A Spartina on the English East coast

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Watch this beautiful Phil Bolger-designed Spartina with its convenient balanced boomed foresail sailing on an East coast river, captured here by the excellent Dylan Winter.

His collection of YouTube videos as he sails anti-clockwise around the UK is well worth watching for the boats, for the sailing and for his entertaining and trenchant commentary, with which I largely agree – although you may not. Take a look and see what you think!

The Spartina is a powerful example of the range of Bolger’s work. It’s a serious mistake to think that he only drew utilitarian sailing and motoring boxes: the man had a real designer’s eye, and used it in drawing up many of his output of many hundreds of designs. I’ve been collecting his books for years, but his published material is available to all in the UK via the national library system in the UK. It’s interesting, illuminating stuff that more people should know about.

There are very few Bolger boats in British waters, which makes this Spartina a particularly striking find.

Dylan was very taken with this boat, and its foresail in particular.

There’s a lot to be said for a foresail like this on a small boat where there’s not much danger of anyone being hurt by the boom. On a boat with a real foredeck on which someone might have to stand, however, it could be a different story.

Of course, I’m not remotely influenced by the massive compliment in the information that goes with this video!

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A hellish monster from the deep

The poulpe colossal – don’t try catching this one!

I’ve been very entertained this week by this illustration from a book called Strange Sea Mysteries, published in 1926 and written by a chap called Elliott O’Donnell.

The preface is good too, and just the thing to read to children on a dark winter night:

‘In compiling this volume of unpleasant happenings connected with the sea great care has been taken to select those only that are authentic.’  July 1, 1926

The chapters include ‘The massacre on board the E A Johnson, ‘The Ship of Strange Smells’, ‘The Ramsgate Mystery’ and ‘The Great’The Corpse Box of Hell Gate’. Oooo-errr! I can’t find any copies at ABE Books but I’d guess that one is likely to turn up some day – and if you do it might make a good book to read out loud when afloat late one night…

These tales may be entertaining at this distance in time, but I wonder how many of these stories were real tragedies in someone’s life? Does anyone know?

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Dylan Winter on gaffers and smacks

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The gifted Dylan Winter has excelled himself this time with his latest short YouTube video series Keep Turning Left. In this one he drools over a series of gaff-rigged yachts and smacks, and praises the English for their amazing reasonableness.

Hopefully someone, somewhere will one day have the vision to commission him to do a series of properly budgeted videos – if nothing else this hugely enjoyable series must be a great advert for his skills and screen persona. Maybe the lucky man will even be offered the rich prize of a book contract!

It seems churlish to say it but one thing I slightly regret is that chooses a lot of Irish music for these videos. Maybe he knows and has rejected the wealth of great English traditional music that might seem a more approriate accompaniment to videos that are at least for the moment centred on the English coast, but my feeling is that the Scots, Irish and Welsh will no doubt get their turns later…

PS – I was delighted to find this exchange in the comments to this video on YouTube:

‘What are you watching,’ my wife asked. ‘You’ve got that look on your face.’

‘What look?’ I replied.

‘That look that says I want to be doing what they are doing – you’re not watching porn on that thing are you?’