Saturday, January 31, 2015

‘Minnow’ Pledged to Another (Sold)

Slavery in the UK was abolished by an act of Parliament in 1833, and with the exceptions of territories in the possession of the East India Company, the Island of Ceylon and the Island of St Helena it was illegal to ‘own’ a slave, or indeed to enslave anyone. Many slaves were abducted from their countries of origin and sold to those who exploited them for whatever purposes their ‘owners’ deemed fit.

There is a marked difference between a slave and a mistress. A slave is ‘owned’, but a mistress offers her services willingly. A slave may not be paid or paid very little for his labour, but generally a mistress will receive favours from the one with whom she has a relationship. More often than not there will be a sexual element to the association.

I must state that I’ve never had a real mistress, nor have I ‘owned’ a slave, and there is no way my wife would ever allow me to treat her as slave; furthermore, I do not 'own' her, but I do have a secret that everyone who reads this blog knows about. Now that statement contains a misnomer, because a secret is not a secret if the subject is commonly known. However, I’ve had many mistresses in the form of waterborne vessels, mostly with sails and nearly all of them pretty to look at.

My most recent mistress was ‘Minnow’. She was not the prettiest, but she had many fine attributes. Note the past tense, which indicates that our union is no more, because she has been pledged to another. To the best of my knowledge she is not being sold into slavery, but she willingly goes with an expectation of a relationship akin to that of a mistress, i.e., she will be favoured, pampered and maintained.

From the foregoing, you can take it that ‘Minnow’ has been sold and that she is no longer available for purchase.


Slavery Abolition Act 1883

Mistress (Lover)

Friday, January 30, 2015

An Enquiry about ‘Minnow’

'Minnow' on a nice day

My car this morning!

View from the back of the house

This morning I woke up to find a blanket of snow over the ground, which was a bit unfortunate, because I had agreed to have an enquirer look at ‘Minnow’ with a view to possibly buying her. As he was coming all the way from Blakeney in north Norfolk, I didn’t want him to be disappointed by not being able to see her in the open. However, commonsense and courtesy told me that I should text him to explain that I was not prepared to take the boat out of the garage, and accordingly I advised him not to come. I sent two messages, but I did not receive a reply; therefore I assumed he was not coming.

How wrong I was! At the appointed time of his planned arrival he knocked on the door. Completely unprepared, I led him to the garage where he found ‘Minnow’ as she was, in her state of hibernation. He was very contented for me to leave him to explore the boat before asking questions to clarify a few points. I felt apologetic about not being able to take ‘Minnow’ outside for him to step the mast and to play with her rig, but he assured me that under the circumstances it would not be appropriate.

As is usual with prospective buyers, he said he wanted to think things over before deciding whether to make an offer. I am therefore waiting to hear from him.

*Meanwhile, if there are any other interested persons, please get in touch by phoning or texting me on my mobile: 07588288060. The first to make an acceptable offer and to place a 10% deposit with a guarantee to complete full payment within a fortnight will have her. She can be left in my garage until the spring, if that is what you would want. I am happy to deliver her on her trailer to any location within a hundred miles radius of Hockley, Essex, free of charge, and beyond that for an agreed payment to cover my costs.
*Note: 'Minnow' was sold on 31st January, 2015.


‘Minnow’ for Sale – Part 2

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mirage 2700

Here we have another development of the Mirage range of yachts by Thames Marine. You’ll note that the 2700’s deck has been raised higher than the Mirage 28’s deck by the addition of a lip around the entire moulding. Apart from that she’s similar to the Mirage 28, but shorter by more than a foot on account of her stern being truncated and the transom being more upright. The upper moulding and a lower profile cabin trunk of the 2700 account for both boats having the same headroom of 6’. The fin keel version has more draught than the 28.


LOA                                                 27’0”
LWL                                                 21’0”
Beam                                               9’ 5”
Draught                                            3’ 6” Twin Keels - 4’ 9” Fin Keel 
Displacement                                    5,953.5 lbs
Headroom                                         6’ 0”

Snapdragon, Mirage and Invader Association

Designs by David Feltham – Sailboat

Around Britain in a Mirage 2700 by Stan Lester

Photos of Mirage 2700

Mirage 2700 Rivendale off Fleetwood. First Short Sale 2013

8 Mirage 2700s for Sale

Mirage 2700 – This Boat has been Sold (Nice photos)

Fin Keel Mirage 2700 Sold

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mirage 28

There are loads of these Mirage 28 yachts for sale. At Apolloduck* alone, there are a dozen at the time of uploading this short article.

Designed by David Feltham, the Mirage 28 is a solid, well constructed Thames Marine production boat. A masthead GRP twin keel sloop, she is like a much larger version of Thames Marine’s first successful yacht, the Snapdragon 23**, and of course, her accommodation is more commodious. With standing headroom throughout, and five berths, a full galley complete with stove, and a separate toilet, she is very comfortable. The heads compartment is accessible, both from the forward cabin and the saloon. There’s a quarter berth for the skipper and a ‘v’ berth for the kids or guests up forward.

All in all, she looks like an able coastal cruiser that could also be competitive in club handicap racing. If the going gets tough her inboard diesel will help reassure her crew they will make it back home by Sunday night, so as to be able to start work on Monday morning.

*Apolloduck Adverts for the Sale of Mirage 28s

**Snapdragon 23


Snapdragon, Mirage and Invader Association

Mirage 28 (Feltham) – Sailboat

Mirage 28 Statistics

Other Yachts Designed by David Feltham

Photos of Mirage 28s

Snapdragon and Mirage Yachts Built by Thames Marine

Mirage 28 for Sale £8,950

Mirage 28 for Sale £11,950

Mirage 28 Mk 2 for Sale £12,000

Mirage 28 (Not for Sale)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

‘Finda’ – A Miniature Hastings Beach Boat

On my wanderings at Hullbridge I have often seen this colourful day boat. She’s one of those old wooden vessels you can’t fail to notice on account of being so very different from the normal plastic grot with little character. There’s no other boat like her, at least, not at Hullbridge. She’ll always have a flag fluttering from the rigging, which speaks an invitation to passers-by, “Come, look and enjoy.”


Character Boats

Hastings Beach Boat

Hastings Beach Boat - Part 2

Monday, January 26, 2015

360 Degrees

7 Forked Strut Moulding

Bosun Ship's Compass

'Minnow's' Compass

While on a recent walk I found myself counting support struts on alloy car wheels without giving any real thought to why. All of a sudden I noticed a wheel that had 7 supports, and instinctively this didn’t seem right. As I continued my walk I discovered there were other cars having wheels with 7 struts. The rim of a circular wheel can be divided into equal parts equivalent to 360 degrees.  Now, as you know, 7 cannot be divided equally into 360 to produce a whole number. In fact it produces a decimal number of 51.4285714. This got me thinking about the versatility of the number 360, since it can be divided by every number from 1 to 10 with the exception of 7 to produce whole numbers. 360 also has 24 divisors.

As a navigator familiar with a 360 degree compass I wondered what was special about the number. Why had it been chosen and adopted worldwide? Why wasn’t there a metric compass? After all, almost everywhere, metric has become the standard means of measuring distances, volumes and weights, why not degrees?

The metric system was developed in France at the time of the French Revolution. The length of a metre was one ten-millionth of the distance between the North Pole and the Equator on a meridian passing through Paris. For determining latitude by a meridian sun sight a ship’s navigator could have done so with an instrument calibrated in decimal degrees, assuming latitudes marked on his chart were also in decimal degrees. Decimal degrees are known as grads or a dons, and as there are 100 of them to a right angle, there are 400 in a complete revolution equating to 360 standard degrees.

Historically, commonsense prevailed in consideration that there are approximately 365 days comprising a year in which the earth revolves around its own axis 365 times. On an approximation that a year is equivalent to 360 days of 24 hours each, the earth moves about one degree a day around the ecliptic. Hence we have the magic number of 360 degrees. This conveniently allows for 24 time zones of 15 degrees of longitude per hour. A day can be divided into 24 hours, each of which can be subdivided into 60 minutes, each of which can be subdivided into 60 seconds. Degrees of longitude similarly are divided into 60 minutes that can be subdivided into 60 seconds. In this digital age, more commonly minutes and seconds of longitude and latitude are represented numerically as decimals, e.g., 1 degree 30 seconds becomes 1.5 degrees.

In view of the fact that designers of cars rely heavily on computer aided design I should not be surprised that some car wheels have 7 struts incorporated into their alloy wheel mouldings, and perhaps I should take more note of the digital compass on my Lowrance Expedition GPS.


Degree (Angle)

Introduction to the Metric System


Points of the Compass

Compass Rose



A Compass for Sandpiper

Minnow’s Compass

Confessions of an Old Salt

Wheels Collection

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Snapdragon 23

This is an early Snapdragon yacht built by Thames Marine of Canvey Island, Essex, after the firm, known as Thames Structural Plastics, moved from Rayleigh in 1962.

Snapdragon 23s were built with different hull options: with a centreboard or with a long shallow keel or with triple keels. This one at Hullbridge is a three keel version. Bearing in mind she must be over 50 years old, she looks remarkably clean and well preserved.

Apart from sitting headroom only, she is a very functional yacht. Her furling headsail and lazy jacks must have been added in more recent times. Note that she has an adjustable solar panel fitted to a staff on her starboard quarter, setting it clear of the backstay and topping lift. She has a tabernacle for raising and lowering her mast. There’s a boom claw for attaching the kicking strap. The teak Samson post is excellent for securing mooring and anchor lines, and her mast is well supported by having three shrouds either side, in addition to a backstay and a furling forestay.

I have some affection for this style of yacht, since they were produced in the 1960s when I dearly would have bought one if I could. I thought these new-fangled GRP boats were ultra-modern and chic.  Such a yacht was well beyond my reach as a young teacher earning barely more than £500 a year.  Instead, I acquired a second-hand Torbay Class 2 Racer* for little money. She was my first ‘proper’ yacht.

Snapdragon 23 –Sailboat

Statistics for Snapdragon 23 Centreboard Version

 Snapdragon 23 Photo

Snapdragon History

Snapdragon for Sale Hertfordshire £770

Snapdragon 23 for Sale £1,995

Snapdragon ‘Abaco’ for Sale £3,450

Snapdragon 23 for Sale £3,800

*'Phillida’ a Torbay J Class 2 Yacht