From tree to boat. My thanks to Hans Christian Rieck for spotting this one.
From tree to boat. My thanks to Hans Christian Rieck for spotting this one.
Veteran campaigner on water issues and indefatigable sailor and rower Giacomo di Stefano some days ago completed a circumnavigation of Mallorca in a traditional llaut – without the use of an engine.
In the heat, I think the 187-mile trip was hard going at times, particularly the last rowed leg.
There’s an article about the llaut type here.
The 20ft Roger Dongray-designed Golant Ketch shown above was built by Boat Building Academy student Keith McIlwain on the BBA’s long course. (Photos by Liz Griffiths, Becky Joseph, Jon Pritchard and Jenny Steer.)
Daydream, the largest boat built by the BBA’s October 2013 intake, is a decked trailer sailer with lifting centreboard, outboard engine and cabin. Her hull is constructed using the ply on frame method.
From Bristol, Keith started his working life as a sailmaker and worked his way up to loft manager for a premier sail company before starting a career in sales and marketing.
He decided to join the 38-week course as a way of returning to the boating industry with a new career, and is currently setting up his own boat building, restoration and repairs business just outside of Bristol, to be called Daydream Boats.
Keith will build on his prior experience of furniture and sail-making, and will also be an agent for Jeckells Sails in the South West.
He chose to build the Golant Ketch as he wanted a boat he could sail around Bristol and the South West, and to help promote his business to potential customers.
Brenton Pyle from South Africa worked with Keith throughout the build.
Brenton moved to the UK with his family in 2005 and worked for an aircraft maintenance company. He joined the Academy to start a career in boat building, and throughout the course has particularly enjoyed developing his woodworking skills.
He is currently working with former academy instructor, Justin Adkin at his workshop based in Axminster and in the future will consider options in boat building, woodworking and furniture making.
Students Andy Jones, George Le Gallais and Steven Roberts also worked closely with Keith to build Daydream, but between them also made a 14ft paddleboard, again shown in the gallery above .
George was the first to paddle it out into the harbour on launch day.
The plans for the ply on frame Kaholo board were purchased from Chesapeake Light Craft website. It was sheathed in glass and epoxy; to paddle it the students use paddles they built as part of the course.
Andy who grew up in Lyme Regis, joined the Academy from London where he worked for Babcock Critical Services in partnership with the London and Lincolnshire fire and rescue brigades. During the course he worked on all of the boat projects, in particular Keith’s Golant Ketch, to which he became quite attached.
Joe who loves to experience different cultures and to throw himself into unfamiliar territory, spent time travelling around Europe, North and South America, Australia and India before joining the Academy. Like Andy and all 38-week course students Joe worked on all of the course boat projects and enjoyed learning modern and traditional techniques.
Joe from Devon has work lined up at the Underfall Boatyard in Bristol, and Andy is working at Sutton Oars in Teignmouth, making wooden oars for gigs, and carbon skull oars.
I’m sure I recognise some of those folks eating oysters at the end…
My thanks to Chris Brady for finding and pointing out this one.
By the way, I must apologise once again for being a little slow on this website at the moment. We lost our phone and internet service on the 20th July and are still waiting for it to be reinstated.
Multiple award winning boatbuilder and designer and all-round interesting bloke Will Stirling is continuing his campaign to visit dramatic lighthouses using a traditional 14ft dinghy built by Stirling and Son – most recently with a trip to the Longships Lighthouse, built on group of rocks a couple of miles west of the notorious point of Land’s End.
With this August’s weather, I think he’s done well to find a window in the weather!
Here’s his story about the expedition:
‘The original plan was to sail from Sennen Cove just North of Land’s End down to the Wolf Lighthouse, back around the Longships Lighthouse and return to Sennen Cove.
‘I set off early from Plymouth to avoid any traffic. On the way down the A30 the windmills were gently turning. From high land the Isles of Scilly and the Wolf were in clear view. Light winds and good visibility augured well.
‘I arrived in good time at Land’s End and twisted my way down the lane into Sennen Cove. The tiny old harbour was very pretty. I backed the dinghy down a very steep granite slipway overlooked by a mighty lifeboat station.
‘Reversing on the sand was easy and the dinghy was soon afloat and anchored off – but driving forward on the sand was not easy and the van soon became bogged down. Two fisherman were watching and no doubt the odd curtain was twitching. I am used to feeling stupid.
‘There was the predictable sucking through teeth about the difficulties of recovering the van and when it would be possible to do so later in the day. No doubt King Cnut sat in his throne on the beach to demonstrate that the tide could not be defied, with a pair of stout thurls on hand to lug the throne up the beach when the old king’s toes started to get wet. I could see that the van would be a little more difficult to recover.
‘However, having played the lead role in many acts of foolishness I am pretty philosophical; things tend to get sorted out.
‘I had some time in hand in relation to the tide, so I prepared the dinghy, hauled the trailer up the beach and bought a parking ticket. By the time I was back the fishermen had rigged a warp around a turning block and back to the harbour-head capstan. We dragged the van up the beach, and with an extra burst of speed managed to claw up the slipway.
‘I didn’t bother to contemplate dinghy recovery at this stage, but gave the kind fishermen my thanks and some chocolate and set off.
‘Soon afterwards, I returned having realised I had forgotten the VHF and then pulled the zip off the drysuit. The zip was unrepairable but the VHF was now on board.
‘The trip was still within the tidal constraints for doubling the Wolf; however, the wind was very light and I began to doubt that I would reach the Wolf before the tide turned. I decided to sail to the Longship’s first and see if the wind would fill in away from the land or come up as time passed.
‘I sailed just South of the Shark’s Fin, a nasty rock to the North of the Longships, and despite the calm weather there were tidal overfalls. Strangely, the wind seemed to increase in each of the overfalls as the dinghy sailed through them quite fast.
‘Turning South and to seaward of the Longships I could see an alarming line of broken water to the West, indicating further overfalls. As the tide was pushing East, I had to hope I wouldn’t be sucked into them.
‘When I successfully got to the Longships, it seemed calm enough to consider a landing. I sailed among the rocks to the south of the lighthouse and anchored in a little cove where there were seals.
‘The dry suit was broken so I swam five metres to the shore in underpants and took some photos – very aware that if the main sheet did wind itself around the tiller and become jammed, trip the anchor and sail the dinghy out of the cove, massive embarrassment awaited. I didn’t waste any time ashore and took care to ensure I was always within a few seconds of regaining the dinghy.
‘In the second trip ashore to a small off lying rock the dinghy began to drag. I quickly clambered back aboard and sailed into deeper water away from the rocks before sorting everything out on board.
‘It was now 1130 with one hour until the tidal gate for arriving at the Wolf, which was 8 miles away to the South. The wind itself was now a steady F3 from the N. Ideal conditions for getting to the Wolf; not good conditions for getting back, particularly if the wind increased. I decided that it was not wise to attempt the Wolf with only an hour of tide, adverse wind for the return journey and a broken dry suit which made me vulnerable to offshore capsize. I was already quite cold after my swim.
‘I sailed back towards Sennen, through the overfalls just North of Kettle Rock and into the little harbour.
‘Charles Bush (the director of Mayflower Marina which is right next to our yard in Plymouth) happened to be standing on the beach with his family. He had been out catching turbot for supper.
‘With a bit of Norwegian steam we dragged the dinghy up the beach and hitched her onto the van at the very bottom of the granite slipway. Charles’ family pushed, his son sat on the bonnet to give the wheels traction and with much revving the whole rig reached the tarmac at the top of the slip. One cream tea later at the Bush’s cottage over looking the cove and some local advice about a better launching spot for the next Wolf attempt concluded a very pleasant Longship’s circumnavigation.
‘Best wishes, Will’
Stirling and Son offers traditional yacht building and wooden boat repair and is based at the historic No 1 Covered Slip at Devonport. Also, follow the Stirling and Son Facebook page for news, some wonderful boats and great photos.
The latest Shipshape Network newsletter brings happy news that the restoration of the Uffa Fox designed Flying 30, Huff of Arklow, is progressing rapidly and is to be relaunched on the 7th September.
An enlarged version of Fox’s wonderfully elegant Flying 15 design, Huff was was built in 1951 in Arklow by John Tyrrell & Sons (see list of Tyrell-built craft) for the well known yachtsman Douglas Heard. She’s an important boat in several ways – she was the first masthead rigged sloop designed to plane and the first ocean-going yacht designed to plane. And she is fast, certainly – she recorded a speed of 23 knots on a trip to Iceland in 1960.
PS – Martha’s Vineyard sailor and boat surveyor Ginny Jones wrote to tell me about this YouTube video about Huff, complete with Uffa Fox singing a stage sea song, some modern pop stuff with photos of kid’s and their models of Huff, and finally photos of her pre-restoration interior, with someone (I don’t know who) singing a proper sea song, the Sailor’s ABC.
My thanks to Paul Mullings for finding this one!
PS – here’s another video of sailing in a nearby spot in Duck Punts earlier this year.