Wednesday, October 22, 2014

‘Skylark’ Obsession – Part 2

Here we are again. Somehow I cannot avoid this boat. I first saw her in 2010 and she continues to fascinate me. In my most recent article about her I was very scathing; I could find little of merit to say about her, but one thing I know, she has a beautifully crafted interior that is in pristine condition.  Unfortunately, although she has ample light below from her many ports, these are of no use when it comes to seeing what’s going on outside, except perhaps to gain glimpses of the sky.

The first time I saw ‘Skylark’ I thought she would be weatherly because of her deep keel and twin rudders, but later I changed my mind because I discovered that I could make her roll by repeatedly pressing a side deck with my fingertips. The heavy, rather thick mast helped induce a rolling action like that of a pendulum.

Having been left open to the elements she has further deteriorated since my last visit. The winter months will take their toll, but why should I care? I cannot tell. Perhaps it is because I almost bought her, and I most probably would have, had I not bought ‘Sandpiper’, my ‘C’ Class West Wight Potter prior to having my ridiculously low offer accepted.

Despite her oddities, I am still beguiled by her, and yet at the same time, I know I shall never own her. I just wish someone would buy her and take care of her, even it she is a pig of a boat.


‘Skylark’ Obsession

‘Skylark’ Again



‘Skylark’ – an unusual junk-rigged yacht


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rules and Commands

Rules are not the same as commands. When I was in the army I was subject to the commands of those above me. Being a Lance-Bombardier, with one stripe, I was able to give an order to a subordinate, i.e., any private. There was a chain of command - each soldier being under the rank of one above, up to the equivalent of today’s Chief of the General Staff, similar to a system of line managers.

Rules can be broken, but commands by their very nature are not to be broken. When a command is broken, those in authority and power can impose penalties or sanctions upon the disobedient. In some cases when rules are broken, such as ‘School Rules’, those making them have authority to impose punishments.

We can make up rules as we go along, and change them according to circumstances or at whim, but we are not in a position to ignore the laws of the land. As citizens we are bound by them.  If we join an organisation, or work for a company, we accept their rules, and we may be asked to sign up to them.

Obedience to rules and commands is essential for the smooth working of any group enterprise. It is essential that members all sing from the same hymn sheet and work together for the common purpose.

Commands must always support rules and be subject to them, otherwise they are counterproductive. If rules are destructive, the commands will also be destructive. Rules are therefore best when constructive, and they are made for the positive good of an organisation or group, even within a household. Ethical rules are better for the wellbeing of those who are required to adhere to them.

Those who make rules are often the same as those who command others to obey them. A big bully or despot has power to make rules and to command people under his power to obey them. When Saddam Hussein was in power in Iraq he did many bad things, but there was a degree of law and order. He was a bully and a despot. Today, because of a lack of strong government and leadership there is chaos. Isil controls large swathes of land with power to impose their barbaric rules and exercise their commands upon the inhabitants.

The commands of Jesus are loving and constructive. He never condones evil. They are summed up by the following verses from the Gospel According to Matthew:  22:37 ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all you heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,’ and 22:39 ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’


Structure of the British Army

Saddam Hussein

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Iraqi Christians Face Death

Monday, October 20, 2014

Real Religion

In yesterday’s article, ‘More than a Concept’ I used the second definition* of ‘religion’ in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary to make the case that active, keen sailors are religious. Their religion is ‘sailing’. They adore their boats and often devote hours of loving attention to them. In some instances they sometimes part with cash to the degree of making sacrificial offerings for the glory of the vessels they worship. They willingly suffer as paupers to see their prized yachts in pristine condition, ready and able to perform the task for which they were made, i.e., sailing. For these worshippers, adoration is a satisfying experience, but their greatest joy comes from sailing the objects of their adoration.
Worship springs from a desire within. The object or god worshiped is cherished and admired. There’s a voluntary and willing response on the part of the worshipper. In the case of a boat being the object of worship, there is no reciprocal response, for ‘she’ does not have life, but in the case of the One and only living God, because He has life He can respond. Indeed, He can initiate and solicit a response from a would-be worshipper. This is the way of the God of the Universe who calls all men and women to worship Him.

*‘a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.’

Matthew 11:28 ‘Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’

Links – Related articles

Setbacks and Perseverance

The Purist Sailor

‘Faith’ Building

Yachting a Religion?

What sets us apart from Animals? Is it Boats?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

More than a Concept

Religion as defined by different dictionaries can be so diverse as to cause confusion as to what it is. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary gives only two definitions, the second of which is very broad: ‘a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.’ That includes almost anything that excites and inspires us to willingly expend energy studying and practising the subject of our worship - For a religion requires practice. A religion is something that is done.

Within this definition, the study and practice of sailing and cruising small sailboats is a ‘religion’, and as with other religions there are those who study, but do not practise, and those who do both. One can be enthusiastic about the nature or concept of a belief, and yet have no real desire to put it into practice. There are those who say they are Christians and actually believe they are, and even claim they are, and yet in reality they do not do what Jesus teaches.

They accept the concept of Christianity; they love the idea and principles, but that’s as far as it gets. They are religious, but they do not ‘do’ what is required of them. They do not obey the commands of the One they purport to love and worship.

I find the same is analogous with a number of those who say they are ‘members of the sailing fraternity’, and they say they want to do this or that. They may claim it is their desire to sail around Britain, or to cross oceans, or even to live on a boat so that they can cruise when they like, but the extent of their ‘religion’ is shallow, little more than a concept. Academically, they may devotedly study their interest, and in so doing they are religious, but they never get around to actually doing what they say they want to do. They find excuses.

I’m not trying to belittle those who go no further than study a subject, for there can be great merit in doing so, but I want to point out that there are dream sailors who never sail, and the reason for this is that they have no real desire.

I have gone full circle. I had the desire. I made the effort and did what I was able, and I reaped the rewards of satisfaction and fulfilment. Now I am contented, and my lack of desire is fully understood in my contentment. My religion was more than a concept.


Oxford (Not the Concise Oxford Dictionary) definition of ‘Religion’

Oxford English Dictionary (Not the Concise Oxford Dictionary) definition of ‘Religion’

Oxford Learners Dictionary (Not the Concise Oxford Dictionary)definition of ‘Religion’


My Paradox Sailboat ‘Minnow’ is being advertised at Here’s a link to the advert:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

‘Stewarts Secret’, an East Coast Smack?

I saw this gaff cutter at Titchmarsh Marina. I believe she is a replica GRP smack. Her topsides appear to be rather too smooth for painted wood, because there are no signs of caulking between planking. She has a stout bowsprit, but the girth of her yard and boom seem inadequate for the forces they may have to bear, especially with a severe gybe. Likewise, her chainplates are not robust enough for a genuine working boat. She has the scantlings of yacht, rather than a smack. Now, I could be wrong in all of this, but that’s the impression I have.


East Coast Old Gaffers Association

Tyrell and Young, 27ft Gaff Cutter for Sale £24,000



Friday, October 17, 2014

‘Lunna’, a Gaff Cutter

When I first saw this large gaff cutter I assumed she was built from mild steel. A closer inspection revealed she was a ‘plywood on frame’ boat. She’s obviously for cruising, and she has bags of room for accommodating crew and gear. Her rudder has been unshipped to allow for the removal of the drive shaft and propeller. Apart from this, everything looks in good shape. No doubt, her owner has his hopes and dreams. May they be fulfilled.


Gaff Cutters

Thursday, October 16, 2014

‘Constance’, a Badger Class Junk Yacht – Part 2

After being out of the water, presumably for a scrub, ‘Constance’ is back in the Yacht Basin of the Walton and Frinton Yacht Club. I couldn’t resist taking photos of her. Although larger than yachts I have owned, she is the sort of blue water cruising yacht I would have dreamed about when younger. She is the stuff dreams are made of and having recently read ‘Deep Water and Shoal’ by William Albert Robinson, I was reminded of my own unfulfilled dream to sail around the world. That dream has long faded, but it could become a reality for anyone able to acquire a yacht like ‘Constance’. There she is within the Basin at the Yacht Club. What is her destiny?


‘Constance’, a Badger Class Junk Yacht

Badger Class Yacht


Deep Water and Shoal by William Albert Robinson

Walton and Frinton Yacht Club


My Paradox Sailboat ‘Minnow’ is being advertised at Here’s a link to the advert: