Category Archives: Locations

Will Stirling sails a Stirling 14ft dinghy to Godrevy Lighthouse

Multiple award winning boatbuilder and all-round interesting bloke Will Stirling recently sailed a traditionally built 14ft dinghy of his own design and building out to Godrevy Lighthouse.

As usual with Will, he found some photogenic scenes to capture along the way as the gallery above shows… Here’s what he says about the trip:

‘Having woken up at 3am on Saturday morning, driven for two hours to Hartland Quay and then aborted an attempt on Lundy Island’s two lighthouses due to bad weather, I was keen to salvage time by circumnavgating at least one lighthouse before the weekend was out.

‘For the rest of Saturday I planned a trip around Godrevy Lighthouse near St Ives, Cornwall.

‘Surprisingly it was very hard to find anywhere to launch on the North Western coast of Cornwall. During an afternoon of phone calls and refusals of permission to launch I was directed to the Carbis Bay Hotel, five miles to the West of Godrevy, who very kindly let me launch on their private beach near St Ives, and also waived their car park fee.

‘I planned to either return to Carbis Bay or land at Portreath five miles to the East of Godrevy.

‘Following another early start I was afloat by 0800 on a beautiful beach with crystal clear water. The course was NE to Godrevy; the wind NW F2. I set off across St Ives Bay. One particular surprise during this part of the trip was being able to stand on the foredeck for over 5 minutes whilst the dinghy maintained her NE course. (The sail shaded me from the sun when I was seated at the tiller and I had got wet launching the dinghy, so a few moments in the warm sun were very appealing.)

‘In order to go around the lighthouse I rowed between the two large rocks to the North of Godrevy and then dropped anchor on the South side of the bigger island. With my dry suit on I got myself ashore, strectched my legs and took some photos.

‘Having regained the dinghy I sailed along the cliff-bound Cornish coast to Portreath. The scenery was magnificent.

‘Portreath beach has a wonderful little harbour tucked into the cliffs which used to be full of sailing ships unlaoding Welsh coal for the mining engines and loading copper ore from the mines. It was too awkward to recover the dinghy from the harbour so I anchored beyond the surf and swam ashore to meet Sara and the kids for a day on the beach.

‘At the end of the day Sara gave me a lift to Carbis Bay to get the trailer. Having driven back to Portreath, I backed the dinghy through the surf and floated her onto the trailer. The RNLI had a 4×4 on the beach and they kindly towed the dinghy up to the roadside.’

There. See what a chap can do with the right boat! Many thanks Will!

Nick Smith Clovelly picarooner hull for sale

West Country boatbuilder Nick Smith tells me that this carvel-built Clovelly picarooner hull constructed last year is for sale. Here’s the story from Nick:

‘I planked and framed this carvel hull a year ago, for a customer who changed his mind. It’s 3/4 inch Douglas fir on New Forest oak, and all copper fastened of course.

I took the sections and dimensions off an existing Clovelly picarooner, name and builder unknown. But she was a sweet shape and fair too. I had thought I would have to loft the hull fully, but on looking at the body sections I took off the old hull and the fairness of the original I realised it wasn’t necessary - she was built fair and hadn’t gone out of shape either.

That was born out when I turned the hull down side up, and found I did not need to ‘scuff off’ the planking.

I used a traditional belt sander sparingly then went all over with an orbital sander and 80 grit - there was no need to longboard it to fair it, which was very pleasing.

The original picarooners were, as I understand it, lost ship’s boats that arrived here with the Spanish square-rigged ships of the Armada. That fleet was chased around the unhospitable British coastline, anticlockwise, and most foundering on unknown rocks with an onshore blow.

Some got as far as the North Devon coast only to be wrecked and their tenders washed up near Clovelly, the locals of course picked them up, used and found them to be quick under lugs’l and used them to catch the silver darlings (herring), and quick to sail back to port loaded to the risers in fish, ready to be unloaded and quickly sailed back out.

Picarooner, as far as I can ascertain, is a corruption of a Spanish word meaning ‘sea chaser’ or ‘sea robber’.

The inside of the hull had three coats of marine grey primer, and the outside ditto under the waterline, while the topsides are up to two coats of the undercoat stage.

I would give the topsides two coats of enamel for launch, use her for a season then sand and recoat. Needs to settle in.

The hull is perfect for a 10 to 15hp diesel inboard, tiller steering, three athwartship seats and basic fit out. It could even carry a loose-footed tan lugs’l too !

The hull is heavily built, stable and suitable for fishing, picknicking and general messing about.

If you are interested in buying the hull please ring me and ask, and even come and have a look and a yarn, the boat is under a tarp at my workshop, which is near Ringwood Dorset.

If you’re interested in the boat, Nick’s can be reached on  07827644223, or via the email address on his website.

First time boatbuilder Andrew Bartlett builds a John Milgate Duck Punt

Down on our South Coast, Andrew Bartlett has built a Duck Punt to designer John Milgate’s plans, and is delighted with it! Here’s what he says – and there’s also a short video at the bottom of this post.

I find myself very drawn to these little boats, not least because they appeal to my sense that boating and sailing should be made affordable and available to all. However, I do worry that you often seen them without buoyancy bags or built-in buoyancy, and I fear for the lone Duck Punt sailor who gets into trouble. On the other hand, these boats happily sail in water that even a small person could happily stand up in. Wear your buoyancy aids and stay safe folks…

Anyway, following that moment of worry, here’s what Andrew has to say:

‘During the dark winter months I was viewing some of my favourite sailing websites and forums, was much taken with Dylan Winter’s description of his Duck Punt build and the pleasure he derived from sailing it. I found his enthusiasm persuasive even to the extent of building one myself while having no confidence at all in my competence to do so.

‘I watched the videos and blogs of Dylan Winter, Rusty Knorr and Stan Richards through Gavin Atkin’s fine website Intheboatshed. I referred also to the latter’s helpful book Ultrasimple Boatbuilding. I also received very helpful advice from John Milgate whose plans and building tips proved invaluable.

‘My build wasn’t a light one. It needs two able people to lift it. I decided to follow the more traditional (but heavier) method of building because I would be using it in the creeks of Chichester Harbour, which has soft landfalls but also some sharp flint stony ones, which I felt could damage a lighter build.

‘I do however appreciate the benefits of a lighter build so I am keeping the jig and frames in case I ever feel the urge to make one.

‘I used 9mm exterior plywood for the bottom and 5mm for the topsides and included a second topside as per the plans but the second topside plank was also 9mm. I used some mahogany recycled from an old chest of drawers at the bow and the actual pattern of the bow and stern was the best I could manage according to my meagre skills as best I could.

‘I am thrilled at producing a craft that is watertight and appears to row, paddle and sail rather well. I am still in the early stages of getting used to sailing using an oar rather than a rudder.

‘I have called the boat DP2, as I found an abandoned duck punt in the mud in Chichester Harbour when I was 16 and had a lot of fun with it, before it ended up as a drinking trough on my family’s farm.’

John Milgate’s plans are available from Dylan Winter’s Keep Turning Left website.

PS – In the last couple of weeks Dylan (mentioned above) has enjoyed and endured the best and worst sails of his life… read his weblog here.

Boat Building Academy students build a Selway Fisher sailing dinghy

Boat Building Academy student James Dickson built this pea green Selway-Fisher designed sailing dinghy together with another student Simon Swindells while on the BBA’s long course starting in September last year.

The photos are by Janine Cashin, Paul Dyer, Becky Joseph and Jenny Steer.

The 12ft6in Selway-Fisher Northumbrian Coble was built using glued clinker construction and is planked in Robbins Elite marine ply. All other solid timber parts are made of iroko apart from the spars, which are made of sitka spruce.

James, who was previously a partner in a prominent Scottish law firm, is from a long line of Eyemouth fishermen, and chose the Selway-Fisher design because it allowed him to build a boat in a modern way, but reminded him of a traditional coble.

Simon from London, has worked in sales for the last 20 years but tired by being ‘only being as good as your last month’, joined the Academy to start a new practical career.

The coble has been named Star of Hope after a fishing boat James’ family owned in the 50′s and 60′s, and which he believes is currently being used as a sailing charter in Rostock on the Baltic.

The newest Star of Hope capsized fully three times on launch day, ducking James and crew - though when they rowed themselves back to harbour they reported that this had more to do with human error than the weather or the boat .

Neither James nor Simon have yet decided what they’ll do next, but are exploring different opportunities in woodworking and boat building. Meanwhile, Star of Hope is to be used as often as possible for fun with family and friends.

A film history of Thames Estuary gravel carriers Prior’s

This is a beautifully made film history of Prior’s – their small gravel-carrying ships are a familiar sight for anyone sailing the north side of the Thames Estuary.

My thanks to Paul Mullings for the link.

Here’s a photo of one of Prior’s vessels that I took earlier this year.

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