Victorian racing yacht Germaine relaunched after many years at the IBTC

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The 1882 Nicholson racing yacht Germaine has been relaunched following a long restoration at the International Boatbuilding Training Centre at Lowestoft.

Once she is fully rigged and has her new suit of sails she will sail to her new home in Brittany.

Germaine was designed by Ben Nicholson for a prominent racer, Mr FW Leybourne Popham.

After being photographed by Beken, she sailed to the Med in December 1882 and returned in the spring of 1883, passed to Mr Harvey A Dixon, who rigged her as a cutter. She was later made into a yawl again, and passed through further changes of ownership – later owners were Major Middleton Robinson and Mr HW Whittingham of Goodmayes, Essex. In the early 60s she was found on the banks of the Blackwater by Ann and Peter Christgau, who refloated and cleaned her, and sold her in the mid-1960s.

Eventually she returned to the Camper and Nicholson yard, where she was to be repaired ready for the yard’s bicentenary celebrations. Sadly the yard got into financial difficulties and the project had to be abandoned.

Germaine’s cause was then taken up by Patrick Bigand, who acquired her and transported her to the IBTC in 1997 for restoration.

The restoration took quite some time, and I gather that she leaves quite a space in the College’s premises, having been there for two decades, but it must be wonderful for the staff and students to see her back on the water.

PS – Donan Raven points out that there’s some good material about Germaine here – and that it includes a set of lines, two Beken photos and some shots of the IBTC restoration. Thanks Donan!

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The Leila Sailing Trust appeals for a little more financial help

The magnificent restored Victorian gentleman’s sailing yacht Leila has her new transom and new stanchions required by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s requirements for guard rails. The windlass has been fitted, and down below the ballast is secured with a wooden lattice. The electrics are all in conduit and waterproof boxes, a bilge alarm has been fitted and Perkins the engine runs sweetly.

It all sounds good – but the Leila Sailing Trust is running low on cash and desperately needs £2000 to finish their work so that they can move her at the end of the month to Lowestoft, where she will have a new berth close to the International Boatbuilding Training College – which I gather is likely to be providing advice.

Leila’s currently being worked on in Southwold Harbour.

The Leila Sailing Trust is therefore putting out an impassioned appeal: after all their work, can anyone chip in to help them get over the next few weeks, and take the next beg step towards getting this wonderful old lady back to sea? Contact them via the website.

James Caird replica Alexandra Shackleton is launched at Portland

A replica of the James Caird built by the International Boatbuilding Training College was officially named and launched at Portland on Sunday, 18th March.

She is to be used by the Shackleton Epic Expedition to recreate Ernest Shackleton’s original voyage in April 1916, when he and five others sailed their ship’s boat, the original James Caird, 8oo miles from Elephant Island to South Georgia in order to get help for the rest of the crew of the Endurance, which had been crushed by ice in the Weddell Sea.

On landing on South Georgia they then faced a climb over snow- and ice-covered mountains without  maps to the whaling station at Grytviken to raise the alarm.

This is the first time both elements of the journey have been attempted, and it will be filmed as a documentary. The expedition will be led by Tim Jarvis, explorer and environmentalist.

The replica boat was named after the Hon Alexandra Shackleton, who is patron of the expedition and granddaughter of Sir Ernest.

The original James Caird lies at Dulwich College, London, and so the IBTC was able to take the accurate measurements, offsets and scantling dimensions required for an authentic replica, by kind permission of the college archivist Calista Lucy.

The Alexandra Shackleton was built in two stages, as was the original, which started life as an open whaler, and was then modified on the ice after the Endurance was lost. The topsides were built up by three planks, and then decked-in to leave only a small open cockpit. Two spars were added, with a third bolted to the keel to add strength and act as a mast step.

It’s reported that on launching the new boat leaked not a drop. Sebastian Coulthard, who is due to crew with Jarvis, said that he was really impressed with the build quality and sturdiness of the boat.

Ballasting and sea trials will follow.

For more intheboatshed.net posts relating to the Shackleton expedition, the famous voyage in the James Caird, and to the new expedition and its boat, click here, here, here, here and here. And there’s more if you look hard…