Friday, January 01, 2016

Bill’s Small Sailboats - The Future

Regular readers will be aware of the lack of recent articles. My custom for many years has been to post to my websites (no longer active) and to my blog on a daily basis, mostly about boating activities, boatbuilding, sailing and yachting.

However, the time has come when I feel I can no longer keep to a daily schedule. I find it simply too demanding. Likewise, my energy and enthusiasm for activity on the water has become much diminished on account of physical demands that I can no longer meet.

In view of the reality I’m forced to accept that postings in future to the blog will be sporadic, but I shall keep it active, i.e., running online to be used as a resource. To get the best out of it I suggest visitors should look for whatever may interest them by typing subjects into the ‘search’ box in the top lefthand corner of the Homepage.

If you are interested in a particular sailing boat you may prefer to look at an alphabetical list to be found at my Small Sailboats page: and if you want to read my Cruising Logs go to: .

Thank you to all who have followed the blog, and in particular my thanks go to those who have added comments, especially to those who have given of their time to inform us in detail of facts, thoughts and opinions.

Links - More Recently Featured Boats

Recently Featured Boats

Yachting World 5 Tonner

Vertue Yachts Designed by Laurent Giles

Eventide - Maurice Griffiths

Twister - Kim Holman


East Anglian Restricted Class

Haven 12 1/2


Fearing Cruiser

Shell Boats Schooner 18

Cornish Cormorant

Edel 22 Trimaran and Others

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Yachting World 5 Tonner designed by Robert Clark

Robert Clark first made his mark in the early 1930s by designing his 39’ Mystery Class* cutter, a very successful crusier/racer, much praised by Dr. T. Harrison Butler in a Yachting Monthy magazine writeup. A number of them were built at Sussex Yacht Works, Shoreham, before World War Two.

Robert is also famous for designing ocean racing yachts for single-handers such as Francis Chichester’s ‘Gypsy Moth lll’ and Geoffrey Williams’s ‘Sir Thomas Lipton’, both participating in the Observer Single-handed Transatlantic Races. He also designed Chay Blyth’s ‘British Steel’ that Chay sailed non-stop from east to west around the world against the prevailing winds. His boats were competitive in the Admiral’s Cup races, notably ’Jocasta’ in 1957 and ‘Caprice of Huon’, in 1965 and 1967. Not content with that he designed the standard 70’ Ocean Youth Club’s training vessels.

With regard to Clark’s Yachting World 5 Tonner, she’s a bit different, being designed for coastal cruising and occasional racing. Smaller and with a transom, she lacks the elegance of his larger yachts, but she has a good turn of speed and impeccable handling. You need only see her out of the water to appreciate her slippery lines. You know her average cruising speed will be at least 4 knots to the delight to those aboard. With metacentric balance she’s going to be light on the helm. She’s what you would call a ‘proper’ yacht, stoutly built by Robert King of Burnham from teak and mahogany on steamed oak timbers or by Carnell Brothers of Maylandsea, from pitch pine and larch on oak. Her long, cast iron keel gives ample stability and holds her on course. Sleek lines aft leave hardly a trace by way of a wake, save for a few ripples, soon lost in the vastness of the ocean. Her deep cockpit, high coamings, wide side decks, guardrails, pulpit and pushpit are all excellent safety features.

Down below in the warm glow of her varnished wooden cabin there are two settee berths, one either side of a centrally fixed folding table. There’s a quarter-berth opposite a well-equipped galley to starboard with a gimballed twin burner paraffin cooker and a sink with pumped freshwater. Under her companionway there’s a reliable Stuart Turner 11 HP Sole diesel engine. Forward of the mast in the forepeak, there’s a Baby Blake sea toilet with a ventilation hatch above.

As she is driven by the wind, her helmsman has every confidence in her fractional sloop rig. (Some were rigged as cutters.) The smallish jib is easily sheeted by the use of winches, and her generous main is reefed by rotating the boom. Running backstays help support the well-stayed wooden mast. (Some YW 5 Tonners were given bowsprits and bumpkins with fixed backstays.)

LOA 25’ 6”
LWL 20’ 10”
Beam 7’ 10”
Draught 5’ 00”
Displacement 4.73 tons

*Mystery Class Cutter: 


1949 Yachting World 5 Tonner for Sale £4,000

WBW Thread: Yachting World 5 Tonner

Yachting World 5 Tonner - Description at Wooden Ships

Yachting World 5 Tonner withdrawn from Sale (Good photos)

The Impromptu Circumnavigation

Other Robert Clark Yachts

Classic Boat Robert Clark Forum

Dynamite is a Yachting World 5 Tonner

Yachting World 5 Tonner Sold, but good photos

Monday, December 21, 2015

Vertue Yachts Designed by Laurent Giles

Continuing the theme of favourite designers and their yachts I come to the very attractive Vertue, from the board of Jack Laurent Giles. (1901-1965) She obviously stirs my heart, because I’ve done two previous articles featuring Vertues, specifically, ‘Maid of Tessa’* and ‘Hussar’.** To me, Vertues have their virtues; they are very attractive yachts, not only because I love their lines, but because they have proven themselves to be exceptionally seaworthy. Vertue No 1 was built in 1936, and since then over 200 have been launched, perhaps none of them more impeccably crafted than at the Cheoy Lee yard.*** 

For an introduction to the history and the development of the class, from wooden construction to GRP, have a look at this Australian website*** by the owner of ‘Corio Vertue’.

*’Maid of Tessa’ - Vertue 34

**Hussar’ Vertue No 21

***Some History of the Vertue Class Sloop

Other Links

Vertue Yachts

Vertue Specification at Sailboat Data

Vertue (Yacht)

****Cheoy Lee Vertues

Cheoy Lee Association

Simo the Vertue Blog

Vertue 61 Blog

Sumara of Weymouth Blog

‘Speedwell of Hong Kong’ Vertue

Stream of Consciousness - Vertue Class Yacht Blog

Val Howells ‘Cardinal Verture’

Adventures in a Laurent Giles Vertue

Sumara of Weymouth

Classic Boat Vertue 11 Forum

Cruisers’ Forum - ‘Is a 25 toot Vertue too small for extended cruising?

Wooden Boat Forum - Vertue 25

Laurent Giles Vertue - V3

Laurent Giles 25 ft Yacht for Sale

1994 Vertue 11 GRP Version for Sale £29,000

1963 Vertue 25 for Sale £17,500

Laurent Giles 25 ft Vertue Sold 1990 (Good photos)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Maurice Griffiths and His ‘Eventide’ Yacht


Many yachtsmen will have affectionate memories of sailing and owning boats that were designed by Maurice Griffiths, and perhaps thousands of amateur boatbuilders will have had enormous satisfaction from building boats according to his plans.

I first got to know of Maurice Griffiths when I was a boy by being roped in to help with the building of a Griffiths Wild Duck.* My task was to drive copper nails though the hull planking and to hold a dolly while the roves and nails were hammered home on the inside. My reward was to occasionally sail with the owner and his son after her completion. His son Bill was my best friend, and it was because of his father that I became interested in boating and sailing. Bill’s dad encouraged me to build a canoe and to rig her with sails. That’s how it all began. The name of the canoe was ‘Tyrol’.**

When Bill was older, he built for himself an Eventide 26 that he named ‘Ishani’. Together we sailed her on the waters of the Bristol Channel and to the Isles of Scilly. Our biggest adventure was an extended cruise to La Corunna.*** We had hoped to sail to the Azores, but circumstances dictated otherwise.

With firsthand experience of building and sailing yachts designed by Griffiths, I have a passion for them, particularly his magical Eventide. She has a quality that excites and fires the imagination, just as does his books, especially, ‘The Magic of the Swatchways’.****

***Cruise of the ‘Isahani’ - Part 1

****The Magic of the Swatchways

Other Links 

Maurice Griffiths

Maurice Griffiths

Eventide Owners Group

The Eventide

Eventide 24


Eventide 24 Yacht

How Star Yachts Built a 25’ Eventide - in Pictures

24’ Eventide at Facebook

Eventide 24 for Sale £1,450

Eventide 24 for Sale £2,500

1963 Eventide 24 for Sale £6,950

Friday, December 18, 2015

Twister Yacht Designed by Kim Holman

In view of recent comments about popular yacht designers and their designs, I think it’s worth revisiting some of their classic yachts.

The first for consideration is C. R. ‘Kim’ Holman (1925-2006) who must have designed well over 50 yachts, many of them built by different yards in various places around the world. My favourites are his Stella and the Elizabethan 29 and the Twister 28, but by far the most desirable for me is the Twister 28.

If there’s anyone who wants a Twister and can afford one (unlike me), there’s no shortage of them on the secondhand market. You need look no further than the Twister Class Association's website* to find details of 14 for sale (at the time of writing) ranging from a 1984 GRP version at £28,000 to a 1964 wooden original at £14,000.


*Twister Class Association

Twister Yacht ‘Oliva’

Twister 28

Twister - Yachts Net Archive

Sterling 28 Designed by C. R. ‘Kim’ Holman

C. R. Holman and the Tiwster

The Life and Designs of Kim Holman

Sailboat Designs of Kim Holman

Twister Yacht

Kim Holman Yacht Designs

YBW Twister Forum

Sailboat Twister Blog (Serious Ocean Cruising)

Twister 28 YouTube

Twister 28 Not for Sale (Good photos)

Twister 28s for Sale at Apollo Duck

Twister 28 for Sale ‘Betty Dee’

Holman Twister for Sale - Australian $ 39,000

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Boats That Built Britain





Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter

Tom Cunliffe

Over the past few days there’s been a remarkable series of TV programmes on BBC 4, written and presented by Tom Cunliffe. Tom has sailed across oceans, owned several yachts, and he is as passionate as ever about all manner of sailing craft since he first started boating on the Norfolk Broads in 1961. He has earned a living as a yachting journalist, consultant, tutor, lecturer and presenter.

Six half-hour programmes tell the stories of how certain vessels or types of vessels have helped shaped Britain’s heritage - all of them, with the exception of one, were powered by the wind. 

At the time of writing, (16th December, 2015) these programmes are freely available to viewers who have access to a BBC iPlayer.

I’ve seen every episode, and I highly recommend the series to anyone who loves sailing boats. You will not be disappointed.

Boats Featured

The Matthew - She was sailed across the Atlantic in 1497 by John Cabot and his stalwart crew. Sailing into the unknown, they discovered North America and gave it the name, ‘Newfoundland’.

The Pickle - She brought back news of Admiral Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar.

The Phoenix - A square-rigger, typical of many that help transform Britain into the richest and most powerful nation on earth.

The Reaper - She was the largest of hundreds of herring fishing vessels, capable of working offshore in the harshest of conditions.

Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter - In her time, she was the fastest and most seaworthy of vessels, designed and built for conveying pilots to incoming merchant shipping. The waters of the Bristol channel are notorious for their treachery, on account of the extreme range of tide and fast currents.

The Landing Craft (LCVP) - Designed by the American Andrew Higgins; this flat-bottomed, box-like boat helped save Britain when thousands of them landed on the D-Day beaches, carrying troops and vehicles for the invasion of Europe.


Tom Cunliffe

Tom Cunliffe

Tom Cunliffe

The Boats That Built Britain

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

‘Barbican’ - an Alan Buchanan Yacht

In response to Alden Smith’s comment to the previous blog, I’ve been searching for photos of ‘Barbican’. She was a yacht designed by Alan Buchanan for Bernard Hayman, who was the editor of Yachting World magazine. While surfing the Internet I came across two previous requests by Alden for photos, both made in March, 2003.* I only managed to find one. (See above)

During my search I found a number of facts about ‘Barbican’. She was a 32’ 2” LOA sloop with twin headsails, and she was built by Kings of Burnham in 1963. This 7 ton iroko planked, long keel yacht had a waterline length of 26’ 0” and a draught of 6’ 0”. She had a transom hung rudder. With 6’ 7” of headroom, two full-length quarter berths and two saloon wing berths she could comfortably accommodate a crew of four. To make her interior complete, she was equipped with a large chart table to starboard, a galley to port and, as was the custom at the time, a heads up forward. (In my opinion, not a good place, on account of the movement of the hull in anything of a seaway - not to mention the ‘inconvenience’ of getting to it!)

Bernard Hayman was a member of the Royal Burnham Yacht Club. Early in the season of 1971 he set off from his home mooring to sail ‘Barbican’ to Clyde Week for reporting on the racing. In a series of 200 mile ‘hops’ he took her up the east coast of England and Scotland to Inverness, then though the Caledonian and Crinan Canals to Helensburgh and the Royal Northern Yacht Club. After Clyde Week he headed south and called into Holyhead, Milford Haven, Plymouth and Portsmouth, later returning to Burnham.

He also sailed ‘Barbican’ to St Petersburg in the late 1970s when he and his crew became the first British yachtsmen to visit Russia since the close of the Second World War.


If ‘Barbican’ has sister ships, they should not be confused with Barbican 30s designed by John Sharp and built by Barbican Yachts of Plymouth. Barbican Yachts also built the Barbican 33 by the same designer. The Barbican 33 Mk 2 was designed by Maurice Griffiths.  

*Recreational Boat Cruising (25.3.2003) Comment by Alden Smith - The Late Bernard Hayman

*Sport Today (26.3.2003) Comment by Alden Smith - The Late Bernard Hayman



PDF Downloads of Articles about Barbican

By Sail and Steam to Clyde Week

Bernard Hayman - Yachting World Tribute

Alan Buchanan RIP

Barbican 30

Royal Burnham Yacht Club History (A few mentions of Bernard Hayman and ‘Barbican’)