Working Sail’s designs are based on the lines of 19th century pilot cutters from the Isles of Scilly, a group of islands in Cornish waters lying at the entrance to the English and Bristol channel. They are said to make excellent yachts due to their excellent seaworthiness and sailing performance. In a way, the fact that pilot boats evolved these qualities should not be surprising: as pilot boats need to be very capable, weatherly and fast in order to make sure their pilot reaches the incoming ship before its rivals.
I’d just like to add that while Lulworth (next post down) makes my jaw drop, the boats of Working Sail below quicken my pulse much more. The boat below is Ezra.
For more from Working Sail:
Charles Stock is a national treasure to those of us who sail around the coasts of the UK, particularly those of us on a small budget.
Stock, you see, has sailed over 70,000 nautical miles in Shoal Waters, a little gaff-rigged 16-ft centreboarder he built in 1963 using a hull designed by Uffa Fox and hot-moulded by Fairey – and all without an engine.
Like the good farm manager he used to be, through it all he has kept a meticulous log of his voyaging and his costs, and written one of the best and most endearing manuals of small-boat cruising that I know: Sailing Just for Fun. This book is simply bursting with good advice and encouragement for owners of small sailing boats, and could not have been written with more authority. From the first page you know that Stock has been there and done it, and knows exactly what he’s talking about – 70,000 nautical miles in a small boat like Shoal Waters adds up to more days sailing than most people could pack into several lifetimes.
It probably goes without saying that in his home waters on the Essex coast he long ago became a legend for sailing almost all year round, often in conditions that send other, much larger boats scurrying home.
For Charles Stock’s website:
The Nancy Blackett is a 28ft Hillyard cruising yacht that famous children’s author Arthur Ransome bought second-hand in 1934.
In fact, she was quite new, having been built in 1931, but in her young life had already borne two names when Ransome renamed her after a character in his children’s novels.
The story of how she came to be rescued by Mike Rines, who restored her and finally sold her to the Nancy Blackett Trust, is astonishing – perhaps the most remarkable aspect of it is that he lived only doors away from Ransome’s home at the time he owned the Nancy B, yet knew little about the author and nothing about his connection with the boat.
Nancy Blackett story and pictures
Nancy Blackett Trust website:
Swallows & Amazons enthusiasts pages for more material about Ransome’s boats, both in real life and in his novels
If you can add to this story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .