F B Cooke falls a little in love

[ad name=”intheboatshed-post”]

cooke-23

Drawings of T Harrison Butler’s single-handed cruiser

Like many of us, F B Cooke was clearly a bit of a boat dreamer, and in the early 1920s seems to have fallen very much under the spell of  T Harrison Butler’s pretty Single-Handed Cruiser.

‘I, like many other sailing men, have long searched in vain for the ideal small single-hander, but I think I have found her, or rather her lines… She is a perfect love of a boat, and when my ship comes home I shall be tempted to have her built.’

The boat is just 18ft 6in in length. ‘The underwater lines suggest  weatherliness, and with a good length of keel she should be very steady on her helm.’

Again: She strikes me as just the thing for knocking about in the estuaries and creeks of the East Coast at week-ends, whilst a trip up to Lowestoft would be quite within her capabilities in any ordinary summer weather. Dr Butler has given the boat a very snug sail plan, but in that I think he is right, for it is a mistake to over-canvas  a boat intended for single-handed work.’

I should explain that the boat in these drawings looks significantly bigger than 18ft 6in because H-B has drawn her with a Laws lifting cabin roof.

Did the Single-Handed Cruiser ever catch on? I’d very much like to know. And I can’t help thinking that an inexpensive small boat along these classic lines and as pretty as this one might be an interesting proposition for a boatbuilder to offer in wood or plastic in times like these.

cooke-22 cooke-22a cooke-23

cooke-25 cooke-27 cooke-31

cooke-33 cooke-35


Advertisements

F B Cooke on Single Handed Cruising

[ad name=”intheboatshed-post”]

The mystery of Gadfly II’s origins and her link with the Blackwater sloops reminded me of yachting author F B Cooke, who I seem to remember owned a Blackwater sloop in the 1920s.

He had strong views on the size and type of yachts that should be used for cruising, for as he says:

‘To be dependent upon the assistance of friends, who may leave one in the lurch at the eleventh hour, is a miserable business that can only be avoided by having a yacht which one is capable of handling alone… The ideal arrangement is to have a vessel of sufficient size to accommodate one or two guests and yet not too large to be sailed single-handed at a pinch.’

I’d go further, and say that even with friends and family aboard, it’s safer and better if all the basic sailing tasks can be carried out by a single pair of hands.

I thought readers might be interested to see what he had to say about what size and type of  small yacht seemed most desirable in those far-off days.

cooke-1 cooke-3 cooke-5

cooke-7 cooke-9 cooke-11

cooke-13 cooke-15 cooke-17

cooke-19 cooke-21