Alfred Corry, Southwold’s fabulous old lifeboat

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alfred corry, southwold, lifeboat, cromer, pier, henry blogg, john craigie, harbour, clinker, standing lug, dipping lug

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One of Southwold’s best attractions for boat enthusiasts is the Alfred Corry Museum, a small museum by the harbour where the main attraction is the lifeboat named Alfred Corry itself.

The Alfred Corry came into use in 1893 and continued in service until it was withdrawn in 1918. Provided by the Lifeboat Institution, it was built at a time when it was customary to discuss the boat’s size, type and sail plan with local lifeboatmen. The result of their deliberations was that the boat should be and improved 44ft by 13ft Norfolk and Suffolk type, non-self-righting, and capable of being both rowed and sailed. It was to have five tons of water ballast (the boat itself weighed 8.3 tons), and 14 oars – though the finished boat actually had 16.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, the lifeboatmen had their new craft rigged like one of the local beach yawls and fishing punts, with a dipping lug on the foremast and a standing lug on the mizzen.

Over the two and a half decades following her launch, the Alfred Corry was launched 41 times on service, and saved 47 lives.

On retirement she had a long life as a yacht until she was abandoned on the Blackwater, from where she was rescued by John Craigie, great grandson of her original coxswain, also known as John Craigie. The Craigies began the process of repairing the boat (see a clip of her sailing as a yacht here); she has since been restored in her original lifeboat form under the auspices of a charitable trust.

The museum building itself has a story worth telling. Built in 1922 it previously stood on Cromer pier, where it was the home of that town’s lifeboat. It is said to have seen over 1000 lives saved and was of course associated with legendary and highly decorated lifeboatman coxswain Henry George Blogg.

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Some thoughts on barge and smack boats

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Mike Feather’s smack boat Lettuce on the bar at Brancaster

Mike Feather sailing smack boat Lettuce over the bar at Brancaster, Norfolk. Mike comments that with a reef in she was under good control and rode the waves without shipping any water.

Alf Last’s boat Smack boats racing at Walton on the Naze 2002 Smack boat on its side

Above left. Maldon boat builder Alf Last built his best and last barge boat and a mould was taken off it. Here is a cast ready for fitting out. Many barges now carry these – they are stable and sail well. They do not dry out if left in the davits. Above centre.smacks’ boats racing at Walton on the Naze 2002. Above right. A smack boat on its side shows the shallow draft and centre board slot. Click here for more: Continue reading “Some thoughts on barge and smack boats”

Bob Telford’s first race sailing a dinghy with a standing lug

standing-lug-sail1

Standing lug sail from W P Stephens classic Canoe and
Boatbuilding for Amateurs

Bob Telford called by the yard currently restoring his impressive Maurice Griffiths-designed Idle Duck (type the word Idle Duck into the search box top left for more on this boat), only to find himself roped in to what sounded like an interesting round-the-buoys outing. Instead, though, it turned out to be a learning experience…

‘I knew something was afoot when I trundled into the inner sanctum known to some as Alan’s Community Center, for Retired Shipwrights, Dockyard Mateys and Associated Layabouts, and saw him and Peter look up, saying ’just the man…d’you fancy sailing in the Swale Match in me dinghy?

‘”Yes,” says I, without thinking.

‘The boat is a 10-ft lug rigged clinker job, so there I was, on my own, in a dinghy I had never rigged, let alone sailed, heading for the line for a race against four 16-ft fully crewed gaff-rigged dayboats.

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Read the rest of Bob’s story: Continue reading “Bob Telford’s first race sailing a dinghy with a standing lug”