Sussex luggers ‘for all the world like so many glow-worms’

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South Coast lugger

South Coast lugger, from HC Folkard’s The Sailing Boat published in 1870

I’ve been wanting to share a quote from Keble Chatterton’s entertaining history Fore & Aft Craft that I find rings in my head.

I’m hoping that you’ll find a similar appeal in it.

‘We spoke just now of the Sussex luggers. They are still to be seen in the English Channel. One meets them at work in Dungeness Bay, or off Fairlight, or between Newhaven and Selsey Bill, and at night the sea is dotted with a pattern of small yellow lights, as they pursue their calling, looking at a distance for all the world like so many glow-worms.’

The Science Museum has a splendid model of one of these craft from 1860.

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Photos of the traditional wooden clinker-built fleet of fishing boats at Hastings

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Quite a few of the traditional wooden clinker built boats survive among the beach-based fishing fleet at Hastings

These photos are part of a collection of shots I took of the beach boat fishing fleet at Hastings in the Easter Bank Holiday sunshine earlier this week. I’ll put up some more in the coming days.

Looking back, this is the first time I’ve photographed the boats in just over three years and I’m impressed that there seem to be almost as many of the traditional wooden clinker built beach boats as there were on my last visit. It’s particulary pleasing to see how many of the smaller boats are now being cared for and used by the local sea angling society, which seems to include some seriously hard working enthusiasts. Long may they prosper!

For more intheboatshed.net posts relating to Hastings and its fishing fleet, click here. I think you’ll find some interesting material.

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Interested in Bob Hinks’ Cirrus? Contact him to arrange a date to sail her

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Cirrus

Bob Hinks, who graduated from the Boat Building Academy a little while ago, is looking for commissions to build up-market day-sailors along the lines of his widely admired Cirrus.

He explains:

Cirrus was conceived as a classic gentleman’s daysailer, designed to be fast, sail beautifully and look a picture. A miniature J class yacht is what we set out to achieve, and I think we got pretty close.

‘She was designed with a particular sailor in mind – someone who might have a larger boat but who wants to get back to the fun and excitement of sailing a smaller boat on offshore and inland waters. She is unashamedly a luxury item built to exacting standards in everything from her teak decks to her purpose built fittings.

‘I think her market is Poole, Mylor and Chichester Harbours, the Norfolk Broads, the Solent, Western Isles of Scotland, the Caledonian Canal, Lake Windermere and many other beautiful locations worldwide. With a lifting keel and rudder, and a minimum draft of only 500 mm, she can easily be moved on her trailer from one sailing area to another.

‘The price of £40,000 might seem high – but she cost £20,000 in materials alone, and took 2400 hours to build. If I took the drive system out of the equation she would be £7000 cheaper – but it is such great thing I don’t want to. The electric motor just makes the boat very easy to control. Getting in and out of a harbour is quick simple and nearly silent. When motoring up a creek to the pub there’s no smelly fuel or exhaust, and the quiet engine is blissful.

‘I enclose some pictures of Cirrus at the Beale Park Boat Show, which was a great success. She was sailing most of the time and looked wonderful – we had as many as five and a dog on board at one point. The pond is only just over a meter deep so we had to sail with the board and rudder up but she still performed like a dream. She was described as the belle of the ball, and I spent my time doing interviews and sailing, and dealing with many interested enquiries.

‘There are various changes I plan to make on the next boat, including a slightly heavier keel with an electric winch, repositioned bilge pumps and a modified rudder lift device. If the orders come in, I’d like to build two or three boats, one of which would be similar but a bit longer and with a small cuddy.

‘I hope to sail the boat in the South of England this summer starting with Mylor harbour in a couple of weeks – if anyone is interested in the boat and would like an opportunity to sail have a go at sailing her, I’m sure we can arrange it.’

Bob can be reached by phone at 07785 346072 and by email at bobhinks@btinternet.com.

cirrus_flyer-10 cirrus brochure

Cirrus publicity material