All posts by Gavin Atkin

A drone over the Wanderer dinghy national races at Whitstable

My thanks to my sailing pal Jim Van Den Bos for pointing me to this YouTube shot by a drone flying over the Swale and the beaches of Whitstable on the occasion of the Wanderer nationals a week or two back.

It wasn’t a great day for sailing – or racing – but it was clearly a good day for a drone to go up and show us some of the local landscape.

Catro Vellos Mariñeiros musica tradicional de Galicia

My thanks to Martin Calpe for sending this one over. The two types of sailing vessel you see here are the lancha, used for transport, and the dorna, much smaller and used for fishing.

BBA students build a new design composite sailing canoe

Boat Building Academy students Richard Lyford from Portland and Steve Roberts built and launched a newly designed 14ft 5in composite sailing canoe as part of a 38-week boatbuilding course. The photos are by Janine Cashin, Liz Griffiths, Becky Joseph, John  Pritchard, Grant Morris and Jenny Steer.

Richard took a career break to attend the course.

Richard believes that with interest in the Victorian idea of sailing canoes is growing in the UK and that we’re on the way to a real revival. So he worked with sailing canoe specialist company Solway Dory to develop and design a new light-weight composite sailing canoe and built a prototype as part of his course.

Water sports enthusiast Steve joined the course from a career in the Royal Navy where here worked as a mine clearance diver.

The two created a tulip-wood hull plug, which was then glass and epoxied to create the mould, which was lifted off the plug, polished and used to create the canoe.

Rock Pipit can be paddled or sailed, and has an unstayed Bermuda rig, which Richard argues is simple to rig and easy to reef.

She looked elegant in white and royal blue, so much so that BBA technician Steve Hewins, a man who has seen countless boats, watched her go out and said ‘One day I’m going to have one of those… ‘

Richard returns to his job as a Submarine Systems Engineer in July. Steve has already started work at Compass Tenders, Port Hamble, building bespoke tenders for superyachts.

The Rock Pipit design will become part of the Solway Dory range. If you are on the Devon or Cornwall coast or estuaries look out for Richard, who intends to use his new sailing canoe as often as possible.

Photo project to reveal how people feel about Faversham Creek

Picture the Creek

Picture the Creek is a project that’s about the photos folks take of Faversham Creek and what it means to them. It’s not supposed to be about how good the pictures are, but the stories they tell, so an expensive camera is not required.

You can take a photograph or send one you’ve already got – maybe one from long ago. Or you can draw or paint a picture and scan it or photograph it.

The images will be shared on the Picture the Creek website, on social media platforms and at an exhibition in Faversham in the autumn.

There will be prizes for the most interesting and original images however. These will be in two categories: adult and junior (16 and under), and will be awarded at the autumn exhibition.

The most important point, say the organisers, is to say something about what the photo shows: is it something you like or something you don’t, something that made you curious, something that brings back memories, makes you angry, makes you laugh, or makes you sad?

Faversham Creek has all of those for me. In general, I dislike photo competitions (how can anyone make iron judgements about something as subjective about how you respond to a photo?) but I might just go and see what I can dig out myself…

Square rigged sailing ship Peking rounds Cape Horn

Here’s some classic footage of the square rigger Peking rounding Cape Horn – and some other bits and pieces. My thanks to regular reader Martin O’Scannall for sending this link over.

By the way – this YouTube is really rather poor and I’m told by regular reader Chris Brady that the Mystic Seaport Museum has a much better version on sale on DVD.

Veler El•La’s sailing Ella skiff starts her summer adventure for 2014

Veler El•la is a community  group on Facebook based in Barcelona who built an example of the sailing version of of my Ella skiffs, and now sail it in stages along the coast of Taragonna. This week they even called for folks to put their hand up to sail her for a day – hopefully I got that right as I don’t speak that language and we can’t trust the online translators!

Here are some photos of what I take to be the first leg of this year’s voyage, mixed in with some great harbour shots from her launch last year. Thanks for the photos folks!

Fabian Bush builds a François Vivier Aber dinghy

I’ve just remembered that I haven’t yet shared these photos to share of Lodestar publisher Richard Wynne’s new sail and oar dinghy – so here they are.

It’s an example of the very appealing François Vivier-designed Aber built for Richard at Rowhedge  by Fabian Bush, who showed it at the Beale Park show last month.

Naturally, there was a bit of a party in and around Fabian’s yard on when she emerged into the light. Richard’s delighted with the boat I gather – that day he and Fabian took the little boat for a sail out past Mersea, and found that it both sails and rows like a dream. (It has two rowing positions.)

It’s striking to think that François designed this elegant and well developed looking boat as long ago as 1985.

There are more photos of examples of Abers built around the world here.