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Classic Boat FEBRUARY 2013

£4.50 US$12.50


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



Inside the New York Yacht Club

ARMS RACE Soldiers at sea THE ART OF VENICE Making gondolas LITTLE BIG ‘UN

18ft yacht restored


London to Istanbul



8 vessels launched

9 770950 331134

YO U R C H A N C E TO M A K E H I S TO R Y 1926 Sound Inter Club: iSc


Native to Long Island Sound. Designed by Mower and built by Nevins, City Island NY. Only 28 ever built. Now you can own the legacy. Commission yours today.

Photo: Sound Inter Clubs HELJAK, #12, and ARIEL, #1, September 16, 1939. ©Mystic Seaport, Rosenfeld Collection, #94449F

True iSc is a trademarked brand. ©2012 Tumblehome Boatshop, LLC. All rights reserved.

Own a replica of the classic. Crafted exclusively through Tumblehome Boatshop. Tel: (US) 00+1 518.623.5050






FEBRUARY 2013 Nº296



Navies’ Battle Royal in Ajaccio


26 . LITTLE BIG ‘UN At 18ft, Chough must be the smallest big boat out there COVER STORY

32 . NEW YORK YC Inside the club that has embraced classic yachting 38 . NICK BECK Can you make money from chartering a pilot cutter? COVER STORY

42 . CLASSIC CHARTER Your detailed guide to the world’s best charter boats

52 . WARTIME WORKHORSE Launch restored to pre-war glory and chartering on the Broads



32 58









58 . MAN ON THE RIVER An astonishing voyage across Europe in a 19ft open boat


86 . GONDOLAS Boatbuilding thrives in Venice



M a squ er a de

One Off, designed by K nud Ljunberg

new York 32, Sparkman & StephenS LOa: 9.50 m

beam: 2.40 m year: 1938

Price: EUR 80,000

LOa: 14.75 m

beam: 3.20 m dr aft: 2.00 m year: 2010

Price: On Request

W eL L e n bi n der

Pau L

Stunning and unique runabout

a Superb little tug with a pedigree

LOa: 9.28 m beam: 1.96 m dr aft: 0.70 m year: 1937 Price: EUR 200,000

LOa: 16.00 m

beam: 4.80 m dr aft: 1.60 m year: 1960

Price: On Request

fiOn a M a r y

gr e t eL

Camper & niCholSon Commuter

auStraliaS FirSt ameriCaS Cup Challenger From 1962

LOa: 12.06 m beam: 2.30 m dr aft: 0.70 m year: 1932 Price: EUR 80,000

LOa: 21.16 m

beam: 3.58 m dr aft: 2.67 m year: 1962

Member of t he Robbe & Berk ing fa m i ly


+49 (0)461 31 80 30 65 路 路 w w

Price: On Request


FroM daN HouStoN, Editor

Classic boat prizes in Paris Jubilee House 2 Jubilee Place, London, SW3 3TQ Editorial Editor Dan Houston +44 (0)20 7349 3755 deputy Editor Sam Fortescue +44 (0)20 7349 3757 Senior art Editor Peter Smith +44 (0)20 7349 3756 News/Features Editor Steffan Meyric Hughes +44 (0)20 7349 3758 Contributing Editor Peter Willis Editorial assistant Holly Thacker +44 (0)20 7349 3700 Consultant Editor John Perryman FRINA Publishing Consultant Martin Nott Proofing Vanessa Bird advErtiSiNg advertisement Manager Edward Mannering +44 (0)20 7349 3747 Senior Sales Executive Patricia Hubbard +44 (0)20 7349 3748 Client relationship Manager Louisa Skipper +44 (0)20 7349 3746 advertisement Production Allpointsmedia +44 (0)1202 472781 Published Monthly ISSN: 0950 3315 USA US$12.50 Canada C$11.95 Australia A$11.95 Subscribe now: Call [UK] Tel: 0844 412 2274 YACHTS or [Overseas] Tel: +44 (0)1858 438442 YACHTING

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Classic Boat, Yachts & Yachting, Sailing today Copyright The Chelsea Magazine Company 2013 all rights reserved

Two of the boats honoured in the French Association for Traditional Yachts (AFYT) awards in December were at sea... still are, as I write, competing in the Transat Classique, to Barbados. The Blue Peter and White Dolphin won their respective Epoch Marconi and Classic Marconi class prizes whilst battling for the lead in light winds south of the Canaries. The Epoch Aurique prize went to the heart-stopping Moonbeam IV – above. The awards were given at a ceremony at the Paris Boat Show in December and I went along, really because I was flattered to be asked to a dinner for les armateurs de tradition. ‘Armateur’, I found out, is an ancient word that describes the person who might originally provide armament for sailing vessels, as well as victuals and other stuffs. “It’s different from ‘owner’ because it is for boats. You can be owner of a house... Armateur is special,” said my interlocutor. You can see why I love the French! This dinner, at a restaurant overlooking the Seine, therefore hosted all sorts of people who had an ‘interest’ in classic boats. Paris was a double-whammy given that the “emerged with a night before, at the show, there had been another kind of arm-in- prize-giving for Classic Boat of the Year under the auspices of Les Echos Série Limitée magazine. arm feeling” Many nominees are of British origin – though now kept and celebrated in France. But you don’t see that many British ‘owners’, so it was a pleasure to sit next to Andrew Thornhill, collector of International 14s and fan of the 22 Square Metre, shortlisted for his 1930 Uffa Fox-designed 22SqM Vigilant. Andrew qualifies as much for the epithet of armateur as anyone I know, but he missed the dinner, where, you guessed it, there were even more prizes! I emerged from the experience with a kind of arm-in-arm feeling, realising that we have some way to go, in Blighty, before we can match what the French do for their traditional boats. And we need a word like armateur! Follow the Classic Boat team on Twitter and Facebook CLASSIC BOAT FEBRUARY 2013



Battle Royal

The tenth Régates Impériales in Ajaccio reinterpreted an old tradition, that of pitting European navies against each other. Nigel Pert has the story and pictures



ach year, more and more of the classic yachts that participate in the great regattas of the Mediterranean have become accustomed to starting the season in the same way: with a week of racing in the relaxed atmosphere of the Régates Impériales, held during the last week of May in the splendid Gulf of Ajaccio on Corsica’s west coast. So, for last year’s 10th anniversary of the regatta, organisers decided something special was required, alongside the usual classic racing. Thus was born what is hoped to become an institution: an international challenge between European navies. Last minute invitations were sent out towards the end of March and for the British, it filtered through to Commander Adrian Wheal, Rear Commodore (Offshore) of the Royal Naval Sailing Association, who is based at Abbey Wood, Bristol. With only weeks to spare, he set about clearing funding for the exercise and drumming up participants. Resources for the trip came from the director of Royal Navy Physical Development via the RN Sports Lottery at HMS Temeraire in Portsmouth, as well as from



the RNSA and personal contributions. Meanwhile, Commander Wheal’s recruitment efforts brought forward just the right number of applicants, and a crew of 10 was assembled, from bases across Britain. Adrian Wheal himself has 24 years’ experience of racing, through the RNSA and the Royal Navy. Jointly, the services maintain a fleet of sailing boats, including several Challenge 67s, some Nicholson 55s and some Victoria 34s, and amongst many other events, they organise a 24-hour offshore race every year from Weymouth. “But the experience in Corsica this week has been something else,” he said. “It has been a fabulous opportunity to cooperate with other European navies and develop leadership and character-building exercises around sailing a classic yacht, requiring the management of manpower, and of egos.”

the fleet assembles The Royal Navy’s invitation was passed at admiral level from the French Navy, and was also extended to the Italians, creating a three-way challenge. At the initiative of owner Jean-Philippe l’Huillier, France’s entry was in

Previous spread: The Blue Peter captured from Oiseau de Feu Above left: Aerial view of Ajaccio Above right: Crew aboard Oiseau de Feu rush to lower the spinnaker

THE BLUE PETER For the Royal Navy, the obvious choice was to charter The Blue Peter, an Alfred Mylne cutter built in 1930, by William King & Sons of Burnham-on-Crouch. She is a similar size and age to Oiseau de Feu, and has the same rig, making these two yachts ideal competitors. They are regular sparring partners, as their charter season follows the classic yacht regatta circuit each summer. The Blue Peter was built for DW Molins, who, with the help of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, won 52 regattas in the Thirties – including the Famous Scottish Trophy. In 1955, she moved to the Mediterranean, but was eventually wrecked after many years of use. Master carpenter Furio Bertolucci and his brother raised and restored her to Lloyd’s A1 grade. She has been chartered under a number of owners in the Med ever since, undergoing another major restoration in 1999, when Mathew Barker returned her to original racing form. LOA 64ft 2in (19.6m) BeAM 13ft 6in (4.1m) DRAughT 9ft 2in (2.8m)



Above: Closequarters tacking in Oiseau de Feu Opposite, clockwise from top left: OdF’s owner JeanPhilippe l’Huillier invited the French Navy to use his boat; handing the spinnaker on Stella Polare; an Italian navy crewman busy at the grinder

Stella Polare Built in 1965 at the Cantieri Sangermani in Lavagna, Stella Polare was from the board of Sparkman & Stephens. The bermudan-rigged yawl was always intended to be a naval training vessel, and has never left the Italian Navy’s fleet. Besides holding the record for the Giraglia race, run from St Tropez in France to Sanremo in Italy via the Giraglia rock at the northern tip of Corsica, for 18 years, she has many other racing accolades. The Italians possess several other large yachts, including the S&S yawl Capricia, built in 1963 in Sweden and donated by Fiat boss, Gianni Agnelli. They also own Corsaro Secondo, another S&S yawl, built in Genoa in 1960, Orsa Maggiore, built in Venice in 1994, Caroly, a Baglietto-built and designed Marconi yawl from 1948, and Chaplin from 1974. LOA 70ft 5in (21.5m) BeAM 16ft (4.9m) drAuGhT 9ft 10in (3m) dISP 45 tonnes SAIL AreA 4,845sqft (450m2)




Oiseau de Feu, lead by Maître Principal Frédéric Coiffard, based at Lorient in Brittany. The crew was drawn from one of the five naval sailing clubs – all keen racers on Lasers, keelboats, J-80s and F18 catamarans or windsurfers. Naval HQ in Paris footed the bill for their attendance, reasoning that it was an excellent PR exercise. For the Italian Navy, the choice was even easier; it has its own classic yachts. It chose to bring Stella Polare, a Sparkman & Stepehns cutter with a redoubtable racing record. Comandante Marco Paolo Montella has been her captain since 2010, and he brought her five-man crew as well as a complement from the Sport Velico Marina Militare, the Italian naval sailing club.

racing off the island of beauty Corsica is often referred to as “l’Ile de Beauté” (the island of beauty) for its spectacular mountain landscapes and fabulous coastline, with numerous creeks, crystal clear waters and high, rocky cliffs. It has a strong sense of its own identity with the population having its own language and individual traditions – proud to be the birthplace of the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

Sailing conditions are usually excellent, as there is nearly always sunshine giving rise to sea breezes that assure good racing. A bonus for visitors is the fact that there are very few spectator boats on the water, allowing uncluttered views of participating yachts. But storms and high southwesterly winds prevented several yachts from even arriving last year, and were still strong on Monday, the registration day. They hung over to Tuesday, leaving a huge swell in the port that broke mooring lines and caused minor damage to one or two yachts. These conditions, coupled with the heavy debris in the water, led the committee to cancel the first day’s race. So the crews were itching to get started on Wednesday, with the first day of racing in good conditions. It was a chance to get to grips with the boats and with each other, and it proved a successful day for The Blue Peter, which won in her class as well as amongst the naval entries. But she paid a price, when a French boat in the race took a sporty line in to the windward mark on a port tack. “I altered away to limit the impact as the boat on port tacked too late and without any rights,” says CLASSIC BOAT FEBRUARY 2013



oiseau de Feu For the third consecutive year, a team from the French Marine Nationale chartered the 1937 Marconi-rigged cutter Oiseau de Feu, to compete in the Régates Impériales. Built in Southampton by Camper & Nicholson for Ralph Hawkes, the Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, she was originally called Firebird X, and was the fourth in the class that included The Lady Anne, Stiarna, Foxhound and Bloodhound. John Leather once said of her: “Oiseau de Feu is, among middle-sized yachts, the most convenient and elegant boat a sailor could dream of.” She knew several owners before liqueur baron Pierre Cointreau, who rechristened her Flamme II. After a serious shipwreck in 1983, she was fully restored to the original plans by the Labbé shipyard in Saint Malo. She’s now classified as a historic monument and is based at Cannes. LOA 67ft 10in (20.7m) BeAM 13ft 2in (4m) dRAugHT 9ft 9in (3m)

Above left to right: Marco Paolo Montella, skipper of Stella Polare; the Royal Navy’s crew; fun in the harbour, racing Optimists!

Commander Wheal. “Our spinnaker caught in their mizzen mast and that was the end of that!” Thereafter, the boat was limited to her heavier spinnaker and in the light airs that followed, she didn’t win another race. In the final ranking, the French Navy just had the edge on The Blue Peter, with Stella Polare coming in third.

not just a race In the evening, boats tie up along the length of the quay in the port named after the celebrated Corsican singer of the 1930s, Tino Rossi, who was also born in Ajaccio. There were few challengers in the first years of the regatta and sailors met up on the quayside after the day’s racing for a drink and some music. As the years have gone by, the number and size of entrants has increased, but the ambiance has remained very warm and welcoming. The organising team of Stéphane Meil and Tibo Assante – with his background in entertainment – created a unique programme of amusements to complement the racing programme. Each year there is a cocktail party and prize-giving after the second day’s race, offered by the Mayor of Porticcio, a village on the



far side of the bay from Ajaccio. The yachts anchor off the sandy beach with its small jetty and sail back to the town in the rays of the setting sun after the ceremony. Another day there is a beach party held at a waterside bar, with games reminiscent of school sports days, like a tug-of-war competition or sack races – and the not-tobe-missed Optimist dinghy challenge. There is music each night till late in the port, and even an improvised quayside catwalk that delights sailors and public alike. Plans are already in place to enlarge the naval challenge this year, with talk of participation by the German, Dutch and Spanish navies. It is a development that last year’s teams would welcome. As France’s Frédéric Coiffard said: “The race is proof that our sailors have the same team spirit and know-how to sail in amicable adversity aboard prestigious vessels, where all is not as obvious and automatic as on our modern combat vessels. The common factor binding us together is saltwater and conviviality aboard!” The Régates Impériales take place from 20 to 26 May 2013


59 ft Herreshoff New York 40 Bermudan Cutter 1916

£895,000 Lying France

As a “Fighting Forty” ROWDY has dominated her class in classic regattas. Meanwhile as the cruiser for which the class was principally designed, her sister RUGOSA flew the flag in 2001 to voyage some 26,000 miles to the Americas Cup Jubilee. Authentic and her condition hard to fault, ROWDY today personifies the total versatility of this design – one of very few as capable from any era. The current owner spent time this summer cruising with his grandchildren aboard ROWDY but then still won the vintage class at the Voiles de St Tropez!


33 High Street, Poole BH15 1AB, England. Tel: + 44 (0)1202 330077


Classic Boat’s address: Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place SW3 3TQ For phone numbers, please see page 5

Rare photo of Chichester voyage discovered This photograph, recently unearthed from the Eileen Ramsay archive, shows a passage of history that has been largely forgotten in the annals of solo sailing. It captures the moment (11am, 1 June, 1962) that Francis Chichester left Plymouth aboard his yacht Gipsy Moth III to sail to New York in an attempt to beat the 40-day time he set in the groundbreaking 1960 Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR). The trip was sponsored by The Guardian and in his press release, redolent of a gentler era, Chichester mentions his other sponsors – “the pilot will be drinking Mackeson’s, Whitbread Pale Ale and Squires Gin. Stoneground wholemeal bread

will be supplied by the Vega Restaurant in Leicester Square.” Presumably the word ‘pilot’ rather than ‘skipper’ was used in reference to Chichester’s exploits as a solo aviator before taking up sailing. It would not be until 1967 that he circled the world singlehanded aboard Gipsy Moth IV and became a national hero, adding the title ‘Sir’ to his name. But the 1962 transat was a success. Gipsy Moth III, with a new metal mast, terylene sails and nylon rigging, beat her previous time by seven days. Picture of the Month This photo is available to buy from our website,

The 42ft (12.8m) wm Fife cutter Mikado racing in the solent

RegaTTa news

New BCYC regatta in Plymouth The British Classic Yacht Club has announced a new regatta for the West Country, to run in addition to their flagship Cowes Regatta that has been held annually since 2002, and that is now sponsored by Italian watchmaker Panerai. This event is only the second full-scale regatta (not counting rallies and passage races) for the BCYC and marks a major development in the club’s history. The new West Country Classic Regatta, as it has been named, will run from 24 to 27 May and take place off Plymouth. It will incorporate the 22 Square Metre Championships that were inaugurated in 2012, and cater for larger classics too.




Jan Gougeon 1945-2012 Boatbuilder and iceboat racer Jan Clover Gougeon, of Bay City, Michigan, died on 18 December at the age of 67. At the age of 14, he started a boatbuilding apprenticeship, going on to become an accomplished multihull designer and builder. In 1969, Jan founded Gougeon Brothers with siblings Joel and Meade. They began building boats and iceboats and pioneered the WEST (Wood Epoxy Saturation Technique) System. In 2012, he launched his groundbreaking 40ft (12.2m) multihull, Strings. Racing iceboats and multihulls, and sailing solo were Jan’s passions. In his trimaran Ollie, he won the singlehanded Super Mac in 1987, while in his iceboat, he won the Gold Cup World DN Championships four times and the DN North American Championship eight times. A family burial at sea will take place at a future date.

Wright & Harris cutter Sauntress 1913

Sauntress, the Wright & Harris-built cutter of 1913, has had her fair share of coverage in our pages over the years, first popping up in our top 200 boats feature in CB200 – number 56, but who’s counting? Then she appeared in CB236 in a rigging feature: owner Martin Scannall had consulted Claud Worth’s Yacht Cruising and accordingly fitted his yacht with a square sail for sailing off the wind. We’ve not heard of his (or her) whereabouts since then – Spain perhaps? Who can resist this photo of her, on the wind this time, and sailing away from the setting sun. She was our cover boat then – and here she is again. Sauntress is 28ft (8.5m) on deck, with a beam of 8ft (2.4m), and she draws 4ft 10in (1.5m).


Classic Boat’s Index is back Our new Index lists every feature published in Classic Boat since the magazine’s inception in 1987. It is now up to date to the end of 2012 and a searchable PDF version is available on our website – just type index to buy it. It costs £9.95.


First World War survivor awarded £1m The light cruiser HMS Caroline has been awarded £1m from the National Heritage Memorial Fund to stabilise her condition before more ambitious future plans can be realised. The eventual plan is to transform her into a floating museum in time for the 2016 centenary of the Battle of Jutland, of which Caroline is the last survivor. The grant will be used to weatherproof the ship, lying mothballed in Belfast. Project director Capt John Rees, speaking on behalf of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, described the process as one of replacing perished seals, refurbishing portholes, repairing scuppers and leaking decks and removing asbestos. Caroline, 3,750 tonnes and 446ft (136m), could attain 30 knots in her day. After the Great War, she accompanied Second World War convoys, then moved to Belfast as a static drill ship. Decommissioned in 2011, she is the longest-serving ship in Navy history, after HMS Victory.

Get voting! The votes are coming in thick and fast for our 2013 CB Awards. Well over a thousand and still counting, in fact. But that’s not nearly enough. There is still a month to our 15 February deadline, so please visit our website at www.classicboat. and get voting – it only takes a couple of clicks. Alternatively, write to the address given on page 5. See last month’s CB for a full rundown of our shortlist.




CLASSIC BOAT February 2013





Constable’s lighter on the water again A microcosm of British riverfaring history immortalised in the paintings of John Constable and launched in October 2012, has been conducting trials prior to its official launch in May 2012. The job of rebuilding the Stour Lighter was undertaken by the Pioneer Sailing Trust on behalf of the River Stour Trust, with Lottery money from the ‘managing a masterpiece’ grant. Lead shipwright on the project was Brian Kennell, well known for his rebuild of the North sea smack Pioneer, with shipwright Mick Allen and Pioneer Sailing Trust apprentices.

The barge’s name and date of build have been lost to history, but it is known that she was one of many scuttled at the onset of war in 1914 (lest she fall into the hands of invading German troops), in Ballingdon Cut, in the now largely defunct Stour Navigation. Mistley Quay at the mouth of the Stour is now the site of a dispute between riparian owners and sailors (see CB292) but, Brian relates, so it was in the 18th and 19th century heyday of the barges. The horses that used to tow these vessels had to cross the canalised Stour 34 times during

their 20-mile, two-day journey, to avoid walking on private grounds. This is why some paintings depict a horse on the boat: the beasts were trained to jump onto the foredeck while the barge was poled to the other side. The lighter, which has now been named the John Constable, has been rebuilt using oak all over, barring the deck, which is pine. Measuring 46ft 9in (14.3m) long with a 10ft (3.1m) beam and minimal draught (“she’ll float in inches,” Brian says), she will run as a tourist attraction between Sudbury and Henny. Two electric outboard motors will replace the horse.

Above left: The remains of the old barge at the yard Above right: And how the lighter looks now in Cornard Lock

From the publishers of Classic Boat












 Nordship 430DS

CHELSEA London Boat Show map & guide ARINE M MAGAZINES


 Testing the new Discovery 57







ST189Untitled-2 Cover_Final.indd 1 1

19/11/2012 21/11/2012 15:30 11:23



AC72s under the spotlight | Keelboat review| Dinghy champion of champions



in action

Bob Fisher on the flying America's Cup designs


champion The king of the classes tells all

1657 Cover (1).indd 1



£4.30 ISSUE N°1657 JANUARY 2013 | Issue #1657

Glasgow’s GalGael, a trust that uses traditional boatbuilding as a vehicle to rehabilitate some of the city’s most vulnerable unemployed and substance-addicted youth, is offering a range of new weekend boatbuilding courses to the general public. They take place this spring and cover lofting, half-hull model making and spar-making. Each course costs £200, money that goes back to the trust’s acclaimed youth work. The new initiative is partly a response to the trust’s recent loss of European Social Funding, which has finished its seven-year tenure in Scotland. To learn more, visit

A long, narrow rowing vessel of war, formerly used by the English. Its name is derived from ‘remo’ and ‘barca’, and it seems to have been the precursor of the Deal Luggers. A Ansted



January 2013

Reinstating skills

 French canals in autumn – the civilised way to get to the Med






 Ten-page charter special










Keelboat special Spotlight on over 30 classes


Bavaria B-One Sportsboat test

01 9 770044 000205


IN THE LATEST ISSUE  65.45kn – Sailrocket pilot Paul Larsen talks about driving the fastest sailing craft on the planet  Leigh McMillan on what it takes to win in the Extreme 40 class  Y&Y Awards 2012 winners

27/11/2012 10:53

Available at all good newsagents or order now post-free from CLASSIC BOAT FEBRUARY 2013


Overseas news

all photos: C/o offiCine panerai


Classics in Atlantic race The Panerai Transat Classique race began in Portugal in early December amid a mixture of excitement and trepidation, reports Guy Venables. The departure point was the famed sailing town of Cascais, long-time Portuguese royal summer residence and the place where King Juan Carlos I of Spain learned to sail during the Spanish Civil War. With an eclectic mixture of 12 boats, from the fore-and-aft schooner Marie des Isles to the 1930 Panerai pin-up The Blue Peter, the race to Barbados promised to be an interesting one. Crew and press were lavished with hospitality from the prestigious and seemingly constantly-racing Clube Naval de Cascais, and from within 18


the castle walls with a dinner cooked by Panerai’s imported Italian chefs. There was a special round of applause for the two intrepid children on board Croix des Gardes, who have a combined age of just 13. They left in light but constant winds from the northwest, after an unseasonal two-day downpour. The prize is winning the race, but by way of a sweetener there is a special edition Luminor 1950, 8-day Rattrapante Titanio Panerai watch. You have four years to prepare for the next race. As we went to press, the 1967 bermudan ketch White Dolphin was in the lead, with The Blue Peter and Red Hackle, a 1989 German Frers yacht, in close pursuit off Barbados.

Top: White Dolphin, leader as we went to press, in the background Above left: The Blue Peter, Croix des Gardes and Marie des Isles in harbour at Cascais Above middle: The Blue Peter Above right: Crew of White Dolphin


New programme the world’s tall ships will see plenty of action in 2013 with a Med regatta in autumn to run concurrently with a sydney-auckland race in the southern hemisphere and a Black sea regatta planned for 2014. the tall ships races in July and august will visit Denmark, finland, latvia and poland. see www. for more.


FlORidA kEyS

Boats, planes and cars muster NORTH CAROliNA

New head for Cape Fear

Chris Caswell

It takes a unique combination of resources in close proximity to stage a vintage/classic gathering for boats, cars and aeroplanes, but Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, has pulled this off for 18 years, reports Chris Caswell. The Vintage Weekend at Ocean Reef Club, a luxurious private enclave in the Florida Keys, takes advantage of a marina for yachts up to 175ft (53m), a 4,600ft (1,400m) airstrip, and acres of parking. Last year, more than 125 vehicles were on show in the water, on land and in the air. They ranged from the Defoe-built 92ft (28m) Honey Fitz, once the presidential yacht for John F Kennedy, to one of only 24 WWII B-25 bombers still in existence and a 1911 RollsRoyce Silver Ghost. The unifying theme was a passion for vintage and classic vehicles that transcends sanity and empties bank accounts. You don’t take lightly the work needed to maintain POSH, a 1937 53ft (16.2m) Huskins, entirely varnished. Nor do you stop by Halfords for a set of spark plugs for a 1942 P-51 fighter plane.

The Spectator’s Choice Award for boats easily went to Honey Fitz, which still bears the presidential seal on her deckhouse and which also served presidents Roosevelt and Truman (who used her for poker games with Winston Churchill). The Spirit of Tradition Award went to POSH, a near-sistership to band leader Guy Lombardo’s Tempo. The four-day celebration, with many owners and participants in vintage garb, included a road rally, airshow, lectures, and a Second World War-themed dinner dance. This year’s dates are 3-4 December.

the boatbuilding programme at Cape fear Community College in wilmington, North Carolina, has a new head – alumnus mark Bayne, class of ’78. “if you can build a wooden boat correctly, you can build anything,” said mark of the educational value of boatbuilding.


New degree Top: Honey Fitz, ex-presidential yacht to kennedy, Roosevelt and Truman, took the popular vote Above: A P-51 Mustang fighter

the international yacht restoration school (iyrs) of rhode island, has gained university accreditation with roger williams University. the full two-year boatbuilding course will now count for 30 credits towards an academic degree.



Nation’s flagship relaunched

GUy ellis

after decades of neglect and the threat of destruction, the restoration and preservation of a 24ft (7.3m) marine tender was at last assured. mt2800, built by the British Power Boat Company at hythe, joined the raf in 1941, and was immediately allocated for service as a seaplane tender in Durban, south africa, arriving there late the same year, reports Guy ellis. she served in the south african motor Boat squadron until the 1990s, then languished in various locations, her survival fought for by a few dedicated individuals who have passed on the baton of care. thanks to the south african Navy and arms maker armscor, she is now in simon’s town naval base near Cape town, where she will be restored over three years by armscor apprentices. when complete she will be put on public display there.

krzystof mika

15 years to save wartime tender

President Bronisław komorowski was among those present as the 92ft (28m) 1940-built General mariusz zaruski was relaunched after a three-year rebuild. she’s one of the oldest sailing vessels to fly the Polish ensign, and represents the history of yacht sailing in Poland. the gaff ketch was restored using traditional methods and materials, the process initiated and coordinated by the City of Gdansk sport and leisure Centre – the current owners of the yacht. Now that she’s afloat again, she will be used for the same purpose she was built, by order of her namesake in 1939 – youth sail training. krzystof mika CLASSIC BOAT FEBRUARY 2013


Looking ahead Things to do in the next few weeks Ansel Adams at the Maritime Museum Until 28 April, 2013 For all NMM events, Tel: +44 (0)208 858 4422 More than 100 original prints from one of America’s most popular and influential photographers, Ansel Adams, for whom the fluidity of water was always a chief inspiration.

CHINESE NEW YEAR EVENTS AT NMM 18-22 February, 11.30am and 2pm Family flags Be inspired by Chinese flags and create your own 18, 20 and 22 February, 11am, 1pm and 3pm From Britain to China Join the crew of an East Indiaman with your family and create an animation of your journey to China 18, 20 and 22 February Noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm James Robson: a sailor’s tale of tea Join C19th sailor James Robson on a voyage that will take you from China to Britain, and hear tales about his life on board the

23 February 2013, 11am – 4pm Chinese New Year celebrations Celebrate Chinese New Year (10-11 February) and the Year of the Snake and learn how trade by sea brought ideas from Asia to Britain

8-10 February Classic Yacht Association of New Zealand Annual Regatta, Auckland Tel: +64 9446 6081, Four harbour races over three days 20


RUM New boat for the CIM Yes, we think this is the first new boat designed for the CIM classic rule. A fusion design, with a mast which unscrews, she can travel by container to her next race meet...

Around Britain in Libby Purves’s wake

Cutty Sark tea clipper in this interactive performance 19 and 21 February, 11.30am-1.30pm and 2-4pm Creative cargo Hunt for Chinese sailing boats and find clues to discover more about them – where did they sail? What cargo did they carry? How were they built? Write, draw and talk about what you uncover. Drop-in workshop


Next month in Classic Boat

Liz and Tim Dodwell’s inspiration for the Old Gaffers Association’s 50th anniversary sail round Britain is Libby Purves, who made the trip with her family in Grace O’Malley, a 30ft (9.1m) GRP Cornish Crabbers pilot cutter. Liz and Tim have sailed their own Pilot Cutter High Barbaree in Holland, the Baltic and all over England’s East Coast. Some time in the Stockholm Skärgård, the Åland Islands and Latvia followed, then Channel cruising to Brittany and in 2010, the Scilly Isles and the Milford Haven Festival. This will be their first round-Britain cruise.

CARLO RIVA The Italian genius who sold dreams in the shape of mahogany lovelies for woody petrolheads is now 90, and a superstar of the classic world

Join the cruise! For details, see online at

AUSTRALIA 8-11 February Australian Wooden Boat Festival Hobart, Tasmania Tel: +61 3 6223 3375, Hundreds of wooden boats at Australia’s largest classic boat festival – and probably the largest in the southern hemisphere.

PUIG DE BARCELONA Classics in Spain We sent our man-with-a-cigar-fromHavana down to sample and report on the delights of this stylish regatta

PLUS News from the London Boat Show; Pt 2 of the Man on the River, and more


Whisky Tasting Sailing Trips

Sail from Rouen Armada to Kieler Woche 7nts from £349 per person aboard Thalassa

from £615 per person aboard TS Pelican

Departing 18 & 25 May 2013 to coincide with the Islay Whisky Festival Taste the sailing spirit this May, and discover Scotland’s coastal distilleries in the company of fellow whisky lovers.

16 to 21 June 2013 Rouen Armada: Held every five years on the banks of the Seine, in the heart of Rouen, the Armada is the world’s largest gathering of Tall Ships, as well as traditional boats and military vessels. Arrive for the event (6-16 Jun 2013) and sail off in style on board graceful Barquentine Thalassa to the envy of other bystanders only to arrive in Kiel ready for another amazing event. With her 16 sails, covering 800m2, Thalassa makes an impressive sight. Kieler Woche: More than three million visitors from all over the world will be enjoying the colourful and multi-faceted Kieler Woche - the greatest sailing event in the world and the largest summer festival in northern Europe. The price includes 7days sailing aboard Thalassa, incl all meals, from Rouen to Kiel. Accommodation during these events is not included.

The Tall Ships Races are a truly fantastic spectacle in which more than 150 Tall Ships and training vessels compete. Attracting millions of spectators, in ports the streets will buzz with festival events, sports, theatre, fireworks and music. It’s an event where young people from all nations and backgrounds meet together, creating new friendships and having the time of their life! Join TS Pelican as a member of the trainee crew and experience a summer you’ll never forget. As a member of crew you are part of the festival, not just a spectator.. Delivery Voyage: Whitehaven, UK to Aarhus, Denmark.

7nts from £729 per person aboard Thalassa

The price includes: seven nights aboard the tall ship Thalassa, daily breakfast, lunch and dinner and two whisky tastings with an expert. Sailing on board Thalassa, a three-mast Tall Ship setting up to 16 sails, you will find a comfortable saloon, large bar, well-appointed comfortable cabins, excellent food and an experienced professional crew. Your voyage starts in Troon (Scotland) then on to Campbeltown for an optional tour of the Springbok distillery, Port Ellen, Bunnahabhain (optional distillery tour), Bruichladdich (optional distillery tour), across to Ballycastle in Ireland for the Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills distillery (both optional extras) and finally back to Troon.

The Tall Ships Races 2013

25th June - 6th July 2013. Price: £990 for 16-year olds and over.

Race One: Aarhus, Denmark to Helsinki, Finland.

6th-19th July 2013. Price: £1050 for 16-25-year olds, £1440 for over-25s.

Cruise in Company: Helsinki, Finland to Riga, Latvia.

19th-27th July 2013. Price: £615 for 16-25-year olds, £840 for over-25s.

Race Two: Riga, Latvia, to Szczecin, Poland.

27th July-5th August 2013. Price: £700 for 16-25-year olds, £960 for over-25s.

To book email: or call 07500 664 146 or visit Prices are per person and subject to availability. Prices are correct at the time of publishing. The precise sailing route is subject to prevailing local weather conditions and the captain’s decision is final and non-negotiable including changing or cancelling all or part of the route. You must have appropriate and sufficient insurance for each trip. Flights are not included and you have to arrange your own travel to the starting port and back. Full terms and conditions available on our website.

presents: An Introduction to Boatbuilding Techniques Three weekend courses over three months An Introduction to Lofting: Sat 16th & Sun 17th March 2013 Half Hull Model Making: Sat 20th & Sun 21st April 2013 Spar Making: Sat 18th & Sun 19th May 2013 For course details, pricing and booking information please visit our website Places are limited to six per course

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CLASSIC BOAT February 2013

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CLASSIC BOAT February 2013


Poster prize and nautical bargains An iconic poster image of the great French liner SS Normandie sold for £12,500 to top the maritime offerings at Christie’s annual London poster auction in November. Yet in the same sale, where an avant-garde 1929 Russian film poster fetched £109,000, satisfying maritime images could be snapped up for under £1,000. The Normandie poster, much pastiched in modern cruise adverts, is prized not just for its art-deco depiction of a famously elegant luxury liner that claimed the Blue Riband with a 1937 Atlantic crossing at 30.6 knots, but just as much for the artist, AM Cassandre, whose work is among the most prized by poster collectors. However, for a fraction of the cost of a Cassandre, you could have bought a splash of maritime nostalgia. A saucy and seductive World War One Royal Navy recruitment poster and an LNER railway poster for Bridlington were great entry-level posters at £500 apiece.





Marksman model hits the spot “They don’t build ’em like they used to,” is a common lament about the modern world. In 1915 HMS Marksman was a formidable state-of-the art fighting machine, a fast ocean-going torpedo boat destroyer capable of 34½ knots and armed with quick-firing 4in (10cm) guns and four 12in (31cm) deck-mounted torpedoes. She served at Jutland, but was obsolete in peace and broken up in 1921. Yet the builder’s model that

remains is not only a reminder of HMS Marksman’s sleek and menacing grace, but also of the high point of British builders’ models, from around 1880 to 1939, when shipyards made their own models. HMS Marksman was built by R & W Hawthorn, Leslie & Co in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In the saleroom, the £15,000 to £25,000 estimate was shattered when a Canadian collector paid a spectacular £76,800.

25 January, 2013: Maritime Paintings & Decorative Arts, Bonhams, New York. Feature works include 19th century yachting scene Round the lightship with Volunteer in the lead, by JE Butterworth (1817-1894), estimated at $70,000 to $100,000. Collectibles include whaling artefacts, scrimshaw, ship and yacht models (Tel: +1 212 644 9001, 29, 30 January 2013: Gentleman’s Library Sale, Bonhams, London. Plenty of maritime interest in a 1,000 lot themed sale encompassing all manner of objects you might find in a Victorian or Edwardian gent’s library. Everything for the armchair mariner.



Objects of desire

Pierhead painting French artist Dominique Pérotin works in the spirit of pierhead painters of old – commercial artists who would paint ships coming into port, to sell to their owners. She paints the regattas of the Mediterranean racing circuit using traditional paints and rabbit skin glue for the glazing of sea and sky, with pieces of wood and driftwood as her canvas. This beautifully detailed, colourful piece shows a traditional new build (Integrity) racing a similar counterpart from the 19th century – Partridge. Dominique charges around £205 (€250) for a yacht portrait. Tel: +33 (0)4 94 90 09 77,

Gallus lamp Maui Jim glasses New from the Hawaiian glasses manufacturer are these, the Bluewater Sandstone, specifically designed for sailors. Their broad arms protect from side glare, and the lenses are polarised. £166

Tel: +44 (0)1483 510420,

Here’s a nice twist on the classic oil lamp. The Gallus is true to its roots, in brass and mahogany, with a wide, stable base. Its tall, elegant hood is made of heatresistant boron silicate and shaped like a lighthouse. The flame is fed from a cartridge and rotates, thanks to cunningly positioned air intakes. Designed in Switzerland, so perhaps better suited to placid lake sailing. c.£65 ($104)

Clockwork rowers This is a clockwork tin model of an English lifeboat circa 1885 for sale at the Nicholas Brawer Gallery in New York. It works with a tambour clock mechanism made by the New Haven Clock Co of Hartford, CT, allowing all of the sailors to row in unison after the internal clock is wound. A real museum-quality piece in remarkable working condition. £5,000

Tel: +1 212 772 2664, Tel: +41 71 230 1002,



Little Big Boat



Twenty-five years in a shed have not dented this pocket cruiser’s confidence. Peter Willis met her owners



they’d looked at where Hoppy hadn’t promptly declared from as much as a hundred yards off: “You’re not having that!” Chough had been sitting in the shed since the late 1970s, which would explain why the Old Gaffers Association appealed in 1989 for any information about her whereabouts and got no response. Her owner at the time, and the last one to have actually sailed her, was Robert Cundall, an OGA member who had raced her in the Solent. He came to her relaunch in March 2009.

Right: Hoppy and Christine race Chough all over the Solent

a hamble story Through owners such as Robert, Christine has managed to trace Chough’s history right back to her beginnings in 1927. She was designed by AR Luke of Hamble, very close to where the Hopkinses have their office. Luke Brothers’ ‘top yard’ was where Hamble Marine Services is now, and Hoppy’s dad was their yard foreman. But she was built a long way away, in Essex, by Brooke & Halls of Walton-on-the-Naze. The yard still exists, now called Frank Hall & Son, and when Christine paid a visit they showed her Chough’s keel mould, still lying under the shed. Christine believes she was the largest boat the yard ever built.



easuring just 18ft 3in (5.6m), you can’t get much smaller than Chough and still be a proper yacht with a cabin, bunks and cockpit. And she’s a classic, right enough: built 1927, varnished teak on grown oak, and took our Concours d’Elegance Classic Boat Prize at the last Cowes Classics. Meet Chough and her fond owners David and Christine Hopkins. David (Hoppy to one and all) is a yacht surveyor, with Christine running the office on the Hamble. Chough lives nearby – just up the river at the Elephant Boatyard. She came into their lives in March 2008, when they were looking to replace the open Memory class gaffer they then had, and was the result of a chance internet search. “We were going down to Dartmouth to look at a Folkboat,” explains Christine, “and just before we left the house, I decided to check the internet in case there was anything else we should see while we were down that way. Up came Chough, lying in a shed in Brixham.” For Christine, it was love at first sight. “I touched her lovely varnished hull and that was it!” More to the point, perhaps, this was the first boat out of dozens

dan hOustOn

CHOUGH designer

AR Luke, Hamble Built

Brooke & Halls, Walton-on-the-Naze length

18ft 3in (5.6m) length Over spars

21ft 6in (6.6m) Beam

6ft 5in (2m) draught

3ft 9in (1.1m) displacement

5,730lb (2,600kg) sail area

263 sqft (24.5m2) 28


When Christine and Hoppy bought Chough – named after a bird of the rook family, and an emblem of Cornwall – she was lacking rig and sails, but came with several other bits and pieces, none of which turned out to be linked. She also needed rather more work than they were anticipating. Hoppy admits a bit sheepishly that he didn’t carry out a survey. Although, perhaps there’d have been no point – when one’s wife is set on something… “We took on a project started by somebody else – which is something I’d not recommend anyone else to do!” he says. The boat went straight in the shed at Universal Shipyard, and they got to work, doing all the jobs themselves with help from their friend and occasional sailing companion David Thomas, designer of Sigma yachts, among others. Chough was bare inside, apart from a ludicrously oversized chart table, behind which someone had painted the planking white. “It took me ages to get that off,” recalls Christine, “by hand – no machine has touched this boat.” On the hull itself, they splined the planking, but went very carefully, waiting to see what happened when she took up. “We had to avoid overcaulking and busting her apart – gently, gently,” explains Hoppy. She needed a mast step and mast partners – there were none, as the previous owner had been planning to put a tabernacle on deck. A roller-reefing boom was


Sam foRTEScuE

Sam foRTEScuE


Opposite: Chough did well in the growing gaffer class at last year’s Cowes Classics Above right: Pebble “chuckies” are used as ballast, but there’s still room for a bottle or two in the bilges Far right, top: Chough has a simple but effective genoa sheet traveller system Far right, lower: The windward winch always carries the runner

acquired from Wicormarine at Portchester – “It’s tapered, does perfect reefing”. David Thomas designed the rig and sail plan – a simple gaff sloop with a single jib on a short boom. “She had been a cutter and a yawl in her time,” Hoppy remarks. “Too complicated for a boat of this size.” The sails were made by Elvstrøm, though not at their Hamble loft. “I took the plans in there,” explains Hoppy, “and a bloke from Elvstrøm in Denmark came in. ‘What is this ‘Cough’?’ he said. ‘We know about gaff rig in Denmark – we will make them’ – and he rolled up the plans, put them in his pocket and left. So that’s where they were made.”

teething troubles After about a year of work at Universal, Chough was ready for relaunch in March 2009. “None of us knew how long she’d need to take up,” says Christine. “She hadn’t been in the water for over 25 years. We did the sawdust treatment big time, and someone had to keep popping back every few hours at first.” It’s probably taken the best part of five years for Chough to become fully watertight, but they had her sailing that same season. We’re discussing all this over lunch at the Jolly Sailor at Bursledon, almost within Chough’s hearing. Our table overlooks the river and the Elephant’s pontoons,

and the conversation moves on, logically, to sailing her. “She goes well. Ahead of her time. A fast boat, a proper little yacht,” declares Hoppy, who should know one when he sees it. He raced dinghies – Finns and Solings and Hamble Stars – with the likes of Alex Stone from Salcombe and Rodney Pattison, and went in for Olympic trials. By the time he and Christine met in 1996, he had all but given up sailing and was turning towards motor boats. It was she who persuaded him that, “if we can find a boat that excites us both, we’ll have one last go at sailing.” The first boat they found was a little too exciting – a Scottish Islands Foureen, “which would have died if we hadn’t bought it – it came with a 10-page letter which included the instruction, ‘always wear brown trousers’!” recalls Christine. Hoppy remembers the “enormous dipping lug” which took four to sail. “It took off like a rocket to the buoy, but didn’t want to go round it.” The Foureen was replaced by a Memory (plastic) gaffer and then Chough. “Perfectly balanced, sails herself. Like a Harrison Butler,” is Hoppy’s verdict. They sail her in Old Gaffers Solent events and at the OGA’s Bursledon Regatta, Chough came second – to a new Cornish Crabber. But the highlight of the 2012 season for Christine and Hoppy was Cowes Classics Week, AKA the Metre and Classic Keelboat Regatta, in July. They can’t seem CLASSIC BOAT FEBRUARY 2013







“Chough is always mine when she needs work and always Hoppy’s when she wins something”


Clockwise from top left: Chough can sleep two in a compact cabin; this year she’s being stripped back and painted below the waterline; simple belaying pins; an engraved winch; a boom crutch has been cleverly adapted from an old paddle


to praise it enough. “Brilliant week,” says Christine. “So enjoyable,” adds Hoppy. “I was quite impressed with the whole thing. They made sure we had the right courses for the wind, and they took all the hassle out of finding the marks. The Solent is so full of buoys, it’s easy to go wrong – the danger usually comes if you get into the lead.”

a turn below Lunch over, we make our way down to the foreshore and round to the elevated maze of steps and walkways that make up the Elephant Boatyard’s marina, and thus in due course to Chough herself, sitting demurely against a pontoon. Hoppy flips back the overboom cover to reveal the tiny, but deep, cockpit and I step aboard, amidst owners’ apologies for her decidedly ‘end of season’ appearance. I demur politely, but sincerely, that she looks very well considering, and peer into the cabin. There’s just room for two bunks between the aft bulkhead and the mast. Farther for’ard, and concealed behind a curtain, is the forepeak for sail storage and the like. Between the bunks and immediately abaft the mast is a matching upholstered fill-in seat. Christine lifts it to reveal a ply base, containing a large circular cover. This when lifted… well, you’ve guessed it. The most basic form of boat sanitation, but simple and effective and, on this occasion, quite elegant too.


Hoppy is more keen to lift the cabin sole to reveal the ballast. Ah, pebbles. At first sight they look exactly like that trompe l’oeil lino you get at B&Q. But these are the real thing. “We learnt that with the Foureen,” explains Hoppy. “They’re clean, they stay put, but are easy to move when you want to. Fishermen call them chuckies. You use them to ballast the boat, then chuck them out when you get a catch.” Pleasingly, the bilges also offer sanctuary for a few bottles of wine. As I left Hoppy and Christine, they were looking forward to Chough’s last race of the season, the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s Ancient Mariners race – “For old people, not boats,” explains Christine helpfully. The three crew, Hoppy, Christine and David Thomas, have clocked up over 200 years between them. “I expect we’ll be the only gaffer there.” They are conscious that Chough is beginning to get a bit much for them, and is too small in the cockpit to sail with their grandchildren, so she’s on the books with Barney Sandeman, another old friend. For Christine it’s a very reluctant sale. “Just when we’ve got her working properly. She’s unique, and fast.” She adds, “Chough is always mine when she needs work and always Hoppy’s when she wins something!” But with Hoppy looking forward to next year’s Cowes Classics, and Christine declaring, “we won’t be accepting any low offers”, it looks as if they and Chough could be sailing on together for at least another season.

CLASSIC BOAT February 2013





One institution more than any other has helped restore the status of classic yacht racing, says Chris Museler


f there is only one place in the world a sailor would call the holiest ground in the sport, it must be the New York Yacht Club’s model room in midtown Manhattan. Nestled among the canyons of NYC, the stone façade resembles a galleon’s stern. Inside, the clenched, defiant fist carved into the head of the schooner America’s original tiller is intimidating enough. But it is the massive space to your left, a half-level up the marble stairs, that catches one’s breath. The collection of full and half-models is extraordinary, each jockeying for position along the walls and in their glass cases. This is the place where the tangible, touchable history of yachting and yacht racing resides. And until recently, those models were the last remnants of the boats that once made history in the grand races of the world. Today, the club’s flag officers and an enthusiastic group of its membership have committed to the newest genre of sailing: classic yachting and yacht racing. Last year, a new sub-committee was set up to support classic interests and there’s a growing calendar of events. Gradually, the most significant and eye-catching yachts framed on the cloth walls of the model room have been brought back to life, either through detailed restorations or replications. “Like most yachtsmen, I looked longingly at their lines,” says former Commodore Chuck Townsend, who races Fidelio, sistership to the famed S&S centreboarder Finisterre. “The grand prix boats we raced were becoming overpowering. I wanted to get a beautiful classic yacht that I was proud to own, had a pedigree to perform, and was comfortable to race with my lifelong crewmembers. It worked out beyond my wildest expectations.” Another former Commodore, George Hinman, has also looked to a boat from his past to round out his sailing. “I recently started sailing aboard Intrepid again,” says Hinman, who crewed for Bus Mosbacher aboard the 12-Metre, winning the 1967 America’s Cup. “We race hard, it’s fun and there’s great camaraderie.”



“Having a classic boat was like a secret handshake... they knew what it took to get there”

Previous spread: The breathtaking model room Above: The club’s Manhattan façade, designed by Warren and Wetmore in 1898, resembles a galleon’s stern Below: Bill Doyle accepts the 156th Annual Cruise award for his P-Class racer Chips

Hinman believes that classics serve an important role in a sailor’s career. “For us as a club, our obligation is to keep as many people on the water as possible, no matter what the form,” he says. “Classics and other areas are keeping sailors in the sport. They have memories of growing up when these weren’t classics. It’s easy to transition.” A wave of member interest led in 2004 to the club giving the classics their own start in the annual regatta. Since then, New York Yacht Club Race Week has added a classic weekend. In 2005, the club hosted the 100th anniversary regatta for the NY-30 class, which is among the seven one designs originated by the club. It also supported the 2009 Six Metre World Cup that saw a large classic fleet with members competing. And at the next World Cup in Helsinki, two boats were raced by club members: Lucie and Totem.

out on the classic fringe


Since its inception in 1844, the club’s membership has been defined by leaders, not just of industry, but trendsetters in the sport of sailing. From America’s groundbreaking design and performance, through the many America’s Cup races that followed and into modern times, ushering in the latest one-design classes and setting a high standard for hosting championship events, the New York Yacht Club has looked forward while remaining a steward of the sport’s history. In the 1970s, several of the members and others around the US saw in Jon Wilson’s newly-published WoodenBoat magazine a confirmation of their desire to cruise and race wooden sailing boats. It was natural that those with such a strong tie to the history of the sport would be attracted to boats of the past and not the plastic, fin-keeled craft of the day.




Above: The club’s Manhattan library Below: Members dine in a room that mimics a large ship’s interior

they were dealing with. The same problems, like mizzen staysail issues. It was instant comradeship. Having a classic boat was like a secret handshake. They knew what it took to get there: dealing with the varnish or braided line, and the traditional sails.” In 1986, she bought Saphaedra, the Aage Nielsendesigned yawl. This leap led to more Bermuda Races and eventually the 2001 America’s Cup Jubilee in Cowes, where she was awarded silver by Princess Anne. “I don’t know if racing her around had an influence on other members buying into classics,” she says. “I do know I really felt the magic of sailing something so beautiful and sharing it.”

becoming more mainstream


“We didn’t think racing against other classics would happen,” says Queene Hooper Foster, a club member who began her racing career with a Concordia Yawl when glassfibre International Offshore Rule racers were in vogue. “We kept tweaking the rating to give us a chance to win the Bermuda Race. After a while that didn’t work. Elizabeth Meyer and I would race our Concordia Yawls against each other and were happy with that.” Then, in the early 1980s, a classics trophy was awarded at the NYYC annual cruise. “That was a big part of it for me,” says Hooper Foster, who was eventually the first woman to skipper a Newport Bermuda Race entry. “Other boats looked just like you and all of a sudden you have a family. There was something you knew

Around the same time that Hooper Foster and Meyer were racing their Concordias, the fledgling Museum of Yachting created the Classic Yacht Regatta, where a mix of large and small wooden boats gathered to race in Narragansett Bay. Classics of that period under the club’s flag included David Warren Ray’s Hinckley-built, Alden yawl Nirvana, and the 1950s flagship under Commodore John Nicholas Brown, the S&S thoroughbred Bolero. As the classic racing scene grew, so did the number of boats flying the New York burgee from their pig sticks. Commodore Charles Dana, once owner of a Concordia Yawl, gave a Rhodes yawl as a gift to his daughter. Current Commodore Bob Towse has actively raced his Alden Six Metre SYCE and, of course, Halsey Herreshoff has raced a series of his family’s designs including the NY-40 Rugosa. Members’ classic interests extend far beyond the coast. After two transats, Hans Albrecht navigated the Northwest Passage in 2012 with his Hans GruberCLASSIC BOAT FEBRUARY 2013


Dan nerney

new york yachT club names flags anD logos are TraDemarks only for use by nyyc


designed yawl Nordwind. He raced neck-and-neck with fellow NYYC member Bob Towbin’s Fife ketch Sumurun in the 2005 transatlantic race and, when the replica Herreshoff schooner Eleonora began racing in earnest, it was club member Zbynek Zak who led her across the line. Club members left a classic stamp on the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race, with the powerful S&S yawl Black Watch winning her class among modern racers. And despite electrical issues, club member Matt Brooks was able to salvage a respectable sixth place in class sailing his Olin Stephens masterpiece Dorade. Younger members, including Toby Rodes and Jesse Smith, have found their way into the racing scene through the classic Six Metre class. Both have raced in World Cups and club classic events in the Fife Alana and the Ludersdesigned Totem respectively. There is also a group racing the venerable Herreshoff S-Class on Narragansett Bay.

classic committee Today, the club supports the growing number of members interested in sailing classic boats. Bill Doyle, co-owner of the recently resurrected NY-30 Amorita, sits on the newly appointed classics sub-committee. This is an arm of the powerful sailing committee, which oversees all the racing activities of the club. “Originally, the classic committee was an ad hoc group created around 2003,” he says. “Prior to 2000, Amorita would race against modern boats. We kept at it and said, ‘We’re going to show up.’ At the very first race week, we raced in the spinnaker division. We would cross the finish line and the committee would wave and say, ‘What a pretty boat’, and forget to finish us.” At the 2012 awards ceremony, Doyle’s Burgess P-Class racer Chips, co-owned by Jed Pearsall, won a coveted seamanship trophy and finished respectably among the 36


Above: Sumurun in front of the Rhode Island clubhouse, Harbour Court Left: Olin Stephens on board Bolero

more recent racers. This, Pearsall says, was a delightful surprise after all these years of simply “showing up”. With the addition of the sub-committee, Doyle says the club will be able to focus on improving classic events and regulations, an area that is still in development on both sides of the Atlantic. Lars Forsberg, one of the committee’s first members, is steward on Black Watch. “New York has made a place for the classics,” he says. “With the scattering of performance racing rules, some people appreciate the different tempo among the classics.” Whether it is competing overseas or in club events, NYYC members have become an integral part of the classic yachting community in the US and abroad. Perhaps it was inevitable: inspiration is all around at both the 44th Street clubhouse in Manhattan and the outpost at Harbour Court in Newport, Rhode Island. For members including Hinman, that’s something special. “On Intrepid I run up to the bow to clip something in and say, ‘wait, I’m not supposed to be doing this anymore’,” he says, with the laugh of someone who knows all too well the perils that await a 12-Metre bowman. Tel: +1 212 382-1000,




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• Pre-purchase Inspection and Survey • Winter Lay-up • Well stocked chandlery • 700 sq. mtr. of covered workshop • Tel: 01502 724721 • Email: Blackshore, Southwold Harbour, Suffolk IP18 6TA CLASSIC BOAT February 2013



LeAvIng The cITy In 2009 we asked: “Can a pilot cutter make money?” And the answer is yes... ish, as Nick Beck tells Peter Willis Willis


t’s the morning after the Round the Island Race. As I open my eyes, sunlight pours into Amelie Rose’s cabin, seeming to match the rhythm of Elbow on the sound system. “Throw those curtains wide; one day like this a year would see me right.” With a mug of tea beside my bunk and the smell of frying bacon, it couldn’t be more perfect. That was nigh on four years ago, when Amelie Rose was brand new, fresh out of Luke Powell’s Working Sail yard at Gweek Quay. The previous January, at the Boat Show, this young couple, Nick and Melisa, had bounded onto the Classic Boat stand, bursting to tell us about how they were leaving the City life, having this new 44ft (13.4m) pilot cutter built and going into the traditional sail charter business. Their enthusiasm was infectious, their conviction credible, and we put their boat on the cover of the August issue that year (CB254), with the optimistic coverline: “Making money with a new pilot cutter”. And now – on a rare fine day at the end of November – I’m on board Amelie Rose again, in her Poole Quay winter marina quarters. Down below, boatbuilder Trevor is wielding paint and varnish brushes, so Nick Beck and I are sitting on deck, catching up. How have the last four years been? Did it work out as expected? Is he still enjoying it? And are they ‘making money’? Well, Nick certainly looks as if he’s loving the seagoing life. He’s leaner and lighter – gone is the City softness – his hair’s longer, there’s a faraway light in his eyes and a tang of West Country salt in his voice. His enthusiasm for his boat and the sea is still unbounded. Melisa less so, it seems. Being on board with the clients 24/7 proved something of a strain – “she’s a very private person,” explains Nick – so she works at home, managing the office work and making occasional forays back into IT contracting to underpin their finances. Nick, on the other hand, loves the people. “What? All of them?” I ask. “You know what – most of them are

lovely,” he replies. “The type of boat she is tends to attract nice people, and filter out the other sort.” Already, Amelie Rose is attracting return visitors – they made up one third of the bookings last year. Business has grown steadily over the four seasons she’s been in operation – up 78 per cent from that first year, says Nick, with an average of 13 per cent in each of the last two seasons. The programme has settled down to include races like the St George’s Trophy at Yarmouth, the St Mawes Pilot Cutter Review and the Round the Island Race. In between is a mix of weekend tasters, five- or six-day trips, “delivery dashes”, RYA courses, and so on. Much of it is away from Amelie’s base at Lake Yard, Poole Harbour. “And we go to Scilly every year – her ancestral home. It’s lovely – a few guys from the old pilot cutter families still recognise the type. In the back room of the Turk’s Head at St Agnes, we found a small photo of two pilot cutters anchored outside in Porth Conger – exactly where Amelie was sitting.” Just for a change, 2011 saw Amelie caught up in a TV series called The Hungry Sailors, with Dick Strawbridge and his son James. Twenty programmes with three or four days’ shooting for each meant 60-odd days of bookings – “though not at our usual rates,” adds Nick with a wry grin. “The TV people like to point up the publicity value in negotiations.” He admits it has brought in more custom. “And it took me to lots of places I wouldn’t otherwise have been – Turf Locks on the Exeter Ship Canal, the twisty little creek up to Rye. We started out from Fowey and ended up sailing through Tower Bridge, which was a high point of my sailing career. We used to walk to work across that bridge every day. As we nosed up to it, the first thing we saw was the traffic clearing. Then the centre of it just started to crack, and I thought ‘that’s for me!’. We waited half an hour by HMS Belfast, then came back. A stunning day – I was grinning from ear to ear.”

“Amelie tends to attract nice people and filter out the other sort”



Peter Willis

What stops most people from doing it, he believes, is fear.

“That and overthinking the problems� Above: Nick on board, and his beloved cutter, Amelie Rose, left


The idea of the programme was that the Strawbridges sailed from port to port, then went ashore to meet local food producers – farmers, cider makers, cooks, and so on. Then, back to the boat to cook and eat a meal together using their produce. “That’s what I liked about it,” says Nick. “These artisan producers who had often quit a career to start doing something they were passionate about. It was fantastic to meet that sort of people – they were doing just what I was doing.” Nick adds that people often come to see him to talk through the idea of doing something similar – setting up in boat charter. So what does he say to them? “Well, the first thing is to tell them that this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done – and that includes project managing IT at Barclays Capital. This is unrelenting. Every single part can be lovely – the boat, the sailing, the people – there must have been 600 of them by now. However, it never stops. “You make the decisions, and after seven months you’ll be tired. But you still have to fill the boat next season, and maintain it.” And yes, you need capital to get started. Amelie Rose cost £330,000 (it would be more now). “The trick is to edit your life down – save money. Melisa and I lived like paupers on good City salaries. If you earn, say, £100,000 a year between you, and, most importantly, don’t have kids, you could build a boat like Amelie Rose in four years, assuming you have a house to sell at the end. You have to be very clear about what you want.” For Nick and Melisa, the project turned from a dream into a plan soon after the London bombings of 2005. “There was total chaos that day,” Nick recalls grimly. “It took us six hours to find each other, and know we were safe, and Melisa lost a close friend and colleague.” In 2006 they took the plunge, and set up Topsail Adventures. It’s an incorporated company, which spreads out the tax liability. “It’s a strange business,” muses Nick. “Traditional boat charter and IT services.” By the spring of 2008, Amelie had been ordered and the build was under way.

What stops most people from doing it, he believes, is fear. “That and overthinking the problems”. In a way they could hardly have chosen a worse time to start. “In 2007, the banking crisis came along – so even if you did plan to the nth degree, fate could come along and kick holes in it.” In fact, the charter business has not done badly – first (half) year a loss; second year a small profit; third, small loss (Hungry Sailors); fourth a small profit. It’s feeding them, but not paying them a salary. “If you’re doing it to make money,” says Nick, “forget it.” His love of the boat is undimmed, and, he says he’s still getting to know her, even after what must be 8,000 miles. “I can get her to go straight in reverse,” he announces. “Get her up to 2 knots and she’ll answer. We sail on and off moorings when we can.” There are other delights too. “What I like about Luke’s boats is the way the insides match the outside. Comfortable, harmonious but quite plain. It doesn’t look like a gentleman’s club down there.” He’s pleased that National Historic Ships has at last recognised that a new-build replica can be historic – “and Amelie Rose is a true replica. There’s a half-hull model she’s based on in St Mary’s Museum.” Nick, who is a qualified RYA Cruising Instructor, is introducing courses in traditional boat skills alongside the RYA courses you can already do on Amelie. “The RYA course is geared to modern yachts – it doesn’t take account of the way these lovely boats carry their way and how you can use that. For people who want to learn to sail them there’s nothing.” For Nick, sailing Amelie Rose is still an adventure. “It’s something we didn’t want to have wished we’d done but hadn’t when we grow old,” is his way of describing it. He’s living the life he loves. And it’s an adventure he’s very happy to share with his charter crews.

“It’s something we didn’t want to have wished we’d done... but hadn’t”



Tel: +44 (0)7831 710946,

Above right: Nick, still looking fresh from the City on launch day. Amelie Rose’s schedule has included TV programmes


Based in the Solent, Merlin of Falmouth is a joy to be aboard. Comfortable, fast, safe, and easy to sail - just right for family sailing holidays, weekend trips, old gaffer racing, maritime festivals, corporate charter and film work. “Merlin combines the qualities of a traditional yacht with all the conveniences of modern life...” 2013 Classic Sailing Event Calendar: St George’s Pilot Cutter Regatta - Yarmouth Pilot Cutter Review - Fowey and St Mawes Entre Terre et Mer - Baie de Morlaix, Brittany Festival du Chant de Marin - Paimpol, Brittany Old Gaffers 50th Anniversary Regatta - Cowes Old Gaffers Centenary Chase - Yarmouth

Tel: 01483 200733 Mob: 07967 182534 Email:

The one stop shop for advice on sailing holidays on tall ships & traditional boats

300 voyages to choose from:            

Schooner in East Greenland Barquentine in Spitsbergen RYA courses on 3 pilot cutters Whale watching in Iceland Day sails & tasters in Cornwall Sailing trawlers in the Hebrides Trans Atlantic on a lugger Tall Ships Around the World Trade winds in Cape Verde Privateer in the Caribbean Tall Ship Antarctic Expeditions Disabled crew berths worldwide

Main Photo: Hildur’s crew in Scorseby Sound, Greenland

‘Be more intrepid’ 01872 580022 CLASSIC BOAT February 2013



SAIL AwAy fRom IT ALL Winter will soon have run its course and now is a good time to think about spreading your wings further with a charter holiday


ossibilities to find new horizons are almost endless. The world’s hire fleet is innumerable, as more and more boat owners turn to charter to help pay their boats’ upkeep. Increasingly, charter skippers are offering themed cruises with bird-watching, cookery, fishing or more on offer as well as sailing. Most charters will be crewed and offer guests the chance to relax, or take a more hands-on role with the boat’s operation. In an increasingly expensive world, charter offers tremendous value for money – £100 per person per day including food is still the norm, although the sky’s the limit. In this guide we have focused mainly on boats we know – and a few we would like to. 43



Using the guide Prices quoted are approximate and per person per day, in peak season. Many day charters (and nearly all overnight ones) include food

£150+ Caribbean charters antigua, Tel: +1 (268)463 7101, 19 fairly swish yachts for day and overnight charter including CB cover star Kate (pictured), a 12-M Mylne yacht built to a vintage design in 2006 by Phillip Walwyn Sceptre Solent and Scotland, Tel: +44 (0)121 308 0870 599 542 0045,, Britain’s classic 12-M america’s Cup yacht, £160


Bloodhound Oban, Western Isles, Scotland, Tel: +44 (0)131 555 8800, The 63ft (19.2m) Camper & Nicholson ketch built in 1963 that once belonged to the Queen and Prince Phillip and these days is a companion exhibit to the royal yacht in Leith, defects to Oban in July and august, offering day charter in the Western Isles for up to eight guests, £240


Europa antarctica, +31 10281 0990, Riveted-steel 1911 barque, 184ft (56m) from bowsprit to taffrail with 23 sails, plies 22-day antarctic cruise from ushuaia, argentina, £220

Arcturus New Zealand, Tel: +64 27 477 9023 1930 John alden schooner, day and overnight, cruising the NZ coast, £290


Classic Charters Worldwide, Tel: +44 (0)7919 430863, Classic power and sail including the 1936 Camper & Nicholson motor yacht Bounty, 78ft (24m) of interwar style. from £170

Classic Yacht Events Mediterranean, Tel: +33 (0)6 78 28 17 46 This is the full monty: a collection of top-pedigree classic yachts from the Med, including The Blue Peter, for match racing and normal charter. from £250

Swan 55s River hamble, Tel: +44 (0)7760 203128, Two identical, 70s-vintage S&S Swan 55s for match racing and general charter. £200

Galapagos Expeditions Tel: +1 415 738 8369 Naturalists’ paradise on the 1928, 147ft (44.8m) Camper & Nicholson motor yacht, £450

Edmiston Worldwide, Tel: +44 20 7495 5151, Many – including the only wooden J-Class, Shamrock v. from £650

Seascope Rhode Island, uSa, Tel: +1 401 847 5007 fleet of classics, including three wooden 12-M yachts, £800 for two hours, 12-14 guests



£100-150 Maybird Ireland, Tel: +44 (0)7540 969512 Restored 1930s fred Shepherd gaff ketch of 43ft (13m), Maybird offers all sorts of charter


Maine Windjammer Cruises Penobscot Bay, Tel: +1 207 236 2938 Cruising Maine in historic schooners


Trinity Sailing Leader, Provident and Golden vanity Tel: +44 (0)1803 883355 Brixham trawlers and other historic workboats. Channel, Belfast, West Coast Scotland

Classic Sailing Tel: +44 (0)1872 580222 Scillonian Pilot Cutters Eve of St Mawes and agnes and many others

Eda Frandsen hebrides, Scotland. Tel: +44 (0)1326 567 265, 1930s gaff cutter, 56ft (17m), under new management. Cornwall and Outer hebrides, with plenty of wildlife excursions and whisky tasting, and passage sailing between the two destinations

Zillaine algarve, Tel:+44 (0)7747 066012 44ft (13.4m) C&N yawl bareboat or crewed, with or without a beachside apartment

Morwenna Solent, Tel: +44 (0)845 034 5388, Pilot cutter with RYa training, Tom Cunliffe days, Round the Island and fastnet

Annabel J Tel: +44 (0)7766 138288 RYa courses and around-Britain cruise for 2013, as well as general charter

Clyde Classic Sailing Tel: +447955 881656 Scillonian Pilot Cutter sailing on the West Coast of Scotland


Polly Agatha Portsmouth, Tel: +44 (0)7795 480245 Pilot cutter for holidays, races, voyages, corporate, private etc Merlin of Falmouth Southampton, Tel: +44 (0)7976 182534, Pilot cutter for holidays, races, corporate Mascotte Western Isles, Scotland, Tel: +44 (0)7733 895545, Whale watching and general charter on the largest (60ft/18m) surviving pilot cutter Edith Gray Western Isles, Scotland, Tel: +44 (0)7903 682645, The newest, fastest and smallest of the pilot cutter fleet at under 40ft (12.2m). Wild anchorages, wildlife, walking and climbing Josefine W Country, Tel: +44 (0)7971 376172, danish gaff trawler built in 1931 for general charter








b il e e C h a

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Ju in

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From the Isles of Hebrides on Scotlands West Coast, to the Isles of Scilly and Brittany. Crew the fast and responsive Pilot Cutter “EDITH GRAY” for a great adventure. Call: 07903 682 645 46

CLASSIC BOAT February 2013


mervyn maggs



ray little


£50-100 6

Pioneer Brightlingsea, essex, tel: +44 (0)1206 303373, Class-a smack, flexible itinerary Amelie Rose West Country, tel: +44 (0)7831 710946 Pilot cutter, see story p40


Classic Sailing Club suffolk, tel: +44 (0)870 300 1066 three classic bermudan yachts, 25-38ft (7m to 11.6m), skippered and bareboat charter. membership (£50) required. From £50 Stad Amsterdam Worldwide, tel: +31 20 569 5839 the nearest thing to a sailing Cutty sark

Sailing Cruises in Comfort Bodrum, turkey, tel: +44 (0)7583 001766 Cruise the turkish coast and greek islands on a real, wooden sailing gulet


Jubilee Sailing Trust Worldwide, tel: +44 (0)23 8044 9108 adventures on tall ships on coastal and ocean passages around the world

Morwenna solent, tel: +44 (0)1803 883355, Pilot Cutter, programme includes 2013 Fastnet

Saxonia Brightlingsea, essex, tel: +44 (0)1206 823373, Up to eight for day sails only. the only thames Bawley for charter that we know of

Vigilance of Brixham West Country, tel: +44 (0)7764 845353 1926 Brixham trawler, West Country, Channel islands and Brittany

Excelsior lowestoft, suffolk, tel: +44 (0)845 308 2323 77ft (23m) lowestoft built in 1921 available for general charter

St Joan Upper thames, tel: +44 (0)1932 873 130 52ft (16m) fast coastal motor-cruiser, built 1929. Day and overnight charter on the thames

Black Rose lowestoft, suffolk, tel: +44 (0)7811 469505 traditional smack, built in the 1990s. learn sailing with the last oysterman

Using the guide Prices quoted are approximate and per person per day, in peak season. many day charters (and nearly all overnight ones) include food





Northsailing Húsavík, Iceland, Tel: +354 464 7272 Four oak ex-fishing boats and two converted two-masted schooners. Whale-watching trips of one to three days, and a week-long voyage to Greenland. £50+

10 Wharram catamarans in Thailand

Phuket, Tel: +66 (0)86 283 5536, Two boats available: a Tiki 30 (4-6 berths) and Tiki 38 (6-7 berths) for cruising the famous islands of Thailand, £50 Lady Florence Orford, Suffolk, Tel: +44 (0)7831 698298, Ex-Admiralty motor fishing vessel for breakfast, lunch, supper and sundowner cruises on Ore and Alde rivers. £15 per cruise (3-4hr) + £25-£30 for a three-course meal





Galatea Baltic area, Day charter starts at £100, although more is charged for participation in the Baltic Regatta Series. We sailed aboard Galatea at the 2012 St Petersburg Regatta. She’s a slim, 72ft (22m) yacht built in Sweden in 1898

Island Trust Cremyll, West Country, Tel: +44 (0)1392 256142. Moosk (1906 gaff yawl), Pegasus (2008 pilot cutter), Tectona (1929 gaff ketch). From £85

Bessie Ellen Scotland/Canary Isles, Tel: +44 (0)7800 825382, 1906-built West Country trading ketch with overnight accommodation for up to 12, £90

Solent, Tel: +44 (0)207 264 1020 1961 Thorneycroft motor yacht, up to 35 for day charter, including lunch, wine, even a pair of jetskis and just about anything else. Party boat. £100

11 Cirdan Sailing Trust (various)

Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex, Tel: +44 (0)1621 851433, Duet (Linton Hope yawl, a century old): £75, daysailing Faramir (1986, traditional wooden sailing ketch), c£100, daysailing Queen Galadriel (1937 Danish trading ketch) £115, daysailing

12 Seafin

Rosa and Ada Western Isles, Scotland, Tel: +44 (0)1563 541575, A 1908 Kentish oyster smack in Scotland offering general and dive charter – the skipper knows all the sites after 30 years (no compressor so bring your own air), six berths for overnight, £80-£100

Using the guide Prices quoted are approximate and per person per day, in peak season. Many day charters (and nearly all overnight ones) include food



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CLASSIC BOAT February 2013


roger barnes


14 Under 13 Baltic Folkboats

stockholm, tel: +46 709 32 48 80 cruise the stockholm archipelago in a wooden, scandinavian Folkboat, bareboat of course, for just £25 (or £50 based on two sharing, which is perhaps more realistic!) Cornish Shrimpers Falmouth, tel: +44 (0)1637 876210 two 19ft (5.8m) cornish shrimpers and a cornish crabber 26 (8m), for bareboat charter on the cornish coast Eastwood Whelpton Upton, norfolk, tel: +44 (0)1493 750430 broads sailing yachts and dinghies in various sizes and guises Hunter’s Yard Ludham, norfolk, tel: +44 (0)1692 678263, the famous fleet of very original, oil-lit broads sailing yachts

14 Wherry Yacht Charter

norwich, norfolk tel: +44 (0)1692 630674 Wherries White Moth, norada, olive half-days, days and longer

richard johnstone-bryden


£50 15 Martham Boats

great yarmouth, norfolk, tel: +44 (0)1493 740249, broads sailing and motor yachts, canoes and more, including Zoe (cb289) Aberdonia London, tel: +44 (0)7976 256 266 48ft (14.6m) dunkirk Little ship for two to three hour London sightseeing trips (c£40) Swan Western isles, scotland, tel: +44 (0)1595 695193, 1900 herring drifter, day and overnight, including trips to northern europe Norfolk Wherry Trust great yarmouth, norfolk, tel: +44 (0)1692 630593, half-days, days and longer

Betsie Jane beccles, norfolk, tel: +44 (0)7789 401742 see page 52 Traditional Dutch boats Probably more classic boats for charter here than anywhere else in the world, for sailing in Zeeland, the ijsselmeer and Wadenzee. typically flat-bottomed metal yachts with leeboards and gaff rig de Zeilvloot aierikzee (13 skippered yachts), tel: +31 (0)612 629109, bruine Vloot (9 vessels), tel: +31 (0)229 572389 Glenridding Sailing Centre Ullswater, tel: +44 (0)17684 82229 gaff-rigged grP daysailers on Ullswater to relive swallows and amazons

Swallowtail Boatyard Ludham, norfolk, tel: +44 (0)1692 678066 three classic, newly-built broads yachts

Henley Sales and Charter henley, tel: +44 (0)1491 578870 crewed and bareboat charter on the Upper thames, many different powered craft

Birthe Marie isle of Mull, scotland, tel: +44 (0)1681 700537, 36ft (11m) restored danish fishing ketch, owner still likes to fish with charter guests. half-day and day trips

Ullswater Steamers Lake district, tel: +44 (0)17864 82279 Lake excursions and functions on Ullswater in one of five classic steamers, carrying from 40 to 100 people

Using the guide Prices quoted are approximate and per person per day, in peak season. Many day charters (and nearly all overnight ones) include food



SAvIng BeTSIe JAne Skippered charters are the perfect excuse to spend more time on board, and pay the bills, as Richard Johnstone-Bryden finds out 52



orfolk’s Broads have spawned more than their fair share of beautiful wooden craft. However, the latest classic boat to be offered for hire on these waters originally hails from the Isle of Wight, where she was built in 1938 for Lord Ebbisham. The former MP and Lord Mayor of London owned a holiday home on the island in the village of Seaview and wanted a motorboat capable of reaching 14 knots that could be used primarily for day trips. He approached the Saunders shipyard in Cowes, which drafted the lines for an elegant 40ft (12.2m) round-bilged motor cruiser with flared bows, a narrow beam and a distinctive vee transom.

The large, open cockpit would accommodate several guests for day trips in the Solent, while the two seats in the saloon could be easily converted into four single berths. As construction work commenced that winter, Lord Ebbisham decided to name the new boat in honour of his daughters Elizabeth (Betsie) and Jane. The following spring, a six-man team took Betsie Jane out for trials in Osborne Bay, where the two 70hp Gray Marine petrol engines propelled her to an average speed of 14 knots over four runs. Uffa Fox was impressed, writing: “Betsie Jane is as fine an example as we shall find of the round-bilged day cruiser.” To ensure that his new pride and joy looked her best at all times, Ebbisham appointed Frank Toogood, who CLASSIC BOAT FEBRUARY 2013


Previous spread and above right: Betsie Jane has been returned to her original cockpit layout

came from a long line of professional seafarers, as Betsie Jane’s skipper. She was based at the Sea View Yacht Club and, for two brief seasons, Lord Ebbisham’s family made good use of Betsie Jane during their holidays on the Isle of Wight. However, her relaxed peacetime routine of picnics, fishing expeditions and sedate day trips was shattered in September 1939 by the outbreak of the Second World War, when the public-spirited lord offered her to the Government on the strict understanding that she remained under Frank Toogood’s command.

busy during the war

Above: Simple controls for her two marinised Ford Transit engines Above left: She makes a glorious charter boat Left: Elegant simplicity below 54


She initially acted as tender to an examination vessel anchored off St Helens Roads, before helping to tow back some of the small craft that had broken down during the Dunkirk evacuation in May 1940. Following the Admiralty’s requisition of Seaview’s pier and hotel, Betsie Jane was allocated to the commander of the island’s naval forces, Captain Saunders RN, as his official barge. Frank Toogood remained on board as his coxswain in the rank of petty officer and took on the management of Seaview Pier, which was used by all types of small craft, including MTBs. As well as conveying the Captain between his HQ in Seaview’s Pier Hotel and Portsmouth Dockyard, Betsie Jane’s wartime service included retrieving ditched airmen,


“During the war, the public-spirited lord offered her to the Government”

delivering letters to anchored ships and leading ships to their designated anchorages. When the Admiralty formally requisitioned her in 1942, she went to Woodnutts’ yard in Bembridge for a refit. There, she got an open-backed wheelhouse and two 120hp Sea Queen petrol engines, increasing her top speed to 20 knots. Without knowing it at the time, Frank Toogood undertook his most important wartime mission in 1943, when he ferried a party of senior officers and surveyors for a tour of the Isle of Wight’s southern coast around Sandown Bay. He later deduced that the men had been surveying for the pipelines that were laid immediately after the D-Day landings, between Sandown and Querqueville on the Normandy coast to maintain fuel supplies for the advancing Allied forces. After the war, Frank oversaw Betsie Jane’s refurbishment by Woodnutts, which included a return to her peacetime livery of a white hull, green boot top, scrubbed teak decks and gleaming brasswork. She continued to be a familiar sight in the Solent until Lord Ebbisham’s death in 1953.

major restoration The boat had a succession of owners until 1991, when she was purchased by the retired boatbuilder Ron Bailey, who moved her to his farm near Ely in Cambridgeshire for restoration. By this time, her large open cockpit had

been fully enclosed by a new wheelhouse and aft cabin. For the next 16 years, Ron worked on her as a background project, while she sat firmly on a trailer beside a couple of double-decker buses amid his collection of wooden boats. The hull was sound, so Ron began by removing the unsympathetic superstructure and rotten decks before making new laminated iroko deck beams. But he had taken on too much, and reluctantly decided to sell off the boats he was unlikely to complete. This included Betsie Jane, which he listed on eBay in October 2007. She caught the eye of Paul Rainbird, a self-taught furniture maker, who had spent 12 months hunting for a pre-war motorboat. He and wife Heidi arranged to inspect her, then, pleased with what they’d seen, the couple placed a bid of £1,500, which eventually won the day. They arranged to move her to Greenway Marine in Loddon for the remaining work. Ron had concentrated on the main structural work, leaving Paul with the task of completing the decks, rebuilding the interior and the engines. All the same, it took him nearly four years, rather than the six months planned. He decided to gut the hull – enabling him to recover £2,000 by selling off the surplus equipment. Then he looked at laying iroko planking on top of the plywood subdeck, until the owner of Greenway Marine recommended epoxy sheathing the deck.


40ft (12.2m) LWL

38ft 9in (11.8m) beAm

9ft 6in (2.9m) DrAught

2ft 6in (0.8m)


7 tons




“The idea of being paid to spend time aboard became irresistable...”

For the interior woodwork, Paul bought a batch of pitch pine from Gorleston’s century-old sea wall. It proved completely sound once the first few millimetres were planed off. He broadly stuck to the original layout, with the exception of the forward cabin, which now has a double V-berth instead of the original offset single berth. The other notable change relates to the position of the galley, which is situated opposite the heads. The issue of whether to enclose Betsie Jane’s cockpit or return to her eye-catching 1938 appearance presented Paul with the biggest dilemma of the restoration. He began with plans to add a more sympathetic wheelhouse and aft cabin, then changed tack and reverted to her original layout. In the end, this saved valuable time and avoided the fiddly task of ensuring that the wheelhouse could be lowered to enable her to pass under bridges.

IRRESISTABLE CHARTERING It also had the unforeseen benefit of allowing Paul to subsidise her running costs with skippered day trips on the Broads. The idea of being paid to spend time aboard grew to become irresistible and judging by the number of bookings, it seems that Betsie Jane’s beautiful lines, along with Paul’s skilful handling and Heidi’s delicious home cooking, are proving to be a winning combination. 56


In between charters, Paul has been working on the final element of Betsie Jane’s restoration, which will be completed this winter. He wanted her to be capable of reaching speeds of up to 14 knots again, but the cost of replacing the two Massey Ferguson Standard 23Cs with modern diesel engines was too expensive. As he searched for an economic alternative, someone suggested buying a couple of redundant Ford Transit van diesel engines. Paul’s research revealed that it was possible to buy two such engines in good condition for approximately £250, while the marinisation process could be done for as little as £2,000 if he bought two conversion kits from a specialist engineering company and carried out the work himself. Providing everything goes to plan over the coming months, Paul plans to take Betsie Jane out to sea for the first time in over 20 years as a fitting conclusion to all his hard work. At the time of writing, a day’s skippered trip on board the boat for a party of up to 12 people costs £350, while a half day costs £200. Paul and Heidi offer a number of suggested itineraries, including a day-long round-the-island tour and creative writing trips with the storyteller and poet John Row. Alternatively, hirers can suggest their own programme. Tel +44 (0)7789 401742,

Clockwise from top left: Interior in pitch pine from Gorleston’s sea wall; the new V-berth fo’c’s’le; well-appointed galley; her deck layout is back to its 1938 original


VOTE Betsie Jane is nominated for CB power boat of the year To vote, go to www.classicboat.




MAN ON THE RIVER London to Istanbul in a small boat? Steffan Meyric Hughes meets an Italian eccentric who did it in a 19ft dinghy

Right: Full sail drifting on the French waterways Below: Lilies not far from those painted by Monet


first bought Giacomo de Stefano lunch on a cold, bright March day in 2010 at The Anchor in Faversham, because I thought he might, ever so politely, be starving. Bearded, bespectacled and clad in the woollen jumper of the idealist, he had spent the last night aboard his open lug yawl wrapped in his own sail as the mercury dipped below zero and cat ice crept up to hug his little boat in the darkness. The day before, young men in branded sportswear had assailed him with a shower of stones as he sailed on Oare Creek. “Is this stone-throwing a popular pastime in Britain?” he asked me in all seriousness, as we sat by the pub’s fire, eating toasted sandwiches and enjoying the local handiwork of famous North Kent brewery Shepherd Neame. Shortly after that, Giacomo nearly did die of a severe viral pneumonia that hospitalised him in Ramsgate and his home town of Venice, lasted six months and has left one lung permanently calcified. When CB editor Dan Houston and I sailed to Dunkirk with the Little Ships in 2010, I noticed Giacomo’s little boat Clodia still waiting for him in Ramsgate Marina. His grand voyage from Wargrave on the non-tidal Thames to Istanbul had been suspended before even crossing the Channel.

eight tunnels, across 18 aqueducts, and under more than 2,000 bridges. Giacomo had given more than 60 media interviews and appeared all over the world, including on Chinese television. When we met after the end of his journey, it was lunchtime again, this time near our office in central London, 10 minutes’ walk from the Thames. “I wanted to start in London because of the amazing story of the pollution, the clean-up and how it has become one of the cleanest industrial rivers in the world,” Giacomo said, as we stood on Albert Bridge in the low-calorie winter sun, looking at the river. To him, the Thames is an example of good river management – something that might surprise Londoners, but a theory borne out by the terrible examples of mismanagement he would see during his voyage. Man on the River was, from the start, a voyage of environmental awareness – to raise the profile of Europe’s rivers and their bankside dwellers. In the end, his journey through the 21st century became a statement against all the things tearing it apart. In London, Giacomo admired not only the cleanliness of the murky brown river – he even spotted a trout swimming in a creek in Lewisham – but the way we throw our rubbish in bins in England. Over a lunch of fish and chips, and more beer – fittingly, London Pride this time – Giacomo relived his odyssey. England turned out to be a mixed blessing for him. The intense cold of that winter gave him uncomfortable nights aboard Clodia, where he slept under his creamcoloured tent made from waterproof cotton of the sort once used to cover lorry trailer frames. By the time he had reached Ramsgate through 35-knot winds and seas that peaked at 25ft (7.6m), a malaise that had been troubling him since the Upper Thames became serious.

“What took place is a story the likes of which I’d never heard before”

an ORGanIC vOyaGe In autumn 2012 (28 September, for the record), Clodia sailed into Istanbul, her skipper overwhelmed by tears of relief and jubilation. What took place during the intervening two-and-a-half years is a story the likes of which I’d never heard before. Together, they’d sailed 3,200 miles (5,150km) across Europe through 12 countries and five capitals, 314 locks,




“I’m too old to go to nightclubs and I must have smelled of the Danube” His rowing companion at the time, Jacopo Epis, a strong Venetian who once ran a marathon in 2 hours and 34 minutes without training, took Giacomo to Ramsgate hospital, where pneumonia was diagnosed. A recovery and a later relapse led to a spell in a Venetian hospital and six months’ recovery, some of it spent rowing a Mascareta, a traditional punt propelled like a gondola, to deliver organic vegetables grown by a friend. The English Channel was beginning to call, its voice louder than that of his doctor, who advised rest. By May 2011, Jacopo the strong Venetian, determined for adventure, had walked home from Ramsgate to Venice and Giacomo had found a new travelling companion, Brazilian sailor Bruno Porto. They were ready to go. His doctor, ever the optimist, had one last warning – “if you go, you’ll die” – and soon after, Giacomo was sailing from Ramsgate to Gravelines, through a sparkling blue sea and kind winds. “It was perfect,” he remembers. “Thirty-two miles in nine hours. I was in heaven. I simply couldn’t believe I was on the water again. Bruno told me: ‘We’ll go and you won’t die’. He saved my life – and the trip.” Giacomo’s body and philosophy had changed. Not only had he lost and regained 4½ stone (29kg), but his view was that, “we are moving to a world where the absolute ego does not dominate anymore. The new driving force is the word ‘us’. I now have to consider the opportunity to share the journey, should I have to stop again.”

His statements can occasionally sound like those of the philosophical zealot, but even from our two meetings, it is clear that they are just part of the patina worn by a sensible man who has realised that he is living in a world gone mad, a world so keen to consume that it is beginning to consume itself. His dinghy-sailing textbooks include Walden: Or, Life in the Woods and Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but his asceticism is not, as you might imagine, at the expense of a sense of humour. He told me that throughout the journey, he saw many beautiful women but his only companions were fishermen with missing teeth. “I’m too old to go to nightclubs,” he confessed, “and I must have smelled of the Danube – a glorious smell to me, of course, but not to everyone.”

FASTLY SLOW ON THE FRENCH CANALS Missing a high-water lock into the French canal system at Gravelines nearly imposed a week’s wait, until a farmer with a tractor arrived to tow Clodia out of the water and into the canal. With that, and the Channel behind him, the main chapter of Giacomo’s journey to the Black Sea by rivers and canals had begun. Soon, he and Bruno settled into a rhythm of rowing or sailing an average of 19 miles (30km) a day, a pace that Giacomo found too fast – or “fastly slow” in his own words. As they made their way through the wine regions of Champagne and Moselle, France in late spring was bursting into life, and they were able to pluck wild Clockwise from far left: Rowing Clodia at 2.5mph was “effortless” thanks to the very thin blades; sailing towards Gravelines; Giacomo waking up to a Samaritan’s breakfast; a food parcel left by friends – the journey was done on what Giacomo calls ‘gift economy’




cherries from overhanging boughs as they sailed down corridors of tree-lined water, teeming with freshwater crabs, trout, char and bass. At Napoleon’s Riqueval Tunnel, 3.5M (5,671m) long, Clodia joined a line of five river cruisers and hitched a ride on a subterranean electric towing chain, Giacomo and Bruno using the chance to sleep for an hour under the sails as they moved slowly through a dripping, echoing darkness. Soon after that, one of many chance encounters near the Port de Vaudemanges resulted in a pot-luck supper of prawns and spaghetti cooked for 10 on board Clodia and eaten on the grassy banks of the canal. The Rhine was approaching, and with it, the usual stories of terror perpetrated by canal-dwellers upon those who would travel great rivers: giant waves, monster LONDON Leaves April 2010 and again, after illness, in April 2011.

CrOSS ChANNeL May 2011. Ramsgate to Gravelines, joins canals

ChAmpAgNe June 2011 Locks, tunnels and aqueducts on the canals

LOrrAINe July 2011 Locks and thunder storms on the canals

FrANkFUrT July 2011 On the River Main. The city is full of sailing boats

WÜrzBUrg August 2011 Reached after an upstream slog on the River Main

currents, huge cargo ships with no lookout, six-storey, man-eating locks and police itching to imprison smallboat sailors in dark cells and throw away the keys. In reality, the barges are fast – about 11 knots (20kph) – but their captains are alert. For someone used to Venice, where motorboats zigzag across the canals at great speeds and with seemingly no discipline, it was fine. The locks, at up to 890ft (270m) long and 50ft (15m) deep, lived up to their fearsome reputation, Clodia once sharing with four other ships, the smallest of which was 200ft (60m) long. And the only interest the police had in Giacomo and Bruno was in learning more about their trip. By Strasbourg, the two men had passed 272 locks in 620 miles (1,000km), with the Châlons-Nancy stretch providing six tunnels and 110 locks in just 6M (10km).

regeNSBUrg Sept 2011 The mighty Danube at last – and its oldest city

vIeNNA October 2011 Home is a cabin on a century-old steam tug

BUDApeST October 2011 Halfway mark. Home to Venice for winter

CrOATIA May 2012 Journey starts again in Hungary, then Croatia

BeLgrADe June 2012 A war-scarred capital city on a wilder Danube

gOLUBAC July 2012 Serbia, Danube widens into a lake

Above left: With practice and a weather-cocking mizzen sail, sailing into and out of locks became possible Top and above: Various photographers accompanied Giacomo to get shots like these

rUSe August 2012 Danube forms the Romania -Bulgaria border

CONSTANzA August 2012 Out of the delta and into the Black Sea

ISTANBUL 28 Sept 2012 Mission complete














Clodia Top: Mario Brunello plays Bach’s Cello Suite, using Clodia as a soundbox Above: The lock at Richecourt in Lorraine, France, was 50ft 6in (15.4m) high with a 30-minute rise

In Alsace, stopping at French towns with names like Vendenheim, Giacomo no longer knew which country he was in, once flying the German courtesy flag while still in France. But he did know how to sail into and out of locks without oars.

WILD APPLES AND THE CALL OF THE WIND Later, on the River Main in Germany, there were sandy camping beaches and wild apples. Frankfurt, one of the hubs of world capitalism, was a place of fleets of sailing boats. By September, Clodia was on the Danube, the great river that would bear her all the way to the Black Sea. At first, it was mean and canalised, its meanders embanked into straight lines. The German playwright Bertolt Brecht once wrote that: “We speak often of the violence of a river, but never of the banks that contain it”. At times like these, Giacomo found time to ponder some of the things eating the planet – like cars. Onetonne machines to convey a payload of perhaps one small man – 150lb (70kg). Clodia, 290lb (130kg), and carrying two large men and their supplies – that’s 600lb (270kg), is propelled by wind or oar. Speed, though 62


Light, slim double-enders are the weapon of choice for cruising solo on rivers and canals, as I discovered sailing around London in 2009 on a Swallow Boats Storm 15. Their two disadvantages – a low maximum speed and uneconomical use of space – are compensated by their ease of propulsion, making for a modest, easily-handled rig and easy rowing performance. Iain Oughtred’s Ness Yawl is one of the most popular of his designs with 196 plans sold. “It does well in raids,” Iain says. “It’s not dramatically fast, but it’s good in every scenario – and it looks good.” Raid organiser Charles-Henri le Moing bought one as soon as he saw it. Giacomo’s boat, Clodia, was built by English boatbuilder Roland Poltock and is a slight variant of the design in terms of the plank run, with six per side instead of the usual four. Clodia is built of modern marine ply with salvaged wood from a 15thcentury Venetian palazzo for some of her timbers. She is lug-rigged (some are bermudan). She was ‘launched’ into a concert hall early in 2010 to a special musical performance of Bach’s Cello Suite by Mario Brunello; wooden boats make great acoustic soundboxes. When she arrived as freight on London’s Upper Thames, Clodia was not quite finished, but thanks to the generosity and time of boatbuilder Colin Henwood and partner Lucie, who put Giacomo and Jacopo up (see last month’s CB) and lent them tools, Clodia was soon ready to go.

desirable, is the hardest and most damaging thing to contrive. For Giacomo, who prefers to travel rather than arrive, the average daily run of 19 miles was too fast. By the time autumn was closing in, the river was wilder, Bruno had left, and Giacomo was alone again travelling through Germany, then cocooned in the Austrian capital Vienna. “My seafaring friends – you will not believe where I am,” he blogged that October. He was in a tiny cabin below the surface of the river, on a 1914 steam tug called Frederic Mistral, often used by Emperor Franz Josef I. The present-day liveaboard owner, a retired ship captain, offered the cabin for as long as Giacomo wished to stay, but he needed to be moving again. All too quickly, autumn was ending and he had to reach the Hungarian capital Budapest just 43 miles (70km) away before travelling home to Venice for the winter. Western Europe was over. Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Turkey, the great, wild Danube Delta and the Black Sea were beckoning. Read part II of Man on the River next month


19ft 2in (5.8m) BEAM

5ft 3in (1.6m) DISPLACEMENT

275lb (125kg) SAIL AREA

102sqft (9.5m2)


VOTE Giacomo de Stefano is nominated for CB person of the year To vote, go to www.classicboat.

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Atlantic sketch

Under cruising main DAN HOUSTON EXPLAINS EILEAN’S ATLANTIC SAIL CHOICE Like many yachts of her ilk, Eilean has a cruising main. This is a loose-footed bermudan-cut sail – smaller than her usual (racing) mainsail with about half the area of canvas. It reaches two-thirds of the way up her mast, and runs in the same track as the main. We don’t unbend the mainsail to hoist the cruiser. There’s a gap in the track of the luff which takes the slides of the sail and so the main main (if you’ll excuse that) remains on the boom and wrapped under its sail cover. We’ll use the cruising main all the way across the Atlantic – a three-week passage in January 2012 from Tenerife to St Maarten, WI. The advantages are obvious. In downwind sailing, like this, the sail will never overpress the boat, and we won’t need to use preventers on Eilean’s heavy boom to protect her from a gybe. I was mid-Atlantic once before in a three“accidental masted schooner, where an accidental gybe at meant breaking gaffs and booms! From my gybe meant night slumber it sounded like gunfire, and it was quite breaking a fight to bring in all the canvas intact and then booms and days to get the spars mended and back aloft. But a disadvantage of the cruising main is gaffs...” that it is difficult to tack. This is because we secure its clew, and run the mainsheet through a three-point block system on deck. If we want to gybe or come about we reeve a new rope through the clew and secure that on the other side ready for the tack. We could rig a strop over the bowsed-down boom but that would add some wear. It’s a tried and tested system, but it creates a few minutes’ work to prepare for each turn through the wind. With the cruising main rigged, and with the mizzen reefed and a jib hoisted, tacked to the bowsprit outside the staysail, Eilean settles into her groove and weatherhelm is improved. We surf off down waves at 14kn heading south by Dan sailed across the Atlantic east, feeling much safer, with this sail. on the Fife ketch Eilean. CB286

Right-angle drive Here’s a general purpose right-angle drive for drilling everywhere the boatbuilder finds himself working, namely round corners and in tight spaces. It comes with a handle that can be swapped to either side and has a keyless chuck. The 8mm AF hexagonal drive will fit into most makes of drill chuck and ensures that there is no slippage. £23.70 Tel: +44 (0)3332 406406,

New Aquaseal range British manufacturer Everbuild has launched a competitor to the ubiquitous Sikaflex. It claims to be slightly cheaper, and more environmentally friendly, as it contains no isocyanate. The polymer-based Aquaseal 295 is ideal as a sealant and adhesive, but the range includes bonding and caulking products as well. RRP £12.08 Tel: +44 (0)113 240 3456,




Lazarette Nav light Navisafe has launched this neat pocket-sized 55mm waterproof LED battery emergency light with a range of 2nM. It shines for 15 hours on steady light or four days on emergency blink, and has five modes that can be used as 360° all-round light, 225° masthead, 135° stern, flashing light, anchoring and cabin light. The back is magnetic, with a plate, so you can fit it to clothes or the boat... just don’t leave it near a compass. £46 Tel: +47 922 09 001

Varnish roller

These little rollers from YachtIcon may look low-tech, but they have a wealth of features that make them ideal for applying varnish. They are rounded at both ends to avoid streaking, have excellent varnish absorption and release, and the super-fine foam of the roller gives a flawless finish. 4in (10cm) long. From about £1

Deck shoes Made by Conker Marine in Totnes, these must be the ultimate in bespoke, handmade deck shoes. After you’ve decided what colours of high quality leather you want, black or white stitching, type of sole and the exact size, there’s the comfort of knowing that they are fully repairable and should last for years. £155 Tel: +44 (0)1803 862490,


In Portugal Whilst covering the Panerai Transat Classique race in Cascais, Portugal, (p18) I found myself inexplicably in a cocktail bar at lunchtime. Intrigued by the local hooches, I asked the barman if he could show me the finest that Portugal had to offer. He lined up Adega Velha, an excellent and refined brandy, Ginja Albergaria, a bitter herbal cherry liqueur rather like sloe gin, a stunning rare Graham’s 40-year-old port, a 1969 Carcavelos fortified wine and Moscatel de Setubal, an exquisite, cold, floral red sherry. I explained that my expenses sheet wouldn’t stretch to buying even one glass of these, but with a swell of national pride that threatened his shirt buttons, he insisted I try a mere drop of each for free. He then proceeded to pour us both a glass of each that would equate to at least a double in any British pub. He continued doing this for three hours. And the drink? All I can say is, if I could choose a place to die, it would be there, with him...

GPS plotter Garmin’s newest launch is an upgrade to its existing GPS plotters. Using new 10hz technology, this box of tricks can update your position 10 times a second, providing much greater accuracy, especially at speed. The new system is in the entry-level EchoMap range and the better spec-ed GPSMap units, both available in 5in (13cm) and 7in (18cm) screen sizes. On shelves from March at £449.99

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Collie is an historic Admiralty Pinnace of some 36ft with four berths and a charming period interior with TV appearances and awards aplenty during her long career - £38,500

Hero (nee Avondale) stole the show at Goodwood Revival fresh from a full renovation by Classic Boatworks of Woodbastwick. Originally electric when built in 1898 she is once again capable of silent cruising with 8 passengers in great comfort - £105,000

Makhala - a steel hulled Akerboom from the reputable Dutch yard with two heads, large wheelhouse/saloon and an equally capacious flying bridge area. Owned by an engineer this boat has been well maintained with only three owners from new - £47,500

Amoreena, a rare 45ft Bates Starcraft with a stunning interior, maintained to the highest standard by the same owner for the past two decades; a true mini superyacht for sea or river

Lillie Langtry - a smart electric Frolic 31 with clerestory and unique internal fit out - £69,000

Lollipop - a 30ft bijou gentleman’s launch, finished in burgundy inside and out to contrast with the mahogany, refurbished in 2012 by Freebody - £49,000

Clover - an entrant to the Classic Boat competition and a stunning fast launch built according to a 1920’s design from the pen of William Hand - £32,500

Lady Beatrice - 26ft long with an 8ft 6in beam, probably by Banhams of Cambridge, beautifully maintained by Henwood and Dean and with roomy cockpit and cabin comprising seating, galley and loo - £59,500

Contemporary Classics - order now for 2013

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The Cove Launch - a smart 18ft estuary launch, suitable for lake or river too, easy to trail

Rowing dinghy in two sizes, sail version also available, to order from £6500

Otter 26, a beamy boat which can be ordered as an open boat with a canopy, or with a cabin, seats 12 as an open boat.

The Venturer (HRR 2008) - many options available on this beamy 20ft launch, the UK built alternative to the Dutch Interboat and Antaris. The Roamer - A neat six seater, built in the UK, available as an electric or diesel launch with a pram hood for £20,000

The Olympic 31, various options available including canopy or cabin, ideal for private or corporate use, two in stock Graf Ipanema - the perfect superyacht tender or a brand new alternative to a traditional Riva, fabulous quality build with cabin in the forepeak and bags of style

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Classnotes The Thames A-Rater

SURBITON LUG Originally sporting a balanced lug main, the A-Rater’s sail plan was nicknamed the “Surbiton lug” by yacht designer Dixon Kemp.




One of the Thames A-Raters most highly coveted prizes is the Queen’s Cup. Raced for at the annual Bourne End Week on the River Thames, it was donated by Queen Victoria to the regatta in 1893.

COLLECTIBLE In the 1930s, many famous racing yachts featured on Players cigarette cards. Caprice IV, designed by FH Jackson in around 1911 and built by Townsend’s of Bourne End, featured on one.


here is no mistaking a Thames A-Rater. With their skimming dish hulls and huge, lofty rigs, these boats are very distinctive, and look as extreme today as they did when they were first conceived, more than 100 years ago. Designed to sail on the non-tidal River Thames, the A-Rater’s vertiginous 44ft 6in (13.6m) masts, which can set 350sqft (32.5m2) of fully-battened bermudan mainsail, tower over everything, with large roaches designed to pick up as much of the available breeze as possible. River sailing brings challenges – narrow, cramped channels, trees and buildings to obstruct the wind, and shallow waters – yet despite this, the class has thrived here since the late 1800s. It’s unusual, considering they are big boats for river sailing – 27ft to 28ft (8.2m to 8.5m) LOD – yet there are 18 in sailing condition, half of which date from the early 1900s. The A-Raters were introduced by Thames Sailing Club (TSC). Yachts had been racing under tonnage rules on the river since the 1870s, but 1888 saw the introduction of a new ratings formula by designer Dixon Kemp that allowed huge sail areas on lightweight hulls. Under TSC, a Sailing Boat Association was established which consolidated all the boats developed using this rule into three groups – the A-Raters, B-Raters and Gigs – and it was then that the class really began to develop. There are three key designers associated with the class: Linton Hope, Alfred Burgoine and FH Jackson. Of these, the most well known, and prolific, was Linton Hope, designer of the Broads One Design and Fairy One Design. His boats, which included Scamp II, built in 1906 by Hart, Harden & Co, and Vagabond, built in 1907 by Townsend of Bourne End, were long and narrow, while those designed by Burgoine were shorter, but wider in the beam.

TESTING TIMES Interestingly, they were equally competitive, as were the boats by amateur designer FH Jackson. He designed and owned five boats – all called Caprice – to great success, but it was Caprice IV, built in around 1910, that proved the real champion, taking the coveted Queen’s Cup at Bourne End Week six times. Linton Hope described the A-Raters as, “beautiful bits of workmanship and, for finish of hulls and gear, cannot be surpassed anywhere”. For most of the early 1900s, hull shape remained fairly stable with minimal changes. The rig, however, has evolved from a balanced lug of the late 1800s to a gunter sloop, and then bermudan in the early 1920s, with a distinctive tall mast and short boom. The last of the original wooden fleet, Dainty Too, was built in 1922 by Turks of Kingston, but in the 1970s, with a view to revitalising the class, a mould was taken off the oldest A-Rater in existence, the 1898 Burgoine-designed Ulva. The first ‘plastic’ boat, Spindrift, was launched shortly after, and GRP boats now make up half the fleet. The new A-Raters initially cleaned up on the race-course, but following extensive restoration, many of the wooden boats are once again giving their younger siblings stiff competition.

Above: Vagabond (1907) and Scamp II (1906) close racing on the Thames at Bourne End Week

The 1907 Linton Hope-designed Vagabond was the test bed on which several important inventions were trialled, including the sliding seat developed by Beecher Moore. A ‘bell rope’ used on Vagabond also inspired Sir Peter Scott and John Winter to develop the trapeze, which they debuted on an International 14 during the 1938 Prince of Wales Cup.


28ft 3in (8.6m) LENGTH EXTREME

30ft 1in (9.2m) LWL

17ft 3in (5.3m) BEAM

6ft 7in (2m) DRAUGHT C/B DOWN


3ft 4in (1m)

44ft 6in (13.6m)



750lb (340kg)

350sqft (32.5m2)

Vanessa’s book Classic Classes is out now: CLASSIC BOAT FEBRUARY 2013


Gary Blake Photomarine

18’ Daysailer

Style and class of a bygone era

‘nomination for best power boat, voting ends 15 February’

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Charlotte watters

Adrian Morgan space below than any boat of her size, and certainly of her replacement cost, that had reached £100,000 at the last count – an awful lot for a 25ft (7.6m) boat with such an incredibly, surprisingly small amount of space down below. But that is how it was in those days: relatively narrow beam, wineglass bilges and fine run. Two bunks, one each side, and something up front for the boy, hired hand or, in our case, dog. No room, then, to swing a cat. Messy. Very... Backtracking; there is a boat I saw recently that does seem miraculously bigger below than upstairs. When she was being built, she looked every bit as big on the outside as she did below; in short, she looked like her plywood shell enclosed, according to those same immutable laws of physics, just as much air as it should. And then something odd happened. She emerged from the shed and became smaller. And when the crane lifted her up and into the water at her launch, she looked smaller still. And then, when she lay beside the pier, her underwater parts hidden, she looked even smaller. But, and this is the point, when you went aboard, she turned into a Tardis. And then it was a case of: “Wow, amazing amount of space down here. Surprising, really...” And the name of this magic boat? Hestur, aboard which live Dan and Charlotte, who illustrates this page. How was this magic achieved? Search me, but I suspect it’s to do with the lack of framing, so obtrusive and space-consuming in old boats like Sally. For Hestur is built in that time-proven, traditional method, perfected over the last five or so decades: plywood, glued securely together with the world’s best (wash your mouth out) adhesive. Epoxy. There, I have said it. And is this Hestur as capable as the sturdy Icelandic horse after which she was named? Apparently so. Not the swiftest to windward, but then what junk-rigged schooner will be? She more than makes up for it, positively flying off- and downwind, and after overwintering on the South Coast, downwind is where she’s heading later this year.

Bigger inside than out Adrian ponders the secrets of the Tardis boat


here’s a surprising amount of space below...” It is a phrase you hear all the time, more often than not describing a car, a house or a boat. “Well,” you ask. “What did you expect? The bleedin’ Tardis?” There can, logically, be only as much space as the wood, steel, glassfibre, brick that surrounds it, surely? How many holes does it take to fill the Albert Hall, asked The Beatles? Answer: as many as add up to the volume of air enclosed, depending, of course, on the size of the holes you specify. Of boats, it is often deployed in a lazy way to say that the space has been used particularly well, but there’s still no more space than the wood, steel etc, etc, encloses. And then you come across a boat that really does seem to have more space than the laws of physics suggest; a boat that, on going below, prompts the involuntary response: “Gosh, she’s got lots of space. A surprising amount in fact...” Of Sally II, my little Vertue, it’s a description that is unlikely to be used; more often, on seeing her out of the water, like a beached minke whale, they cry, “Gosh, she’s huge,” and on going below: “Wow, surprisingly little space for a boat of her apparent size. Where’s it all gone, then?” But not quite everyone, mind you. When my partner Rona first stepped aboard she cried out in what can only be described as joy: “Gosh, she’s huge!” But then Rona’s very small, size XXS, in fact; gets her clothes from children’s stores. Personally, I would say that Sally has less

“Seeing her out of the water, a beached whale, they cry: ‘Gosh, she’s huge’”

Follow Dan and Charlotte at: CLASSIC BOAT FEBRUARY 2013


Classic Advert 202 x 129.qxd:Layout 1



Page 1

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Annabel J 2013 Round Britain Challenge 54’ Bristol Pilot Cutter As part of the Old Gaffers Association 50th Anniversary Celebrations, Annabel J is joining the fleet sailing around Britain. Now is your chance to take part in the sail of your life on one of the finest of classic gaff cutters, the Bristol Pilot Cutter. Annabel J is a modern replica and is luxuriously appointed and, being a Pilot Cutter has incredible sea-keeping qualities. Contact us to reserve your place.

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CLASSIC BOAT February 2013


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

To advertise call Edward Mannering +44 (0) 20 7349 3747 copy Deadline for next issue is 22/01/2013


1.,&*-2)20110- +2'0-*!,2,+)2(2#*$/221*//) 1+/ 01-(2 .#!#-(2 ))2*,2)2%/012/+2".+1 10/-2 .,'2 .''*/*+,-2 %+12 -.%0/2 .-2 01%0&/2 .,' -/#1'2.-2.20--0$2&.,20)2(22(22(22( ) 01/ *,!2$.&02$0,-#1!(2 +1/ 01,201".,)2

Buchanan design 1965, 15HP Nanni, Iroko on oak, complete history. Requires some restoration + cosmetic work, Hull v. sound. Recent inheritance. Price reflects condition. Bankside Norfolk.

     +12%#1/ 012*,%+1"./*+,2$0.-02&+,/.&/2 "*-/1.$ !")'0

ÂŁ7500 ono Tel 07990 783915.


MCA Code 2

‘Josefine’ is 66’ overall (50’ OD) a first class Small Ship suitable for commercial charter or private use, an extremely sea-worthy well maintained Gaff-rigged Ketch, built in 1931, 40 tonnes, Oak on Oak, re-built 2002, sleeps 9, all original ship’s papers from 1931, Ford 140HP. Mooring available at ÂŁ2k pa, lying Plymouth UK. ÂŁ129,000. Tel: 07971 376 172, Email:

Built 1959 by Seacraft, Essex. 32’6� x 9’6� x 3’5� Long keel / bilge plates. Beautiful condition. Extensively re-fitted 2008. New covers, forestay, pro-furl reefing and instruments 2012. Ashore Emsworth. GBP 26,500 Further details bsem3h7 Tel. 07525 100 824

40’ Kinney Cutter

1986 Jespersen built, cold-molded cedar and mahogany. Great off shore capability. $160000CAD. Victoria, BC, Canada. Visit for detailed info, or call 250.592.0726. Courtesy to brokers.


Nereus (origiNal Name maria ii)

A Classic Gentleman’s Sailing Ketch. She was designed by Frederick Parker and is the last wooden Boat, built in 1970, to Lloyds 100A1 by AH Moody & Son. The traditional and graceful lines of her hull constructed of iroko on oak, are amply complimented by her magnificent teak interior. She provides exceptionally luxurious accommodation for any discerning owner who may wish to travel in safety, style and comfort. This beautiful yacht is fully equipped with modern navigation and short hand sailing aids. Price £126,000. Contact owner on 07801385788

S&S, design nÂş1358 of 1958. Built in 1964 in Astilleros Ferrer, Palma de Mallorca 14.7m x 3.78m x 2.10m. Wood (exterior hull was epoxied in 2006) Last extensive renovation was 7 months during the winter of 2010-2011 (repairs, new standing rigging, varnish, ...) Most electronics from 2011 (DSC VHF, chart plotter, broadband radar, AIS transponder, Navtex, EPIRB, auto pilot). Very good condition Lying: Oostende, Belgium Euro: 159,000 (VAT exempt) or email

Looking to sell your boat?

Join in the fun this year with your own ClassiC Gaffer

Reach over 50,000 readers each month

There are two styles of Boats for Sales ad to choose from and with our special Spring offer, if you buy two months, your third month will be free. Pick the style which suits your requirements and email: with your text and image or call +44 (0) 20 7349 3747. The deadline for the next issue is 22/01/2013 STYLE B. 5cm x 1 colums. Either 55 SAMPLE STYLE A SAMPLE STYLE B words or 30 words plus colour GoLAnT GAffEr photograph. No. 8. Excellent 2 berth coastal cruiser, built 1999. Length 18’ £155 inc VAT and Internet 9� Beam 7’ Draft 2’ 9� long

Kittiwake 14 & 16 • GRP hulls with moulded in buoyancy tanks & storage lockers • Fitted out with top quality teak & mahogany from renewable sources • Beautiful low-maintenance varnished finish • Bronze fittings • The Ultimate Sailing Dayboat Roger Wilkinson, 56 Robin Layne, Lyme Green, Macclesfield Cheshire SK11 0L • Tel: 01260 252157

keel, designed by Roger Dongray. Yanmar GM 10 regularly serviced. Very attractive boat lovingly maintained, Lying Fowey. ÂŁ12,000 ono. Email: 0000 11111111


Built 1991, mahogany & epoxy hull similar to GRP, 1930’s spars & fittings, beautifully maintained. Visit for photos and specification. £25,750 Contact 00000 111111

STYLE A. 5cm x 2 columns. Either 160 words or 80 words plus colour photograph. ÂŁ275 inc VAT and Internet


13/12/2012 16:30




To advertise Call Patricia Hubbard +44 (0) 207 349 3748 Copy Deadline for next issue is 22/01/2013

33 High Street, Poole BH15 1AB, England. Tel: + 44 (0)1202 330077

62 ft J M Soper, Philip & Son Cutter 1929 Soper is best remembered for the legendary fast cutter SATANITA and a “fair turn of speed” is noted by the yachting press of 1929 for this creation by Philip and Son from another of his designs. As an able sea going cruiser and 62 foot on deck ZEPHYR is the perfect size for a family yacht of this vintage. In impressive condition and a real beauty, her forte is in the sheer practicality of her layout, rig and accommodation – to which her ownership by the same family for more than 40 years is testament enough.

63 ft Abeking & Rasmussen Ketch 1919 Ahead of her time with a steel hull, TALISMAN has had a long and varied history with successive owners, rig, name changes and refits. Re-rigged as a Bermuda ketch in 1955 and major restoration in 2006, she is approved by CIM as true to her origins - with her original name. Well laid out, combining the best of her inspired designer Henry Rasmussen and now with modern systems, she is the ideal medium sized family vintage yacht – or for charter, for which she is Cat 2 certified for up to 12 passengers and 2 crew.

72 ft Albert Luke Yawl 1928 Designed by AR Luke as GLADORIS II she was built at the Luke Brothers yard on the Hamble. A very beautiful vintage yacht MOON FLEET has enough modern updates to make her extremely easy to manage as a large family classic yacht or with a minimal crew. Keenly priced she is an interesting option.

€ 950,000

£ 770,000 VAT unpaid

€ 600,000

Lying Italy

Lying Sweden

Lying Spain

50 ft Charles Livingston Gaff Cutter 1898 MOLITA - now MARIGAN was designed as a fast cruiser and her undoubted appeal inspired her current owner to rescue her. Every aspect is impressive - his aim to sail the Classic Circuit with family and friends on a boat without weakness in her structure, which includes a solid teak deck. She is therefore no delicate 100 year old museum piece but a true vintage yacht to be sailed as hard as originally intended. A gaff rig with top sail will always inspire but MARIGAN has an almost natural quality about her as she sails. She is fast, strong and very beautiful. € 375,000 Lying Spain

58 ft Bjarne Aas 12 Metre Cruiser Racer 1953 Bjarne Aas’s designs were seaworthy, beautiful and fast; YANIRA qualifying on all three counts. She has enjoyed the same Spanish ownership for more than 20 years - cruising the Med and with classic race regatta wins too numerous to list. She can beat modern designs in the right conditions but with excellent accommodation below; huge deck space and taking her roots from a sea kindly 12 Metre – who could want for more?

52 ft Summers & Payne Gaff Yawl 1898 This classic yawl has has been refitted over the years and there is not an abundance of yachts available of this size and style from this era. She was raced at Monaco Classic Week in 2007 and again at Les Voiles de St Tropez. WAYWARD is priced to sell and although she has been stored ashore for 2 years, she is sound and waiting for her new owner to move her forward and ready her for the new season.

€ 280,000

£ 165,000

35 ft Poole Pilot Cutter circa 1900 Luck is supposed to favour the brave – there is something almost humble about REPRIEVE but surely she courageously dropped her pilot on board in a sou’ westerly gale in the Swash channel off Poole at the turn of the 19th Century. Her reward has been a loving rebuild leaving her as strong and trustworthy now as then – a reprieve indeed. She has a very large cockpit for a vessel of this style and with generous raised bulwarks, her rig and inventory make her incredibly user friendly for such a boat from this period. £ 77,500 Lying UK

33 ft Bjarne Aas International One Design 1948 The beautiful and competitive International One Design is Bjarne Aas’s most famous creation. Uninhibited by any rule for the International, her designer cut loose to design a boat not only fast but incredibly seaworthy. MARGUERITE ex STARLIGHT has moreover been cleverly optimised to perform well enough tow in her class under IRC and CIM handicaps; making her a very economical option for a sailor looking to race at classic regattas with a small crew. £ 45,000 Lying UK

email: 72


Lying Spain

Lying UK

21 ft Albert Luke Gaff Sloop 1927 From the board of AR Luke of Hamble and built substantially of teak by the Brook and Halls Yard at Walton on the Naze, CHOUGH has an elegant simplicity about her – uncluttered but well equipped with all appropriate gear. Her current owner fully appreciating her inherent qualities has used his expertise in optimising her rig for ease of handling and performance so she is fast and able. Do designers create smaller yachts as interesting as this any longer? CHOUGH is totally ready for the season and presents in impressive condition. £ 22,500 Lying UK



Tel: 01621 840982 / 859373 • Mob: 07885 859373 Website: • E-Mail: Specialists in the brokerage of Classic Vessels, Traditional Yachts and Working Boats

15m ex MFV Motorsailer, 1932 Pitch Pine hull converted to family home. Ketch Rig. Gardner 4 eng. Heating and a bath. Kent £58,000

40ft ex MFV, 1963 Top spec conversion to a gaff ketch. Whole vessel undergone serious restoration. New rig spars & Sails. Gardner 6LXB Afloat Pittenween Scotland. POA

11m ex Admiralty Pinnace, 1880’s Fully restored. Teak on Oak. Single eng. Historic Vessel. Crew accom. fore and aft. Kent £33,000

11m Otter, 36 Motor Yacht,1968 Wooden hull , twin Perkins engs 2 cabins, 2 steering positions. Very comfortable live aboard cruiser. N.Essex REDUCED £46,950

44ft Essex Sailing Smack, 1890 Inboard eng. 7 berths. National Historic vessel. Rebuilt, 1990’s since little used. Essex £80,000

12m Bawley Pleasure Yacht, 1922 A completed restoration 2003. Gaff rig. Yanmar eng. Good hdrm. Accom for 4-5. Pitch pine. Essex £26,500

40ft Classic Broads Racer Cruiser, 1904 A survivor, much restored, 1 of just 2 left of class Bermudan rig. W. Parker design. Ashore N.France. £27,500

27m Spritsail Thames Sailing Barge, 1926 32ft Dipping Lugger, 2003 Short Bros Rochester.Wooden hull, a Single handed Atlantic sailing. Hand Kelvin(GEC) R6-15,eng. Used as built on Traditional lines. Electric eng a private home, whilst converting. & geny. Live aboard. Essex. As is £95,000 Devon £45,000

40ft Cameret with Aux sails, 1954 Heavy pine ex fishing boat. Caterpillar eng. Restored, 4 berths & galley in hold. Solid fuel stove. N.Essex £69,000

15m Crossfield’s of Arnside Prawner, 1900 Gaff Cutter. Restored & sailing again. Vetus 20hp eng, New rig. Sails 2009 Basic accom. Essex £25,500

7m Laurent Giles Peter Duck, 1963 Recent Volvo eng. Professionally maintained throughout. Possibly the best of class? Comfortable Bermudan ketch. Hampshire £22,500

36ft Essex Sailing Smack, 1850’s Engineless, pole masted gaff cutter. Good turn of speed. Basic accom. New deck. Essex £35,000

29ft Maurice Griffiths,”Kylix”, 1986 Iroko on Oak, Yanmer engine. 5 berths 6ft headr’m. Centreboard. Suffolk £25,500

10.4m Holman 34, 1965 Built by Tucker Brown’s Burnham. for Holman’s own use. Enviable racing record. Well maintained & working. N.Essex £29,950

Sterling 28, 1961 Kim Holman deign. Classic Bermudan Sloop. 6ft hdrm. Sails new ’09 re-engined Perkins 29hp. Four berths. Essex. Reduced £9,950

10.5m 10ton Hillyard Cutter, 1971 Wooden Bermudan Cutter with centre cockpit. 30yrs ownership. Sails 2004. 55hp Perkins engine. Afloat Poole, Hants £27,500

27ft Tomahawk, 1962 A modern Classic. Stunning quality. Sole eng. A fastidious Shipwright’s restoration. Refitted Summer ‘12. Essex £19,950

11m Smack Yacht, 1959 Gaff Cutter rig. Solid wooden hull Good headr’m below, solid fuel stove. Volvo eng. Sails 1983. Essex £21,500

7m Stones Brightlingsea Sloop, 1952 2tons will trail. Carvel hull, Large cockpit, small cuddy accom. Inboard eng. Sloop rig. Ashore Sussex £3,500

27ft Ex RN Whaler, 1954 Early GRP hull. Road trailer optional. Inboard engine. Accom for 2. Centreboard. Gunter rig. Ideal for exploration. Hampshire £11,000

7.5m Folkboat 25, 1960 Carvel wooden with dog house. Yanmer eng. Refurbished interior, varnished ash. Double berth frwd. Yard trailer. Hants £7,950

26ft Thames Bawley, 1965 Maurice Griffiths, Johnson & Jago. Wooden hull, alloy mast, Bermudan Cutter. Complete, in good order. Essex £9,500

16ft Saltern’s Tela, 2002 Attractive little GRP gaff rig day boat. To be Sold with trailer. Outboard optional. Ashore Sussex £8,750

35ft Teak Gaff Yawl, 1900 Restored back to her original rig. Centreboard. Small 7hp Volvo. Limited headroom. A wonderful Classic. Pembrokeshire £23,500


Tel: 01621 874861 E-mail: CLASSIC BOAT FEBRUARY 2013



Anglia Yacht Brokerage New 12’ Dinghy available with either larch or Mahogany planking. Class celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2013. Prices from £8,500 Inc VAT

New 18’ Deben Lugger day/ camping dayboat. Prices from £13,500 Inc VAT

New 10’ GRP clinker lug sail dinghy. Prices from £2,950 Inc VAT.

Come and see the above boats at the London Boat Show on stands SB02

1990 Cornish Shrimper inboard diesel with combination road trailer. £13,950.

Tel. +44 (0)1359 27 17 47

1990 Drascombe Lugger with sparayhood, covers, newish sails, Honda 5HP 4-stroke outboard and trailer. £5,750.

2008 Swale Pilot 16’ gaff cutter with topsail in lovely condition. She is complete with Honda 2.3HP 4-stroke outboard, easy-launch trailer, sprayhood, cover, etc. £9,250. Email.

CLASSIC YACHT BROKERAGE TIOGA 57ft Cruiser/Racer L Francis Herreschoff design, Hinkley Marine, Maine, USA 1988. Mahogany on Oak. Six berths plus three crew. Ketch Rig. 125hp Yanmar diesel, bow thruster. Authentic replica of original 1931 Tioga. Med circuit racer. EUR 650,000 South of France

MARIA KHRISTINA 55ft Motor-Yacht G L Watson design, Robertsons of Sandbanks 1923. Burma teak on oak, copper plated to WL. Teak decks. Seven berths. Twin 62hp Gardner diesels. Gaff Rig. Facinating history. BSS Cert. 2016. Jubilee pageant fleet. £49,950 Surrey

ORTAC 49ft RORC Cruiser/Racer Famous Robert Clark design, Morgan Giles 1937. Mahogany hull, new teak deck. Berths for seven in three cabins. New 940 sq ft rig, 72hp Sole diesel. Total refit. Successful racing history spanning eight decades. EUR 280,000 Spain

FORTUNA 11 45ft Fred Parker Motor-Yacht Built by Nunn Brothers, Suffolk in 1959 to Lloyds 100A1. Pitch pine on oak, teak fitted, ballast keel and stabilizers. Ketch rig. Berths for seven in three cabins. 130hp Mann diesel. Top quality vessel, seriously for sale. £49,000 Devon

SEVNT 4 60ft Admiralty MFV Curtis & Pape, Cornwall 1946. Larch on oak, laid deck, iroko superstructure. Six berths, two ensuites. Quality re-fit throughout. Full electronics. Gardner 8L3B diesel. Recent cruises to Brittany, Channel Iles and Scotland. £135,000 West Wales

GRIFFIN 51ft Dickens Class Motor-Yacht British Power Boat Co. 1946. Honduras mahogany on oak, copper sheathing below WL. Laid decks. Eight berths in spacious interior. Twin 75hp Foden diesels. Long ownership and used as a dive boat business / liveaboard. £45,000 Italy

FORTY-TWO 46ft DUNKIRK LITTLE SHIP Thomas Laing design, Strood Boat Building Co. 1936. Pitch pine on oak, laid deck, teak deck house and hatches. Eight berths in four cabins, Twin 52hp BMC diesels. Full history available. BSS Cert 2016. Part refit in 2006. £10,000 Worcestershire

CRAZY DIAMOND 30ft Broads Cruiser Designed & built by Little Ships of Oulton Broad in 1959. Mahogany on oak, mahogany joinery. Four berths, 35hp BMC Captain Diesel. BSS Cert to 2016. Transferable Broads mooring £100 PCM. Good value. £9,950 Suffolk

WHITE SANDS Starcraft 33 Motor-Cruiser Bates Marine, Chertsey 1962. D/D teak hull on oak, mahogany superstructure. Teak laid decks. Six berths. Twin 35hp Thornycroft diesels. A straight-forward re-fit project, dry stored with all original fittings. £9,950 Hertfordshire

Tel: +44 (0)1905-356482 / 07949-095075 • 74



42m on deck, Classic Brig two-masted square rigged sailing ship built Steel 1958.

28m (92ft) Twin Screw Schooner, built Pitch Pine on Oak 1907, completely rebuilt in 2004.

26m 85ft (on deck) Modern Gaff Schooner, built Borneo 2004/06.

24.7m (81ft) (on deck) Brigantine Sail Training Ship. Built Oak on Oak in 1957.

25m (82ft) Steel Twin Screw Gentleman’s Schooner part-finished restoration project.

11.5m (38ft) Modern Classic Yawl, hull by Spirit Yachts, 2000.

10m (33ft) Fairey Marine Swordsman, fast cruiser.

12.6m, Buchanan 41, built Burma Teak on Canadian Rock Elm to Lloyds 100A1 in 1964.

Rebuilt to current form, 2005. Can seat 60 for Dinner! World-wide classification. Euro e4,300,000 Based Netherlands

Hull and decks restored, Twin Gardner diesels. Drop Dead Gorgeous! 2010 Survey please ask for a copy. £260,000 - Offers invited Location - Dorset UK

Luxury accommodation for five in three cabins (+ 4 crew). Twin Gardner diesels. Wi-Fi! Drop dead gorgeous! Euro e2,200,000 - No offers Location Western Med.

6 berths in three cabins, Lister 30hp diesel, absolutely beautiful! Survey available - Please ask for a copy. £145,000 Location - Chichester Harbour UK

Yanmar 300hp diesel, two genset, aircon. 12 guests + 6 crew. Great luxury expedition yacht. Currently chartering. USD $1,200,000 Based Thailand

Up to six berths, two heads, excellent galley, Twin Volvo Penta TAMPD41P-A 200bhp diesels installed 2000. Superbly maintained. 2010 Survey- Please ask! - £59,500 Offers Invited! Location River Colne, Essex

Up to 20 berths, Excellent galley - bar. Scania diesel, Survey available. £375,000 Location Edinburgh

Up to eight berths in two cabins, Perkins 4.107 diesel. All almost original! Now needs some refurb’ and a new Owner. 2012 Survey available, please ask £44,950 - Location - near Belfast NI. See Website for Photos, Specifications & Surveys 19 Colne Road, Brightlingsea, Essex, CO7 0DL • Tel: +44 (0) 1206 305996. Planning to sell: Please call Adrian Espin for details.

“The World of ClassicYachts” 2 Southford Road, Dartmouth, South Devon TQ6 9QS Tel/Fax: (01803) 833899 – –

45’ Historic schooner. Built in Denmark in 1894, sold to present owners by Wooden Ships 25 years ago and refitted in S France, now sailing the Med circuit. 48hp Bukh, 4.8Kv genset. 5 berths. UK owners. Lying S France. £95,000.

Gaff cutter. 30’ x 10’3” x 4’6” + bowsprit. Built Macmillan Yachts (now Spirit Yachts) 1991. Laminated hull, teak deck. Wonderful deep cock-pit, huge cabin volume with 5 berths. 2nd only ownership, regularly updated, almost as new condition. Scotland £45,500

42’ Hillyard ketch. Built 1966. Mahogany hull, sheathed deck, varnished mahogany superstructure. Bermudian ketch rig on varnished masts. Parsons 56hp diesel. Centre cock-pit model with aft cabin. 6 berths. One of the larger Hillyards, huge volume, tidy, a very good buy at this price. £34,000

25’ Vertue, built Elkins 1946. Teak hull below wl, mahogany above. Sheathed deck. Varnished teak super structure. Varnished mast. New Yanmar diesel. 2 berths + cot forward. Blakes head. A very realistic price for a good Vertue. Essex £18,950

36’ Sparkman and Stephens. Built Moody 1964 for the One Ton Cup. Splined mahogany hull, laminated frames, bronze floors and straps, lead keel, teak deck, cock-pit and coach-roof. Wheel steering 30hp Volvo. 5 berths. New alloy mast. A better quality wooden boat has not been built – this is the best. Med £75,000

Westcountry fishing lugger 32’ x 10’ x 4’7”. Built in 2003 on the lines of a famous fishing lugger. Larch planking copper fastened to oak timbers. Lead keel, solid iroko laid deck. 2 masted lug rig with carbon fibre yards. Diesel electric engine. Cavernous interior with 5 berths. Extraordinary quality, proven on several ocean passages. Cornwall £45,000

Laurent Giles Vertue No. 35 the very boat that Sir Humphrey Barton sailed across the Atlantic single handed in 1950. Lots of work done in last 10 years inc. New mast, rig and sails, keel bolts, deck and interior refit. A real piece of yachting history in superb condition that is as capable as the day she was launched. £24,500

40’ Robert Clark Class 2 racer, built 1968 by Crosshaven Boatyard. All teak hull, lead keel, 1998 teak deck. Wheel steering in wonderful big cock-pit. Sloop rig on ally mast. 1995 Lister Alpha 40hp diesel. 7 berths. A fine, big, long-legged boat, very capable but now in need of a refit to get her smart again. Hants. Snip at £35,000

28’ Miller Fifer, 1964. A nice example of this popular little ship. Usual Miller canoe stern with deep aft cock-pit. Mahogany and larch hull, teak deck, mahogany superstructure. Useful little ketch rig. Lister 4ST l 40hp diesel gives 6 knts cruising. 3 berths. Separate heads forward. Full head-room. Devon £16,500



Craftsmanship Yard News

Compiled by Steffan Meyric Hughes: +44 (0)20 7349 3758


Class of 2012 The morning sun lit up Lyme Bay on 5 December, as 17 graduating students at the Boatbuilding Academy in Lyme Regis in Dorset launched the eight boats they had been working on for the second half of the nine-month course. A number of students have already found jobs – at Elephant Boatyard and on a superyacht, to name a couple of examples. Past graduates have found work at prestigious yards like Spirit Yachts in Suffolk. Star of the show was Glóey, a gaff cutter built to a Paul Gartside design by Swiss student Dominik Gschwind and fellow students. In no special order, here they are, showing the breadth of design and build that the course encourages. Photos by Jennifer Steer


Iain Oughtred tender Humble Bee design in sweet chestnut. Just 7ft 9in (2.4m) long, but with 4ft 1in (1.3m) of beam, she takes up to three. She weighs 65lb (30kg), with lug rig, built by Kyle Patternoster and Rob Hounslow.


Ranger canoe This ‘Ranger’ design from from Ted Moores’ book Canoecraft, 15ft (4.6m), was built in western red cedar strip plank with American cherry for the fit-out, by Ryan Gostick.



Iain Oughtred stretched daysailer The idea for this dayboat started at the same time student Jade Randell learned his wife was pregnant. It turned out that the boat, built by Jade, Scott Russell and others, had around the same gestation period as the baby. Today, there are two Florences. This one is a stretched (by 1ft/31cm from its 16ft/4.9m design length) Iain Oughtred-designed centreboard dinghy in glued clinker ply with carbon fibre rudder, mast tip and sail. The other Florence is doing just fine. 76



Selway Fisher slipper launch Selway Fisher-designed 22ft (6.7m) slipper launch in stitch-and-glue ply with an electric motor that gives 10 knots plus. Built by the 19-year-old Will Hide and others.




Paul Gartside gaffer 18ft 6in (5.6m) Paul Gartside-designed centreboard gaffer, built in western red cedar strip plank. The cabin was not in the original design, but looks stunning and accommodates two. Builder Dominik now owns her and plans to keep her on Lake Constance.

SeA kAyAk This cold-moulded sea kayak was built by Ewan Thomson who plans to take it home to the Isle of Skye and enjoy it in the sea kayaking (and sailing!) mecca that is Scotland’s West Coast. It measures 19ft 9in (6m) by just 1ft 5in (43cm) in the beam.


Joel White Peapod This pretty double-ender is to the popular, lightweight, 14ft (4.3m) design by the late Joel White, stretched by 1ft (31cm). She’s strip-planked in western red cedar, strengthened by a few unobtrusive floors and the glued-in thwarts. She was built by Tim Talo and others.


14ft lugger Another Paul Gartside design (Skylark from his book Forty Wooden Boats), this one a 14ft (4.3m) lugger in Douglas fir, clinker on steamed oak timbers. Built by Jim Higginson and others. CLASSIC BOAT FEBRUARY 2013


Traditional Wooden/Epoxy or GRP It's your choice

Solent Sunbeam The classic racing keelboat

Sail and Race a Sunbeam at Itchenor Great Racing - Great Company Ask about boats for sale, joining a syndicate or crewing Come for a trial sail. Enjoy the Sunbeam experience Tel: 07836 768225


$   ! ! $  $   !! ! ! $    $    $    "   "   " "" "     


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Discover more at +44 (0)1452 301117 Ice in Gloucester - Sun in Corfu, as the team rebuild the stern of ketch CIRCE


CLASSIC BOAT February 2013 1290521535996_page1_Wave2PDFRoute.pdf 1 1290521535996_page1_Wave2PDFRoute.pdf 1

11/23/10 2:13:11 PM 11/23/10 2:13:11 PM


First Fairlie 53 in build Fairlie Yachts, formerly Fairlie Restorations, has been living up to its new name with the build of its first Fairlie 53 in wood-epoxy. One side had been planked as we went to press. The boat promises to be similar to the 55 that we tested last year (CB285) and Fairlie hopes to launch it this August. Meanwhile, the firm’s naval architect, Paul Spooner, has penned a 77-footer (23.5m) and is looking for customers.

C&N ketch at Southampton Yacht Services

The timing was not right for this yard to enter our 2013 Awards, which is not to say that SYS has not been busy. At the time of writing, the yard was halfway through extensive repairs to Yali, a 1925 Camper & Nicholson ketch of 77ft (23.5m). She is in the process of receiving new keelbolts, at least a dozen frames, the lower stem and the aft section of the keelson. Rudder and engine are coming off as well, soon… yard and owner hope for a spring launch.


Duver 25s in build After a hiatus, Cowes boatbuilder Nigel Harley plans to restart building his GRP pilot launch the Duver 25. The boat, that Nigel started building 10 years ago, is a semidisplacement launch capable of 30 knots, with workboat looks that will not embarrass a sailor. A

new website, www.duver25. com, is in build. Boats will cost from £45,000. JOHN GREEvES



Friendship Yacht in build More Rockport news! The yard in Maine that has recently hit such a rich seam of work, is busy building a Friendship 36, a classic-inspired 36ft (11m) shoal-draught centreboard cruising sloop, in coldmoulded wood, on behalf of Friendship Yachts and designer Ted Fontaine.


More awards for kebony Kebony AS was recently named one of the 50 fastest-growing clean technology companies at the 2012 Cleantech Connect awards, and has also been shortlisted for the 2013 ‘Sustain’ awards. Kebony is softwood that has been ecologically treated to offer similar “or superior” properties to tropical hardwoods.

PeMbRokeSHIRe, wAleS

Building of a new Tenby lugger The MITEC boatbuilding school in Milford Haven is building the first new Tenby Lugger in nearly 150 years. During its heyday in the late 19th century, the Lugger was one of the most recognisable fishing boat types in the area. Their length varied from 16ft to 28ft (4.9m-8.5m) and they all carried the Tenby rig of dipping lug mainsail and sprit mizzen. The MITEC boat is a replica of Sea Horse, measuring 24ft (7.3m) LOA by 8ft 10in (2.7m) beam, with a depth inside of 3ft 8½in (1.1m). It is larch-on-oak construction, built using traditional methods. The build has so far taken two years and is being run as part of Rising Tide, a project that aims to regenerate coastal communities in Wales and Ireland. It is hoped the replica Lugger will be launched in May 2013. Not far away in Pembroke Dock, the West Wales Maritime Heritage Society has acquired the last remaining Tenby Lugger, Margaret, from the Museums and Galleries of Wales and is striving to secure funding to restore the boat to sail. John Greeves


Half a million for unique junk yacht The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £501,000 for the restoration of the unique junk yacht Boleh in Portsmouth. Twelve apprentices will bring the 40ft (12.2m) yacht, built in 1949, back to seagoing condition. We reported in March’s YN (CB285) that an HLF application of £440,000 had been made – so this larger grant is good news indeed. CLASSIC BOAT FEBRUARY 2013



Boatbuilder’s Notes

all photos: Robin Gates


Flattening cupped timber Flat-sawn boards may show a kind of warp called cupping, in which the plank curves across its width, writes Robin Gates. This is caused by uneven shrinkage as the board dries. It shrinks further tangentially than radially, curving away from the centre of the log from which it was cut. The problem is more severe in boards that are cut through the centre of the log and it is fairly

typical of much inadequately kiln-dried timber. The phenomenon is often seen in planked floors, which may become so ridged by cupping as to resemble a potato field. After a year or so in storage, however, the board is essentially stable, since it has dried fully and the cupping is at its maximum. Now it is a simple matter to flatten the board with a coarsely-set smoothing plane

Above left: Straight and cupped boards Above right: Set the plane for coarse work

and generate a few kilojoules of body heat in the process – an ideal job for the winter! The technique is to plane across the centre of the board on its convex side and close to the edges on the concave side. Check for flatness using a try-square. Here, some cupped 3/4in (19mm) spruce is yielding flat boards of 5/8in (16mm). A minor loss in thickness for the gain of useful timber.


Beware of sapwood

RichaRd haRe



Oak sapwood is usually easy to tell from the darker heartwood, writes Richard Hare. But it can be accidentally overlooked, such as when it’s green and freshly machined. This can result in decay and costly repairs later, as in the case of this oak leeboard, which had to be rebuilt after a bad reaction with iron fastenings, something that sapwood is prone to. There’s a simple way to check, albeit marginally unsavoury. Cut off a piece about 18mm to 25mm thick (roughly an inch square, like an Oxo cube), spit on one of the transverse surfaces (one with the open pores) and then blow through the wood from the other side. If the wetted side bubbles, it’s sapwood and it should be discarded; but if you’ve ended up with red faces and eyes on stalks, it’s heartwood. The difference between the two is the difference between a very good resistance to decay and a useless one.


Traditional Tool RoBIN GAtEs

Hand-cranked grinder Hard boatbuilding woods such as teak and iroko can blunt an edge tool surprisingly fast. Contact with an unexpected fastening buried in the wood does it even faster. But sharpness is soon restored by honing the tool on a whetstone to create a secondary bevel. As this bevel creeps back along the blade, however, the honing takes a little longer each time until eventually the primary bevel must be reground. This is when a grinding wheel proves useful, because using a whetstone to restore a primary bevel is a laborious job. A bench-mounted electric grinder is one solution, but for the amateur builder there are advantages in using the more environmentally friendly hand-cranked variety. Aside from saving anything up to £600 (the price of a quality water-cooled electric model), the hand-cranked grinder is quiet, easier to set up and offers excellent control. Holding a blade against the wheel with one hand while turning the crank with the other does call for a degree of coordination, especially as

a wide blade must be moved across the wheel without changing its angle of presentation, but you can soon acquire the knack. Speed is under your own control, and since a coarse wheel cuts quickly at low rpm, there’s little risk of spoiling the steel’s temper through overheating. Nonetheless it’s advisable to wear safety specs because even a hand-cranked wheel throws tiny fragments of grit and steel across the workshop. In place of the bog-standard flat bevel, the curve of the wheel creates a shapely hollow. You can sense when the job is done from an increase in drag on the wheel, but the hollow bevel will minimise drag

on a flat whetstone, and that makes subsequent honing easier work. This grinder was made by The Carborundum Company in Niagara Falls, USA, a company founded by Edward Acheson who earlier in his career had worked with Thomas Edison on the lightbulb. Acheson coined the name carborundum for silicon carbide, the first man-made abrasive, after patenting its manufacture by fusing clay and carbon. The material has proved invaluable for precision-grinding metal tools and components and Acheson is now counted among the most significant innovators of the industrial age.

Above: One hand for the chisel and one for the crank Below left: Sparks fly as steel meets carborundum Below right: The hollow-ground primary bevel and the honed secondary bevel

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CLASSIC BOAT February 2013



Making a Skylight

2 3

The final step for our skylight is the glazed leaves. Ben Jefferies rounds off our practical winter project


Don’t forget to allow for an overhang when cutting the frames for the windows. To make these half-lap joints, I’ve used a pull-over saw, but you could cut them with a spindle moulder, table saw, router – or cut them by hand.


When gluing up, set a clamp on each joint. Once dry, clean off the excess glue and rout in the 6.5mm (1/4in) rebate on the top side to take the glass.


Now you can go and get the glass cut. I’d leave it til this stage, because your man at the glazier’s will know exactly what size to cut. It is very important

that the glass is not a perfect fit in the frame, and that there is a 1mm to 2mm gap all the way around, so that the wood can expand and contract. Make sure that there is sufficient thickness of sealant (Sikaflex or similar) to allow for this movement in the joint. If you use laminated 6.4mm (1/4in) safety glass, the four panes should cost less than £30.


Mask up both sides of the rebate well. Cleaning sealant out of the timber grain can be very tedious, otherwise. Glue in the glass and clamp it lightly, as you’ll want a little sealant to remain in the joint.




Boatbuilder’s Notes


6 5-6

Leave the glazing overnight to cure, and in the morning remove the excess sealant with a sharp chisel. You can now shape the centre beam. Using the window as a reference for the thickness, draw a line, then plane the beam until it’s flush with the window.


Fit the piano hinge next. Treat yourself to a hinge-centring drill bit. They cost about £3.50 and are invaluable for helping set the hinge straight.


8 8

Remove the windows once they’re fitted and chamfer the edges.


Now fit the protective bars. I’ve used a slightly ornate ‘comb’ design in 1/2in (13mm) wood to hold them, but you could use a straight piece. As there are six to cut, I’ve made a template. Cut them out with a coping saw or a fret saw.



I used 5/16in (8mm) bronze bar. Be sure to drill the holes square, otherwise the bars won’t lie parallel to each other. Use a pillar drill if you have one, with a bit just 1/2mm wider than the bar. Go all the way through the centre comb, and halfway through the end pieces.

10 11


I have added a 1/2in by 1/4in (13mm x 6mm) trim to each pane, bonded into place. Then I drilled a 1/8in (3mm) drain into each corner.



13 84


Glue and screw the combs, starting with the centre one. Insert a bar to help line them up. You can glue the centre combs on, but only dry fit the outside ones. These are best fitted once varnished, otherwise you will have the nightmare prospect of varnishing around the bronze bars.


Get your favourite varnish on, just as you’ve been taught!


The Norfolk Smuggler Dimensions

The Norfolk Smuggler 25 has been carefully designed to ensure a single-handed sailing ability when required. The cockpit is large to allow comfortable sailing for up to six adults and to provide ample stowage space in the cockpit lockers. The cabin trunk provides standing headroom through the yacht without looking cumbersome, and ahead of this there is a safe foredeck to provide security for the foredeck hand. This vessel has been designed to be shoal draught with a centreboard increasing draught from 2’9” with plate up to 4’11” with plate down. The centreboard is raised and lowered with an easy to operate manual winch.

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Art of the Gondola

Venice’s best-known rowing boat is still built with the dark romance of its mediÌval forebears. By Nigel Pert and Kevin Desmond




oats don’t come much more classic than Venetian gondolas – transporting the well-to-do for five or six centuries around the city once known as La Serenissima – “the most serene”. There are still around half a dozen yards building them today. Craftsmen such as Gianfranco Vianello Moro at his Crea yard in Giudecca, or Daniele Bonaldo at his Squero yard, or Roberto Tramontin in San Trovaso. And the methods are not too different from those used in the early days, when Venice itself was under construction in the ninth century by a group of persecuted people forced to live on the harsh islands of the lagoon. They decided to act positively and make their home the envy of the contemporary world. At “Tramontin & Figli”, I found Roberto and his apprentice Enrico halfway through the build of one of the two gondolas they produce each year. The yard opened in 1884 under Roberto’s great-, greatgrandfather Domenico Tramontin on the same site by a canal in the Dorsoduro district, and has been credited with giving gondolas their typical twisted “banana” shape during those early years of their existence. This form compensates for the fact that a gondola is always rowed with the oar on the starboard side.

The time-worn mould used to give form to Tramontin’s gondolas looks much like a boat in its own right

an age-old process A gondola is flat-bottomed without a keel, so its larch frames are carefully formed in a mould fixed to the workshop floor. Consisting of a keelson, stem and sternpost, this mould looks for all the world like the first steps of a traditional build in its own right, with deadwoods in the angles that give shape to the beautiful curves of the gondola’s overhangs. CLASSIC BOAT FEBRUARY 2013




gondolas in a nutshell Design

in art anD literature

Gondolas are big boats. They weigh 1,320lb (600kg), measure 35ft 6in (10.9 m) long with a beam of only 4ft 6in (1.4m). Traditionally, a gondola’s 280 components used eight different types of wood: fir for the bottom, oak for the sides, cherry for the thwarts, walnut, oak and elm for frames, mahogany, larch and lime. Much of that wood was once harvested from a mountain region in the Veneto known as Il Cadore. All have a rèmo or oar (traditionally made from beech) and a fórcola, or rowlock made from walnut briar. Contrary to popular belief, this vessel is never poled like a punt – the waters of Venice are too deep – nor is it paddled. Instead, a gondolier stands facing the bow and rows with a forward stroke, followed by a compensating backward stroke. Their left side is 10in (25cm) longer than their right. This was originally introduced by the Tramontin yard in the 1870s to facilitate a single oarsman, while also lifting the bow and stern out of the water to improve steering. Before that, the whole length of the hull would have been immersed.

Gondolas first feature in paintings in the late 15th and early 16th centuries in works by Gentile Bellini, Vittore Carpaccio, and Giovanni Mansueti. They also appeared in the paintings meticulously executed in the early 18th century by the Venetian artist Canaletto. In the age of the “Grand Tour”, English poets included them in their verses. In 1817, Byron wrote in his poem Beppo, A Venetian Tale: “It glides along the water looking blackly; Just like a coffin clapt in a canoe; Where none can make out what you say or do.” During his stay in Venice in 1846, poet Robert Browning bought a gondola, which he gave to his gondolier. In 1890, the American landscape painter Thomas Moran bought it and eventually, it arrived at the Mariner’s Museum, Newport News, USA. Restored in 1999, this gondola is probably the oldest in existence – in Venice, they are still considered a means of transport and broken up when they become old. The gondola began to vie with Venice’s better established architectural marvels as a symbol of the city. American author Mark Twain visited Venice in the summer of 1867 and complained: “I study the gondolier’s marvelous skill more than I do the sculptured palaces we glide among. He cuts a corner so closely, now and then, or misses another gondola by such an imperceptible hair-breadth that I feel myself “scrooching” as the children say, just as one does when a buggy wheel grazes his elbow.”

Origins Some scholars claim the gondola dates back to 697, though it was first mentioned in accounts in 1094. No-one, however, can agree on where the name comes from. Some say it has Maltese or Turkish origins, others that it may come from the Latin “cymbula” (little boat) or “cuncula”, diminutive of “concha” (shell). Built in the waterside “squèri” or local boatyards, the gondola evolved gradually, and fiercely-guarded building secrets were passed down from generation to generation. At first it was plied by a single oar, then two, with two gondoliers as it became longer and more luxurious. By the 1100s, it had acquired a discreet felze, or cabin, and noble families were lavishing as much money and gold leaf on their gondolas as they were on their pink and grey palazzi – if not more.

COntrOVersY Not long ago, the traditional woods were threatened. Gianfranco “Crea” Vianello, perhaps Venice’s most famous carpenter, favoured ply for its ease of maintenance. But the municipality, backed by the traditionalist El Felze Association, decreed that gondolas had to be built of real wood. “It is a world famous symbol of Venice. If we don’t define rules, in the future we risk seeing plastic gondolas.”

Roberto is still using the original mould laid down by his great-, great-grandfather in 1884 and, though there are lines pinned to the wall, I’m not convinced he often refers to them. He does, however, leaf through notes taken in the last years of his father’s life – all in Venetian feet and inches, of course. The larch frames are all made first, their asymmetric forms calculated using an L-shaped gauge (sesto) which has marks corresponding to each member’s chine angle and centreline. Three key frames are held in place along the ‘keelson’ of the mould by clamps, as are the stem and sternposts. Once these first forming elements are in place, a plank is set on each side. Much of the boat’s strength is derived from massive pieces carved from solid lime wood, which is fixed under the fore and aft decks to the stem and sternposts. 88


steamed timbers “veneziana� The planks in one sole length of 5/8in (16mm) oak are coaxed into shape at their extremities by heating the wood with a gas torch whilst water is splashed on using a hand brush. I saw this technique being applied to one of the gondolas thwarts (trasto) to take the angle of the deck. The flame was played along the thwart for 20 minutes, and the temperature underneath was gauged by touch from time to time. When deemed ready, the piece was transferred to the slot in the horizontal bar of an A-shaped jig (cavria) fixed almost vertically, and pressure applied by wedging battens up to the ceiling at the far end. Water and heat were continually applied and the pressure gradually increased, until the desired bend was reached, a simple angle gauge being used to judge progress. Afterwards the piece was to be left to cool for 24 hours.

Traditionally, gondola builders used burning faggots of reeds to supply the necessary heat, but health and safety diktats have penetrated even the boatyards of Venice. Roberto laments the change, maintaining that the ancient method distributed the heat more slowly over a wider area, making the process more controllable. I wondered if he had ever used a steam box, but he said there was too little space; besides, he preferred the old ways. A spirited debate with his apprentice ensued on the pros and cons of the two methods; I kept quiet about my ideas afterwards. When the carvel planking (three broad planks covering the whole side, including the raised prow) and the decks are finished, the whole boat is again subjected to the heat and water treatment to give it the individual twist and curve required. Each one is tailor-made: a heavier gondolier will have the stern section forced

Clockwise from main, above: The gondola is turned upside down to receive its bottom; metalware is tightly restricted by law; timber is bent using water and a gas flame; boat in frame; Tramontin’s canalside yard




“Fórcole are so pleasing to the eye that many sell as sculptures”

higher up, by jacking off the ceiling with a pole; for a more standard man the stem will be raised. Then the boat is turned over to receive its bottom in fir. The join between the topsides and bottom is made by butting the planks up to a chine piece at the angle.

sober decoration Next comes the decoration. Some clients demand very ornate carvings on the panels, others brass figurines, while others are more sober. But since sumptuary laws were passed in 1633 to prevent overly ostentatious decoration, including the use of coloured paints, every boat has been black. There are many other theories about the colour, though – notably that it was a sign of respect for the 50,000 lives lost in Venice’s great plague of 1575-76. Seats and the metal decorations of steel, iron or aluminium on the stern and prow nearly complete the gondola. These elements are made by craftsmen outside the yard, and help to counterbalance the weight of the gondolier. All that is needed now is an oar and rowlock. One of the very few who still make them is Saverio Pastor, from a workshop on the ground floor of a house that opens onto a minor tributary of the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro district.

carving the fÓrcola The rowlock is an amazing sculptural piece called a fórcola, costing about £750 (€900). It takes Saverio three days to make one from a single piece of walnut or cherry wood, and the piece is cut from a log of some 2ft (61cm) diameter sawn in quarters. 90


After two years of air-drying, lengths of a metre are cut and a series of templates used to mark out the rough shape for the bandsaw. More drying follows, until Saverio decides one roughly-shaped post or another is suitable for a particular fórcola. After more rough cutting, a small adze is used, then a set of different sized drawknives. The piece is finished by sanding and treated with linseed oil. Below deck level, the fórcola has a rectangular, conical peg that slots into an appropriate hole built into the deck making it removable at will. The complex shape allows the oar to be positioned in the ideal spot for the manoeuvre in hand, whether it be full ahead, a tight turn or going astern. Gondolas can be propelled by up to four oarsmen and the forward fórcole are much smaller. These things are so pleasing to the eye that Saverio sells many as decorative sculptures, either full-sized or as reduced-scale models. He also produces the 9ft 10in (3m)-long oars made mainly of beech, oak and the tropical hardwood ramin. Saverio is one of three remaining remeri and as with the gondola itself, there is a mixture of tradition and tremendous art involved. A new gondola today costs around £41,000 (€50,000), depending on the accessories chosen. Its lifespan is 30 to 40 years – roughly the career of a gondolier. With some 450 gondolas plying their trade in the canals of Venice and no shortage of loving couples to explore the hundreds of romantic backwaters, the future of the last few boatyards looks assured. Tramontin & Figli: Squero San Trovaso: Saverio Pastor:

Above left: Shaping the fórcola in a giant floor vice Above right: Range of planes used to make oars Above right: Finer shaping of the fórcola with a drawknife

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CLASSIC BOAT February 2013



Gunning for inspired Dutch designs This year’s design competition brief was in many ways similar to the design brief that naval architect Max Gunning (wellknown for his self-steering gear) set himself in the middle of the last century. His designs were strongly influenced by Dutch working

boats, but he wanted them to sail better, be easy to sail singlehanded, attractive and very spacious and able to go anywhere. These vessels indeed have been to every corner of the world. With remarkable seagoing qualities, yet totally flat-bottomed, they can cruise round Cape Horn as well as up the Grand Union Canal.

Above left: Max Gunning’s Avalon Above right: Cormorant with a hefty bone in her teeth

Sir Percy Wyn-Harris sailed his Spurwing around the world and many others have crossed the big pond. To my knowledge there are only three in the UK but many in the Netherlands – one or two undergoing interesting restoration projects. Ewout Van-Manen, by email

Laying down the gauntlet

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I’m hoping CB can help me on a quest that I’d love to complete before I shuffle off to meet my ancestors. This is simply a search for a boat, called Red Gauntlet. But not just a boat: a painting of a boat. I should explain... My 90-year-old Dad trained as an artist. He was bloody good, but not exactly a self-promoter, and he spent most of his working life as an illustrator for the MoD. Just after the war, when I was still a baby, he had a commission for a painting of a boat in oils for a work colleague who was planning to give it as a wedding present to her future husband. He was apparently

part of a big newspaper family Northcliffe? Iliffe? We simply don’t know. The boat was named Red Gauntlet, and he was paid £50 for his efforts. At the time, it was in dry dock in Emsworth harbour, and, so the story goes, my mother would take me in my pushchair to Dad while he was at work on the painting. Howard Benbrook, Camberley

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No wise skipper fights a hurricane

With regard to your description of John Constable’s painting The Lock on p27 of November’s issue (CB293); surely the scene depicted is mostly Essex, not Suffolk as you ascribe? It seems to me that the only part of Suffolk pictured is the muddy bank in the foreground. Simon Baker, by email

How can anyone qualified to be the captain of a boat the size of HMS Bounty (see news CB295) have been so stupid as to leave Connecticut heading south when there was a hurricane off Cuba, a bad cold front moving across the country, and sailors saying that the situation looks like the development of a perfect storm? In the light of this, why did the ship’s owners not insist that Bounty stay in port, find a secure harbour, then tie her down and send down all the sails and rigging possible to reduce windage? The view of all the experienced sailors that I discussed this with, and who knew the East Coast and the horrible conditions encountered in the fall, is that the only smart thing the skipper did was to go down with the ship. If he had survived, he would probably have been tried for involuntary manslaughter because of taking HMS Bounty to sea and losing a crewmember. Don Street, by email

Ed: The county border, according to the Ordnance Survey, deviates a hundred or so yards south of the river for a short stretch around Flatford, following an old river course. Note the magenta dotted line on the map, below right. Most of the picture’s foreground is therefore Suffolk and only the floodplain and Dedham church are Essex.


Artist’s view of Essex or Suffolk

SB: I stand corrected, but still slightly amused that the art world doesn’t like to mention Constable and Essex in the same sentence. Ed: Yes but we do! And there’s news of a rebuild of the Stour lighter type like the one seen here on p17.

1st Galway Blazer Your obituary on Commander King RN reminded me that the first Galway Blazer was an RNSA 24, if a somewhat quirky one – she was ketch-rigged and one wonders how the crew negotiated the mizzen on a boat with 7ft 6in (2.3m) max beam! The class (all the others were fractional-rigged sloops) figured very strongly in the 1949 RORC results with Minx of Malham (owned by John Illingworth) winning Class III with five firsts, a second and a third in the seven races in which she took part. Others were Samuel Pepys belonging to the RNSA, Blue Disa (Dick Scholfield), and Ben’s Choice (Norman Jones). Seven or eight were built and I would be interested to hear if any are still around. Jeremy Geoffrey, by email



Your help needed!

Do you know my boat? As far as I know, she hasn’t got a name – I bought her at auction 15 years ago. I’ve done a load of work on her where I’m based at Tunbridge Wells in Kent, but have never really got to sail her. I don’t think she’s been in the water for 20 years, but I’d like to know her story. I replaced the marine ply deck and put in some new mahogany seating. Then just tidied her up and varnished her. She’s mahogany on ash, I think, with around 750 copper fastenings, and the original cast-iron daggerboard on rollers. She’s gunter-rigged, sail number 133 and in really superb condition, as you can see. She is 14ft (4.3m) long and about 5ft 4in (1.6m) in the beam. The builder was Kenneth M Gibbs & Co of Shepperton, but I think his yard was liquidated in the early-1950s. Andy Reeve, by email




c/o k1 britannia trust

“We’d all read in the papers that the late king had said that no one of his family was interested,” recalled Bods. “Apparently he didn’t want her to go to the Americans. And the Prince of Wales, we discovered later, was interested in other things.” It was dark by the time Winchester took her in tow. “Then we got the order for darkened ship, so we could not be seen from shore. There were some civilians on board, all looking a bit gloomy and furtive.” One of whom, he later found, was the king’s sailing master, Philip Hunloke. “They told us that the king had said she was to go down with no wreckage, so we were expressly forbidden to take any souvenirs. After we’d towed her round the back of the A stripped down island, several of us were detailed to Britannia leaves Cowes go on board, including Disbury.” It for the last time was a balmy night, with hardly a ripple as Bodsworth and crew went aboard the king’s yacht with satchels of explosives over their shoulders. “We were to put two charges aft and two in the deckhead, the idea being there would be two smallish holes in the hull and two in the deck to let the air out, so she would go down horizontal.” Britannia’s saloon, still immaculate, gleamed in the torchlight. “We taped the charges in place, then brought the fuses up to a point on deck. At that time we used a kind of pistol to ignite the fuse wire. “When I’d finished I got off, leaving just Disbury on board. By that time our skipper, Captain Beckett, was getting a bit anxious about his shiny new destroyer. She was still secured by a rope from the stern, but as we started to move she began to sheer off leaving Disbury to make a last-minute jump back to the Winchester.” Britannia settled slowly at first, but as the water rose, she began to slip fast by the stern. “Someone must have opened the seacocks. After about a quarter of an hour – it seemed like an age – we heard just a gentle pop. Those who had made the charges were beginning to sweat. She didn’t go down horizontal as she was meant to. “A bit later we heard this much larger explosion, and one solitary deck plank shot up and did a gentle parabola in the beam of our searchlight. We spent the rest of the night looking for wreckage but saw nothing. We never found that plank.” Bods did not go home completely empty-handed from his night’s work. “In spite of what we had been told about no souvenirs, there was this cocktail cabinet with wooden spikes to keep the bottles in. One of them was a bit loose and just fitted my rule pocket. No one can prove it, but I know it came from the yacht Britannia. It’s in my attic.”

“I sank Britannia”

Adrian Morgan recalls meeting the scuttler of the King’s yacht


t was neither a particularly dark, nor was it a stormy night, when Able Seaman Cyril ‘Bods’ Bodsworth scuttled King George V’s cutter Britannia in St Catherine’s Deep, a mile or so south of the Isle of Wight. Bods was 19 years old, the youngest crewman of the Destroyer HMS Winchester, the night he blew Britannia’s bilges and deckhead out with four charges. It was said of Britannia that a “better balanced and better built vessel never crossed the starting line”. Yachting writers referred to her shape as “the Britannia ideal”. None of this made much impression on young Bodsworth that night. “We didn’t know what we were up to. All we knew was that we were to prepare some charges for a secret mission,” he told me some years ago from his retirement home in Hampshire. Bodsworth spent the preceding day making up the charges. “CO Disbury determined the size of them – about 1lb (450g) of gun cotton, as I recall. Fuses in those days were just fuse wire, which we had to light – the length of the fuse determined the delay. It was a pretty skilled job, but we’d been trained to do it. It was all in a day’s work to us.” Winchester slipped out of Portsmouth late on the afternoon of 9 July 1936 with another Destroyer, HMS Amazon. “No one told us we were to scuttle Britannia. It was getting dark as we left the dock and the next thing we knew was that we were off Cowes, alongside Britannia. She was, of course, just a hulk by then.



“All we knew was we were to prepare some charges for a secret mission”

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Classic Boat February 2013  

Classic Boat February 2013