All posts by Gavin Atkin

Fireworks over the river for the 350th anniversary of the Dutch Raid on the Medway

We raised the keel, sat on the mud of Hoo Flats, and drank a little orange-flavoured Dutch gin. Well you might too, if one of you was half-Dutch and the other also had some of his own Dutch history…

Classic Sailor on sailing in the Swale and the famous Swale Match

The latest edition of Classic Sailor magazine has a nice piece about last year’s Swale Match that provides a foretaste of this year’s event on the 29th July. The race is quite an event with 50 entrants in 2016.

It has a staggered start at 15-minute intervals including staysail barges, followed by bowsprit barges, gaff rigged yachts under the umbrella title ‘old gaffers’, smacks and bawleys, and what are called ‘bermudan classics’. There’s even a class for traditional power vessels, though they receive awards rather than racing.

The author seems to have have a very pleasant time aboard the staysail barge Orinoco, from which he seems to have admired other staysail barges such as Edme and Marjorie, Dan Tester’s gorgeous, Herreshof-built Starling Burgess 6-metre sloop Sheila and the Brightlingsea smack Alberta, which  was restored some time ago by Dan and his late father Barry Tester.

For photos of earlier Swale Matches, click here and here.

 

 

 

Australia’s 18-ft skiffs and 14 Footers

A little Australian moment, with links from Michael Storer’s always interesting Storer Boat Plans Facebook page.

First (above), a stunning, award-winning piece of 1970 film about Sydney Harbour’s 18ft skiffs. They have a great history – Joshua Slocum mentions seeing them at Sydney in his solo round the world account Sailing Alone Around the World.

And then there’s this article about  the history of Australia’s 14 Footers, a very different development from the Uffa Fox influenced International 14s that developed in the UK.