All posts by Gavin Atkin

A fifth edition of Cruising Yachts Design and Performance by T Harrison Butler


In more good news from Lodestar Books… Dick Wynne’s fabulous imprint has released a fifth edition of the classic Cruising Yachts Design and Performance by metacentric theory protagonist and talented amateur yacht designer (and professional ophthalmologist) T Harrison Butler.

Dr Butler’s designs were built in numbers that ran into the hundreds a good number of which still grace our seas. Cruising Yachts is his design manifesto and first appeared in 1945—the year of his death.

The new edition has been produced in collaboration with the Harrison Butler Association, and is a complete re-setting of the original text, drawings and mono photographs, and documents in detail HB’s approach to the design and equipping of a yacht, an annotated catalogue of notable designs and a biographical portrait by the designer’s daughter, the late Joan Jardine-Brown (see a photo of Mrs Jardine-Brown in an earlier post).

There are also a modern gallery of colour photographs of the yachts, and a foreword by the late Ed Burnett, who was regarded as a foremost designer of modern yachts in the classic English idiom.

HMS Pickle at Dover

These photos from HMS Pickle’s brief time in Dover Harbour following her momentous trip from Gibraltar under Mal Nicholson’s command were kindly sent by Neil Batey, the Sailors’ Children’s Society’s local community engagement and family support officer for Dover & Ramsgate. Thanks Neil!

The charity looks after the children of seafarers who are disadvantaged in some way. See also the  website for seafarer’s families Find the Sea Families.

Folks in Dover enjoyed and appreciated her visit so much that on the 31st October Royal Cinque Ports YC is holding a Pickle Night with entertainment by Dover Tales and The Old Lone Gin Band from 7.30pm, with profits to be divided between the Sailors’ Children’s Society and the RNLI. I’m told the event will feature a debut song rendition of The Ballad of the Pickle.

And here’s Mal talking to BBC Radio Kent (for Facebookers only, sadly).

BBA students build an Iain Oughtred Acorn Skiff

Boat Building Academy students Jonathan Howard and Tom Moran have built and launched an Iain Oughtred-designed Acorn Skiff. The photos are by Jenny Steer and Becky Brown.

Some 13ft in length, she is planked in 6mm gaboon-faced marine ply, using glued-clinker construction. The skiff has a laminated khaya stem and apron, and her hog, keel and pretty wineglass transom are sapele.

Jonathan works for the BBC and has done so for the past 30 years. He first came to the BBA in 2009 for the eight-week woodworking skills course it then offered and designed and built a beautiful oak chest and took great interest in the 38 week course…  (The eight-week course has been replaced by a 12 week course)

Five years later, Jonathan came back, and chose the Acorn Skiff for its light weight and elegant design. Her glued clinker construction will be simple to maintain and she’ll be easy to transport.

Tom enjoyed working on each of the boat projects built by the class but particularly enjoyed the detailed and delicate woodworking involved with the Acorn Skiff and the planking of the larger Nordlands boat (report to come).

Tom has a BSc in applied geology and before coming to the academy worked as an exploration geologist in Zambia and Australia, analysing extracted coal, copper and gold.

Tom came to the academy as a way of starting a new career as a boat builder, and soon after graduating, started work at Stirling & Son.

Jonathan has now returned to work at the BBC and will use his increased skills in his spare time to make furniture.

He decided to name his new dinghy Dash of Lyme, to reflect where she was built, and his time on the course which he says dashed by. She will be rowed and sailed on the Thames and during holidays in the West Highlands.