The rule of the road told in verses

SS Metapan sunk by the SS Iowan

SS Metapan sunk by a collision withthe SS Iowan; image from Popular Mechanics magazine published in 1915. Image placed on the Wikimedia by Pmcyclist

 

I found the following useful navigation rhymes in a book that Mike Smylie was kind enough to give me at the weekend – it previously belonged to his father. I’ve heard them before, notably from old Sam Larner, but haven’t seen them printed out. And as a bonus they came with some extra verses relating to sailing vessels.

The book is titled The Yachtsman’s Week End Book, written by John Irving and Douglas Service, and I think it’s a gem because of the way it opens a window into the different attitudes of the past. For example I particularly liked this quotation: ‘Four things shalt thou not see aboard a yacht for its comfort – a cow, a wheelbarrow, and umbrella and a naval officer.’

But back to the rhymes – they may be wrong in the current age, so please don’t take them as gospel. I can’t accept responsibility if you do!

Two steamships meeting:

When both lights you see ahead

Starboard wheel and show your red

Two steamships passing:

Green to green or red to red

Perfect safety, go ahead

Two steamships crossing:

If to your starboard red appear

It is your duty to keep clear

To act as judgement says is proper

To port or starboard, back or stop her

But when upon your port is seen

A steamer’s starboard light of green

There’s not much for you to do

For green to port keeps clear of you

However, all ships must keep a look-out and steamships must stop and go astern if necessary:

Both in safety and in doubt

Always keep a good look-out

In danger with no room to turn

Ease her, stop her, go astern

But these rules don’t work so well for sailing vessels. Instead, the following rhyme is proposed:

Now those four rules we all must note

Are no use in a sailing boat

As we’re dependent on the wind

Another set of rules we find

A close-hauled ship you’ll never see

Give way to one that’s running free

It’s easier running free to steer

And that’s the reason she keeps clear

With the wind the same side, running free

One’s to windward, one to lee

The leeward ship goes straight ahead

The other alters course instead

Both close-hauled or both quite free

On different tacks we all agree

The ship that has the wind to port

Must keep well clear, is what we’re taught

At other times the altering craft

Is the one that has the wind right aft

 

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Joe Blathwayt builds a glued clinker dinghy at the Boat Building Academy

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Boat Building Academy principal Yvonne Green has sent us a final set of photos from the student launch day down in Lyme back in December, this time showing a 12ft glued clinker stem dinghy built by Joe Blathwayt.

Joe, a former architect, has moved to Lyme and wanted a fun beach and sea angling boat with an outboard, and so he built his dinghy on a course at the Academy.  The lines were taken from a 40-year old 10’ stem dinghy, and then adapted for the new purpose.

Now he’s based at Lyme, I gather Joe plans to combine working on boats and undertaking architectural projects.

Yvonne comments: ‘We started a new 38-week course today. It’s always interesting to see the different mix of people who come to us.

‘We showed them photos of the launch and the boats and told them that’s where they would be 38 weeks from now. The news was greeted with some disbelief… ‘

PS Don’t forget to ask for a pdf copy of the Academy’s prospectus for the coming year, as it makes interesting reading. Email Yvonne at office@boatbuildingacademy.com and I’m sure she’ll send you a copy.

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Marc Chivers and helpers build a 13ft clinker pilot punt

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Once again, Boat Building Academy principal Yvonne Green has sent us some more photos from the big student launch day at Lyme in December. Thanks Yvonne!

Marc Chivers was a manager with the NHS before he decided to change his life.

At the Boat Building Academy he built a 13ft traditional clinker pilot punt in larch on oak with a grown crook for a stem. She’s fastened with non-ferrous fastenings and bedded in a traditional manner, and the the lines were taken from a work of historical reference by Malcolm Darch.

Marc’s main helpers on the build were Seb Evans, who now wants to design and build traditional craft for a livingt, and Kevin Marshall, who is now working for T Nielsen & Co at Gloucester Docks.

By the way – I’ve just seen a pdf file of the Academy’s prospectus for the coming year, and I must say it makes very interesting reading. Email Yvonne at office@boatbuildingacademy.com and I’m sure she’ll send you a copy.

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