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|'Coronette' Bill Booth's 'Tringa' class MG design, being hauled out Autumn 2003, in a yard I know well, at Millbrook, Cornwall.|
|Timbers on 'Coronette' being doubled Christmas 2003|
|'Coronette' Timber laid bare for treatment. What a nice shape! We look forward to hearing more from Bill shortly.|
|Bill as promised has sent updates! What a difference! She is about to be launched just after these pics were taken.|
|Just gets better all the time!|
|Had to put this one of Bill in!|
|Here is a close up of the sort of quality work Bill is doing! Well done that man!|
Here is 'Coronette, back in the..... mud? Waiting for the tide at Millbrook!
|From memory this looks like Millbrook Creek! Now what a lovely looking craft she is!|
|Racing at Brest 2004. The log to follow we hope!|
|What a sight! the Festival of Sail.|
|Afloat off the beach. all to be explained in the log we hope!|
|Morbihan sailing with bill at the helm. Makes all that hard work so worthwhile!|
Bill, true to his word has sent in a CD crammed full with photos and logs,
info and snippets. It's so good we have to print it all! We have
the start of it here. Thanks Bill 'Fair winds and Lee going tides sir!
Having copied all this first lot on, I realised we have a problem, the fantastic quality pics are not there... Nor can I extract them from the original, so I am going to try and catch Bill before he sails off over the horizon, to get him to put the photo files on disc so I can add them, they are worth seeing!
Bill, Good man he is has resent the pics, so I am wading through them, re loading, well worth it they are too!
Hello! John has asked me to produce a few lines based on the 2004 log of my old yacht 'Coronette.' I've been sending pics of her to John since she came into my possession in 2003 - he then posted them onto the Eventide Owners Group Web Site with the vast array of other vessels featured there. I'll try not to go on too much but I've been with her for over a year without much of a break now and we're pretty close. Ahhh.
I happened to find myself in Devon post redundancy kicking around wasting time in pubs and working for the wrong people again when I woke up to the fact the sea was all around and all encapsulating. The question of sailing was never really on my wish list for life but you have to give these things a go. It was something practical that involved peace and adventure with a closeness to the elements outside of our current noisy media swamped planet. So, I got involved with and bought a Hurley Felicity in Kingsbridge - at what I now find to have been a highly inflated price, Anyway, she was renovated from a neglected old state on the quay, I learnt the ropes and after a few chugs around the estuary, we slowly nudged our way out of Salcombe Harbour, sailing her along the coast to Gweek.
People along the way were astonished to find that the most technical item on board, second to the cooker was a bucket. A compass was offered by one friendly chap in Fowey for twenty quid which was good of him. We met lots of folk on our way - one other being an ever so enthusiastic guy in the Helford (who had just bounced off August Rock in his Ferro boat and was a tad grumpy). He was on a pirate boat who awakened me to the world of 'Live boards', his name was Lee and he managed to fix his keel and I showed him on the charts what the buoy at the entrance to the Helford was for. He advised me that he'd been sailing for twenty years and RYA courses were something to despise. He also advised me that in Millbrook, the Multihull Centre was the most affordable place on the South Coast to keep a boat. He went on to say that it was a quiet safe haven away from "Snottie Yotties". - The alternative being Grottie Yotties and there is no in between.
So, arriving at Millbrook, it was decided that the Hurley was too small as I was sick of crawling round on my knees. Also the boat was too responsive to the waves - I really needed something that cut through the water better (or I should have left more sea room around headlands.) I'd sailed across the Med on a delivery trip the year before and was put off fin keelers due to their twitchiness in a following sea and also the inherent paranoia that goes with navigating anywhere around estuaries. I wanted to go upstream and have a nosey without too much fear, and be able to take the ground without too much hassle. So, a Catamaran then eh? No.
There was a Golden Hind in the Yard rotting away and after numerous failed attempts to get the owner to state a price, the search widened for something similar but more readily available. The search brought me a few places including the Eventide Owners Group Web Site.
I have been in contact with John on and off since I became aware of Maurice Griffiths Boats and have had very welcome help and support throughout - so thank you John! Keep up the good work. Much appreciated.
In Nov 2003, the search for a new vessel came to fruition when Live aboard Lee and me found ourselves on a beach in Newton Ferrers looking at a sad old Maurice Griffiths job. She was a Centreboard Bermudian Cutter with Canoe Stern 'Tringa' style. She'd been in an on and off state of renovation for the previous 11 years and despite all efforts, albeit solid underneath, she was looking a little neglected. Her engine had been overhauled, a new rudder and centreboard made and a few planks redone. She was stripped out to the forward bulkhead, the poor girls sketchy attire was spread all around the South Hams. Armed with a pointy probe, Lee scoured the boat for softness and eventually gave her the thumbs up.
Coronette was built in 1953 using Mahogany planks on Oak frames. Not one of Maurice's favourite designs - the canoe stern 'nipped in' the quarter berth, and they lacked buoyancy to take the power of the Main - but there you go. A pointy rear is supposed to part a following sea but I don't think it makes any difference given how much back end there is in the water. Anyway, there's no point in a transom ho ho.
RETRIEVAL OF BOOTY / RENOVATION
The engine came to life, and she was duly motored back to Millbrook on a cold November day under her own steam. At Fosse Quay, she was hoisted out, a shed built and for the next 7 months, an effort made to prepare her for launch for the 2004 season. I'll give a rough rundown of works:-
The deck was stripped off, sheathed after the doghouse was rebuilt slightly larger. Mast collected and reassembled. New jib. Self draining cockpit with lockers designed and built. All foc’scle timbers removed and 24 cracked ribs doubled up with steamed straight grained oak. Cabin rebuilt out of seasoned oak (bit too heavy but there you go). Paint throughout. The bodge up of a Centreboard casing was rebuilt. 200kgs lead ingots were made up with a Lee design melting pot scrap yard challenge style and fixed into the bilge. Rewired and fitted electronics of choice. And all the rest of it. You probably know how it is. I found a route through the contradicting advice offered by the vast assortment of yard experts and eventually got her bottom wet again.
Through the winter, I had been living in the yard - so had a head full of boaty chat, and some not so boaty which challenged my ability to focus. I had met some prestigious peoples of the cruising fraternity such as Margaret and Frank Dye, Nick Skeets and Annie Hill fame and was inspired by their antics and approach to an ocean lifestyle. They all were enthusiastic and gave encouraging tips.
In The Multihull Centre, there was lots of ongoing banter as to what was ideal for cruising. The monohullists had their view and stuck to their guns whilst the enemy tittered away whilst loafing around on their floating patios. The traditionalists were going on about festivals in some place called 'Brest' and 'Douarnenez' - so it was decided to set Brest as the destination which gave us (Coronette et Moi) a focus to get the roof off the shed and get gone.
TIME TO LEAVE
The shed had begun to become a very hot, dry place and no place for an old tub. Light could be seen through some of the planks so before launching, it was made sure that the batteries were charged and all bilge pumps were ready to go. Many people appeared to see the launch and once in the water, some had a look inside. A plastic catamaran builder advised me to get some pebbles and moss to go around my nice water feature inside - ho ho, how they laughed. Their faces showing light relief at our expense from the years of epoxy poisoning that their bodies had endured. Poor things. Later on that night, we had to get rid of a barrel of beer on the slipway which seemed to happen easy enough.
The part I did remember at the launch party was asking Pat Patterson's old mate, 'Tom Rees' if my boat was old enough to be considered for Douarnenez?? Following a short pause, he replied, 'she will probably be considered a "Frisky Youngster" which I found funny
Being relatively new to the pastime of sailing, I had some doubts about the performance of the boat - due to her shallow draught - and questioned her ability at sea - without hesitation, Tom said, oh yes - she is definitely seaworthy whilst nodding in acknowledgement of what he had just said. This gave me confidence coming from such an experienced sailor. I had also heard that people give up long before their boats, so as long as I thought I was ok - I was, and if I didn't, she was - so I was, if you know what I mean. Anyway, boat launched, hangover gone, time for a quick rattle around the local waterways for a shakedown of sorts - cos that's what folk seemed to do, then go on a mission of sorts, or 'cruise' as it is known.
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