Tag Archives: classic boat

London to Istanbul dinghy sailor and campaigner seeks a UK boatyard for significant project

Memphis of Dartmouth

Successful London to Istanbul dinghy sailor Giacomo De Stefano (he’s currently in the running for Classic Boat’s Person of the Year Award for his voyage) is setting up a new project – and is looking for a boat yard in the UK that can help him achieve his goals.

He’s planning to use two boats to campaign about the ‘connectedness’ of those who use water resources – agriculture, those who use waterways to dispose of effluents, as a source of drinking water, as a means of making and living, and to collect stories that make his points. Read all about the project here: http://www.bewater.info.

One of the boats to be used for this purpose is Memphis of Dartmouth, an impressive 62ft ketch built in 1928 by James Miller & Sons of St Monans, Fife, which he will be bringing to the UK through the French canals in May this year. When she arrives she will need a fair amount of work by a yard to replace rotted oak frames etc, and there will also be a significant amount to be carried out by his own team.

Giacomo tells me he plans to pay for this by raising money from supporters and through organising partnership and sponsorship deals, which he is optimistic of achieving, but he adds that he can also offer financial guarantees to the yard that takes the job on. The job is also likely to attract publicity, it goes without saying.

If you’re interested, please contact Giacomo through the http://www.bewater.info website.

Classic Yacht TV – short videos about sailing classic yachts and working craft

Classic Yacht TV has been set up to offer short documentaries from the classic yachting and work boat scene on a monthly basis.

The folks behind it are London-based photographer and multimedia artist Emily Harris, who grew up sailing and sculling on the East Coast of England in smacks, yachts and dinghies, and photography and film production expert Robin Weaser.

They say they’re looking for advertising and I wish them better luck in that direction than Intheboatshed has experienced – despite notching up more than 18,000 uniques a month…

BBA student Jonathan Palmer wins a big photography prize

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Beer Lugger 2010 Winning Photo

Boat builder Jonathan Palmer has won a first prize in the traditional maritime skills in action section of a photographic competition sponsored by National Historic Ships and Classic Boat magazine.

Jon’s winning photograph (above) was taken in May at the Boat Building Academy workshops where he has been a student.

Titled Beer Lugger 2010, the photograph from the building of the new Beer boat Steadfast by students on Jon’s course. He caught the boat on camera as it was awaiting the frenzied process of hot nailing, in which copper nails are quickly hammered into freshly steamed timber ribs and riveted into place.

The prizes were awarded at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich – after the ceremony Jon apparently enjoyed a game of croquet and a very civilised afternoon tea. He says he will spend the prize money on tools for LP Boatworks, a company that he and fellow Boat Building Academy graduate Ben Larcombe have set up in Colyton, Devon. They plan to offer traditional and modern boat building, restoration and repairs.

Jon’s photo can also be seen in the November issue of Classic Boat or on the National Historic Ships website.

Positioning the copper nails before hot nailing Holding the ribs in postion while the nails are being hammered

Readying the copper nails before hot nailing; the hot nailing process itself

Old fashioned and classic sailing boats of the Norfolk Broads, autumn 2010

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On Barton Broad 13 Hunter's Yard sailing cruiser

On Barton Broad 8 Broads sailing cruiser

On Barton Broad 14 19th century Broads sailing cruiser Zoe sails by On Barton Broad 14 19th century Broads sailing cruiser Zoe sails by On Barton Broad 11 RNSA dinghy sails by

On Barton Broad 5 A Hunter's Yard boat sails by On Barton Broad 10 Broads sailing cruiser

Norfolk Broads Wherry Albion Norfolk Broads Wherry Albion How Hill boatshed

Photos of traditional sailing craft of the Norfolk Broads, including everyone’s favourite, the 19th century Broads sailing cruiser Zoe, a Royal Navy Sailing Association dinghy, the Norfolk wherry Albion, and a charmingly dilapidated boat shed. Click on the images for a much larger photo

We’re just back from a short trip to the Norfolk Broads in the Broads sailing  cruiser Camellia, hired from the helpful folks at the Broads Yachting Company, of Horning – and these are some of our snaps. If only we could have stayed longer!

We recently rather enjoyed the book The Norfolk Broads: The Golden Years, which we bought in Norfolk earlier this year. It’s a compendium of photos and descriptions by the charming Broads writer and keen sailor Philippa Miller, and include many shots of familiar scenes from the area going back to early in the 20th century. It’s difficult to get now, but I notice Amazon sellers have a few copies.

Still more on the iconic zulu

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Scaffie and zulus by Frank Mason, click on the picture for a large image

The recent post showing photos of Spindrift the surviving zulu reminded me that Frank Carr’s book Vanishing Craft includes some nice reading about scaffies, fifies and zulus, and the conditions in which they developed.

Carr reckoned that the three classes had canoe sterns because this enabled to boats to run well particularly when entering the narrow entrance of a harbour, because a sharp-stern boat type enables larger numbers of boats to crowd into the tiny Scottish harbours, and because the strength of the stem construction is particularly valuable in a tidal harbour where the boat will inevitably receive some hard thumps from the bottom of the harbour with every rising and falling tide.

As he says: ‘A sharp-sterned lugger can carry all sail until she enters the harbour, and on letting go the single halyard the sail falls into the boat  by its own weight, and is down in a moment. The boat then surges on with her own impetus and wedges her bows between the projecting sterns of two craft already berthed. There is no bowsprit or other projection outboard to carry away, and a good hard squeeze does not matter when the boats are strongly built.’

There’s a long and interesting exchange of comments following an earlier intheboatshed.net post in which fishing boat expert, journalist, author and kipper king Mike Smylie argues that the zulu was the pinnacle in British fishing boat design during the sailing era, discusses the correct nomenclature for a 50ft zulu-type, and calls into question the often-repeated story that the first zulu was a boat called Nonesuch – he says he has seen evidence that the first zulu was an 80-footer, herself called Zulu. I see from Mike’s book 2002 Traditional Fishing Boats of Britain and Ireland that he lists a number of small surviving zulus, if you can get hold of a copy.

I’d like to add one more quotation from Carr: ‘Big zulus up to 84ft in overall length and of 61ft keel have been built, and in such a craft the enormous fore-lug, rising to a height of some 70ft, is truly a wonderful sail. The zulu skippers were as particular about the cut and set of their sails as any racing yacht skipper, and these fine craft could easily sail 10 knots in a hard breeze. Six big zulus are still working out of Stornaway under sail, and Colonel C L Spencer, the rear-commodore of the Clyde Cruising Club, has told me that he has seen these craft come romping in from sea, passing the steam drifters and leaving them standing. A splendid sight indeed, to see sail beating steam in these days of mechanical efficiency. May they long continue to uphold the tradition of sail in such a magnificent manner!’

And, finally,  I have one more recent photo (below) of Spindrift to share, this time kindly sent to me by Adrian Perquage of Perquage Publishing, Beacette, Guernsey. Thanks Adrian! I think it’s useful to have this side-one view, not least because it shows clearly the striking stern of the zulu type.

Adrian is looking for information and history relating to RN45 MFV called Makalu, which I think is the boat discussed in this news story. If you have anything to share, please let us know using the comment link below of email me at gmatkin@gmail.com, and I will pass the message on.

Spindrift, clearly showing her sharply raked stern – my thanks to Perquage Publishing

The English yachting narrative with particular reference to Cornwall

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The English yachting narrative with particular reference to Cornwall

The June 2009 edition of the NMMC journal Troze is now online and and is packed with gems from the history of yachting.

The article in question is titled The English yachting narrative with particular reference to Cornwall and is written by yachtsman and retired clinical psychologist Mike Bender.

Here are some quotations I particularly enjoyed. From the beginnings of yachting:

‘In the reign of Elizabeth I, Richard Ferris decided it would be a atriotic act to show that no Englishman need be afraid of sailing in home waters after the Armada had been defeated in 1588. In 1590, with two companions, he rowed and sailed in a wherry from London to Bristol. He was not molested by the Spaniards but had to take evasive action near Land’s End to avoid a pirate ship.’

That’s a great story, if I ever heard one. Writing of the Corinthian generation of yachtsmen in their small wooden boats in the late 19th Century, Bender concludes:

‘What is interesting in these texts is that they are usually little more than expanded logs and journals, so it must have been the novelty of these passages that made them of such great interest to the contemporary reader, combined with the use of lithographs which invariably show the boat being pitched around in rough seas going round some suitably perpendicular headland. This Romantic imagery obviously appealed to the dreamer in the reader; but there is a self-denying, almost self-flagellating quality, in the self-chosen tussle with the sea in which the sailor engages.’

On women, he writes:

‘There was a long period of resistance before the First World War towards accepting women into yachting and yacht clubs. Sailing by women was feared for giving too much leeway for the dress and freedom of bodily movement required (and hence, being sexually arousing); and as a statement of equality or independence.’

And on the importance of recording the recent past:

‘There is also a certain urgency… If no-one looks for or after them, the historical records of those pre-GRP, pre-GPS endeavours – the accounts, the letters, the contracts, the tools – will soon be lost; and if no-one is interested in taking down the accounts of the sailors who used them, and getting them published in one of the many forms now available, they will take their experiences to the grave, and we will be the poorer thereby.’

This article is well worth reading. Find it here.

There’s more on the Gadfly II story – but can anyone fill in the ‘missing years’?

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The Kent-built Gadfly II

Simon Papendick has written to give us an update to the earlier posts about the small cruising boat he’s currently restoring, Gadfly II, and to ask for help in finding more information. (For more on Gadfly II, click here.)

Here’s what he has to say:

Hi Gavin:

Thanks to Classic Boat, I now have some new information about my yacht Gadfly II.

It would appear that the boat was build in the 1930s in Whitstable, Kent for a local builder, and that she was the second of three boats he commissioned. I have information about her first years in Kent from the 1930s through to 1949, and then I have more details about her whereabouts in the early 1960s – but then the trail goes cold from 1964 until the early 2000′s when the last owner purchased bought her.

If anyone has any information about Gadfly II’s whereabouts in the missing years, could they please let me know?

During the World War II I gather she had a small mishap when she was almost destroyed by German bombs that where dropped near where she was being stored.

The original owner of the boat only passed away a few years ago, as did the foreman of the yard that build her.

If any of your readers can come up with more information about the boat it would be most helpful.

Regards

Simon

Have you got a story to share or is there some information that you seek?

It could be about an interesting boat you own or are repairing, or a boat-building or repairing skill, or an adventure in a traditional or traditional-style boat? Why not do it through intheboatshed.net? Contact me at gmatkin@gmail.com.