Category Archives: Boating, boats, ships and the sea

Some good news about the lovely bawley Thistle RR2

Here’s some great, encouraging news from Faversham’s Lena Reekie, a traditional boat enthusiast well known for organising various local boating events:

‘She is 130 years – a sad looking but beautiful lady. Thistle RR2 is the last of the Rochester bawleys, built by Gill in 1887.

‘She has a 34ft keel, 13ft beam and 5ft draught.

‘After a long working life out of Rochester and Gravesend, Phil
Wilkinson, a smack and bawley enthusiast, found her sunk in Kingston-on- Thames. He acquired her in 1976 and, having rescued her from an almost certain bonfire, began a thorough rebuild to get her back afloat and sailing again. It was a remarkable achievement by one man.

‘She was was later owned by Mark Jones and based at Hollowshore near Faversham. With her loose-footed mainsail, very tall topmast and long bowsprit she was a beautiful sight and was often seen sailing in the Swale, Medway and on the East Coast.

‘Sadly, about 10 years ago, she was no longer looked after, finally sank again, unwanted, and recently it became clear that she was again heading for the chainsaw.

‘But now a group of friends from Iron Wharf appalled by the prospect of Thistle meeting a sad end have stepped in. They got the ‘go ahead’ to re-float the old bawley and at the end of July she was towed to Iron Wharf, where she now awaits further action.

‘The group also purchased her sails and a smack boat dinghy from the previous owner.

‘The aim is now to lift her out for a short time to assess the work and cost to keep her afloat over the winter and at to carry out necessary repairs. Unfortunately her new owners have limited funds and are obliged to appeal for help.

‘Initially there will be a fund raising raffle at the Anchor Pub in Faversham on Sunday 8 October at about 3 pm, after the finish of the annual Iron Wharf Rowing Race between Nagden and Faversham Town Quay.  All are welcome to take part.’

For information, please contact Lena Reekie on 01795 229564 or 07968 058398.

By the way, I can confirm that her hull form has a lovely ‘just right for the job’ look.

 

A warning about changing boat plans

Whenever boat designers get together there’s one topic nearly always crops up – the problems that arise when some builder or other changes plans.

Other groups have also have their gripes – I know touring bands talk about the comfort that is afforded by having the bigger engine option in their vans and office workers complain about IT.

But changing a set of carefully worked out plans goes to the heart of what designers do when they make the mass of small decisions that together make a functioning and often good looking boat. So a designer’s anxiety mounts when someone announces that they’re making a change.

Often, the changer is an experienced person (such as Faversham’s Alan Thorne), the change is minor and everything works out fine  – but so often that anxiety often turns to dismay when an unlooked for modification turns out to be disastrous for the builder’s project.

And so it was in the example Michael Storer quotes in this article. I commend it to first time and amateur boat builders – and I commend Mik’s thoughts on the issue to other designers.

Arthur Beale hosts talks by successful round Britain sailor Kim Sturgess and Last Voyages author Nicholas Gray

On 26th October Arthur Beale and Fernhurst Books will be hosting an evening looking at two contrasting voyages which are recounted in books from the Making Waves series.

Kim C Sturgess will recount how, at the age of 50, he undertook his first major sailing adventure, sailing around Britain – the dream of many cruisers in the UK. He made it achievable in 50 day sails and 1 night passage. This has proved a popular tale and his book (Sailing Around Britain) moves into its second edition in October as part of the Making Waves series.

Nicholas Gray has done many voyages himself, but has recounted the lives and last voyages of 11 famous sailors in his book Last Voyages which was published this year. This evening he will talk about some of the characters from his book and give his take on Donald Crowhurst whom he met before his last voyage. One reviewer commented: “Nicholas Gray even manages to add something new to the well-known story of Donald Crowhurst”. This will become even more well-known as the film The Mercy, staring Colin Firth, based on Donald Crowhurst, is released later in the week. Nicholas will perhaps be able to give a less sensational account.

As well as short talks on these voyages, the authors will be available for questions, conversation and even signing copies of their books.

A nominal £5.00 entry fee is charged but this is fully refunded on purchase of one of the books in the Making Waves Series (or any purchase over £15.000 from the shop).
Places are limited, so we ask you to email talks@arthurbeale.co.uk to reserve your place.
Date: Wednesday, 25th October 2017
Time: 18.30 for an 18:45 start
Venue: St Giles in the Fields Church, 60 St Giles High Street. London, WC2H 8LG (just over the road from Arthur Beale)