'Stoppress' pages for 2020

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Sunday 5th July 2020.

Just had to empty the spam folder of another 24 offers from China to sell us masks etc.   They never give up!

Welcome to David in New Zealand with the Eventide 24 'Quest'.  She is double diagonal teak!  Will last forever!  The story goes that she was built in 1960 in the far east somewhere and sailed to New Zealand, arriving 1962.  Now there's a log that would be interesting reading.  David is renovating her now.  I have asked about the keel weight, because I had a 1960 built 24 and that only had 560lb, sailed on her ear!  Terrible weather helm!. Cured it by almost doubling the keel weight in line with the later drawings!

Welcome to Steve and Fiona with a lovely green Eventide 24, 'Misty',  on the Norfolk Broads, they have just enrolled too.  Good to have you aboard. No rig, used as a motorboat, for now!

Still no response from a couple of recent new enrolments. Not heard back from Nick Butler, which is sad, hoped he would  verify he was Ashley's dad....

Have managed to put the ex owner of Spoondrift in touch with Wim in the Netherlands, thanks to work done by John Stevens on the database!

John is still working on the Halcyon 14!

Had sad news in from Polly who was rebuilding the Waterwitch 'Blackwater Witch', ex 'Dougaljo' at Tollesbury. She is  selling her as John has sadly died, our thoughts are with her... The WW is  part renovated...  Contact David Morris at Tollesbury yacht sales if you are interested in a project.  Lovely boat when Doug and Jo sailed her, we have sailed in company for hundreds of miles!

No sails hardly on the river all week, one day saw just two, been breezy mind!  F7 today and of course river is empty.  Strange times...

Lastly Roger has contacted me re a survey he has done in the Estuary.  Lucky chap he is afloat, albeit in a new motorboat, sadly sailing no more.

 

2020 Update - Re-survey of the SW Sunk Swatchway

 

Re-survey of the SW Sunk Swatchway

Conditions on Tuesday (23rd June) were about as perfect as I could get.  This image is looking west towards the Barrow Deep right in the middle of the swatch.  The flood tide through the swatch is obvious.  Note the obvious 'workboat' style of vessel.  My arthritis has sadly forced me to part with 'Tiller Girl'.

The swatchway was as expected.  Very similar to last year and last year's waypoints can still be used.  Please download the chartlet on:  http://www.crossingthethamesestuary.com/page29.html.  It is the first download.  The button provides a PDF version but a 'mouse-over' the image will provide a download of the JPG.

Overall depths have reduced but not to trouble us.  On the eastern side of the swatch if following the track, the worst at CD is 3.4m.  The eastern side was very flat.  The western side remains the deeper side:  A detailed comparison against last year's survey shows that the bottom does vary but largely remains as before.  I always survey on the flood so I can only talk of the tide on the flood: going from east to west on the flood there is a nice boost through the swatch - it is a natural venturi.  It might get a little tide rip where tide meets the Barrow Deep but any disturbed water is right in front of the SW Knoll which is well away of the waypoint.

Talking about the detail does tend to raise concerns.  Follow the waypoints and it is quite safe.  The north-east side remains a nice gradual slope towards the Middle Sunk knoll so always hang on the north-east side of the track.

I was monitoring VHF 69 as usual for the regular tidal height reports from the PLA VTS.  Unusually they did not broadcast the reports but that might have been because there was absolutely no traffic in the Black and Barrows Deeps in the 4 hours that I was there.  But VTS had clearly monitored me as they called me up for my 'intentions'.  No problems.  It might be useful to monitor VHF 69 until you have cleared the Long and Sunk Sands.

Overview of other crossings

The Little Sunk:  This is adjacent to the Barrow No 2 PHB.  I did a survey in the second part of the season last year and the download is on the same page listed above.  The Little Sunk is a very stable flat area and it hasn't changed significantly for years.  So that will be fine.

The Middle Sunk:  I continue to recommend not using this crossing at the moment.  It is feasible but needs a 'dogleg' to avoid the unmarked remains of the old Sunk Beacon and to avoid the 'finger' that extends right in front of the route out from the Middle Sunk knoll.  Now: DO NOT rely on any chart or chart plotter at the moment for the 'finger'.  It is only a very small area of concern but charts show depths over the 'finger' an optimistic 1.1m and 1.9m.  A Port of London Authority survey in 2015 showed two drying areas of 0.2m and 0.1m over the finger!  A reader went aground at LW Neaps in the area last season.

I was given a copy of the PLA data so I have drawn up an 'amalgam'; the 2015 data is clear.  Of course this is 5 years old but the reader's experience suggests it is still 'not good'.  Note that the current Admiralty Chart does not include the PLA 2015 data so all leisure charts (Imray, C-Map and Navionics) will not include the change.  The point is that the Middle Sunk routes have no advantage over the SW Sunk routes so I continue to recommend NOT going that way.



Long Sand:  Fisherman's Gat is no different to before.  Foulger's Gat did have a long term maintenance issue in Foulger's Gat which did restrict a bit of space but that is now finished and over.  London Array continue to ask you to call up any London Array vessel just before entering.

Long Sand Head is a volatile area of change but the buoyage is quite up to date.  Indeed the last Notice to Mariners on that was in Week 49 of last year.  That notified a small move to the north-east of the North Cardinal Buoy and a continual move of the Head in the same direction.  You can look up the last Notice on http://www.crossingthethamesestuary.com/page9.html.  Select the 'Mid-Estuary list and scroll down to Week 49 of 2019.

Edinburgh Channel remains unmarked but it is still there.  Any Notices have shown little adverse change.  Princes Channel remains unchanged.

Season now starting?

It seems it will be possible to start 'officially' permissible to stay overnight very shortly so I hope you get some good weather.  Tuesday was really nice for the work!  Oh, one other thing.  In the lockdown I did some fiddling with the A3 sized Overview of all the routes to improve the quality of the clarity.  Some simple colour changes seem to me to make it look better.  It is a large file so if you want to download it let me know and I will send you a Dropbox link.

Happy sailing

Roger

 

Will be a while till we are out afloat again, but I bet Roger will have an update for us by then!
John

P.S. Monday morning, just corrected the dozens of typos!  Must have been asleep! No, I had not been down the bar at the Marina!  (We are waiting till it is really safe!).
John

 

 

 

Sunday 28th June 2020.

Sorry for slight delay, 10 days since the last entry!  We have been a little busy.  Formed our social bubble with Darian's daughter up in Suffolk so we could help her move house.  Unfairly in the middle of the WhuFlu she had been given notice to quit as the landlord suddenly sold up to a developer. Loads more houses in the back garden, concrete over the countryside, why don't we!  Fortunately she has found another place within 3 miles so the youngster can still attend the same school and she can get to her work doing vital grocery deliveries locally.  Not what you need though when she is up at 0300 to work.  After a few strenuous days work we have retired aching, the heavy stuff being done tomorrow.  Then we are the clear up crew! Dodged the heavy rain with big trailer full of boxes of kit, many times!

Nice thing is, her new place it right on the Stour navigation, very tranquil and boatie! But a three story town house and on the hottest day of the year!! Crippling!

F8 ripping through here for a couple of days now, no boats dare venture out! Dodging heavy rain here today too, Shouldn't Wimbledon be on about now?  Always reckon on the odd good downpour for that.!

We have heard from Terry, that her family have had a  lovely first sail on 'Mollymawk', out of Ipswich.  And she has just made a donation for a set of the GH drawings etc.  On the way shortly Terry.

New enrolment from Nick Butler, I think I know him, Ashley's dad?  Have mailed him but no response so far, years ago he had a Senior and he says he was a member of the defunct assoc. on his application..  so sure it is the same chap...  Hope to hear soon.  He now sails a GH31 out of Rye on the south coast....

Another enrolment from Alan of Manchester, but no idea as to what boat he either has or is interested in, await a response from him too.

Sent a DVD of the Senior drawings out to Kuno in Switzerland, be interesting to see how fast he gets on with the build!

Elle in Cornwall has been in contact re a Steel Eventide she has seen advertised on the East Coast, she needs more info from the seller before committing to travelling all the way across the country to see it....  Advised a surveyor...

Had a DVD arrive here from Matt in Australia.

He bought a Good Hope design and inherited loads of paperwork and drawings etc. from a previous owner.  He has generously had them scanned and sent them on so they will never be lost.  (We forward all our updated and correct drawings on to both the woodworking colleges in the UK and the Greenwich Maritime Museum to ensure they are never lost again..).  There is some interesting stuff in there.  Notes from M.G. about the building of:- The Levanter, Francis Drake 37, Idle Duck, Noontide and Barrier Reef, all mentioned!

Quite a treasure trove.  We will add these details to any we already have, to offer to members. Many thanks Matt.

John Stevens is researching e-mails on Spoondrift and the 14ft Gibbs dinghy. Hope we can assist these owners and get them in touch with others that can assist.

Watching the antics of some in towns and cities and on the beaches in that sunshine, I have a dreadful feeling we may be back in lockdown before too long.  Hope not, but looks that way to me.

John

 

Friday 19th June 2020.

Though the restrictions on most of us have been relaxed slightly and many of us are venturing out for the first time in months, there are still very few boats afloat and visible on the river Blackwater, and out to sea heading for the Wallet or the Swin. This WhuFlu is not going away and I for one am cautious that it could well come back to bite us on the backside!

One boat that I missed sailing by was the Waterwitch 'Wedjit', she should have left the Blackwater bound up the Wallet for Ipswich early in the week. Tim has sold her! Sorry to lose Tim off the Steering Group, he has been a valuable member.  So for next year there is going to be a vacancy for another owner to join the 'Steering Group'.   We already have one WW owner, Nick Lonton, so it could be an owner of a different design or another WW owner, bear it in mind for next winter...

We have had a request from a lady for information about a Gibbs design, the Halcyon 14.  She has a very pretty one of these dinghies and would like to know if there are others, there is one on the Gallery.  Hers is number 77.

    

If you can assist please contact her, her mail address is:-...  suitably disguised... you know take out the spaces and the  'at' and put in the '@'.

elainejohnston1 at icloud.com

Wonder if Chris King, the owner of the Halcyon 14 on the gallery pages can assist?

Welcome to a new enrolment, Kuno in Switzerland.  Kuno is interested in building a Senior.  Not sure I have ever seen such a clever mock up made of one of our designs! think you will agree Kuno has put a lot of effort into this so it bodes well for the finished Senior!

  

Had this mail in from Neil, can anyone assist? 

Hello, Just noticed on your website a picture of the Golden Hind Spoondrift, looking immaculate, in the Netherlands.

If you know the current owner and he wants to contact me I would be happy to give him some history of her early life. I knew her from virtually new, and bought her in 1977 in a sorry state.  I renovated her (I have several pics somewhere) and sailed her for a year. Sold her to a man who had a heart attack and died on her. His son did further renovations and then after a few years sold her, I believe to a S African. I later heard that she ended up in the Netherlands.

Regards

Neil Bradshaw

Contact Neil by mail if you can assist...  neilbrads at gmail.com

           

A few sadly faded pics of Spoondrift sailing years ago...

This mail came in from Shannon, the winner of the Seamanship trophy a year or so back, with the steel WW version  by Hacathian.  Shannon was sailing south in Portugal and got locked down by the WhuFlu!

 

Hi John.

I hope all's well.

Kathleen is on the hard having a thorough going over.

Are there any other Hacathian owners on the forum? I have a question about the keel. Kathleen has a hollow skeg keel which has a plug in the top. I can only assume that it’s supposed to be filled with oil. The plug was covered with a load of polyurethane foam insulation and plywood when I got the boat, it was only when I removed this that I discovered the plug. Can anyone shed light on this?

Regards, Shannon.

We had a couple of mails back and forth and he has decided wisely to fill the void with vegetable oil!

We know other steel builders recommended filling hollow tubes, often used as chine bars, with oil, but mineral oil would cause a mess if it leaked,  so vegetable oil seems a much better idea.  The  steel box sections of my heavy trailer all had wooden plugs fitted in one end and then oil poured in, and capped off with another softwood plug...   sadly the old engine oil I used  seeps out over the years through the timber, and leaves the odd oily stain on the barn floor for me to clean off with washing up liquid every year!

Another mail in, this time from a Seagull customer, Michael.  Welcome Michael,  another new enrolment! With a Senior in the build.

Hello John,

Although I've visited the EOG website quite frequently during the last year I never registered, However, that is now rectified as of a few minutes ago.

I'm up to planking.  I've done P & S Keel to Chine 1 and I'm now on Chine 1 to 2.

 

Basically, I purchased YMS 914 in the early eighties.  It was ideal (and great fun) to sail her on my local Rivers Trent and Soar.  Having a swing keel you could utilise the full width of the river when tacking against the current without damaging anything when grounding near the bank.  It was a fantastic little boat.  I've sailed larger boats on the local stretches of the river and it is really hard work when going against the current.  Then, for some stupid reason in the late eighties I sold her.  With my hand on heart I can honestly sat she was the only boat I ever regret selling - and I've had a few.  Soon after the sale I was scouring the boating press hoping to find another.  In 1994 I resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to build one, so I purchased a set of plans and was assigned YMS 1671.  Fast forward a few years.  2019 found me retired and needing a project.  I ordered the wood to build a senior.  I opted for utile rather than mahogany due to the cost.  Before the wood was delivered I visited my local Redhill Marina which I did once or twice a year just to see what's going on.  Low and behold, in the undergrowth with a tree growing in the cockpit, derelict, was the old love of my life, Wanderer 1 - YMS 914.  I paid £50 for it much to the amazement of the marina staff.  The remaining brass fittings were worth that but my main reason for the purchase was to have it as a pattern in case I got stuck during the build.  I've enjoyed building so far.  I build in my garage and it is tight - but possible.  I stopped over the winter due to the glue (West System) not working too well in low temperatures (Beetle Cement per the drawings being unobtainable).    I'm trying to be as faithful as I can to the drawings so it's copper nails and roves, but I have used silicone bronze annular ring nails for the planking - they are so tough.  I'm going to have an alloy mast and boom - why?  Because my original YMS 914 had those.  The colour scheme will be the same.  The original had a Seagull Century with a red prop and so will the new one.  I suppose I'm trying to recreate an exact replica of the boat I had so much fun with all those years ago. 

 

I have attached a few pictures.

1&2 are of the new rudder.

3 is the new boat in the garage.

4 is sailing the old boat on the Trent mid-eighties.

5 Ah yes.  Less said about this the better - engine retrieved after a week on the bottom of the Trent.

6 is the interior.

7 is sailing on the Trent at Trent Lock.

8 is on the mooring at Redhill.

             

Re 5.  Well it was one of those evenings in May in the mid-eighties.  A friend and myself had gone to do a bit of sailing after work.  There was a shower approaching as we came to the mooring so I opened up and removed the Seagull from the inside and placed it on its mount.  We sheltered for a few minutes in the cabin.  The shower passed, the sun shone and we rigged the boat and we set off.  A gentle motor down the Soar to the Trent and then sail against the current.  The first part of the sailing was very gentle but after the two pubs the countryside opens out and the wind was stronger.  On one particular tack there was a 'plop'.  "The motor's gone" I shouted to my friend. "Mark it" I said as Colin watched a row of bubbles float down the river.  I took a rough note of where we were as I completed the tack.  We moored up and I stripped off and went over the side hoping to touch the motor with my feet.  I dare not put my head under the water in the Trent.  There was always some dispute between us about where the engine might be.  We couldn't find it and Colin said he would ask a couple of diving friends to look for it the next day.  We sailed back to the Soar but Colin had to tow the boat, African Queen style, back to the mooring.  We quickly learned not to tow from the stem as this only pulled the bow into the bank.  I had to go to Bournemouth the following day to carry out an engine change on an aircraft.  It was a week before I was back with a Sea-searcher magnet looking for the engine, the divers having failed saying the current must have carried it away.  I was about to give up when the magnet latched on to the engine.  It was in about 8 foot of water.  In my haste to get the motor on board the little buoyancy that the water was giving it was lost as the motor broke the surface and back down it went.  I had seen the red prop and the chrome exhaust, I knew it was there.  A few minutes later it was on board and that's when the picture was taken.  I took the motor home, drained it, dried it, cleaned it and flushed it.  Within half an hour she was running as good as ever.  I was really impressed with this sturdy little motor.  A year or so later, British Seagull were advertising to overhaul the engine for £32 (I think) so although it was still running perfectly I sent it for overhaul.  It came back gleaming.  I was so pleased.  I had tremendous respect for British Seagull and their product.  I even changed the name of my small limited company to Silver Century Aviation Limited which is dormant but still exists today.

Regards, Mike.

PS  The reason the motor departed the boat was because in my haste to get out of the rain shower I placed the motor on its mount omitting to insert the retaining pin.  Gravity kept the motor in place during the motoring and gentle tacking, but as the wind increased, so did the heel and 'plop'.

Great to have you aboard Michael and I hope the few Seagull parts help to recreate that reliable old Silver Century of the 1980's!

Heard from David with the Atlantic Clipper 'Cidre', sold on EBay, he says he was sad to sell her and she went for a song.  Hoping the new owner will get in touch.

That's it for now, been a very busy week or so, made even busier by the 50 spam mail we get every day, mostly from people in china trying to sell us WhuFlu masks... some people.

John

 

 

 

Thursday 11th June 2020.

Hello again, we are back up and running, Microsoft did a patch!

Straight way an enquiry from Switzerland re building a Senior.  They are popular little boats!  Sending enrolment details shortly.

Another cold damp June day here, no one would want to go out on a day like today so no surprise there is no one visible on the Blackwater, Mersea Quarters up the Wallet or out to the Swin Spitway, all visible from here!

Next week a lot of shops and businesses getting back to some sort of normality, but it going to be a very different world from now on!  Still cannot get together with friends to go sailing, not going to be allowed for a long time I suspect.   I would be unhappy if they did allow it.  As I said at the beginning of this they should have closed down travel much earlier and they are now realising that mistake has cost lives...

So here's to the day we can safely get back afloat.

Stay safe, its not a drill.

John

Wednesday June 10th 2020.

Sorry to say our new-ish  computer has had a glitch, still able to edit the site, but cannot receive mail till it is sorted.  We think it is the result of a Microsoft auto update, as my other  SOS business machine, a near identical one, has also suffered, in  a slightly different way...  That has developed a problem with pdf files and Adobe just as the EOG machine has done, but for now the mail is working.  Investigating on the net seems a lot have the same problem after an update.  Local company coming out to sort it.. will let you know when mail working again.

One bit of very good news, our new Webmaster, Andrew in Bermuda, has recovered from the WhuFlu.  He is slowly getting back to work and trying to catch up with his work, he is the head of cyber crime unit at his company and says the amount of stuff happening is filling all his time! We wish him and his family a speedy and full recovery.

Stay safe out there, this is not a drill!

The river Blackwater remains empty, just one law enforcement boat.  Not sure if they are looking for, drugs, immigrants or Covidiots, but they are there 24/7.

After the hot dry May, hottest and driest ever, now we watch the rain...  still could be worse, could be trying to sail round the UK.

Feel so sorry for the number of boat owners who have contacted me after reading the 'Fiddling Around' log and have had their dreams dashed this year.

2021 here we come!

John

 

Saturday 6th June 2020.

76th anniversary of D-Day Landings.

These were the ships Maurice Griffiths was responsible for on the day, his 'corncobs'.  The outer breakwater to the D-Day beachhead.

To protect the Mulberry Harbours.

 

Thursday 4th June 2020.

Not often these days we can announce a new boat being launched, but last week our Senior Rep Mat launched the newly built Senior 'Bethem' on the Norfolk Broads!

           

'Bethem' tastes the water for the first time!

Launched at Barton Turf where I work.

 

No leaks anywhere, very pleased the centre board case is ok!

 

I had left the jibs at home, but we managed to take her out onto the Broad under engine and hoist the main, first impressions is she moves well, is surprisingly stable when moving around, and best of all, the lovely comments from other boat owners, most of whom have never heard of the Yachting Monthly Senior!

 

There is, of course, bits to finish, but so far both my wife and I are happy.

Mat.

       

Congratulations to Mat for the building and launching of our latest boat!

Mat has been stuck at home for a while as this dreaded WhuFlu sweeps the land, but he has turned that time to good effect and sped through the final touches to get Bethem into the water.  Well done Mat!

Here is a link to Mat's page on the builders and restorers section, so you can read the rest!  Click here.

Chris in the Netherlands has been in touch, he noted the Atlantic Clipper we have on our pages has reappeared on EBay, for half the price!

See   https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Atlantic-Clipper-36-Live-Aboard-Sailing-Boat/193487155423  a real bargain for someone with time effort and deep pockets, as there is much to do to make her ship shape!  but for £3,000!

He also noted a smart 23ft Buchanan on there...   https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Allan-Buchanan-23ft/274372201279

Matt in Australia has informed us that he has sent a DVD full of MG drawings to us. some that have never been seen before, look forward to being able to publish these.

Whilst stuck at base here I have been turning out a shed, our 'loft space' as we do not have a loft in the cottage!  Found a box full of bound copies of Yachting monthly that i acquired many moons ago.  I am slowly going through them fishing out articles to scan.  All date back to the 1960's, already found an article about the WW 'Iota'.

After the hottest, sunniest May on record, we ventured out for the first time in 10 weeks to Weymarks beach on the Blackwater, a little known bit of accessible shingle beach just east of the nuclear power station as was.  A few family groups were enjoying the sun, all socially distancing, 100 yards apart!   On the water we saw a local tug doing survey work, an anchored pilot boat and one, just one, sail.  A lone wet bike was tearing in and out of Besom fleet.  No one else about, eerie looking at an empty river.

We clean this beach on a regular basis and we returned to our car after 2 hours with a small bucket full of broken glass, all edges rounded by the wave action, and a sack full of litter!  The litter was recycled and all the glass will be used by Darian to decorate picture frames and the like, an idea pinched from my daughter and her beachcombing crafts! We were also sunburnt!

Did get to pat the boats transom again whilst we were out. Nearest I will get to sailing this year I suspect.

Two days later, sat typing this, summer is over, it is cold, northerly winds and rain.  Still the gardens need it!

John

 

 

Thursday 28th May 2020.

The weather has been wonderful recently, and the river and the sea off here empty.  Really hoping there is some progress with the big medical firms and a vaccine.  Sadly cannot see it safe to lessen the social distancing measures until they have a working one, especially for all of us over 70, and that is over 75% of the berth holders at my marina.

Had a pleasant surprise yesterday, a  mail from a Martin Lee.  He as acquired the GRP WildDuck 'Scoter'!  Sadly the chap who bought it on EBay a year or so back has parted with it.

Martin's first and Oh so very sensible move has been to have it transported on the back of a small lorry and wheeled into his garden.  I am always trying to tell owners to get them home or as near home or on a mates bit of garden nearby, if at all possible!  Sadly so many projects fall flat on their  faces because they are not a 2 minute drive from the owners home.  Apart from the expense of storing at a commercial place, the distance involved prevents owners just nipping out to double check a measurement before they grab that bargain  on EBay, whether it is a length of rope or the width of a plank of wood!

Martin has never restored a boat before, but willing to learn, most importantly he is not afraid to tackle it and is asking questions already!

Look forward to seeing this boat back on the water.  As a bare GRP hull, no engine, not much interior and just a mast, with no rigging,  it has a value of nil at the moment, but with effort it could be of great value to the sailor who feels that tiller come alive in their hand.  More power to the elbow Martin.

As far as I am aware this is the only GRP WD, and as such if restored, should last decades and when fully back to sailing condition, should have  a reasonable resale value.!!

Whilst tossing up whether to break the car out or stay at home,  I got to sorting yet another draw out, I came across a nice 1998 photo of 'Ruanna' sailing in the Blackwater.  Had I opted to go for a day trip to Durham instead, I could have missed this pic!

Taken by me back in May 1998, 22 years ago...

I seem to recall she was purchased by Brian and Elizabeth and transported to Norfolk, never to be seen again?  Wonder where she is now?

I have not been doing anything boaty recently,  apart from vainly scanning the horizon for sails....  though pleased to say the torch I retrieved from the quarter berth stowage cradle aboard is now all fully charged and will be put into use at home.  Good for badger watching!

Spent more time tending trees than anything else recently, grass cutting and watering trees as the weather here has been perfect sailing weather, warm, sunny F3!!!  Spitting WhuFlu bullets!

Hope you are getting to visit your boats if you cannot sail, unless that is you have opted to head for Barnard Castle to catch the fading bluebells!

John

 

Sunday 24th May 2020.

Whitsun weekend!

Its a Bank Holiday Weekend!  Not that anyone would know it, one day merges into another here...   After the first few days of the lock down relaxation and boats were seen on the move, along came the F6's and 7's!  Noone out there today either and the wind has dropped.  Figuring the first flurry of boat movements here was due to owners retrieving boats from moorings where they had been stuck  when the lockdown started, so most were returning to their home ports.  As boat owners have to be back home at night, no one cruising.

I'm told the local marina is deserted, maybe because most boat owners are over 70 and therefore staying at home as instructed.  Also a bit of difficulty complying with social distancing measures on marina pontoons that are only 1.5m wide, splash!

Very pleased to see that the NHS Hero, Captain Tom, is now 'Sir' Captain Tom! 100 years old, 33m fundraiser and Top of the Pops!  You could not make it up, see a film in the making!

Been quiet on the mail front, apart from the hundreds of spam mails, mostly from china trying to sell me a mask!

Make no apologies for the next bit, an advert for my daughter!

If anyone needs a basic, non medical mask, my daughter is making them, by the hundred! Bet a lot of clever people are.  If you want to see the stuff she makes, click here...  She runs a website making safety covers for the metal bars that  children with Clubfoot or Talipes have.  The bar connects a pair of special boots used to train the feet to sit at the right angle, whilst the children sleep...  the bar is hard and hurts so she has developed colourful bar pads, even embroidered with names or messages! The grandson Rafferty  was born with it, turned in toes!  You would never know it though, because she has kept to a very strict nightly regime, putting his feet into little padded boots connected with a bar to force them outwards. 

     

He is now nearly 5 and puts them on himself.  Not for much longer though, on his birth day in a couple of months he is to stop wearing them.  Hopefully forever.  Seeing him running or on his bike you would never know!  Very clever system.  I recall a lad at school who had to wear a special boot all the time, from 11 till forever.  That was before they developed this system... 

 It has taken a lot of dedication, but my daughter has stuck to it. Rafferty is a super fit, lively child as a result!

So if you want a smart mask, with a nautical theme maybe, or anything else, she has a shed full of fancy material! Ours are on the way for the day we need to use one!

She also makes padded covers for seat belt straps in cars too, kids love them!

One good mail in this week was a new member  enrolment from Amanda in Cornwall, she is now the proud new owner of 'My Lovely', ex 'Cordelia' the MG 7 tonner on our pages.  Built in 1950 and 28ft long she could be mistaken for a Lone Gull, till you realise she has a canoe stern!

'My Lovely', ex 'Cordelia'.

A very pretty boat and a former owner, Adrian has contributed to our hints and tips page with details of a rudder rebuild.  Hope to get more up to date photos to add to the gallery pages.

Matt in Australia has found the files he wanted to mail me are too large to mail, so has promised a DVD of all the drawings.  With very few planes overhead, (boy that quiet is bliss for us with our feet on the ground), sadly little air mail post, so it may take a while to add these other two MG designs to the list.  Will announce it when it happens.

I am hoping to get to my boat today, just to pat its transom....  and to remove the rechargeable torch and bring it home to charge!  Has been sat for over 2 months and as it has a sealed lead acid battery 3 months off charge is the limit.

Talking about batteries, again, I had to buy a new battery last week  for my little Morris Minor Van.  I tried to start her after 6 weeks inactivity and it was flat.  Put it on charge with a CTEK charger and though it got it back to 13.5 v, when I checked the next morning the battery charger had died, no indicator lights and no output, battery was down to 10.5v!  I charged it up again with another charger but as soon as it was back on the van it died again. Strange thing was the little window on top the battery was always showing green??  How's that work?

Contacted CTEK and requested they look at the charger, but they came back straight away with a claim form and told me a replacement on the way, just cut the wires off the old one!  That's good service, but still like to know why it died...

This CTEK charger is supposed to be able to recondition very dead batteries, so a little surprised it failed...

Will be checking the voltage in the boat batteries later, making sure the solar panels are trickle charging the 5 large batteries on board, do not want to have to shell out for all those.  Check yours when you can.

Stay safe,

Look forward to 2021!

John

P.S.  I braved the outside world today and visited my boat.  Farm was all quiet, no one about, but I could get access to the barn. Climbed aboard.  Pleased to report all 5 batteries are 95% charged and have 13.5 volts in them. The high sun shining through the roof lights so the solar panels charging !  Removed my 30 year old plus high powered torch and that is now on charge here, it was not flat.  A 'Wolflite' sealed safety torch used by the military and fire services, gas tight and floats.

Also removed some stale coffee, sadly past it, went into the compost bin! The through ventilation, 7 vents, has kept all sweet aboard.

Pleased to say 'Fiddler's Green', is safe and secure and apart from a wash down and fresh antifoul, ready to go, come the day.

Stay safe.

John

 

17th May 2020.

After 8 weeks of lock down the country has gone crackers.  Mass parties and total disregard for the social distancing measures.  We have had hundreds of bikers tearing through the lanes and congregating at cafes. And the skies full of planes again, the noise!  I can see it will all end in tears two weeks from now, when the infections spike and more die.  I hope I am wrong.

The last two days, for the first time in 2 months, sails have been  visible on the sea near the Swin Spitway and on the River Blackwater.  Heard that Bradwell marina is open again, but quiet, as most owners, like me, are over 70 and still isolating.  Trying to keep 2 metres apart on a 1.5 metre wide pontoon walkway is impossible of course!  So is anyone is adhering to the rules.?  We will see.

Been a great weekend to be afloat too, gentle breezes and wall to wall sunshine, topped 25 degrees here today...  Good day to relax in the garden!

As I type this, 1845, more manic motorcyclists are tearing through our village at breakneck speed and revving the motors to create effect....  Wow, how I miss the peace and quiet of the last 2 months.

We have had a new enrolment,  Martin in Lancashire looking at an Eventide.  Don't know which one as yet, have joined him up as a 'Friend' for now.

Had an interesting question in from Paul..   "how much does an eventide 26 weigh normally?"

I see on the site
http://www.eventides.org.uk/waterpic.htm that a Eventide is 6 ton, is that true?

I explained to him that the '6 tons' is an archaic measurement of volume, to do with the number of barrels you could stow, going back to the days of the sailing ships. The displacement weight, or crane or weighbridge weight is far less.  About 2.5 tons for most Eventide 26's..  Confusing isn't it!

My own Eventide '26',  with a slightly thicker ply hull, longer by a foot or so, and with a full ton of ballast, (as opposed to many, with the 1200lb (very early versions),  or later  1600lb ballast), tips the scales at 3.5 ton! 

She also has 5" extra depth in the hull and raised topsides, to off set the additional ballast weight, all as per our latest drawings.  Afloat and alongside an Eventide 24 of the earlier era  and our decks are at the same height!  (Fiddler's Green  is an exception.)   In the water with all the cruising kit onboard and full tanks she displaces nearer 4 Ton.  Makes her a very stable and sea kindly.

THE WOODBRIDGE BOATYARD LTD., Everson's Wharf, River Wall, Woodbridge, Suffolk, have been in touch, they have a Storm Class boat in their yard that has not moved for a while. 'Thunderer'.

They did not know what type of MG vessel it was and we were able to point them at the Storm class pages for reference.  As we also have the drawings available, Matt there  may well be back for these...

Another Matt has been in touch, this time from Australia, he has a 'Good Hope' design he is finishing.  We helped him with drawings.  He has come across the building instructions and plans for a couple of other MG designs we did not have in our folio, till now!  These may assist any owners of these vessels with repairs one day.  Suppose there is a chance someone might like to build one too, at 37ft a nice roomy vessel!  More soon.

Finally a mail from Shannon with the WW 'Kathleen' in Sines marina.  Portugal.

Been under lockdown in Sines marina for a couple of months, I’ve just got clearance to lift her out in Faro at the end of the month. She’s well overdue for maintenance and antifouling. Also there’s a fair bit of welding to do above the waterline. I’ll be rounding Cabo Vicente for the first time, which is essentially the SW corner of Europe. I’ll try to get some photos or a video if I pass in daylight.  The main issues I have with Kathleen are reducing sail and weather helm. I’ve rigged reefing lines back to the cockpit, and I’ll test them this trip. My headsails are hank on, which is very challenging to change with any kind of weather. I’m considering fitting a bowsprit with a roller jib, this may help with the weather helm. I have no experience in this, so I may get on the forum to see what the old hands recon. I hope you and yours are all keeping safe and well. Regards, Shannon.

I was able to point Shannon towards the article on Weatherhelm I wrote decades ago and is printed on our  Owners Tips page. 

There is no doubt the addition of a bowsprit will lessen and probably cure the problem.  Whether to make a steel frame and plank it as a permanent structure, with anchor rollers and rails round it for safety or to try and create a folding hinged plank to save on marina fees will be the next consideration. 

I personally would go for the steel tube design with teak slats on top and anchor(s) stowed ready to drop and surrounded by a substantial rail set up, will be interesting to see what Shannon does.  Hope he can get sailing again and submit another log! 

Not many will be going far this year I suspect.  Unless more restrictions are lifted.  At the moment we are not supposed to be away overnight!

Stay safe out there,

John

 

Sunday 10th May 2020.

Very quiet on the mail front this week, except that is for the 30 to 40 Spam mail every day!  All filtered off into the 'Spam' folder automatically by 'SpamFighter' thankfully!

One interesting mail in was from Lucy of the GH31 'Katy Louise'.  She noted an entry on the YBW Forum  and contacted the writer. It was regarding Newsons the firm that last had the moulds for the GH.

 The writer stated, Newsons never built a (GH) hull.   He had my boat 'S%&£)@%t' in there for major repairs, cosmetically she looked good but it was an expensive job.   The amount of rot they left in her (made her)  unusable and now she is  rotting away.   Uninsurable and I am too old to deal with it.

He was sued by so many he declared himself bankrupt.  Newsons yard was taken over by MTB 102 trust, who I had a mooring with.   The 31 mould was given away to someone in Suffolk, (Anyone heard where it is now??)  I was offered the mould for the 26 but had nowhere to keep it and Richard, the CEO of MTB 102 cut it up and sent it down the tip.  I was there.   So sad.   I managed to get some drawings and patterns, the latter now gone.  So my sailing days cut very short, a sad reminder to invest in a survey if you invest in a ply hull,  left a very bitter taste.

This was so sad to hear and feel so sorry for the owner of 'S%&£)@%t'.  A grim reminder that all boats should have surveys before purchase, especially expensive ply hulled ones!

So now we know that mould for the 26 has gone forever, but there is a glimmer in there, someone in Suffolk has the GH 31 mould....  Wonder if it will come to light.

Also the writer said he still had some of the drawings.  He has been contacted by Lucy to see if he will get in touch, we would love to have scanned copies of these drawings to add to the ones we have for the 31.  May help someone in the future.

After a very sunny and sadly low key, 'VE Day' and weekend, when so many events were due to be held, the weather has suddenly taken a turn.  I only just managed to retrieve my huge Union flag, massive red ensign and all my signal and country coutesy flags from the front hedge before the gales ripped through.

And so many unable to get to their boats to check them!

My little Morris Minor Van has not turned a wheel in 6 weeks, so I decided to start it up and move it closer to the garage so I could run a cable with a battery condition meter, to it.  Battery flat as a pancake, so longer extension lead needed and big charger.... Once I get it going I will swap the heavy charger for the clever digital one to keep the battery just topped up.  Makes me wonder how many boats there will be with flat batteries when owners get to go back to them...

Even had to put a charger on the bosses car, it started OK, reluctantly, so now gently charging....  Just had the tax renewal through, an though we are not using it, the £20.00 asked seemed a small price to have it available.  (For some reason the annual fee has gone down £10.00, not complaining!).

Fortunately I have my solar panels rigged on the boat, and last I looked they were giving a tiny trickle charge, enough to top the 3 banks of batteries , (totaling 500AmpHrs),   and all banks were reading 13.8v.  Hope your batteries are OK, will be expensive to have to replace them if they are all allowed to go flat, and 6 weeks could do it, let alone the 12 or more we are possibly having to stay isolated.

Stay safe, stay at home and come sailing again in 2021!

John

 

Sunday 3rd May 2020.

Not the May Bank Holiday Weekend, but who's going to notice amid the WhuFlu lock down!

'VE DAY' is the new holiday, (Friday the 8th),  but with everybody at home.....  all postponed!

Another week and few mails. Jim in Australia has mailed again and passed this message on.  'Pass on my best wishes to all members, and stay safe and well.  All the best. Springtime in England. Ah...  Jim'

Jim has also taken the trouble to scan and send 10 pages of an article M.G. wrote for the 1946 Yachting Year book!  The articles explains his development of the shoal draft designs he came to specialise in.  Click here to go there.

Robin the owner of GH 31 number 12, sent me this comment...  about the time he bought his Eventide.... Way back – long before the world changed – in 1987  I bought my Eventide, which I loved a lot, but it was just not big enough  (for me).  Having jumped in the deep end I then found that the Royal Engineer Yacht Club were selling Jeremy Roger’s very first Contessa 32.  Oh boy! was I sorry not to have known that earlier! I would have renamed it ‘Second to None’! However, there is an old Cowes Week joke about a racing yacht with that name.  Overnight the crew of the boat moored next to ‘Second to None’ renamed theirs in big letters ‘NONE’!!   All the best,   Robin

Chris in the Netherlands has found an article on a Dutch web page. It is by a chap who is half way round the world and quarantined in New Zealand.  (Can think of far worse places to get stuck!!).  In the article he explains his interest in sailing started at a young age as his grandfather built an Eventide 26!  'Sparrow'.  This is one we know!  Wonder if she is still about??

There was also a photo, rather grainy and scanned, from a dog eared black and white pic, but here it is:-

Sparrow, circa 1970.

So strange to look out over the Blackwater estuary from here and not see a single sail, or dot of a motorboat.  Pleased to say the majority being good and abiding the rules! 

Heard from our friends at East Coast Pilot...

First and foremost, we hope that you and your family are safe and well.
 
   Welcome to all new subscribers, the total now just one short of 1,400. Our previous newsletter was written last Autumn; little did we know what would befall us all this year! Plenty is being written elsewhere about the effects on our normal life and about the heroes who are keeping things going; suffice to say that boating in whatever form is far from the front of our minds right now. In the words of Cliff Mickleburgh of the CA in the south-east in his recent newsletter, "we are well aground, the tide is out", and right now we really have no certain idea when we might refloat.
 
   But, aground as we are, we still have our ears open for changes and developments that will or might affect details in the latest edition of East Coast Pilot, the 5th edition, and these continue to be logged in the News and Book Updates sections of our website, www.eastcoastpilot.com. We encourage you to visit occasionally to keep an eye on what's happening. We are not logging the numerous harbour and marina closures and restrictions, as we assume they will be lifted in good time
 
   We should highlight here a couple of the News items on the site that may affect you in the short term, both being results of the lockdown. One is the reported halt to rectification work at the Havengore and Kingsferry bridges, the Havengore being unable to open at present along with Potton bridge nearby. The other is a delay with new Trinity House surveys of the entrances to the rivers Deben and Ore - we would normally expect to be bringing you new chartlets of those entrances in April, but right now we simply do not know when that will happen.
 
   With all the increased activity on social media during the lockdown there is plenty of chat happening about boating. If you are a Facebook user, can I recommend you connect with Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson, our publishers, on Facebook and watch out for their 'Imray Live' sessions, which started the other day with a very interesting 'off the cuff' chat by Rod and Lu Heikell about cooking on board.
 
   We too are now on Facebook, with an ECP Facebook Group page - feel free to 'Join' us; it's rather bare right now but we hope to develop it over the coming months to partner our occasional use of Twitter. We hope it works out well, just an experiment at this stage.
 
   The 5th Edition of ECP, published last August, is of course available as usual online through chandleries or direct from Imrays themselves, along with all their numerous other chart and book offerings. If you haven't yet bought one, I should remind you that the 5th is the one that all our updates and additions will be aimed at, previous editions now being extremely out of date. 
 
We were thrilled to see a super review of 'ECP5' in a recent Cruising Association magazine, which said "...this edition is second to none..."  and that "...Garth and Dick's pilot is a must-have on board." Thank you kindly, the CA!
 
   We wish you all the best over the coming weeks, and look forward to seeing you on the water eventually.
 
 Kind regards,
 Dick Holness
 Co-author and webmaster
 East Coast Pilot. 
 
Header photo: Orford Quay.

Reminder to buy the latest edition before we get back afloat!

 

Martin, the owner of the Eventide 26 'Tao', that can be seen on the gallery, is converting her to gaff rig.  I have sent the gaff rig drawing our friend, the sail maker, Roger Jones, donated and after discussions with mast makers he has found the rig for the Cornish Crabber 21 in Gaff is just about perfect.  More on this later as he has promised an update..

Finally Captain Tom has made his 100..  Now a worldwide celebrity!   Colonel Tom now!  Even got the Freedom of the city of London, that will be handy if he wanted to drive a flock of sheep over London Bridge!   his fundraising achievement of over £32m is going to be a world record for years!

All for now, enjoy the extra days holiday and get ready for 'VE Day' Friday!

Stay Safe

John

Post script.  Just added a load more scans to the Gallery, the MG designs page and the Senior page, for one of a neat little pram Kenneth designed.  Again from Jim the Senior builder in Australia , appreciated.

John

Sunday 26th April 2020.

Capt. Tom has just a few more days to go till his 100th.  His charity walk has achieved the near impossible target of £30m....  And to top it all, literally, he is 'top of the pops' in the record charts.  The oldest ever, at 99 and by next week he will be 100 and his record will still be at No1!!  Amazing!  The whole country salutes him!

In these dire times we need some good news!  As I predicted early on, this clamp down will go on for a while longer yet, they are hinting at a year, which is roughly what I thought at the beginning. 

No mails re boats from any members this week, suspect most, like me, cannot even get to their boats!  Only those with them in their gardens can do that!

This is the only nautical flavoured mail I had in, from Chris in the Netherlands:-

Made me smile!

Instead the mail box has been all spam, from China.  Just emptied another 48 out of the Spam folder.

Vowed never to buy Chinese again.  Bought a Swedish battery powered garden strimmer this week, brilliant bit of kit, powerful and quiet, no messy fuel, nor fumes.  Maker in Malmo, Sweden on the thing, but then looked at the small print... you guessed, made in ruddy china!

Can't win...

Stay safe, keep well.

John

    Sunday 19th April 2020.

What is it with the Chinese.  Since they inflicted this WhuFlu on the world we have been inundated with Spam mail from China!  We are getting between 20 and 30 a day on the EOG mail and I am getting more on my SOS mail address.  Trying to sell anything from stainless steel to rubber products, masks and anti viral creams and sprays.  Is anyone else seeing an increase in Chinese Spam, cannot think it is just the two separate e-mail accounts I have here that are targeted.....

Been quiet on the mail front here this week, but I thought I should put a link to Capt. Tom and his fundraising efforts.  I put tuppence in to try and get it up to 10m, and thought when it got there it may get to 20.  It has and more.  Over 30m now!!!  Family and friends trying to donate have found the site overwhelmed at times, but most have manages to add a few pence.  Could not go to a more worthy cause.

Capt. Tom has become a symbol of Britain's resolve.  He so much reminds me of dear old Maurice.

Do not suppose anyone has missed it, but just in case you have, click the link below!  

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-52303859?xtor=ES-208-[31318_NEWS_NLB_ACT_WK_15_Thu_16_April]-20200416-[bbcnews_corona_virus_newsuk_corona_virus]

Stay Safe, Keep well,

Sail again in 2021!

John

 

Wednesday 15th April 2020.

I have just heard from our webmaster in Bermuda, he has the dreaded WhuFlu!!!!  He says he is OK, but a bit under the weather, our thoughts go out to him and his young family...

Had a nice surprise on the mails yesterday, Jim in Australia has scanned more pages from magazines etc.  this time, having read my comment about my 1947 dinghy that I am wanting to finish restoring, he has scanned that page for me.  He has a copy of the same book my daughter found for me as a birthday present some years back and has scanned the page regarding my project boat. 1947 Yachting Year book. Thanks Jim.

The Merron Dinghy!

Designed by Arthur Rob, who worked with Uffa Fox on the Flying lifeboats, it was the first ever moulded ply boat to be made!  Mine is one of the very first,  1947, same vintage as me!  Not sure how many were ever made, but I know of three that still exist.  One is still in the same family that built them, being used by the great grandchildren!  Parts of this dinghy were made from sections of unused material destined for the 'Mosquito'!  (my favourite plane as a child!  Another moulded ply creation,  I had an Airfix model of one hanging on fishing line from bedroom ceiling, like so many other 10 year olds!).

Most Merrons were varnished inside and out, but sadly my one suffered hull damage, so after repairing, the hull the outside is going to have to be painted! The inside is all stripped back to bare wood and just needs a lot of sanding then varnishing. 

Hope to have time this summer, as we are not going anywhere, to do a little work on it!

Has really been weird looking out from here and no seeing any boats sailing.  Do hope it is not too long till this dreadful disease can be beaten. Keep safe, stay well

John

 

Sunday 12th April 2020.

Happy Easter!

Got to be the first time, in peace time that there are no boats visible on the River Blackwater, nor at sea, off of here.  Really weird. Third week of isolation and we have just retreated indoors as the heavens have opened, with rolling thunder.  Well that's the weather  back to normal for a Bank Holiday at least!

Speaking to others, gardens and boats in gardens are getting a lot of attention. Finding so many jobs to do!

Mat our Senior rep has sent more on his recent work on his Senior Bethem , so I must  edit his page to bring it up to date! 

We have just had a new enrolment  From Christopher with the Senior 'Dabbler', some may remember Tony or Nigel and Heidi, the two sets of former owners.  Sailed in company with 'Dabbler' a few times over the last couple of decades.  Good to hear she is still cared for.  Chris tell us that though she is kept in Norfolk, he did the Caledonian Canal last year.  (Hope you had better weather than we did during the first leg of my 'Fiddling Around' in 2013, tipped it down!).

Another new enrolment, this time as a 'Friend' John in San Francisco Has a Classic called 'Brigadoon', sails from Annapolis.  Welcome John.

Had an enquiry from Cyprus last week, from the son of a Golden Hind owner.  He wanted to buy some spare parts?  Thought we were a boatyard maybe.  Seems dad has a problem with a variable pitch two blade prop.  I am betting is may be a Saab one. 50 years old!!!   I have directed him towards his local boat yards.  Suspect from what they said, they have never had a boat before....  hoping they may join us, the Golden Hind is Number 43.

   

Do you recognise this prop set up??

Whilst the majority of boat owners are abiding the rules and not going out for 'jollies', there is always the exception.

Chris in the Netherlands spotted this news snippet on the BBC.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8189057/Covidiots-rescued-RNLI-grounding-catamaran-ignoring-governments-pleas-stay-home.html

Looking at the state of the boat, (a Heavenly Twins Cat), I bet they have not got a clue!  I mean who sails with fenders hanging over the side....  just not done you know!!

Jim Nicholls, building a Senior, has sent in a couple of pics.

    

Jim is getting on with the hull.  Really solid frame he is building on too.

Jim has also sent in some scans from old YM mags, great to see.

I attach a few here, others will go into the various design sections on the Gallery.

                 

Interestingly, mention of a fin keel Senior here!

                             

       

Some good articles about Seniors here!  Thanks Jim.

Right, I am off to edit a few more pages, I will put links into this page later.

Stay Home, do not want to see any of our members featuring on the Covidiots pages. Keep safe,

John

Post Script.  1900hrs and I have just finished uploading the Annual report and accounts to the Members only page of the forum. My head hurts!  I an no accountant!

John

Sunday 5th April 2020.

Another  week has elapsed and we are getting into the swing of things in the UK now, we are on week three now.  Most seem to be complying and being sensible, but there are always exceptions.  Some will not comply, why do some think the rules do not apply to them?. 

Sadly we have heard of one fatality within our circle of friends and family, this WhuFlu is deadly....  Be careful out there.

Heard from a few owners champing at the bit trying to get afloat but thwarted.  The most frustrating it must be for Terry and family, they got their newly acquired Golden Hind all sorted for launch, the yard put her on the lift....  and there she stays!!!

So close but no nearer the water!

Had a big update from Mat our Senior rep. His new Senior is taking shape nicely, looks very smart..

Pics to follow shortly...

Jim Nicholls another Senior man, has sent a lot of scans from very old magazines, I will be adding these to the pages shortly, will let you know which sections as I do them

Been a lovely weekend, albeit a trifle chilly with a cold SE wind. So strange to look out and not see a single sail on the water....

Hopefully all will abide the rules and stay at home, then we may be back afloat sooner.

Stay safe,

John

 

Sunday 29th March 2020.

March winds are roaring round the cottage here, so much for out like a lamb! With a NE'lys  and hail and sleet, it is time to retreat to the log fire!

Very pleased to welcome Chris  with the schooner rigged Junk, 'Ivory Gull'.  She is an interesting craft.  A 28ft Lone gull II design.

Chris sails her out of the Solent, that is, when the WhuFlu allows us to get anywhere near our boats!

Heard that some clown went out in the Blackwater on Friday, in a small boat, fishing and got into trouble, had to be rescued by the West Mersea lifeboat.  What part of 'social distancing' did he not understand??

Bradwell marina apparently closed Friday 1700 after the lifeboat towed him in....  From what I can gather off the net, most others closed Tuesday....

Suspect all will be closed till at least June if not longer.  As we are told not to travel, no one going near their boats for much of this year.

I have a 72 year old dinghy I am restoring, been on the back burner for 8 years or more.. 

Maybe this is the year I will get it sorted, finally.... 

It is a 10ft Merron Dinghy.  Made by the guy who worked with Uffa Fox on the flying lifeboats during WW II.  Mr. Merron.  Uffa went on to design the very similar Fairey Duckling and the Albacore and Atalanta cruisers, all made the same way, Agba strips in a hot mould.  My boat has a history, for many years friend Brian had it in his garden and for many more before that the late Dave Wright was custodian. I owe it to these two gents to restore it, they managed to salvage not just the hull, but the centre board and rudder and all the rig, a sliding gunter one.  The only thing missing is the sails, but I have the spars and for my 60th some years ago, my daughter found me a Yachting World year book for my year, 1947, and guess what, full page pictures and drawings of the Merron! 

I know there are only two others in existence...  hoping to make it three.

Keep safe.

John

Friday 27th March 2020.

Despite the lockdowns and isolating, Eventiders are getting cracking on their boats, if they can.  Heard from Mat our Senior rep that his company have sent him home but are still paying him, so he can afford to get on with his Senior. Good news.

Do not get much good news these days, seems Prince Charles and the Prime Minister Boris are both not immune to the WhuFlu. 

Stay safe everyone, still got loonies driving miles to go for walks in the countryside or on beaches, instead of taking exercise near to home. Reports in Essex of groups of 10 or more cyclists out on the roads.  Where do they leave their brains?  Whilst there are those that believe it does not concern them, the elderly and infirmed are at more and more risk...  Hope you are ringing round your mates as we are, all OK so far...  Early days we know, but we do not want to lose any Eventiders!

Did you see the 'Saving Lives at Sea' episode where the chap on a Lone Gull, was severely injured when another much larger boat poked its long bowsprit into their cockpit?   Glad to say he recovered, but a little sadness the other day when we heard that at least one of the joint owners of 'Ivory Gull' has sold.

Hope the new owner, Chris,  gets in touch.

Though the sun has been shining the past few days, we have had good frosts at night and sadly a stiff Nor Easterly to contend with.  A lazy wind we call it, one that does not go round you but right through!  Brrr.

Come on Spring, we need some warmth.

Keep safe , stay home and varnish that tiller.

John

Monday 23rd March 2020.

Amazing, after going into isolation Saturday, the first thing to go wrong was Saturday afternoon when I find the shower/bath is leaking along the edge!  So scrape out the old bath sealant and clean all traces of the old stuff, grab the spare tube of silicone.... gone solid!

Always the same when I go to use Sikaflex on board the boat. (Not that this bathroom sealant was anything that special!).  Always gone solid in the tube in store!

Matt with his GRP GH 31 is in need of sealant to cure a persistent rain water leak up forward under his deck. But where to put it is the problem as he cannot see any sign of a crack on deck...  Maybe it is under the bowsprit??   Anyone else has similar problems with a GRP GH??

So 0900 Sunday morning waiting outside local hardware store, (Dots and Melons), and buy a couple of tubes..  Every one so careful, door handles being wiped and sprayed,  distances kept, accept no change.. (tell them put the change in the air ambulance pot on the counter!) .

So much for isolation!  Then Monday morning the boss, Darian has to go into work!!!  We are supposed to be isolating....  Eventually her firm sees sense and sends her home, they were threatening she would lose her job, looking after the old folks if she did not go in!!!!   As all the clients were self isolating....  Think this was all so wrong and eventually they had to admit it was.  So now both of us here for the duration.

Hope you are managing to keep indoors or at least at home with few problems.  Seems there are a lot of the youngsters who think all this is a hoax, hope they live to regret their actions....

The 'Eye of the Wind' The Black and white pic was from when I went on board her back in the 1980's on the London River!

Isolation was not the first thing on one of our steering groups mind when he signed up for a trip to Bermuda, Eilard is now crossing the Atlantic on the sailing ship, 'Eye of the Wind'! What a trip!  He is on the brigantine for an Atlantic crossing to the Azores.  Not sure how he will get home to the Netherlands from there with all the planes grounded, suggest sailing off for a few months Eilard!

In the garden, in the welcome sun today, looking at the clear blue sky, it was devoid of planes or traces of them (vapour trails).  Not been like that since the volcanic eruption in Iceland grounded everyone a few years back.

No traffic and only a few dog walkers in our lane, an eerie silence.....  Is going to take a little for everyone to get used to this.

Time to retreat to the workshop or garage and do those little jobs you had on the back burner.  I spent and hour coating timber with Sikkens, it is to  be the new tailgate of my little general purpose trailer, my bowsprit will be next for the treatment....

Please take care out there, stay safe.

John

Saturday 21st March 2020.

We are now in lockdown, like a lot of the UK population.  If we and others can avoid the WhuFlu the NHS services have a better chance of coping with those that get it.  Keep safe everyone.

Good news here. I spoke to the Bradwell marina and young Arthur the grandson of Arthur the owner assured me I could have the year off, as one of their best, long term customers, and I could have my berth back if we are OK and the WhuFlu has run its course by next April!?!?

This was  a real pleasant surprise after being sworn at by the new staff member down there a year or so back...   (How one man can give an organisation such a bad name and still survive there astounds many of us, rude and arrogant...)

So 'Fiddler's Green' remains in my friendly farmers barn, locked away and under CCTV surveillance, along with his mega expensive farm machinery!

So much preparation over the last week that I missed St. Patrick's Day and yesterday, the first day of spring, the spring Equinox!

Next weekend the clocks 'Spring' forward an hour and we can take more time in the gardens of an evening.

As we are in lockdown I have organised potato planters, temporary vegetable  toughs, compost and bought a load of seeds.  Going to keep busy and enjoy some fresh veg later!

Mails have been sparse for the last week, but that is to be expected, these are unprecedented times, I hope you are all prepared and taking all the precautions you can.

We learnt last night that the marina bar and maybe even the marina itself, as a leisure business, has closed. 

Here we have been planning for the worst and hoping for the best!

Keep safe everyone,

John

 

 

Sunday 15th March 2020.

Just heard the news from the Health Minister that the government here are to announce that all persons over 70 are going to have to self isolate for up to three months!  That means Darian and myself as well as many of our boating friends....

So there goes this summers boating, darn good job I have not yet applied the antifouling!  Wonder if the marina will still try and take the mooring fee off me! Bet they try. As I have been considering taking my custom elsewhere that would clinch it.  Like to see any company try to claim mooring fees if the government makes such a decree!

Seems the UK is about to go into lockdown. Hope you are OK out there and can come through this OK.  I will carry on with the Stoppress pages whilst I am able, if the WhuFlu does not down me, but sadly going to find it difficult to send drawings out by post, so may well be reducing all the larger drawings to more suitable sized PDF's to email out! Will still ask for a small (smaller), donation, just to help keep the site going....

So many boatyards and marinas, as well as places like the marina bar, the sailing clubs etc. are all going to feel the pinch.  We doubtless will have to close down all pubs and cafes too, and high street shops! 

Us being rather self sufficient sailing sorts I think I can predict most Eventiders and boat people generally, will manage to come out the other side of this OK, if a little leaner!

Plan for the worst and hope for the best!  (Isn't that a little like practical Seamanship??)

John

 

Friday 13th March 2010.

The budget  yesterday  slipped past one item in amongst all the WhuFlu financing that you may have missed.

The end of red diesel!

I for one have not been using red diesel for normal topping up for some time, I buy my diesel from my local garage, it is cleaner than the somewhat dubious stuff some marinas sell.  If I have had to buy red, when cruising,  I always have declared 'All for propulsion' and not gone for the 60/40 split that most go for claiming they have a diesel heater on board. 

I have spoken about this before, but in case you missed it, if you make the declaration of a 60/40 split, a copy of the sales receipt, together with your boat's name and place of berthing, your name and importantly, your signature, goes to the local Customs and Excise.  So what you say....  Well a contact of mine, a now retired customs officer has told me these are all stored, and one day a customs official may call to check your boat.  What no heater, but you have signed.... Guess what, they can take your boat for falsifying a customs declaration!  So I always declare 100% for propulsion or buy white! 

You can read up about it on the governments site.  

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fuel-duty-changes-for-diesel-used-in-private-pleasure-craft/fuel-duty-changes-for-diesel-used-in-private-pleasure-craft

You may wonder why we got the red diesel in the first place.  Many years ago I was a committee member on the now defunct RYA Cruising Committee.  ( They disbanded it and concentrated on racing!!)  There was a proposal to remove the red diesel from boating use and a lot of the other members were incensed that the government could remove this 'perk'.

I addressed the meeting and asked if any of the members present  had any of their members that they represented who had actually been at Dunkirk.  Of course no one had and they queried why I asked.  They had no idea.  Cheaper diesel for private craft was given to  owners by the government after the second world war for the sacrifices many went through in evacuating the forces at Dunkirk.  I argued that as none of those veterans were likely to be still afloat, we today certainly did not warrant the award.  Went down like a lead balloon!   However later many confided to me that they felt rather silly trying to justify it for themselves!

The customs then brought in the 60/40 offer. 

So in the next couple of years red will disappear from marinas, as they will probably not fit two separate tanks so the fishermen can still use red and have a tank of white for us...

In the meantime just be aware if you may be signing your boat away with the 60/40 declaration if you have no diesel heater!

Time for a little announcement.  We have a new Webmaster!.  Andrew Laing, a Seagull customer of mine from Bermuda has taken over from the late Peter Webster.  Andrew has saved a copy of the site on his personal NAS machine and will be updating it regularly for safe keeping!  He is now looking to update and save the content of the Forum.  He is also going to assist us updating the security certificate for the site so in future that annoying bit  saying 'insecure site' will no longer appear in the address bar when you go to our pages!

All for now,

John

 

Wednesday 11th March 2020.

Happy Birthday Eccles!

Yes my daughter's birthday, 40 again she tells me!! Have a good one Eccles.  ('Jennifer Eccles, pink and freckles', sung by the Scaffold!)

The temperature rose to a heady 16 degrees or more here yesterday, enough to tempt me on board the boat!

I fitted the MG Duff Electro connector attached to my bit of shaped s/s!

As you can see it is mounted on a simple bent s/s bracket, firmly screwed to the port engine bearers and with a wire connecting it both to the anode and to the stern tube. The wire to the stern tube is connected by a large ring end connector to the stern tube greaser where it attaches to the tube,  The stern tube greaser is the brass pot with the Tee handle on top.  This is a spring loaded device that once filled with grease, pumps it into the bearing. It needs refilling every 10 or 20 hours engine running..  Only refilled it once last year, but almost every day on my round UK trip!

The black rubber fitting on the sterntube is a Manecraft seal, I have used these for 30 years with few problems, simple and clever way to stop the sterntube leaks. I change mine every 7 years or so, before the rubber degrades and cracks.

The large Ali fitting on the back of the motor is a Vetus Flexi drive, an amazing bit of kit that allows for the motor to leap about all over the place on its rubber mounts and transmits the drive with no vibration! Up to 5 degrees flex!

Whilst I was onboard I also tackled the holding tank.  I thought I was going to have to break the seal on the float switch plate, but on inspection I realised I had fitted an inspection hatch, forgotten that....  (Available from Lee Sanitation, as were all the fittings..)  A quick twist of the central s/s hold down bolt and the cover could be removed, revealing a clean empty tank and no pong! The float switch had a bit of toilet tissue stuck on it!  Carefully lifting the dried tissue off with a screwdriver and then lifted the float, the idiot light worked again!  (The 'Tank Full' indicator). Job sorted!

Another job I had not been looking forward to ticked off the list!  Why is it the ones we put off, thinking they are going to be difficult or unpleasant, as the easiest, once we roll the sleeves up and get on with it!

To round the day off I did the only other job outstanding, reconnect the brake operating cables.  Fitted a new pair of cable grips, 5 minute job... been waiting all winter to do that job!  Better when its warm!

So now planning to go down and wash all the dust off the mast and cabin top, polish the hull and mast, give a lick of Sikkens on a couple of rub marks on the gunwale and then it is antifouling time.

Have noticed a few bits of old Marclear loose, so will be scraping them off first with my wonderful assortment of long handled scrapers! Dirty job that one, but better than have the flaky stuff come off on the roller when applying the next coat of Marclear. That is so annoying!

The only other job is to re-polish the prop.  Got to be mirror finish!

If the WhuFlu does not get me, I am hoping to be afloat in April!

Reminder: Get logs in to us my mail for the Seamanship or Passage log trophies....

John

 

 

Tuesday 10th  March 2020.

Sadly we have decided to cancel any meetings, until the WhuFlu epidemic is done and dusted.  It is the sensible thing to do. 

What I cannot figure is why the governments of the world have not seen fit to ban all international travel.  Just beggars belief that they think this will go away, or people will not be selfish.  I have heard of a chap locally, who has recently returned from northern Italy and has gone to work, even though he has now got a cold!  Real idiot.  What would he lose by self isolating for 14 days?

I speak from my experience as a former police officer, you cannot trust all the population to 'do the right thing'.  A big stick is needed for some!  Only if there are real threats of repercussion's will the miscreants toe the line. Sadly as we have seen, even in our small boating circles, there are some that think they are above simple rules and common sense!  Grr. some people...

Get off the soapbox John! No why should I!!  It is us, the older generation that are going to suffer the most when (and not if!) we get this!

Would you trust the Chinese government to build our new power stations or to run our 5G communications.  It is not just because of WhuFlu I don't trust them... (Its not the first nasty virus to come from there now is it!??)   I think those that  are agreeing to this have taken leave of their senses.  Try saying this in China!

On a happier note the weather is warmer, 15 degrees here today, Magnolia, Camellia and Forsythia out, and other shrubs well on the way.  So off to do some fitting out.  The marina though is reported as being unusually quiet....  Wondering how many will fork out the pennies for a years mooring up front??  We just don't know....

We have another boat on the 'For Sale' pages, or we will have shortly.  An Atlantic Clipper, the owner says 36ft, but this is with the bowsprit I suspect as it looks a standard 1970's boat, with much of the original kit too, selling as a 'Project'.  May need to be negotiable on the selling price....  Bit of a sad story...

A bit of frivolity to end on.  There is a a new measure of I.Q..  Everyone starts at 150, then you have to deduct 1 for every toilet roll you have!

Keep well,

John

 

Friday 6th March 2020.

With the dreaded Whuflu taking hold now just about everywhere and the panic that has started to set in, maybe now is a good time to sail off into the sunset for a month!

Sadly very few of us are going to be able to do that, so we are just bracing ourselves for the inevitable.  Sad world we live in, what have we done to it, what with climate change and weird illnesses. 

A pleasant change  to get a bit of good news.  The April edition of 'Classic Boat' has a double page spread on the Waterwitch 'Wedjit' with a full page picture by me of Tim sailing her in the Blackwater.  The Editor, Stefan, a friend of the EOG, has promised to send me a copy, for assisting Peter Poland write it,  so I can pass it on to Peter North's family.  Sadly Peter, the builder of 'Wedjit' now has advanced Altzimers and is in a care home....

Yesterday we had so much rain here, on top of all we have recently had, that local ditches have over topped and our driveway became a moat around out little cottage!  But today the sun is out.  And for a change it feels warm.  Speaking to a friend or two on my daily walk to the post office, they are sorting their boats out, at last!

Hoping to get to mine and do the couple of little jobs inside, the prop shaft Anode connector and the Poo tank float switch....  where's that peg?

Heard from David Ellis the owner of the Atlantic Clipper 'Cidre', he is wanting to sell.  Hope to have details of the boat shortly to add her to the 'boats for sale' page.

Also had an enquiry re the new owner of the Golden Hind 26, formerly 'Golden Mongoose', now 'Orinoco'!!  The enquirer did not realise that Tim Baker ha bought her.  We believe Tim has had her transported by road to Faversham now, where he is working on her. Hope to get a progress report soon. As soon as the rain stops!

Stay safe,

John

 

Sunday 1st March 2020.

Happy St. David's Day!

March. 'In like a lion, out like a lamb'.  Well the first bit is correct!  F8 again here last night and this morning!  Third weekend in a row with a named storm, this weekend Jorge, pronounced 'Hor-Hey'! 

See that February has been the wettest February on record.  No surprise to anyone in the flood areas!

Apart from checking the roof tiles, not a lot happening here,  though amazingly the temperature is in double figures here at midday...  Just does not feel like it in the wind!

Mails quiet again, except for Chris sending in pics of the new engine beds he has glassed into place in his GRP boat to take the new motor. Says he is going to plane a bit off the top to lower the engine beds now they are in...

   

Fitted nicely in place, but you can see how much he has to lower it...  Easier than making the beds taller!

Roll on summer.

John

Wednesday 26th February 2020.

True to form there is snow forecast and looking out the window of the study northward, towards the Blackwater, it looks very much as if snow is falling on the north shore, just missing us here.  Forecast is for more overnight. Sadly the rain of late has led to serious flooding in many other parts of the UK, worst in living memory in many places.  For the past two weeks the wind has hardly dropped below F6. What Climate change?  I heard the ostrich say....

There was another change announced in the local press here, the Orfordness lighthouse is being dismantled, as of today!! 

This photo taken a year or so back... the foreshore being eroded alarmingly, despite it being banked up by volunteers.

This photo taken 24th February, now it is a race to take it down before it falls into the sea!

The red and white striped lighthouse has been straffed during WWII and escaped explosions from the nearby experimental army base.  However the climate has got it, or the continued movement of shingle along the coast.  It is in severe danger of falling down, so it is being taken down to preserve it.

On my sail round the UK  (or most of it), see here, it was the first landmark of note.  I had never sailed north of it before, always east, south or west!  My charts were marked with 'Here there be Serpents!'  A shame to lose this northern most marker for the Thames estuary.  Doubt anyone will ever be building this sort of structure again. All relying on GPS!

Had an interesting mail from Peter, the new owner of the GH 31 'Audeer', (clever name for a GH!!. Means "to dare, to venture, to risk".)  He has owned several MG boats including the GH 26 'Black Sheep'.  I knew John Murrisson, an former owner, who lived in Essex years ago, always wondered about the name.... 'Black Sheep'.  Turns out when it was purchased it was bought by two ladies, both with the name 'Barbara'!!!  Like the way some name boats!

Had a very pleasant message from Terry and husband Richard, they are the proud new owners of 'Mollymawk'.  She is staying at Pin Mill for a season, so maybe we will cross wakes.

Here is another boat that I wondered about the name of, till I listened to one of my folk CD's by the 'Fisherman's Friends'.   I half thought it was something to do with sea birds, but in one of the songs, all was made clear. It is the nick name sailors gave to the Wandering Albatross.  Very suitable name for a Golden Hind! 

As far as anyone is aware the GH still holds the record for the number of trans-Atlantic crossings by a boat of the same design.  Record never likely to be broken, that one!

Sadly Clifton, the apparent new owner of the Eventide 26 'Ichabod', has still not managed to fill in the enrolment form.  If you are out there Clifton, mail us and we will assist.  Will look out for the boat when I next visit Brixham...

We had our monthly get together in Essex last Saturday lunchtime.  A departure from our normal last Wednesday of the month.  We decided it might be better to meet by day as the dark evenings were no fun to drive home in the wet etc.  We were going to use 'The Grange' at Boreham again, but it has changed since we used it regularly and on checking the reviews thought better of it, so we met at the 'Queens Head', Boreham, a quaint country pub.  The landlord made us very welcome and the food was superb!  Thinking this may be a venue we may well use again.   A real ale pub too.

A day later Matt with the  GH in Brighton asked when we were going to get together as he could get to a venue in Essex. Sorry Matt, next time!

Waiting to read the Classic Boat Waterwitch article, should be out soon.

Not long now till the clocks change again and the weather may warm up, ever hopeful...  Watch out for the snow though!

John

P.S. Go to this site to see what's happening at Orfordness!  http://www.orfordnesslighthouse.co.uk/

 

Wednesday 19th February 2020.

Just back from a rather energetic weekend.  Present from the family at Christmas, Valentines weekend, at Centre Parcs.  Deep in Thetford Forest, Suffolk/Norfolk border. Walked miles in the woods, swam, played badminton, (badly) and did some 10 pin bowling...  (also badly!).   Now need a week working on the boat to recover.  Amazingly in Suffolk we did not get the rain everyone else has suffered with, though it was windy.  Evidence of storm Ciara the week before was plain to see however, a few dozen trees laid in bits after the chainsaw man had finished with them!

Hope you did not get any damage.

Welcome to two new members. Peter  of Tenby with the Golden Hind 31 'Audeer'  and to Clifton who as just bought the Eventide 26 'Ichabod' and is based in Brixham marina! He is yet to fill in his form but has contacted us.  Both will be 'Full voting Members' of course.

Had an interesting mail from Lucy with the GH, she is sorting out her anodes etc. and is also fitting one of M.G. Duff's electrical connectors with the carbon brushes.  (As I am).  Yet to hear which size doughnut zincs she is using on her bilge plates... 

I wonder if others have coated their bilge plates in epoxy to protect them,  as I did 30 years back..  When you use a copper based antifouling you have to insulate any galvanised steel from the paint or it destroys the galvanising, as it acts as a zinc anode in reaction to the copper in the antifouling.  My bilge keels were cleaned off to bare galvanising a few years back when I had the bottom slurry blasted to remove old paint.  They were as bright and shiny as they day I fitted them. Wonderful job fitting the keels,  Darian and I got covered in black sticky Sikaflex offering and bolting them up!

I recoated the bilge keels in 3 coats of epoxy after the slurry blasting and reused the unworn 4 inch doughnut anodes, and they are still un worn now. As the bilge keels are coated I get no corrosion and the paint does not react with the galvanising.  Give the anodes a quick wire brushing every year and they are good to go.  Sadly seen a few galvanised keels where they have lost all their galvanising in a few seasons due to the reaction with the copper paint! It is not poor quality galvanising, just poor management.

With the huge amount of good information at our fingertips these days I am surprised at the number I still see painting copper directly onto galvanised steel. 

Mind you there are still loads of boats at Bradwell every year end, with balls of weed and barnacles where the prop should be..  they insist on painting the props.  Even with a hard antifouling the prop wash will have it all eroded off in a few weeks.  Polish them!

Get off the soapbox John!

Still wet here and chilly today, but see the temperature is due to be up in the 60's old money this weekend! That's warm enough to tempt me over to the barn!

Still time for snow though!

Reminder: the next A.M. reports etc. will be posted on the Forum March/April.

John

February 14th 2020.

 

Thursday 13th February 2020.

Tomorrow is St. Valentine's day and traditionally the date you have to put up any new bird nesting boxes by.  I put a couple of new ones up this morning.  However the birdies do not have the benefit of weather forecasts, so they have no idea Dennis the Menace is coming!

After the storm a few days back, when we topped F11 here, we are told this is to be 'just' a F10!    My chum has had to re-secure his canvas cover yet again and has given up trying to attach it to the frame, it now just covers his gear under the frame and is weighed down securely.  

Hope your covers are secure.

Been very quiet on the mail front for a few days now, wonder if everyone getting busy collecting kit for fitting out.?

It is not that we are not getting any mail, it is just they are not about our boats.  Plenty of offers to have plastic mouldings made  or stainless boat bits in China though.  They all automatically go in the Spam folder fortunately.  About 30 a day!  Have to wonder, you would think the Chinese had more pressing worries to deal with!??

The Spring tides here on the east coast, coupled with the strong winds of late have caught a few out, a very nice Bentley nearly floated away off the quay at Maldon and cars had to be rescued on the Strood to Mersea Island, yet again.  Sad really that people just do not think  about the sea and its tides, though they live on the coast... Hope no sailor is caught out!

Spent a mad half hour with a large hammer and a tapered square tool today, experimenting in turning round holes into square ones.  Think I have cracked it.  I remember doing it so easily with the brother in law Keith over 30 years back, when we shaped the bolt holes in the  bilge keels on 'Fiddler's Green' prior to galvanising.  I just have learnt that the trick is to drill out the 3/8 and 5/16 holes till they are 12mm, then square them, easy when you know!  (The 10mm coach bolts have a 12mm square section just under the domed head, to prevent them turning....)

John Steven's bilge keels,  or one of them, bottom 3" repaired and modified aft with an extra bit, to reduce weather helm!

These are for  the re-welded bilge plates for John Steven's  GRP 26ft Eventide.  As John was crook I went over to Tollesbury and salvaged them from the steel work  engineers before they went out for scrap, and got them back to safety here.  As the sun was out this morning I decided to have a little go.  Now I have figured out how, I think it will take just a morning maybe to drill out all the bolt holes and square them for the new 10mm coach bolts.  Then it is just a case of  sanding off the keels with an angle grinder and flap wheel and they will be ready for galvanising.

John has also a tabernacle I have modified for him to re galvanise and various other bits of steelwork too, the bowsprit roller metalwork and an old anchor.. (Though I bet the anchor will have a nose full of lead that will have to be replaced after galvanising to put the weight back in it!!)

Finding a galvaniser these days is not easy, as far as I know there is only one left in Essex now, in Witham.  John will be putting a small trailer load of steel bits together for a trip there soon!

Hope you are planning ahead as we are.

Summer is coming.... but not before Dennis the Menace does!

John

 

Tuesday  11th February 2020.

After some really ferocious winds of Storm Ciara over the past few days, I went to check the boat in the farmers barn yesterday.  Felt sure the roof would have been damaged, we had F11, 'severe storm' here, 65knot winds.  They must make barns stronger now, not a scrap of damage. Friend not so lucky with a large canvas tent, 12ft wide 10ft tall , that lost its canvas.  However the weather gods have to be smiling on him, as he did not get a drop of rain and we had 50mm (2inches) here, 40 miles apart.  Canvas gathered up and re-secured! All remained dry!

Hope your boat covers OK.  I have a few of those thin woven tarps here, hanging on the side of my garage lean-to, got a project dinghy there.  They have shredded!  Cheap to replace though...

All quiet on the e-mails for a few days, apart from someone wanting to contact one of our members that he says he served in the navy with.  I have passed the mail on to our member.  Of course we will never divulge your contact info to others!

John

 

Wednesday 5th February 2020.

The sun has been out for  few days here, drying things up and fooling the bulbs into flowering, told the weekend is going to be gales and more rain, great!

Have communicated with the Classic Boat journalist again and they are interested in my 'Fiddling Around' log, as the same time the journalist also writes for PBO and thinks sections from my 'Preparation log' will be good for them.  We will see.

I have just advertised all my Practical Boat Owner magazines on EBay.  Had no takers from our pages.  see...  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/254502438365?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

I have also advertised some kit I am helping a neighbour to sell, it was on our pages but I have decided it needed a wider audience.  OK if you search the net with Google shopping it does find items on our pages, but not everyone is canny enough to search the net that way.. (often find better buys using Google shopping than just on EBay!) 

Also an  Ankarolina Webbing Anchor Warp On a stainless  Reel....  See   https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/254504255337?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649   Great for boats up to 40ft, cam of his 30ft boat, used for kedge when bows on anchoring in Scandinavia!

Good to see the days getting longer.  Roll on summer.

John

 

 

Friday 31st January 2020

2300hrs, Britain's Independence Day!

I have just come indoors after a small firework display!  Fireworks and hooters going off all around us here in Essex.  A lot of people celebrating. Us included.

John

Thursday 30th January 2020.

We have been contacted by friends at Classic Boat for an article they are doing about the Waterwitch.  Affordable Classics.  Managed to supply them with a good picture of 'Wedjit' that I took a couple of years back, with a bone in her teeth and very taught luffs!  Going to look good on the cover of the March issue of the magazine!

Heard back from Terry re the GH she is interested in, more on that if the deal comes off!

Had a very interesting conversation with Andrew from Bermuda. For nearly an hour!   Andrew has been a Seagull customer of mine for years and he has stepped forward to become our new webmaster!  At last a safety net!  Andrew works in the internet security business for large companies and has all the knowledge needed to look at the workings of the website and the forum, so pleased to have him step forward.  Primarily he will be interested in my Seagull website, but has agreed to keep an eye on this one too.  He has the ability to save backups of the site to a NAS machine on a regular basis too, so another backup!

Will be talking more to Andrew in the next week or so, at the moment he is moving house, having just arrived back in Bermuda from New York, a work related move.  He is born and bred Bermudan and now hoping to stay there with his family for the future.

Just added a sail to the Bits for Sale pages, Steven with Fintra in Northern Ireland is converting her to gaff rig.  Primarily because he had to shorten the mast by a few feet when he found rot in it!  Steven tells me that 'Borer Bee' is still in a local farmers field and even the farmer does not know who owns her now!  This is rather sad, here is a boat with some history that should be loved and sailing!

Heard from associate member Barry Lewis, he is at present globe trotting round the world aboard the yacht 'Risky Business'  At present in Agadir, Morocco,  about to head for Jamaica, having sailed from Australia and is on her way west to the Americas. Thence through the Panama and back to Australia!   When he arrives he is looking to downsize to an MG design to sail on in!  Good sailing Barry.  He was brought up sailing the Orwell and Thames Estuary in the late 60's!

Lastly a picture from a member in the Netherlands, Leonard Blussé, in Amsterdam.

He found this Kylix, 'Tadaima' (ex Johanna, ex Isola),   completely derelict, full of rain water on a quay, but look and behold, here she is sailing again.

 

Here his daughter Julie is on the helm.

He  has repaired and restored her to a very high standard. He has replaced the heavy timber mast with an Ali one which improved her stability and fitted mast raising tackle, so he can raise and lower at will, good idea.  I have mast raising kit stored  on 'Fiddler's Green', makes for smaller yard bills!

All for now but bet I will be back soon, lots of mails coming in.

John

 

 

 

Monday 27th January 2020.

Apologies for the weeks delay, I have been away to Devon for a few days.  And of course it rained. Fell on the way back, difficult driving, took a lot longer than it should have done otherwise I might have updated this page last night.

Welcome to another new member Therese (Terry) with a Warrior 35 that she wants to replace with a Golden Hind. Hope to hear more from her later.

Just sorting out all the drawings and info we have on the Golden Hind for another member, Roland in N.Z.  ( He is the chap with Janine and those nicely repaired cockpit lockers!). Drawings on a DVD will be winging his way shortly.

Heard from Chris in the Netherlands today, he has spotted 'Celtic Lass' up for sale on the Bay. 

See   https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/283756740622

This boat looks to be in sail-away condition and reasonably priced.  Hope a buyer comes along for her.

Sent a DVD/CD of all the senior drawings off to Alan in Honiton before I left Thursday, bet they overtook me on the way to Devon.

Looks as if spring is just around the corner here, loads of snowdrops and crocus out and the narcissi are a foot tall, full of bud.  Still time for this incessant rain to turn to snow though.

John

 

Sunday 19th January 2020.

A  really crisp sunny day today, so out in the workshop and garden enjoying the sunshine!  At last I have taken the time to fabricate the stainless support for the shaft connector I bought.  Took a little head scratching to make it, which bit should I try and bend or drill first, so that later I could model the next section, but it is done and here is the result.

  

The flat s/s bar will be mounted on the port side of the engine bay, where the previous plain flat strip was fixed but the new bracket has to rise up higher to allow the pair of spring loaded jaws to clamp round the prop shaft.  Have yet to take it and offer it up on board but pretty confident it will fit as I had the old one as a sort of pattern.  I knew the old one rested on top the shaft so had a datum point. The carbon brushes are 1/2 inch below where the old strip rested on the shaft.  The s/s strip is quite strong, but malleable so I can adjust it to get it right quite easily..   I will take  a couple of pics once I have screwed it in place.  Got to protect that prop!

Hope you are managing to get a little fitting out done too.  I have just one other job to do on board, to see why the float switch failed to warn me the poo tank was nearly full, that may be a smelly job!  I have drained the holding tank and pumped some disinfectant into it, just got to find a suitable gas mask before I undo the 4 screws holding the float switch to the top of the tank!

Chris in the Netherlands sent a link to an EBay auction he had seen for the GH 31 'Mollymawk'.  She is in Suffolk and advertised elsewhere for £19k and £22k, but on EBay https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Golden-Hind-31-classic-yacht-GRP-1987/233461876569    the bids had only got to £12k!  Hope she sells, she is a nice looking  boat and looks ready to sail away.   Perfect boat for a round UK trip! Or further afield!!  The owner is a member, but as yet has not advertised with us..

It has just got dark here, just gone 1700hrs, and every night the sunset is later, spring is on the way, another sailing season to look forward to!

John

 

Thursday 16th January 2020.

We had F10 gusts here from that Brendan storm, fortunately minimal damage.  A branch fell off a tree and was laid in the track to my barn storage, but barn kept its roof!  A few fence panels down in the village and tell me, why is there always one of those trampoline things upside down in a field afterwards?  Doesn't anyone anchor these down!

Pleased to say my chimney pot stayed on and the builders have been back today to finish off the pointing, looks to be solid for a few more years!  We were concerned during the night though, when it was F10,  that the big sack over the lot could have set us off on a spinnaker run to the Blackwater!

Watched the Lifeboat program on the BBC yesterday evening, they showed the rescue of a 30ft GRP boat in the aftermath of that hurricane a year or so back.  For some reason they went past Rosslare and headed up the coast into the funneling sands past Wexford.  John Stevens accompanied me  through there in a F5 gusting 6 and it was hairy, a very narrow channel, ( down to 50 yards wide at one point....)  with breaking seas either side.  I would not have wanted to be on that boat.  They thought they had a 24hr weather window before the storm arrived and would make it to Dublin area....  Don't know about you but if I had 24 or in their case 48 hours notice of a hurricane I would be sat indoors, not chancing in in the Irish Sea!   Sure they could have made it into a safe port in time   In the program they seemed so sensible??   Takes all sorts as they say! Seamanship....

Sent off the drawings of the Senior and the Eventide to Peter yesterday, thank you for the kind donation to the group Peter.  He is now seriously looking for a used one to refurbish, Senior preferred I think.

Heard from Roland with the GH 'Janine' in NZ.  He is making good progress replacing the bad timberwork in the cockpit area.

See what you think...

     

Before and after!

Roland tells me that the bilge plates were removed from her many moons ago, in Tahiti, no idea why, but he is seeking to replace them, so is after a set of GH 31 drawings and the bilge keel info we have..  Bilge keels on the GH were not just there to assist drying out!

Had a communication with Gordon who has Lone Gull II, the one MG designed for himself. 

We have had dealings, a few years back now,  with a previous owner of Lone Gull II up in Scotland, Adam.  A real labour of love to restore this boat, and sadly Adam could not manage it and now Gordon is looking for someone to take up the challenge.  Must say it would cost less to build a replica from scratch, but of course that would not be the original.  Sadly I cannot see a rich, young, enthusiastic, talented shipwright coming to the rescue.  Unless someone out there reads this and.....

Just had my half tide mooring renewal confirmed.  I have had this mooring in Woodrolfe Creek, Tollesbury since 1973.  Cheap as chips at £60.00!  It was only £10 a year back in  1973, if you take galloping inflation into account, it is still a good deal, especially when compared to other creek moorings nearby.  Good for boats up to 30ft and often available for members to use, just ask!  I only use it to escape the rat race once in a while!

Hope you all came through that storm unscathed,

John

 

 

Monday 13th January 2020.

The unseasonal warm weather continues.  At the moment I have a couple of chaps sat on the roof repointing a chimney!  Mid January!  However they will not be up there tomorrow, as Storm Brendan is on the way, hope to have my stack all secure by then!  Winds of 85mph forecast for Northern Ireland and Scotland!  Bit less in Essex but still gale 8.  Hope your covers are secure!

I had been gathering info from Peter and Sue in California, to assist them to sell their Golden Hind 31 'Windtree'.  Whilst I was asking for details Peter came back to say she had already sold! Someone got a bargain, needs a lot of TLC, but she was afloat and the motor ran, $1000 asking price!

'Windtree'

Hoping Sue and Peter will pass our info on.!

Another Peter has apparently sent a donation for drawings.

Thought about the chances of getting up to date charts for an ancient chart plotter such as Bede has acquired with his latest boat, came to the conclusion that he would be far better off ditching the plotter for a newer model.  No point having a plotter that will only take out of date charts!  I like to sail with all as up to date as possible and so will shortly be looking to download the updates to my paper charts.  Trust you do the same, no point having out of date charts aboard, you might as well be navigating with the AA road map!

My plotter has all the UK charts on it, but is sadly now out of date by a year, but as it is only used as a guide and not for navigating by, ( I have paper charts, in date, for that) I suspect I will defer on the £200 for a new chart card.  Not planning to sail round the UK again!

Off to supply more tea to the lads on the roof, they have already stripped off all that needs to be removed and are cementing bricks back in place.! Hoping all will all be sorted before the wind and rain arrives!

John

P.S.

Just has to edit this page as I had placed todays update beneath the previous one instead of above it, sorry!

 

Wednesday 9th January 2020.

Still not used to the 2020 bit!

Always the same this time of year, changing calendars and updating everything to the new year, or in this case, a new decade!

We have had a few mails in, Greg in Australia has sent a link to a boat for sale.  Purports to be a 38ft steel MG, looks like a Good Hope or Barrier Reef design, but has anyone else heard of one ever made in steel??  They were timber of Ferro. Have a look, click the link below. 

https://yachthub.com/list/yachts-for-sale/used/sail-monohulls/maurice-griffiths-good-hope/235519

I have never seen an MG design with double spreaders either, so guessing this is a one off, based on....

Greg has also spoken about the horrific fires out there, he has acres of gum tree round him, many of which he has planted.  Very difficult to keep them going with the water restrictions they have of course... Fingers crossed for them....

Peter in Welwyn Garden City has been back to us for drawings of the Senior and Eventide, he would like to build a boat small enough to trail.  The Senior is ideal, the Eventide pushing it a bit, but I have trailed a 24 and later a 26 (OK she is 27ft!), for 40 odd years, but just to and from the coast once a year, not every weekend!  Takes a lot to tow the bigger Eventides!

Have a query someone may know the answer to, Bede a friend of the EOG is asking where can find charts for the Raytheon RC 420 Chart plotter ??  Anyone got a source for these.  They were Navionics Classic L charts .....

This winter is extremely odd. today we have had temperatures of 13C.  So far we have recorded the highest winter temperatures ever recorded for December, and that was at night!   What happened to the seasons. Already we have snowdrops, crocus and daffodils and the grass is growing!  Feel the plants might get a rude shock if the winter we should be having arrives!

So to that end go check those covers, try and keep driven snow out, but allow air to circulate if you can, to ward off damp!

Waiting on a response to a query on the GH bilge plates, yes we have the info, and another GH owner was to send info for an advert, still awaiting that, the boat for sale in the USA.

All for now, certainly too warm to warrant a log fire tonight!

John

Friday 3rd January 2020.

Was treated to a run out to the pantomime today, down to 'The Cliffs Pavilion' at Southend to see Robin Hood and his merry men!  'Diversity' on stage with Ashley Banjo as Robin Hood.   Great fun had by all, terrific show. 

The views from the Cliffs theatre, out over the lower Estuary were brilliant, as the tide rose and covered all the sands, (mud) and the sun set, red in a nearly clear sky, it revealed a myriad of tempting navigation lights flickering on the buoyage across the river... 

Sadly one landmark is now missing, the huge chimney and it's red lights, gone from the old power station up the Medway, a great landmark in its day...  stood out a mile!  We could see it from the Blackwater....  With our low lying coastline any object that could be visible miles away was always a welcome sight! Now sailing down the Swin there is nothing to see ahead.... Reminded me to organise a summer cruise to the Medway and maybe Hollowshore.... Maybe a run down to Ramsgate, but could I stop myself sailing on westwards??  The pull of the Scillies can be difficult to resist.....

Back to reality and the emails brought in  more info about 'Kinsman' and our old friend John Perrin!  About the time crew Richard inadvertently removed the pin from the back end of the boom and it fell on John, knocking him cold, just as they were entering Faversham!  John fortunately recovered quickly and was none the worse for it.

I remember those bronze square pins driven into the end of our booms, they were rather prone to working loose.  The topping lift and mainsheet were attached to them...  Pleased to say that type of fitting is rather a thing of the past! 

Do not know about you, but at this time of the year I am always planning ahead, just about to send off my pennies for my half tide mooring at Tollesbury.   At £60.00 I have kept it up for nearly 40 years now.  Check it annually, as I laid it, I know it is strong!  Do not use it often as I am normally moored the other side of the River Blackwater in Bradwell, but it is a great place to escape to, just to avoid the crowds and once dried out you are stuck for about 6 hours, peace!

Often available to visitors, so contact me if you need a half tide mooring off the Blackwater.  Boats up to 30ft.  This spring one of the first jobs is to replace the riser chain, with a heavy duty warp... When checked the chain  was showing signs of wear....  Heavy warps are replacing chain on buoys locally as they do not rot and fail as rusty chain can do.  Mud on a mooring rope is a good UV blocker!  There will be a stainless swivel on the top of the buoy and that is attached to the boat with either a loop of chain for long stays or a simple warp if you are staying aboard.

Off to alter a few more pages on the site, a new year and new horizons?

John


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