Pilot Cutter Vigilant, photographed at Faversham
She was built in 1902, and working from Gravesend she was primarily used for control and clearance of ships using the Port of London, until she was sold out of the Admiralty service for use as a motor yacht. Since then her career has been pretty chequered, but it’s great to see her afloat, and apparently with a future to look forward to.
I spotted her and took the shot on my way to Oare, where I had an assignation with a dirty bottom. Lots of us have fouled boat bottoms to clean just now, and the race is on to get them clean and painted with antifouling ahead of the great day the man with the crane puts them all in the water.
It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it, and suffice it to say that I worked hard for the few hours available with the help of a power hose loaned to me by a kind gentleman who owns a nearby Colin Archer-type yacht, for which I’d like to record my thanks. Not for the first time, I found myself reflecting on the commitment and determination shown by those who own wooden boats, which generally require far more attention than our little pocket cruiser.
Late on, the sun burst through and lit up a bundle of masts, and a little later again a small storm thundered over the flats of North Kent.
While I worked, somewhere up the creek the good folks of the Hollowshore Cruising Club were celebrating opening their new premises – but I was too busy and probably too dirty to join them!
Dirty and clean bottoms at Oare; masts glinting in the low winter afternoon sun;
dark clouds rolling down on Oare Creek
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