Great good luck to them. This will be an amazing and challenging trip, of course, and the crew will experience conditions few of us could face and will be far from any sort of quick rescue.
We live in very different times and it’s striking that this voyage will in some ways be different those experienced by the Vikings, and for good safety reasons. The skipper and crew have waited for a suitable weather window – in an open boat, you would. Modern weather forecasting must be a huge blessing.
Still, I can’t imagine there’s a red-blooded sailor alive that wouldn’t love to spend some time sailing a craft like that – particularly if (like me) they have good reason to believe the Vikings were among their ancestors…
Alex Mears of the long established Seaton, Devon boatyard HJ Mears has written to let us know about their latest project – this very handsome little Beer lugger. Here’s what he says:
‘She’s larch on oak, over 7ft in beam on her 16ft length so she’s a very broad boat, as ours always are.
‘Our boats are beamy because they are beach boats. To make the task of beach launching easier you want fairly flat bottomed, beamy boats with substantial bilge keels. Hence all of our boats fit this spec for the beaches around here – including Beer, Seaton, Sidmouth, and Branscombe and beyond.
‘The red top strake of the new boat will help distinguish her during lugger racing over at Beer. She could win in racing when handicaps are being applied – there are carvel boats with larger sail sizes and which also have a longer waterline length. In general, the Beer luggers are a pretty variable fleet and people, but Hannah will fit in happily somewhere amongst the fleet.
‘It’s great to be adding to the fleet of Beer luggers and continuing the traditional boatbuilding in a traditional craft. We are lucky to have appreciative customers who ultimately keep the tradition going by paying our wages!
‘She will be moored at Lyme Regis and will compete with the Beer luggers on Monday nights during the summer.
‘The owner is someone who has followed our work for many years and previously owned a Ron Lavis-built clinker boat. Ron is an Exmouth boatbuilder who trained with my grandfather. The appeal of the Beer lugger for this particular owner is the flexibility – he can sail her, he can fish from her, he can go potting for lobsters with her, go off for picnics on the beach, and so on. She is a multi purpose boat as the history of these has proved.’
Thanks Alex! We look forward to the next commission and set of photos!