during both world wars. In the mid-1920s, they started to concentrate on pleasure yachts; perhaps the most famous of these was Lenore, built in 1931, a year after Cormar. She later became John F Kennedy’s presidential yacht and was renamed Honey Fitz. The company’s workforce peaked at about 4,000 in the Second World War, when they were building vessels as big as 309ft (94.2m) steam turbine destroyers. Harry J Defoe continued to actively work until his death in 1957 at the age of 81. His sons, and later a grandson, took over the company, but in 1976 it closed. Cormar’s first owner was RE Klages, who is thought to have commuted along the river systems of Toledo, Ohio. He sold her in 1935. Since then she has had seven subsequent owners, including, during the Second World War and until 1949, the California-based Lang Transportation Company, although it is not known whether she ever went that far west. It is known, however, that she has been kept in Newport, Rhode Island and New York Harbour at various times. At some point she was renamed Hi-Ball III and then Olympic Scout and, in 2000, just plain Scout, the name she still has today. Her current owner, Jurgen Friedrich,

50

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

Above: Scout is based in Long Island Sound, where owner Jurgen Friedrich spends his summers

bought her in 2007. He lives for most of the year in Zurich but spends the summers in Long Island Sound, USA, where he has a house and where Scout is based. By 2017 it had become apparent that Scout needed some major work. “Not that she was falling apart,” said Matt Jacobson, her then-captain, “but there were some serious issues that needed addressing.” Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding Co has been building and repairing a variety of boats in contrasting construction methods for 40 years. Simon Castle, who was brought up on the Isle of Wight and served a boatbuilding apprenticeship at Fairy Marine in the 1980s, has worked at the company since 2001, having arrived in Maine as crew on board Fife ketch Sumurun. Lyman-Morse has two sites – at Camden and Thomaston, Maine, which are just over 10 miles apart. When the company won the Scout contract it was decided to do the work at Camden, not least because that is where Simon is based and his expertise would be invaluable.


SCOUT

RESTORATION The main issue was the stabiliser mountings. The stabilisers were fitted in 2006 – a welcome addition on such a narrow boat – but not enough structure was added to take the loads, and this was now causing problems. “When Scout was under way, the hull planking and frames were moving when the stabilisers were in operation,” said Simon. Furthermore, the boat had suffered some storm damage, when the starboard side had been pressed up against a dock wall, causing a fuel tank to move out of position. From the start it was realised that the best way to tackle these issues was to remove almost everything from the engine room. There were soft patches, each about 4ft (1.2m) by 5ft (1.5m), in the deck saloon cabin sole and coachroof, and once these had been opened up, almost everything could be easily taken out that way. All that was left in the engine room was the electrical panels and associated wiring on the aft bulkhead. This allowed further investigation to take place, and it was then found that the stabiliser blocking was made up of various small pieces of wood epoxied together. After that was removed, it could be seen that significant parts of several of the 2in (51mm) by 5in (127mm) frames (it would turn out to be eight on the port side and six to starboard) were cracked or rotten and needed replacing. To do this, the Douglas fir stringers (of which there are two each side, effectively sandwiched by inner and outer parts of the frames) had to be removed over about a 20ft (6.2m) length, as did the American white oak engine

Above: Scout, when known as Cormar, launched from Defoe Boat & Motor Works in Bay City, Michigan in 1930 Inset: Cormar’s first owner, RE Klages, with friends and family

beds in their entirety. The hull is double planked with 3 /8in (10mm) cedar inside and 7/8in (22mm) mahogany outside, both fore and aft, and this needed only minor local repairs around the stabilisers. Once the stringers, engine beds and offending parts of the frames were removed, it was time to start work on the new frame sections all of which would be laminated from 1/8in (3mm) Iroko veneers and West epoxy resin, and bronze fastened in place. First the outer sections were made, and then fitted against the hull planking and scarphed into the sound parts of the original frames; the stringers were then reinstated with new sections in 1¼in (32mm) by 4½in (108mm) iroko laid across the inboard faces of the outer frame sections; intermediate iroko laminations were then added onto the inner faces of the outer frame sections above, between and below the stringers, with their inner faces flush with those of the stringers; new inner sections were now made and fitted over the inner faces of the intermediate frame sections and stringers. Again, these were scarphed into sound parts of original frames and alternate ones were taken CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

51


SCOUT

RESTORATION Clockwise from above: Fitting new frames; new Caterpillar engines were installed; stringers were removed and reinstated with new sections; hull planking needed only minor local repairs

over the top of the floors to join up with the frame on the opposing side. New engine beds in purple heart – iroko would have been the preference had it been available in the correct dimensions – were then constructed and fitted. To prevent the stabiliser loads causing more problems in future, a substantial bronze bracket – 3/8in thick and about 3ft (0.91m) long and 18in (0.46m) wide was fabricated by Lyman-Morse’s sister company LM Fabrications. This spans four frames and is fastened to the most fore and aft of those frames, while there are plywood packers filling the void between the middle pair around the stabiliser hole. Scout originally had a timber bulkhead at the forward end of the engine room, but at some point in the boat’s life it was replaced with a steel one, “as they wanted to make it a coastguard certified boat to take passengers out”, said Simon. “But it never worked very well, and it was rusty and shot so needed replacing.” This time it was decided to use plywood and so digital measurements were taken to allow it to be cut out by Lyman-Morse’s CNC machine in component parts “like a giant jigsaw puzzle so it could go into the boat easily”. It was made up of two layers of ¾in (19mm) ply, with each layer in four parts, and was epoxied together in situ. The existing watertight door was then refitted. Once all this work was completed it was time to put everything back it the engine room. In most cases the equipment put back was the same as that been taken out, albeit after thorough servicing – the Kohler 17kW generator, the Naiad stabilisers and the batteries, for instance. The two aluminium fuel tanks were reduced in 52

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

SCOUT YEAR BUILT

1930 LOA

73ft (22.3m) BEAM

14ft (4.3m) DRAUGHT

6ft (1.8m) ENGINE

Caterpillar C7 500hp (x2)

capacity from about 400 to 300 gallons each by taking about 9in (230mm) off the top to lower their centre of gravity, and the boat had never needed that much fuel. It had been planned to give the 420hp Yanmar engines – which were about 17 years old and were known to have been rebuilt at some stage – a 5,000-hour service and refit them. “But when we pulled them out, we found they had various problems, and the starboard one had a bearing failure on the front-end bearing,” said Simon. “One thing led to another, and it was decided to put new ones in.” Caterpillar 500hp C7s were selected.

RELAUNCH Scout was relaunched in May 2018 and soon proved that her new engines were a great improvement. Whereas in recent years it was considered a little too risky to try to take her over 12 knots, her new Caterpillars have already taken her up to 19, and her cruising speed will now be around 15. “All the work that was done was really important for Scout’s preservation,” said Matt, who is no longer her captain but now works as Service Manager at LymanMorse. “It’s a pretty awesome thing when anyone wants to invest in a wooden boat like this, and hopefully Scout will now be around for another 100 years.” The owner and his family are able to enjoy their boat again, just as they did before the work was done. They frequently take day and weekend cruises, anchoring for lunch and swimming off the boat; they normally cruise up to Maine at some point in summer; and occasionally they go into Manhattan, just as Scout’s distant cousins did on a regular basis a century-or-so ago.


Anne T. Converse PHOTOGRAPHY MARINE • TRAVEL • EQUINE PEOPLE

Small, but perfectly formed.

P.O. Box 209 Marion, MA 02738 | USA 508 728 6210 anne@annetconverse.com www.annetconverse.com ANNE T CONVERSE IBC CB Aug19.indd 1 Untitled-147 1

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CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020 13/01/2020 53 09:11


Getting afloat

VENDIA

A new way of life? Anybody looking for a post-corona change of lifestyle should consider

smooth water, or at a cruising speed of 5-6 knots sipping Just 1.5

this one! Vendia is a 56ft (17.1m) Danish ex-fishing trawler built to

gallons of diesel per hour. An 8 kVA Phasor genset with three-cylinder

grand scantlings – 2in (5cm) oak planks on huge oak frames – by

Kubota engine supplies all the electrical power necessary. The berths

Nippers yard in Skagan in 1942 during the German occupation. She

have fans and reading lights, and 220v outlets are fitted throughout

was converted to a gaff-rigged ketch in the 1970s, with the fish holds

the vessel, with plenty of USB ports. She was, until recently, operating

turned into cabins, and now has sleeping quarters for up to 11. She

as a day charter boat out of Grenada, licensed for up to 35 guests and

featured in our December 2018 issue, cutting a dash in her bright red

insured to operate in waters from Trinidad to St Vincent. There is

and cream livery, and turns eyes at the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta.

potential here to continue chartering or she would make a

Her owners maintain that in her favoured conditions of around 16-25

comfortable family liveaboard cruising home.

knots on a reach she regularly maintains a steady 7-8 knots in a very comfortable fashion. Fitted with a 230hp Cummings 6CT engine and

Asking £78,000. Lying Caribbean

new ZF gearbox, she has the power to push along at up to 8.5 knots in

woodenships.co.uk

MALANYA

Cheverton Cavalier number one David Cheverton, probably best known for his popular post-war Caravel and Crusader classes, designed the Cavalier Class in the mid-60s. Malanya was the first of a run of six of that type, built in 1965, and she graced the pool at the London Boat Show the year after. She was built in Hong Kong at the Wing on

Arona diesel is likely original, too. The cabin

issues. Malanya comes with some nice,

Shing yard, in Burma teak, all bronze

will sleep five (realistically four, according to

original documentation, including

fastened and with a lead keel. The deck is

owner John Peters, who is ‘swallowing the

correspondence between the commissioning

32mm of teak, with no subdeck. The rig is

anchor’ at the age of 77), and has full

owner and designer, and publicity material

bermudan on the original aluminium mast,

standing headroom under the raised section.

from the 1966 London Boat Show.

with single, mid-mounted shrouds and no

She’s not been sailed in five or six years and

running backstays. She comes with little-

John describes her condition as ‘end-of-

Asking: offers over £13,000. Lying ashore,

used sails, roller furling, and the original

season minus’, but as a vessel of teak, lead

Gosport, Hampshire. Contact John Peters.

Ratseys spinnaker. The two-cylinder, 12hp

and bronze, John is sure there are no real

Tel: +44 (0)1329 677255

To see more boats for sale go to classicboat.co.uk 54

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CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

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AFFORDABLE CLASSIC Halcyon 27

DAVID HARDING

LESS THAN £10K

56

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

By Peter Poland


YACHTSNET.CO.UK

T

hose of us who were old enough to enjoy a pub, drive a car, go to rock concerts and sail offshore on yachts in the heady days of the 1960s were lucky. We were pitched headlong into an era of change, liberation, thrills and occasional spills. It was magic. On the yacht-building front, things had been pretty static since the end of World War Two. Materials and money were in short supply. However, as businesses picked up and richer folk found funds for leisure activities in the 50s and 60s, the British offshore sailing scene came back to life. Increasing numbers of beautiful new wooden yachts were launched. What’s more, most of these were British-designed and built in British yards. One of the top designers to make his mark at that time was Alan Buchanan. Barney Sandeman of classic yacht brokerage specialists Sandeman Yacht Company put it well, saying: “Buchanan’s boats hit a sweet spot. He was most prolific before the (racing) box rules of the late 1960s spoilt aesthetics and good sea-keeping qualities. His boats were still deep, relatively heavy displacement and had moderate beam.” Alan Buchanan was born in 1922 and lived to the age of 92. From his early years he loved the sea and sailing, messing around in boats in West Mersea, where his family had a holiday cottage. He was 17 when the Second World War started, and became qualified in naval architecture and aeronautical engineering before working as a wartime draughtsman and project engineer for Handley Page and Shorts. He was involved with the Halifax and Sterling bombers and the Sunderland flying boats. Later setting up his design office in Burnham, Buchanan had a string of traditional boatbuilders on his doorstep. Priors, William King, Tucker Brown, Petticrows and Stebbings were all just a stroll along the banks of the Crouch and all flourished as their shipwrights rolled out a procession of Buchanan-designed beauties. Across the North Sea, he forged relationships with Dutch yards that produced numerous Buchanan designs in steel. Buchanan later joined the charge into small GRP family cruisers. His 1961 twin- or fin-keel Crystal 23 sold well, then took off once Offshore Yachts bought the tooling and revamped it into the Halcyon 23. A similar transformation happened to the 1963 Diamond 27 (built by Thames Marine and Stebbings), which in 1968 became Offshore Yachts’ ever-popular Halcyon 27.

HALCYON LOA

27ft (8.2m) LWL

20ft 3in (6.2m) BEAM

7ft 8in(2.3m) DRAUGHT

4ft (1.2m) DISP

6,720lb (3,048kg) SAIL AREA

365sq ft (33.9m2)

Two on the market

€5960 1977, Volvo Penta MD7A, BJ

£3,995 1968, Highways Marine, Tel:

Marine (bjmarine.net), Tel: +353 1287

+44 (0)1304 613 925, richard@

8334. Lying Ireland

highwaysmarinegroup.co.uk. Lying Kent

Very much a Folkboat-style family cruiser with considerable offshore potential, this tough little long-keel yacht weighs 6,720lb (3,048kg), has a ballast ratio of 45 per cent, a displacement/length ratio of 361, a sail area/displacement ratio of 13.07 and a comfort ratio of 31. What’s more, her practical four-berth accommodation gives her all-weather cruising scope, so it’s no surprise that clubs like the Joint Services Sailing Club bought Halcyon 27s for training and adventure courses. To this day, she makes a good budget buy for serious cruising folk. One forum contributor wrote: “The previous owners of our Halcyon 27 sailed to the East Coast of the USA, down to the West Indies, across to the Azores, Gib, the Med, and back up through Biscay. So yes; they are seaworthy. They lived on board for four years without any major problem.”

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR As with any old boat, there are things to look out for. Some owners report problems around the mast step and a flexing foredeck. Most say it’s best to buy a boat with a more modern replacement engine. And – as with most narrow-ish long keelers – many comment on an initial tenderness before the keel weight kicks in. Some tall sailors seem to find the bunks a bit short, but most say the doghouse gives good headroom for a 27-footer of her era. One owner summarised the accommodation, writing on a forum: “As for living aboard, it depends on what you want to do. If it’s to be deserted anchorages off the NE Highlands with a disgruntled, high-maintenance partner, a Halcyon 27 might show its shortcomings.” An early Yachting Monthly test put the Halcyon 27 into context well: “The cruising requirements of [the] owner, who gave me a trial sail in his Halcyon 27, are typical of many people nowadays. He wanted a boat of acknowledged seagoing ability, standing headroom and berths for four, easy handling for lone or shorthanded sailing, average to good handicap racing potential, modest draught with fin keel and enough auxiliary power to push the boat dead upwind and sea under engine alone... a shade faster than she could be tacked to windward... The Halcyon 27 has fulfilled these requirements for this particular owner.”

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

57


BROKERAGE

Boats for sale Looking to sell your boat? Reach over 50,000 readers each month

To advertise call Andrew Mackenzie +44 (0)207 349 3718 or email andrew.mackenzie@chelseamagazines.com

PLUS For more boats to buy go to

classicboat.co.uk/buy-a-classic-boat

WESTERNMAN 40 Conceived and sailed by the great man that is Tom Cunliffe. Beautifully Designed by Nigel Irens. Fantastically built by Covey Island, Novia Scotia. Rigged by Ed Burnett An eye pleasing, exceptional sailing but low maintenance (epoxy sheathed) wooden gaff cutter with an unbeatable pedigree.

VERY PRETTY 24FT LAUNCH.

In great condition and realistically priced at £225,000.

1956 Falmouth Boat Construction. Carvel mahogany. Complete bare hull rebuild ten years ago to a very high standard including Beta 28hp diesel now approx 200hrs. Dry stored every winter. Purpose built trailer. £25,000 01872 501915 or margueritetodd@hotmail.com

Tel. +44 (0)7795 600870 Email: lcg@cromwellgriffiths.com

INTERNATIONAL ONE DESIGN 1966. “WHISPER”. The last wooden IOD built by Bjarne Aas. Professional restoration in 2013. New sails 2017-2019. Revarnished 2019. New Selden mast and rigging 2020. Winter cover and cradle. Classic Regatta winner 2019. Lying Suffolk £30,000 Tel: 07850 779911 or Email: markwincer11@ gmail.com

HILLYARD 11 TON KETCH – 1970 - 32FT LOA A well presented example of this classic motor sailer. Solid, comfortable cruiser with spacious, deep cockpit and ketch rig for safe sailing. 4/5 full-size berths, toilet, hot water, loads of storage. Chartplotter, autohelm, extensive inventory. She has undergone significant refitting in recent years including a new Beta 50hp engine in 2005, with only 430 hours use. Superstructure & wheelhouse professionally refurbished in 2015 plus new sail and wheelhouse covers 2018. Lying Plymouth. £16,000. Contact: mark.swabey@btconnect.com, 07966 548123.

C-MIST COLIN ARCHER TYPE GAFF CUTTER.

Professionally-built in 1980, 33ft mono-coque, ferro-cement hull and decks, sheathed and encapsulated in epoxy resin. Four berths. Vetus 25hp engine and 250 litre fuel tank. Electronic equipment in full working order, including fullyintegrated trim-tab steering system. Comprehensive sail wardrobe, plus many extras including life raft, rigid and inflatable dinghy if required. Lying Cowes, Isle of Wight. £28,000 Tel: 07780 616747 or email: hansonr.rh@gmail.com

CHARLEMAGNE

Beautiful 1966 motor yacht built by James & Caddy. Mahogany on oak with teak deck, Twin Ford Parsons. Spacious, sound and well maintained, handles well at sea. Interior with many original solid mahogany features. Six berths. Available with residential berth in Limehouse Marina, London. LOA 12.5m, Beam 3.7m. £70,000 (boat only) or with London residential mooring £110,000 Contact: 07891 484856 or susanesburn@gmail.com

FLORENCE.

Genuine Canadian canoe, sound throughout and very pretty, refurbished by Dennett about 20 years ago, little use since. Sheathed in very thin glass, will last many more years. Trailer included, needs a little tlc, but usable, with light-box. All ready to go. Herefordshire. £2,500, buyer collects. Tel: 01432 860063 or Email ed.white1@btopenworld.com

Looking to sell your boat? Reach over 50,000 readers each month plus 25k web visitors There are two styles of Boats for Sales adverts to choose from and with our special offer, if you buy two months, your third month will be FREE. Pick the style which suits your requirements and email: andrew.mackenzie@chelseamagazines.com with your text and image or call +44 (0)207 349 3718 58

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


BOATS FOR SALE

Brokerage listing

C L A S S I C A N D V I N TAG E YAC H T S We hope that you enjoy our selection of vintage and classic sailing yachts. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information on any of the yachts featured here.

73ft Summers & Payne Ketch 1897 / 2006

67ft Fred Shepherd Staysail Schooner 1935 / 2005

60ft Laurent Giles Bermudan Cutter 1956

John Leather, noted naval architect himself and a prolific writer, considered Arthur Payne to be second to none in the design of fast cruising and racing yachts - the equal of William Fife and GL Watson, and ahead of Joseph Soper in this regard - and JAVELIN rightly fits into this category. Leather went on to say how pleased their owners and crews were to be sailing such seaworthy yachts. Assiduously restored in 2006, she is hard to tell apart from the Beken pictures taken a hundred years ago. Notwithstanding; modern systems have been discreetly fitted to make her luxurious to live on and a wonderful family boat.

Few classic yachts of ELLA’s size can better the quantity, quality, and ambience of above and below deck accommodation and space that this Fred Shepherd masterpiece offers – while also being a most efficient and easily handled vessel under sail. Painstakingly restored under present ownership to preserve her wonderful authenticity and to subtly modernise her comforts, ELLA is famously equally at home gently cruising, or safely and very comfortably passage making - with friends or under charter. For the past 15 seasons ELLA’s cruising grounds have been the very pleasant waters of the Baltic Germany and Denmark. She’s had many adventures on the seven seas, and will offer many more in years to come.

Laurent Giles identified PAZIENZA as a ‘good example of a comfortable shorthanded cruising boat with a first class performance under power yet able to take part successfully in ocean races.’ “Yachting World” in 1957 described her as ‘a large cutter into which a great deal of thought has been given to comfort and convenience.’ Giles achieved a seamless transition between traditional and modern styling - PAZIENZA is blessed with understated English good looks and handsome sheers. The current owner and family have successfully cruised and raced in Europe and the Caribbean and PAZIENZA is just one of those boats that once seen – she will always stay with you!

€1,500,000

Lying Italy

€950,000

Lying Germany

Lying UK

€695,000

46ft Silvers John Bain ‘Silver Leaf’ TS Motor Yacht 1937 / 2001

60ft White Brothers Twin Screw MY 1914 / 2015

42ft C.A Nicholson Bermudian Sloop 1960/2012

Silvers manager and designer John Bain perfected the art of building motor yachts in volume, yet at such a high quality and so effectively marketed that even through the Great Depression years they almost couldn’t keep up with demand. And they are still coveted, these superbly stylish yachts so ahead of their time in terms of comfort and sea keeping. MERIDIES, a longer than usual, teak planked Silver Leaf Class, has benefited over the years from owners who changed nothing of her authenticity, and more recently have dealt with the structural needs of this young at heart octogenarian. With MERIDIES, vintage style meets practicality in symbiosis.

From the board of Herbert White and the Southampton yard White Brothers, despite her name - in recognition of her Kauri pine construction - KIWI was launched as a thoroughly English gentleman’s yacht: one of considerable style, but of manageable size. Her previous owner spent more than 20 years restoring and fitting her out to a very high standard. KIWI presents a rare opportunity to own a gorgeously authentic yet highly practical vintage motor yacht with unmistakable looks.

Almost a total rebuild and restoration and thoroughly modern systems make SWANILDA a very usable classic. Indeed, following her 2010-2012 reconstruction her design and condition now should allow ocean passages as well as summer cruises and classic races. A recent topsides repaint and mast and spars refinishing at Elephant Boatyard leaves this very English lady looking very smart. Given the treatment she has received, SWANILDA is undoubtedly very reasonably priced.

£240,000

€210,000

Lying UK

For further information please contact: +44 (0)1202 330077 info@sandemanyachtcompany.co.uk

Lying France

£135,000

Lying N Ireland

Our classic and vintage yachts & motor yachts are available to view at:

22 Market Street, Poole, Dorset BH15 1NF, UK

– www.sandemanyachtcompany.co.uk –

MEMBER OF THE ABYA

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

59


Craftsmanship Yard News

SECTION HEAD SUB SECTION

Edited by Steffan Meyric Hughes: +44 (0)207 349 3758 Email: steffan@classicboat.co.uk

NYHAMNSLAGE, SWEDEN

1894 clipper yacht restored The latest restoration from the boatbuilding Ravanis brothers – Mathias and

scantlings; new upper part of the prow with the original lines; a new

Martin – was recently launched following a two-year, on-and-off

cockpit rim in steam-bent oak; and more.

restoration. We remember their extraordinary fishing boat restoration a few

“All material is of the highest imaginable quality and the aim of the

years ago, which justly won our ‘Restoration of the Year (under 40ft)’

work has all the time been to bring back the original lines and appearance

award, and this time, it’s the turn of a yacht. Bel Rose is a Swedish sailing

without compromise. Thus, we have not used any epoxy, glue or plywood

yacht, built in Gothenburg in 1894, to the design of reknowned Swedish

– only oak, heartwood pine, Oregon pine, together with bronze screws,

naval architect Albert Andersson, with more than a hint of the famous

copper rivets and copper bolts, raw linseed oil and Swedish tar.” The last

Gloriana (1891) to her lines. The yard’s work on the boat has included,

time these guys restored a boat, they showed us photos of themselves on

among other things: new sheer planks all around; a new deck and deck

long, exploratory walks through Swedish forests to find the right grown

beams “in massive Oregon pine and heartwood pine”; new gunwales and

bends, so those words should not be taken lightly!

toerails in natural-grown crooked oak “for original appearance”, with tapered lines to the stern; new stern timbers in sturdy quarter-sawn oak

SOUTHAMPTON, HAMPSHIRE

Replica Fife half rater nears completion A replica of 1894 Fife half rater Miru is nearing completion after six years' work by owner Colin Hurner. He trained at the Boat Building Academy and has worked at Fairlie Restorations, among others, but these days is a composites engineer (“Don’t worry, the boat is wooden!” he adds). He found an old photo of Miru, built in New Zealand, and a construction plan, which he used to create a half model on which the replica is based. She is “80-85 per cent” complete, and Colin is now finishing the deck by fitting the king plank, before he builds the cockpit and interior. The build was just for fun, but now Colin is relocating, he is looking for a buyer to take on the unfinished project, or possibly to await completion by Colin. The boat is planked in Alaskan yellow cedar on African mahogany frames and steamed oak ribs, with a teak deck. Sitka spruce hollow spars, a custom-made road trailer and launching trolley, and all sails and rig have already been bought. Once complete, she will be an all-inboard gunter sloop rig and a fin keel (as designed, although altered to do away with the bulb, incorporating the lead into the fin). Other than that she is, Colin holds, a pretty accurate replica. If interested, email colinhurner@gmail.com.

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CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

COLIN HURNER

extremely elegant, engineless daysailer, with very long overhangs, an


CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

61


CRAFTSMANSHIP

TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA

Ketch Te Rapunga in restoration

WOODEN BOAT CENTRE, FRANKLIN, TASMANIA

Bristol-inspired motorboat starts

Denman Marine in Kettering has

frames and backbone. One

It seems that the Bristol series

pine, a Huon pine transom and a

been reviving the 32ft (9.8m)

concession to modern materials

of powerboats, designed by

below-decks fit-out with more

double-ended ketch Te Rapunga,

is the use of WEST System

Andrew Wolstenholme and built

Tasmanian native timbers. The

and in the process has shone a

products for the laminated

in Britain by Star Yachts (in

110hp single diesel will give the

light on the incredible life and

components, like deck beams.

Bristol of course), has caught

semi-displacement-hull boat a

philosophy of German-born

The massive project is on

the eye of boatbuilders on the

cruising speed of 17 knots. Paul

seafarer and “citizen of the

track to be completed by end of

other side of the world. Work

D’Olier at the centre, the

world” George Dibbern. Meaning

year. “Even with a skilled team

has begun on a wooden boat

project’s main proponent, said:

‘longing for the dawn’ in Maori,

and modern tools, it’s a

project at the Wooden Boat

“The aim is to introduce a

Te Rapunga was discovered in an

traditional build and requires a

Centre in Franklin to build a

world-class shipwright training

Auckland front garden in 2018,

lot more hours than a modern

Franklin 29, a new design from

programme back into the

after two decades on land, and

composite build.” According to

Wolstenholme, clearly based on

Wooden Boat Centre.”

bought by a Bruny Island

her owners, the objective is to

the lovely stepped-sheer Bristol

Disciplines involved will include

tourism group and fellow sailing

bring back to life this venerable

series of boats, which have

modern strip plank methods,

enthusiasts, with the vision of

vessel and share her adventures.

proved popular and won at least

including CNC-cut moulds and

restoring her to original shape.

They aim to sail her to the

one award in this magazine over

bulkheads; use of modern

2021 Wooden Boat Festival,

the years. This one will have a

adhesives and fillers used in

explained: “The survey found she

which will take place from 5-8

strip-planked hull of western red

strip planking; the vacuum bag

was too far gone and would

February, Covid-permitting.

cedar, laid decks of celery top

sheathing processes; Dynel deck

But, as Andrew Denman

require a complete rebuild. So,

sheathing; composite bulkhead

she was brought back to Tassie...

materials; laid deck installation;

with the help of a team of

interior fit-out and mechanical

shipwrights and the advice of

and electrical fit-out. It seems

author Erika Grundman, who

ATL Composites has been busy

researched and wrote George’s

here too, supplying the WEST

biography, Dark Sun: Te Rapunga

System to this build as well. The

& the Quest of George Dibbern.”

aim, as with Te Rapunga (left), is to show her at the big 2021

She will be planked in Huon pine and celery top on hardwood

Left: Laminated floors glued with WEST epoxy; Right: The Franklin 29

Wooden Boat Festival.

METUR YACHTS, BODRUM, TURKEY

First Pilot Classic 47 starts build British company Performance Classic Yachts is turning out to be something of a success story, with news of a new commissioned build about to begin. Just last month we covered PC Yachts extending its range of pilot cutter-inspired spirit-of-tradition yachts down to 47ft (13.8m), with a speculative design by Hoek. No sooner was the ink dry, than company helm Mark Speirs contacted us to report an order for the first one. After building two Pilot Classic 55s and two 65s in the last few years, this will be the fifth boat from the firm. The build, for a Japanese client, has already started, for a spring 2021 launch. The Pilot Classic 47, built in Turkey with an epoxy glass hull with carbon reinforcements, is a “stylish and elegant weekender with ample room in the cockpit for six to have lunch under a full bimini”. The interior offers four berths in two double cabins. The rig is designed for fast, singlehanded sailing, with a furling boom self-tacking jibs and all lines and halyards led aft to electric winches. The standard spec price is €575,000 ex VAT with a 12/13 month waiting time for delivery.

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CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


BEN HARRIS & CO Wooden boat building in Cornwall Newbuild, Restoration, Repair

SERVICE

www.benharrisboats.co.uk info@benharrisboats.co.uk tel: 07570 780 864

.

R E S T O R AT I O N

.

S PA R E S

W W W. S T U A R T U R N E R B I T S A N D P I E C E S . C O . U K 0797 694 9281 . mail@stuartturnerbitsandpieces.co.uk Unit 9 Cattlemarket Business Park, Chew Road, BS40 8HB

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

63


CRAFTSMANSHIP

YARD VISIT: ROBBINS TIMBER

SEEING THE WOOD FOR THE TREES Robbins is famous for plywood, but it’s not all they do WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHS STEFFAN MEYRIC HUGHES For a company best known in marine circles for high-end plywood, it is surprising that Robbins’ roots lie in a much older sort of woodworking. The company has always been based in or around Bristol since its formation in the mid-1880s as a public sawmill, a place where all-comers could bring timber to be cut into planks. “We specialised in wagon wheels and coffins,” says Robbins managing director Richard Bagnall, whose office overlooks the busy car park and loading bays on a newly built road just outside the city. The company, which usually operates night and day is, in mid-July, recovering from the Covid-19 slow-down, and it seems it’s time to bring back the night shift. It turns out that for Robbins, with a staff of 45, marine timber is only a small part of turnover – in the region of 17-19 per cent. “The rest is joinery and furniture,” Richard explains. Robbins sends timber all over the country – and further – to anyone from individual joiners to the big-box shops, to whom they supply timber moulded into the popular shapes needed for skirting boards, door architraves and a million other things. The marine side of the business started nearly as long ago as the company. “Our association with the marine industry goes back to the early 1900s,” says Richard, referring back to the industrial days of Bristol Docks, which lasted until the 1960s. The plywood side of Robbins started about 30 years ago and has been growing ever since. It’s sourced from three factories in western Europe, where it is made. This is quite a process; logs are sawn to manageable size, then steamed, before being passed through a giant rotary cutter that peels them into sheets of veneer less than 1mm thick. These sheets are scanned for quality, dried, glued both sides with melamine glue, then laid up in piles, the grain alternating through 90 degrees for every new layer. The whole ‘sandwich’ is then pressed to create the finished board. Richard is clearly proud of the quality of the Robbins product: “6mm plywood will usually be three-ply” he says, “but our 6mm is five-ply.” Robbins offers a number of grades for different purposes,

RICHARD BAGNALL, MD

teak-veneered ply or even custom ply, which offers the option of any veneer on an existing core board. This is often useful in a yacht interior, where a bulkhead might require a different finish on one side to that on the other. A dedicated marine team of two will advise on the right type. “We won’t specify Tiger Elite for boarding up a broken window,” Richard confirms. “We’d never hear from you again if we did!” We don hi-vis jackets and leave the office to walk through the large hangars, looking at stacks of timber 15ft high. Much of it is FSC or PEFC certified. There is something of a Masefield poem about it all: every conceivable softwood and hardwood from all over the world, some with evocative, Oriental stamps painted on the sides. There is teak, fir, larch, mahogany, lime, pitch pine, a hundred kinds of oak and more. “We have all the commercially available hardwoods and softwoods,” confirms Richard. “Selling the plywood has meant we can sell this to the marine trade as well. Then we have the glues and finishes and so on, so it’s a one-stop shop

including Robbins Elite, a general purpose marine ply of

for boatbuilders these days. Marine supplies only turn over

okoume or gaboon timber, lightweight and capable of taking

twice a year, and most companies aren’t interested in that.

epoxy well; and Robbins Super Elite, a heavier, denser, more

They want to turn over stock maybe five or six times a year.

durable board of all-sapele lay-up. “We supply it to the MOD

Because we are a small, private company, we can do it.”

and RNLI, among others. It comes up beautifully when

64

“Robbins’ association with the marine industry goes back to the early 1900s and Bristol Docks”

In the machine shop, men in the same hi-vis jackets we

varnished so it’s popular for transoms.” Then there are the

are wearing are feeding timber into huge planers, bandsaws

more exotic products, like Tiger Elite, which has a 1mm-thick

and mould-cutters, while in the tool-sharpening shop, a man

stripy sapele veneer on it – “thick enough to sand” – for

is making a new profile using an acetate mould, much as a

appearance. The company also supplies decking ply,

locksmith cuts a spare set of keys. We drive to a lock-up

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


CRAFTSMANSHIP

TIMBER YARD Clockwise from top left: Creating a new profile cutting bit; profile templates (and close-up); teak from the Cutty Sark project and from the wreck of the Pegu; feeding the laser-guided planer; side-loader; solid timber

around the corner to see reclaimed teak from the Cutty Sark project, and there, in the corner, are two stupendous teak baulks, 24in (0.3m) by 24in in section and between 26ft (7.9m) and 30ft (9.1m) long. This was recovered from the wreck of the Pegu in the mid-80s and it’s the kind of wood that no longer exists, other than in salvage form. Back at the main yard, the scene is bustling: sideloaders, capable of a 15-tonne payload, scuttle this way and that. It’s not quite mayhem, but things are definitely bustling, a feeling accentuated by the comings and goings of lorries in the loading area outside, some of which have driven for five straight days across Europe. In a year that has seen Covid-19 harm all marine industries, it’s definitely a

The original clocking-in clock

heartening sight. CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

65


CRAFTSMANSHIP SAILS

Sails of the

CENTURY When it comes to buying new sails, classic boat owners may face a bewildering choice of sailcloths and panel layouts – Nigel Sharp offers up some clarity WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHS NIGEL SHARP

66

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


CRAFTSMANSHIP SAILS

Above, clockwise from top left: sailmaking at Ratsey and Lapthorn;

N

ot surprisingly, the priorities and preferences of classic boat owners vary enormously, not least when it comes to sails and, in particular, the material from which they are made. At the

extremes are those who choose cotton for the sake of

15-Metre Mariska,

authenticity, and others who splash out on high-tech

with cross-cut

membrane sails made of exotic materials in search of racing

narrow panel

success (although not in the Mediterranean, where the CIM

mainsail;

rating system heavily penalises their use). But for the

traditional sails

majority, sails made from woven polyester continue to be

from North Sails;

overwhelmingly popular, hardly surprising considering their

Osterling – with

several advantages over membrane sails: cost, longevity (at

mitre-cut

least in terms of not falling to pieces in the relatively short

mainsail

term, although they do lose their shape over time) and the conservation of a boat’s classic appearance. Woven polyester sail cloth first became available in the 1950s. At that time is was generally known as Terylene, which was British company ICI’s trade name, while nowadays it is commonly referred to as Dacron, which is the equivalent product of American company du Pont. Most sailmakers buy their cloth from four major suppliers: Contender, headquartered Holland, Challenge in the USA, Bainbridge International in the UK and Germany’s Dimension Polyant in. Between them, they manufacture around 40 woven polyester cloths, almost all in different weights, some

Left: Detail of a

in different colours and finished in various resins. Other

clew by Ratsey

makes of polyester cloth often used in sail making for classic

and Lapthorn

boats include Clipper Canvas, Oceanus and Duradon. CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

67


CRAFTSMANSHIP SAILS

Boatowners may sometimes find the availability of such

Clockwise from

came over and beat 15 British boats in a race around the Isle

a range of sailcloths somewhat bewildering. A sail made

top left: Laughing

of Wight. “America had cross-cut sails,” said Mark Butler of

from hard tempered cloth with a higher resin content might

Gull, with

James Lawrence Sailmakers, “and that started a slow

give a better performance in the short term, but might not

cross-cut main

process of change in the UK. By the early part of the 20th

last as long as a cloth with less resin, it will also be more

and mizzen, and

century, most British boats had followed suit.”

difficult to handle and stow. “Classic boats tend to have

mitre-cut headsail;

heavy keels which allow them to hang on to full sail for

Barnabas, with

running the length of the roll, and ‘fill’ or ‘weft’ yarns

longer than a modern boat,” said Jerry White of Elvstrom

vertically cut sails;

running across the roll. In the majority of modern sail

Sails. “That means it is more important for them to have

Grayhound, with

cloths, the fill yarns run straight and there are more of

sails made from higher-quality cloth.”

vertically cut sails;

them, while the warp yarns run over and under the fill

an Australian

yarns. With this construction there is less stretch (or creep)

couta boat, with

across the roll than along it and so it lends itself to the

Over the years, sails have been constructed with various

tri-radial jib and

manufacture of cross-cut sails, in which the fill yarns can

panel layouts: vertical cut, with the panels and their seams

bi-radial main;

cope with the highly loaded leach. In the case of a

parallel to the leach; cross cut, with the panels

clew detail; a West

conventional mitre-cut headsail or topsail, this cloth can

perpendicular to the leach; and, in the case of topsails and

Solent One

take the loads along the foot as well as the leach.

headsails, mitre cut, with a mitre between the clew and the

Design, with

luff. On most mitre-cut sails, at least these days, the panels

tri-radial main and

REPLICATING THE PAST

are perpendicular to the foot and to the leach, but

jib with radial

However, there is still a significant desire to replicate the

occasionally you will see another type of mitred headsail,

corners and

look of the past with vertically cut sails; happily there are a

with the panels parallel to the foot and leach. This layout is

cross-cut mid

number of warp-oriented cloths available with the more

known as Scotch cut, perhaps because it was developed by

section

numerous warp yarns running straight and the fill yarns

PANEL LAYOUTS

a Greenock man in the 1830s. A much more recent

running over and under the warp yarns. These have been

development is the radial sail, whereby long, thin triangular

developed more for the benefit of radial sails, but they are

panels radiate from one or more corners of the sail.

equally suitable for vertically cut sails and even Scotch-cut

In the early part of the 19th century, mainsails were

68

Woven polyester sailcloth is constructed of ‘warp’ yarns

headsails. Clipper Canvas was used for the sails on recently

always vertically cut. This was for ease of construction, but

launched Falmouth pilot cutter Pellew, which has a

also because if a seam started to fail when at sea, the boom

vertically cut mainsail and staysail, and a Scotch cut jib, all

and gaff would still be connected and the vessel had a

made by Steve Hall of North Sea Sails, where “vertically cut

chance of getting home. But then, in 1851, schooner America

sails are run of the mill”. Clipper Canvas is made by

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


HAVE YOU

CHECKED? Life Jackets, and in particular the inflation mechanism should be checked at least annually.

Check the expiry date on your cartridge and replace with a new cartridge from your local chandler or service agent.

www.uml.co.uk

PS Elite Check Your Cartridge Iss3 - 2020.indd 1

04/02/2020 13:00:31

Victorian Steamboat in exceptional condition for sale with MCA certification. For more information please contact sales@hscboats.co.uk or call 01491 578870

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

69


CRAFTSMANSHIP SAILS

Heathcoat Fabrics in Devon and its construction is

Above left to right:

“But then they found an old photo showing that she once

balanced in terms of the warp and the fill, and so it is

Pilot cutter Amelie

had a topsail with a mitre running from the bottom of the

equally suitable for panels laid in any direction.

Rose, featuring

jackyard into the mast at a slightly downward angle,” said

vertically cut main

Butler. “The panels above the mitre ran parallel to the gaff,

popular among cruising sailors. It is also available in a

and staysail, and

and the ones below were at right angles to the gaff. So, they

cream and tan colour (or indeed other colours, including

Scotch-cut jib, jib

asked us to make one of those.” Cross-cut topsails now

white, if ordering more than 500 metres), while the main

topsail and topsail;

seem to be a rarity, with most boats opting for mitre cut or

cloth suppliers also sell various coloured cloths. “There are

Falmouth Working

vertically cut. An example of aesthetics perhaps taking

four or five different creams available to replicate the

Boats, with

priority over efficient sail shape can be seen on the

traditional cotton look,” said Butler, “some being quite

different topsail

Falmouth Working Boats, a fundamental characteristic of

peachy, while others are more of an olive colour.”

patterns and

which is the uniquely coloured topsail set by each boat.

Clipper Canvas has a particularly soft feel and so is very

There is still an overwhelming preference for vertically cut sails on luggers, but they are a rarity on bermudan

Rorlan, with all

TRADITIONAL LOOK

mainsails, perhaps because the bermudan rig was originally

cross-cut sails

Another traditional look is the often replicated narrow

developed at around the time that vertically cut sails were

(very unusual to

panelled sails. These originated simply because cloth was

losing favour, so there is no tradition to follow. However,

see a cross-cut

available only in narrow rolls, typically around 18in (0.46m),

about 15 years ago, Falmouth company Sailtech made a

topsail) – the jib is

sometimes as narrow as 12in (0.3m). “But the numerous

vertically cut Bermudan mizzen for Falmouth quay punt

basically cross cut

seams helped with the stretching and made them more

Curlew (CB385), but it was as much to aesthetically match

but has ‘radial’

stable,” said Andy Cassell of Ratsey and Lapthorn. Even

the gaff mainsail as anything.

parts at the foot

when wider cloth became available, a false seam of triple

Sanders Sails regularly makes sails for Irish Galway

thickness was sometimes created by folding and stitching

Hookers, which until recently had a class rule stipulating

the cloth along the middle of the roll for extra strength and

vertically cut sails. “But a tan Dacron with good warp

stability. To create narrow panels nowadays, the wider cloth

strength is not available in all weights,” said Peter Sanders,

is just cut down the middle with a hot knife or laser cutter

“so they have agreed to allow some cross-cut layouts.”

and then stitched together, “with as many as four rows of

ANGLE OF THE CLEW

70

colours; Jan

stitching on boats as big as 150ft (45.7m),” according to Cassell. With many sails now being designed on computers,

With headsails and topsails, most sailmakers seem to agree

which then tell the cutters exactly what panels to cut out,

that the angle of the clew is the determining factor when

the cloth splitting can even be done as part of that process.

choosing between mitre cut on the one hand, and cross cut

Most sailcloth comes in widths of 54in (1.37m) so that tends

or vertical cut on the other. “If the angle is more than 90

to be cut into two to give panels something under 27in

degrees, I would normally recommend mitre cut as there is

(0.69m) (allowing for the overlap for stitching), or into three

more load along the foot,” said Pete Crockford of Sailtech.

for something under 18in, normally depending on the size of

Hence mitre-cut high-clewed jibs and cross- or vertical-cut

the boat. For instance James Lawrence made sails for

deck-sweeping staysails is a common combination on

Herreshoff schooner Mariette by splitting the rolls into two,

cutters.

and for the 40ft (12.2m) LOD Ayesha (CB383) by splitting

The terminology when describing panel layouts on

them into three. Pellew’s mainsail came from 24in (0.61m)

topsails can be confusing. Panels parallel to the leach are

cloth which was spilt into two to give 10in (0.25m) panels.

generally described as vertically cut – hardly vertical,

Not only do extra seams still contribute to the strength and

admittedly, but think of them as a logical continuation of the

stability of a sail as much as they did a century ago, these

panels on a vertically cut mainsail. Panels perpendicular to

days a narrow panel sail might have a better shape. “When

the leach are, therefore, cross cut. Since the 19-Metre

we design our sails on the computer, we lay every panel over

Marquita’s restoration was completed in 2004, she has had

a virtual mould,” explained Sanders. “The mould is

mitre-cut jackyard and working topsails (with the mitre

duplicated everywhere there is a seam, so the more seams

intersecting the clews) and a vertically cut jackyard topsail.

there are, the fairer the sail will be.”

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


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71


CRAFTSMANSHIP

HOMEWORKING

SUHAILI SHELF In the third of our ‘lockdown projects’ series, we find inspiration on board Knox-Johnston’s ketch WORDS AND PHOTOS

cut straight through, but it takes more planning. For tidy

1 Planing stained oak

ROBIN GATES

saw cuts, scribe the marks with a knife then chisel a

down to bare wood

sloping channel on the waste side (4) for the saw to run

2 Cutting curves with

A satisfying spin-off from the Covid-19 lockdown was

straight and smoothly. Where the housing ends, chisel out

the coping saw

making this scaled-down version of the shapely cabin

a mortise for the toe of the saw to move into, and clamp a

3 Smoothing away

shelves (above) I’d noticed in vintage photos of Sir Robin

guide block alongside to maintain the saw vertical (5).

saw marks with

Knox-Johnston’s legendary ketch Suhaili, published in

the block plane

Classic Boat in May 2013 (p45). We had similar bookshelves

and the front corners of the shelf notched to fit (7). Sir

4 Chiselling to scribe

in my childhood home, so the style may be typical of the

Robin’s shelves were filled with nautical almanacs, and I

lines before sawing

1960s. On the off chance that others may wish to follow suit,

can’t see if backs were fitted – but something is required

the housings

I used a minimum of simple hand tools and recycled some

to keep the structure rigid, so I planed up a piece of 5mm

5 A mortise in the

oak from old drawer fronts; I suspect Sir Robin’s shelves

oak, cut rebates for it in the uprights (8) and temporarily

stopped housing

were of teak (like the hull) or mahogany, but it’s certain that

fastened it with brass screws (9). With the structure

makes room for

hand tools were the order of the day when Suhaili was built

clamped rigidly to the bench, I could tackle the lapped

the saw

on a Bombay slipway in 1963.

half-dovetails of the retaining rail, using oak cut slightly

6 Excavating the waste

long so it could be trimmed accurately to size after fitting.

7 The shelf is notched

the old photos and I can’t tell exactly the joints used, so I

For the angle of the dovetails, I simply went with what

around the stop of

took this opportunity to use two classic boat boatbuilding

looked right, using a chisel to pare the slope (10), then

the housing

joints – the stopped housing, also used to fit treads in

marking around them for their sockets in the uprights,

8 Sides are rebated

companionway ladders besides shelves, and the lapped

carefully paring the sides to a good fit (11).

to accommodate

The shelves, one each side of the saloon, are details in

half-dovetail, typically employed where deckbeams join

For gluing up I called upon the services of the holdfast,

the back

G-cramp and Klemmsia cam lever F-clamp (12),

9 Fitting the back

meanwhile reshaping the old oak drawer handles as little

stabilises the structure

then cut away the remains of their machine-cut corner

cleats (13); something had to fill the old screw holes and it

for fitting the rail

joints and grooves for drawer bottoms, I planed off the

may as well be them. You can judge final width, height

10 Cutting a half

stained finish (1), meanwhile checking surfaces remained

and depth by the yardstick of the Bonne Maman jam jar.

dovetail in the rail

beamshelves or carlings. Having removed the handles from old drawer fronts,

flat and edges square, ending up with oak 17mm thick.

72

Now the waste can be chiselled from the housing (6),

I’m undecided on the finish – I prefer subdued oil and

11 Vertical paring of

Then I set about sawing the curved uprights (2) to a

beeswax to acres of glassy varnish, but that’ll be decided

dovetail socket walls

template of proportions approximated from the old

by where the shelf ends up. For this one, I favour the

12 Glue up is often a

photos, subsequently fairing the sawn surfaces with a

galley, keeping tea, coffee and sugar together, but I can

Heath Robinson affair

block plane (3). The uprights were next scribed for the

see it working equally in the heads or fo’c’s’le. One thing

13 The original drawer

stopped housings accommodating the shelf. This joint

that is lacking, though – the rifle Sir Robin kept tied to his

handles were reshaped

presents a tidier face to the outside world than a housing

shelves aboard Suhail!

as cleats

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


2 3

1

The original shelf above Robin Knox-Johnston on board Suhaili

4

5

6

7

9

10

8

11

12

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75


CRAFTSMANSHIP

Boatbuilder’s Notes

3

2

4

ROBIN GATES

1

TECHNIQUE

Using a hacksaw with wood

1 Cross-cutting oak boards to length 2 Tidy sawn ends

BY ROBIN GATES

3 Sawing a

The hacksaw is commonly associated with sawing metal,

at around £2.70 each. The teeth per inch (tpi) range from

moderate curve

plastics and composite materials, but it’s also excellent for

14 to 32, which is finer than a luthier’s fret saw.

4 Ripping with

making fine cuts in joinery. The much-copied Eclipse 20T,

Here I’m using an 18tpi blade to gang-saw a narrow strip

originally made by James Neill & Co, is a classic design

from the ends of two pieces of 5/8in (16mm) oak (1). A new

that’s still hard to beat. Today’s version is available from

blade leaves its blue coating on the wood (2), but this is

around £9 online, but an original Sheffield-made tool has

easily removed; the sawn surface and edges are otherwise

the edge in terms of quality, and can be found for less.

smooth. The narrow blade permits sawing a gentle arc (3),

Features of the hacksaw benefiting the woodworker

while if you need to saw deeper than the frame allows, you

include the open frame, allowing a clear view either side of

can rotate the blade through 90 degrees (4). Effectively

the kerf; a sturdy die-cast handle, lending its weight to the

it’s an all-in-one fine-toothed dovetail, cross-cut, rip and

cutting stroke; and easily replaceable 12in (30cm) blades,

bow saw.

Hammer and screws It’s often in the context of a gibe at the quality of craftsmanship that hammers and screws are spoken of together, but here’s an exception.

the blade turned 90 degrees

Domed hammer face, abrasive and screw; right, slotted steel screws, before and after

The heads of ungalvanised steel screws can be derusted by rubbing them on fine abrasive hammer secured in the vice. The domed face lends the abrading surface a firm base with a gentle convex, helping to reach all areas of the screw head.

76

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

ROBIN GATES

paper supported on the domed face of a


Boatbuilder’s TraditionalNotes Tool

FOOTPRINT JACOBS DRILL STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS

discontinued, we Luddites – powered

Clockwise from

lost. Even at rest on a dull English

ROBIN GATES

by strong tea and biscuits – typically

above: Shades of

bench, this particular drill lifts the spirits

own a fleet of hand drills, braces and

Mediterranean

with its splash of Mediterranean blue.

There's much to like about the

augers, partly for the slight practical

blue; Pinion and

Footprint 160A hand drill, but the

advantage each offers over the rest, but

drive wheel;

accepts bits up to 5/16in (8mm)

feature lifting it above competition from

mostly for the sheer joy of using them.

Key-operated

diameter, while the beefier chuck of the

Jacobs chuck

model 161 takes bits up to 3/8in (10mm).

the likes of Stanley, Marples and Record

The mechanism of the hand drill –

On a more prosaic note, the 160A

is the key-operated Jacobs chuck. A

turning with human rhythm and speed,

I find Lee Valley lipped brad point bits

standard three-jaw chuck is tightened

its pinions and drive wheel meshing

(illustrated) centre the hole well, cut

on the drill bit by a knurled collar, and

sweetly as applewood cogs in a water

fast and leave a tidy perimeter.

under certain conditions it can be

mill – bestows a state of woodworking

difficult to tighten sufficiently to

peace that allows mindfulness of the

production, but despite the vagaries of

overcome resistance created by friction,

process. You can tune into the sensory

global economics, Footprint continues

with the result that the bit slips, stops

delights of cutting wood. The crisp

making quality woodworking tools at

cutting and may even get stuck in the

fibres severed, the shavings spiralling

its Sheffield factory – brass-backed

wood like a pole that’s lost its punt.

up the flutes of the bit, and the

saws, walnut try squares, bevels and

When tightening a Jacobs chuck you

transient aromas that are unique to

rosewood gauges among them.

have considerably more oomph at your

every species. Under the heat and

fingertips thanks to leverage provided

commotion of a power drill, all that is

This 1970s drill has long been out of

NEXT MONTH: Butt chisels

by the key. As I proved to myself recently, and somewhat clumsily, if the wood raises sufficient objection to being drilled it’s quite possible to snap the bit before the jaws lose their bite on the shank. While electrically powered workers may own multiple corded or cordless drills because their motors have expired, manufacturers launched tempting new models, or batteries were CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

77


Letters

FRENCH NATIONAL LIBRARY ARCHIVE.

LETTER OF THE MONTH SUPPORTED BY OLD PULTENEY WHISKY

Evoking an age of powerboating pioneers I very much enjoyed reading the article on Despujols in the August

Sunbeam used this type of engine in 1927 to break the world land

issue. In particular, I noted with interest the Sunbeam connection.

speed record, being the first to achieve over 200mph.

Victor Despujols campaigned his boats in France before the First

78

The Harmsworth Trophy was on board Royal Motor Yacht Club

World War, but also came to England in 1913 to contest the

floating clubhouse Enchantress during the First World War, when a

Harmsworth Trophy on the Isle of Wight in Osborne Bay from 10-12

Zeppelin raid set light to the ship. A club officer braved flames to

September. He won the first heat but did not finish the second. War

rescue the trophy, but flames destroyed the teak base with the

intervened, but he was involved after the war, in 1920, with Sunbeam

names of the Trophy holders, which had been recorded since 1903.

of Wolverhampton in the construction of a 26ft (7.9m) boat using a

I am attaching some superb evocative photos of Despujols boats

Sunbeam engine generating 450bhp. This boat was entered for the

and Victor on glass plate negatives from the French National Library

Harmsworth Trophy, again taking place on the Isle of Wight, from

archive. It is interesting that there was in those pioneering days of

10-11 August. The driver of the boat was none other than Sir

sport an interchange of ideas between those involved on land and

Algernon Lee Guinness, and he finished 4th overall. Victor was also

water and in the air. As Gerald Guetat said in the article: “Swathes of

active that year in March, when he established a new world speed

powerboating history are like terra incognita – white spaces on

record at 120 km/h (the previous figure being 112 km/h) using a

ancient maps hinting at undiscovered worlds.” How true!

Sunbeam V12 Matabele engine installed in one of his boats.

Michael Scott, Poole, Dorset

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


LETTERS

Recalling my time on When and If Today my most recent Classic Boat arrived and for next

came to the Vineyard on a barge. Nat and Ross of Gannon

month we are promised a look at one of the world’s

& Benjamin partnered up with Jim Mairs to bring her back.

really special boats – schooner When and If. She has

On the strength of a handshake a partnership was forged

always been one of two or three great nautical loves of

and a gorgeous schooner was saved. Just thinking of her

my life (since you asked: Pacifica x Eroica, my son’s

arrival in Vineyard Haven still brings tears to my eyes as I

‘47 48’ S & S yawl, built by HB Nevins; Gloucester

think about the alternatives – and that was almost 30 years

fishing schooner LA Dunton (now at Mystic Seaport),

ago! She had bronze hanging and lodging knees, plus

built in the 20s and in need of another major refit; and

chainplates of bronze plate that added enormously to her

Cornubia x Hirta x Cornubia, the Bristol Channel pilot

integral strength. Some years ago, the transom and

cutter built in Fowey, Cornwall). Another boat I cherish

planking aft were replaced and she received a new horn

is the Gloucester fishing schooner Ernestina/s Effie

timber. I haven’t been on board since her latest work, but I

Morrissey, currently being restored in Boothbay Harbor,

have to assume she still does have all that. Also double

Maine (now there is a boat with SOME history!)

diagonal strapping and double sawn frames, as well as

If ever there is a boat, however, that can be said to have the survival gene, plus a soul, it is When and If. I

double planking. She sounds a bit stodgy and chunky but she’s capable of quite a turn of speed, and she’s got one of

was part of the team who rebuilt her after she was wrecked in the 90s.

the loveliest of hulls you’ll ever see. Of course, Nat and Ross have been

That was after the insurance company that insured her finally gave up on

building lovely seaworthy boats to Nat’s designs, but When and If is one of

its plan to cut her up. Their decision was stymied when the folks on

the really special boats that they rebuilt that isn’t a Nat design. Now she’s

whose coastline she landed refused to give permission for that to

got a bit of each and all of us incorporated. BTW, I have never heard a

happen. Then as she was lifted by a big A-frame crane onto a barge, she

single negative comment about her.

held together and the folks who loved her banded together to save her

For an upcoming very significant birthday I wanted to charter her from

from the dumpster. From a distance and the starboard side, you could

Key West next winter to sail to Cuba, but that isn’t going to happen now,

barely tell that she had a hole on the port side big enough to drive a

although I believe she’s been there at least once. Alas, without me.

small truck through. She was put ashore for several months and then she

Ginny Jones, Martha’s Vineyard

WIN! PRIZE BUND MAY 2020

£4.95 US$10.99

,500 LE WORTH £3 INCLUDES

Sumurun’s misconception

FREE BERTH AND ENTRY

In the interest of historical accuracy I wish to point out a

L BOATS BEAUTIFU L D’ S M O S T THE WOR

MADE IN ENGLAND

misconception in a sentence on Sumurun (CB385). The

2020 ds Awar

article states: “In 1986 he made a trip to the Clyde to see her birthplace and took the yacht HERSELF to the first

THE WINNERS

Unique 1920s cruiser racer

Fife Regatta in 1998.” This implies that the yacht was not there in 1986. Actually, in 1986 Bob Towbin did visit the Clyde with Sumurun at the time of the Largs Viking Festival, creating great excitement among the locals. Sumurun did NOT attend the first Fife Regatta in 1998. WHERE THE ARE WILD THINGS mbe The Moreca Bay prawner that raced to Alaska

Article co-author Jacques Taglang asked me to explain this. Since the article was written, further research for a book on Sumurun showed that Bob Towbin returned

Desperate Voyage

to the UK with Sumurun in 2014 to attend the bicentenary

I’d like to offer up Desperate Voyage

of the RYS at Cowes, not in 1998 for the first Fife Regatta.

for inclusion to the Top 10 sea books

The May issue

Jacques would like this to be known because Classic Boat

(July 2020). It’s a stunning story of a

is a source of information for yachting historians.

voyage across the Pacific Ocean from

I have collected every issue of Classic

Stuart Macgregor, by email

Panama, driven by the author’s desire

HORN ROUNDING THE ge An illustrator’s voya S SAIL TON COT nal frontier fi y’s ticit hen Aut AUSTIN HEALEY

Vintage ski boat CB383 Cover May

MARK STANLEY

er Thames boatbuild

www.classicboat.co.uk

GLASS ACT

Hurley 22 cruiser 25/03/2020 14:55

final.indd 1

to return to his wife in Australia after

However, because of the Covid-19

the end of the Second World War.

virus, and in spite of the best

Having acquired the boat Pagan, he

endeavours of the Classic Boat staff, I

sets off without any experience

have been unable to purchase a copy

sailing a boat. He learns naively along

of the May issue. If any reader has

the way. He overcomes leaks, has

finished with this issue and would be willing to pass it on, I would be extremely grateful. I will supply them with a suitable SAE, and I am sure that the editor will provide you with my email address. Dick Hannaford, by email

JAMES ROBINSON TAYLOR

Boat since it was first printed in 1987.

close shaves with rocky islands, gets washed overboard while removing the headsail, and rescues his sailing companions – two cats – from the wide ocean, and I’m still only halfway though reading the book. Amazing! John Honiwell, London CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

79


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1950s Italy, the so-called Dolce Vita era, was a time of exuberance and optimism, embodied by 1957 bermudan ketch Sahib, recently saved from dereliction by a new owner and a crack restoration team. Even the Formica galley is true to the era…

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OCTOBER 2020 On sale 11 September, 2020 Available online Or why not subscribe?

SEPTEMBER 1990, CB27 In the September 1990 issue of Classic Boat, the editor expressed concern about the recently published first draft of what would become the EU Recreational Craft Directive. Referring to “obscure Euro-jargon” he wrote that “this supposed wordsmith was flummoxed more than once”. There was also concern that “small and semi-custom boatbuilders” would have to deal with “proportionally greater paperwork”. The six-page Affordable Classics feature focused on the South Coast One Design, designed in 1955 by Charles A Nicholson (who later, with his son Peter, designed the Nicholson 36, an example of which – Cohoe IV – appeared in the last issue). Around half a dozen yards built SCODs, including Burnes Shipyard at Bosham, which was producing them “on spec, seven at a time”. “With yachting enjoying one of its highest profile years ever,” it was reported in the Southampton Boat Show preview, “the BMIF are promising a ‘bigger and better than ever’ show.” And a report on the 4th Annual Wooden Boat Show at Greenwich announced the results of the inaugural Classic Boat Amateur Wooden Boat Building Competition. “The standard of the 26 entries was as high as the designs were diverse” and the winner was Whisper, a glued clinker river rowing and sailing boat.

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020

PIP HARE'S VENDÉE GLOBE DREAM 24/07/2020 11:53

l The 20 best in 2020: hottest new boats

30 YEARS AGO

80

Latest Beneteau launch

IN THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE

PLUS...

In 1910, the sailing world was ablaze with passion for Metre yachts, so this small cruiser racer from Alfred Mylne was a breath of fresh air. Meet one survivor of the class, Trasnagh.

BOAT TEST

Oceanis Yacht 54

ST+Y&Y September Cover.indd 1

Much motorboating history is lost, but our experts have unearthed the treasure that is Portier, motorboat builders to the Cartier family

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Winches & windlasses

What's best for your boat?

l Winches and windlasses: the best solutions for your boat l Boat test of the Oceanis Yacht 54, latest from French builder Beneteau l Skills: how to handle a 50ft yacht l Increase your downwind speed Available online or order now post-free from chelseamagazines.com/shop


ELECTRIC OUTBOARDS

Quiet | Convenient | Clean

“Using a well‑engineered electric outboard has been a revelation. The stress, mess and worry of oil, petrol, starting issues and sheer weight have melted like snow in April... the vital question is “how far will it go?”... the answer is “further than you think... certainly miles beyond anything I’ve asked of it in four years’ cruising...’’ TOM CUNLIFFE, writing in Classic Boat, Nov 2019

TIME FOR AN ELECTRIC OUTBOARD? The Quiet, Convenient, Reliable, and Easy-to-Use Alternative to Petrol

NEW, LOWER PRICES - NOW FROM £1300 Epropulsion Spirit: ‐ 1018 or 1276Wh battery ‐ Faster to charge ‐ Battery Žloats if dropped ‐ Foldable tiller means only one cable to connect ‐ Three shaft length options ‐ Direct drive

In the popular 2‐4hp category, the latest electric outboards ‐ with their integral and rechargeable lithium batteries ‐ have transformed the market, rendering petrol motors all‐but obsolete. The Many Advantages of Electric Outboards include: ‑ Ease of Use. Switch on, twist the tiller handle, go. Almost anybody can do it; no experience, strength or mechanical knowledge is needed. ‑ Ease of Handling. The batteries are remov‐ able, and the “pass up and down” weight (the shaft/motor assembly) is then 10kg or less.

‑ Ease of Storage. These electric motors divide into components, don’t leak oil or petrol, and don’t mind which way up they’re stored. ‑ Quietness & Smoothness. A delight to use.

‑ Power. Forget what you know about slow speed “trolling motors”, these 1kW electrics have huge torque (more like a 3hp petrol).

‑ RANGE. There are many variables, but ‐ with Epropulsion’s 1018Wh, or Torqeedo’s 916Wh batteries ‐ most users achieve at least 9 to 10 nautical miles per charge, at a speed of 4 to 5 knots (2.5m inŽlatable dinghy). Much more if you slow down a little.

FROM £1675 Torqeedo 1103: ‐ 916Wh battery ‐ GPS data on tiller gives speed & range indication ‐ Removable tiller (more compact for storage) ‐ Near‐silent direct drive ‐ Much more robust than the previous model (Torqeedo 1003)

‑ Reliability. Many outboard motors don’t get used very often, and small petrol motors hate this. Electric outboards have fewer parts in general, and in particular (the most common cause of petrol motor issues) there’s no carburettor to “gum up”. It’s not all perfect: they are undeniably More Expensive than petrol outboards, mostly because lithium batteries are expensive. But that extra upfront cost is largely offset by their Lower Lifetime Running Costs, including (almost) No Servicing.

‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ NESTAWAY BOATS is the only UK dealer to stock both main brands in this market, ie Torqeedo AND Epropulsion. There’s much more information on our website, and we are always happy to discuss further ‐ and offer advice ‐ by email or phone. If you’d like to see them before making a purchase, we are based in Christchurch, Dorset (UK).

www.nestawayboats.com mail@nestawayboats.com Tel: 0800 999 2535


Sternpost Running on blind faith

CLAUDIA MYATT

Used correctly, Stuart Turners are completely silent and reliable, explains Dave Selby There was also a deluxe version, which was supplied complete with a mast and sails; the basic version included only a pair of sweeps. If you’re as enchanted by them as I am, you’ll want to know more – and in the interests of research I popped down to my local, The Queen’s Head, which is famed as the well-source of all wisdom in maritime matters, boats, Brexit and everything else. And it turns out that everyone in the Queen’s Head had at least one Stuart Turner to sell – plus another for spares – a bargain, they explained, at £1,000. When I explained I didn’t actually want to buy one, they became suspicious that I might be trying to sell one, at which point one of the elders (with three Stuart here is no more stirring sight of seamanship than witnessing Turners to sell) cautioned me: “It don’t be doin’ to conduct a yacht deftly pick up a mooring under sail. These kind of business in the pub. Anyways, they ain’t worth more than their yachts are made of wood and known as gaffers, on account weight as a mooring sinker.” of the amount of gaffer tape it takes to keep them afloat. For At that point they also became a deal more forthright in their reasons of fashion, they also have at least one Seagull outboard views on Stuart Turners. Turns out that everyone with any lashed to the pushpit and a Stuart Turner inboard engine in the experience of them swears by them, and swears even more when bilges. As a result of which, owners of yachts with Stuart Turners they’re nowhere near them. You don’t want to upset your Stuart. are usually very adept at picking up a mooring under sail. Those It’s not that they’re temperamental, more that they have foibles. who struggle with that usually find it easier to perform a Fuel starvation, for example, can be cured by sealing your mouth circumnavigation or two. over the fuel filler and blowing hard, which is not that easy in a For the benefit of south coast sailors and readers in Saint-Tropez hard blow on a lee shore. Magnetos, which suffer from damp, and Martha’s Vineyard, I should explain that Stuart Turners were benefit from two weeks in an airing cupboard, which is even harder what they used to install in boats before someone realised you in a seaway 300 miles from your house. could put engines in the void under the cockpit. Stuart Turners In fact, the magneto’s susceptibility to damp were made of pewter, antimony, bronze and spelter, turned out to be a great boon for the Stuart Turner and ran on a 25:1 mix of frankincense and myrrh company, which gave up making boat engines and – in other words blind faith. But perhaps I’m being now produces shower pumps and garden pond unfair, because enthusiasts reckon a sweet-running pumps, which are designed to get damp. That’s a Stuart Turner is remarkably quiet, and economical true fact, as well as an irony. too; and a non-running Stuart Turner is even Another true fact is that I once had an 8hp quieter and even more frugal. Stuart Turner (plus spares of course), which I Stuart Turners first appeared in the olden days actually sold to an architect mate, who says it’s and were popularised in the wonderful books by never let him down once. He’s turned it into a cruising pioneers Eric and Susan Hiscock, who coffee table and it works fabulously as a talking fitted Stuart Turners to their yachts. It gave them ‘An architect point. something to write about in the course of their mate’s If you’d like to know any more about Stuart three circumnavigations, which might otherwise Stuart works Turner inboards, and frankly why would you, just have been uneventful. perfectly... as a visit the Queen’s Head. If that’s too far, you can get So to specifics: Stuart Turners came in two all the Stuart Turner entertainment you need by versions, the so-called 4hp and 8hp, which is not a coffee table’ googling “What might this Stuart Turner engine be reference to their power output, but the number of worth?” and “HELP! Stuart Turner engine.” shire horses required to drag them to land-fill.

T

82

CLASSIC BOAT SEPTEMBER 2020


VENTIS

T h e C l a s s i c Ya c h t S h i p y a r d

info@ventis.nl +31 228 312 542 Vlakwater 7, 1601 EV Enkhuizen, The Netherlands

RESTORATION

NEW-BUILD

WOODEN SPARS

S/Y NYALA

VENTIS

The 57’ Sparkman & Stephens design yawl S/Y Nyala was completed by Ventis in 2018. Since her launch she has successfully completed two Trans-Atlantic passages and many nautical miles in the Caribbean. A 2019 Classic Boat Awards Winner SY Nyala is the definition of Ventis craftsmanship.


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