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.

Johnson & Jago 2 1/2 tonner sales leaflet

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Jonson + Jago 2.5 tonner

Click on the image for a larger readable scan

Following the post appealing for a new owner to care for a Johnson & Jago 2 1/2 tonner the other day, kind intheboatshed.net reader Julian Fouser has sent me this scan of a sales flier produced by the company.

Thanks Julian!

It looks like a sweet little boat. I gather there was a piece in Classic Boat some years ago in which someone offered one of these boats named Whistler to a good home in return for a donation to the RNLI. I hope she got the care she deserved and is still around somewhere.

On the subject of Johnson & Jago-built boats, Google found me this site full of photos of a larger boat produced by the company – and this one is a Dunkirk Little Ship!

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