Wednesday, April 23, 2014

‘Rosa Ryal’

Here’s yet another yacht at Tollesbury that caught my eye. She was being fitted out at the Sailing Club. By appearances, she was more or less ready for launching.

I know nothing about her, other than what is revealed by the photographs.

Thanks Patrick for your comment. She is indeed a 28' Holman Sterling. Here's a link to an old Woodrolfe Brokerage advertisement where it states she was built in 1961. Her asking price was £15,000.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Whenever I have visited Tollesbury I’ve seen a sharpie style, long keel yacht similar to a Yachting Monthly People’s Boat. She is laid up beside Woodrolfe Road on the right-hand side, immediately before Tollesbury Marina. Her name is ‘Vasti’. She is equipped with a Navik wind steering gear. Her vintage dates back to the 1960s and she was most probably built by an amateur. She’s one of those boats that appeals to older folk like me, because we have memories of those days when yachting was more of a do-it-yourself pastime than it is today. Expensive, ‘proper’ yachts for the well-to-do were hand crafted at bespoke yards such as Harold Kimber’s of Highbridge, Somerset. Ordinary folk built their own in their backyard.

Everything about this little gaff cutter looks just right, from her transom mounted rudder to her long bowsprit for balancing the rig. Her Wykeham-Martin furling gear and her shroud mounted lighting boards are typical of the 60s. Unlike later boats built from plywood, she was carvel planked to inner frames. She has external chainplates bolted through her topsides, and a mahogany rubbing strake along the gunwale. Her concessions to modernity are her stainless steel standing rigging and her Navik steering gear. Her single crosstree would suggest she has a fairly high aspect sail, supported by a short gaff. If she is used for cruising, her accommodation must be minimal, on account of there being no visible coachroof.

She obviously has been on the water, because of mud on the bottom where she has settled in a mud berth. Somehow, I feel she has a tale to tell. She looks the part. I would love to learn more about her. Incidentally, one meaning of ‘Vasti’ is ‘beloved one’; another is ‘excellent woman’, and of course, Queen Vasti or Vashti was the beautiful queen of Ahasuerus in the book of Esther in the Bible. She refused to obey the king when he desired her to appear in the banqueting hall of Shushan the palace. (Esther 1:10-12)



Yachting World People’s Boat

Navik Windvane Images

Tollesbury Cruising Club

Tollesbury Sailing Club

Woodrolfe Brokerage

Tollesbury Marina

Tollesbury Saltings

Wykeham-Martin Furling Gear

North Sea Sails

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lakeside Swannery

I had to visit the Lakeside Shopping Centre at Thurrock, which is not for me a choice venue, and today was Easter Bank Holiday Monday. As I expected, the place was thronging with people, and the car parks were crammed. I had two-and-a-half hours to occupy myself until I could escape.

Such a place is an anathema to me. There is nothing I like about it. The least unlikable thing is the Apple Store, but even there, one is enticed by the allure of attractive products and subtle promotional incentives for one to part with money. The whole purpose and reason for Lakeside is to make a profit for those who trade there, the parent company and shareholders. Lakeside is part of INTU Properties plc that has a chain of similar UK centres, branded as INTU Metrocentres.

Two-and-a-half hours inside that noisy, densely populated, bustling shopping mall, was almost more than I could bear. By way of reprieve, I found a place in the sun, outside on a veranda by the lake, after which Lakeside was undoubtedly named. This lake has been transformed into an artificial swannery by the addition of swan pedalos. There are one or two real swans there that don’t get on with the monster facsimiles, and they show there resentment by fluffing up wings and by hissing. At least, I was entertained by their antics and by those trying to propel and steer those ungraceful craft.


Lakeside Shopping Centre, Thurrock



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sailing Yacht 'Floray of Cowes'

On Saturday I was at Tollesbury Sailing Club as a visiting guest in connection with the Old Gaffers Association Easter fun event for raising money for the RNLI.

Part of the attraction of visiting a sailing club is seeing members’ boats. At this time of year yachts are being made ready for launching, and their owners are applying antifouling, boot-topping and perhaps fresh coats of paint to topsides, and varnish to spars, taffrails, hatches etc..

A splendid wooden yacht that caught my attention was ‘Floray of Cowes’, and for your interest I have posted photos of her. I know nothing about her, except what I have seen. I like her very high guardrails and her long, varnished coachroof, but I’m glad I do not have to maintain the varnish.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Whilly Boat

I had an invitation to watch gaff-rigged sailing dinghies being launched from the hard at Tollesbury before racing in aid of the RNLI. It was a fun meeting organised by the Old Gaffers Association with the help and support of the Tollesbury Sailing Club.

I was particularly interested in seeing an Iain Oughtred designed Whilly Boat. She had received a rapid makeover after being purchased a week or so before. Therefore she was untried, and her new owner would be taking her on the water for the first time.

Getting away from the hard was made difficult by a stiff headwind and an incoming tide. One or two entrants didn’t even attempt it, but my friend with the Whilly Boat had a go.

One of the problems with a Whilly Boat is that she has a daggerboard which is not as versatile as a centreboard. Perhaps in recognition of this, Oughtred incorporated a daggerboard into his later designed Whilly Tern. Unlike the original Whilly Boat rigged with a single standing lugsail, my friend’s was rigged with a Gunter main and a small jib.

Sailing to windward in shallow water with that combination is not easy for a solo crew, because he has to manage two sheets, a tiller and a daggerboard. Furthermore, a Whilly Boat is not the most stable platform because of her slack bilges, since she was designed for rowing and sailing. Therefore the helmsman has to be fairly nimble when doing short tacks. Passing the tiller and its extension astern of the mainsheet requires good timing, and to do it, the helmsman has to sit on the thwart facing aft.  If the daggerboard is raised too high, the top can interfere with the boom. A lugsail without a boom does not present this problem, nor does the crew have to duck to avoid being banged on the head.

My friend’s leg injury from which he is recovering did not help; therefore I was not surprised when he returned to the hard shortly after setting off. Those in other, well tested dinghies were finding it hard to claw their way out of the creek against the wind. I didn’t stop to watch any more, because I was with my wife who wanted to return home, and I had lawns to cut.


Easter in Tollesbury: fun and RNLI fundraising

Whilly Tern

Iain Oughtred Whilly Tern

Oughtred Boats

Whilly Tern

Whilly Boat

Whilly Boat


Tollesbury Sailing Club

Friday, April 18, 2014

Water of Life

Today is Good Friday, the day Christians remember the death of Jesus on a cross outside Jerusalem at the hands of Roman soldiers approximately 2,000 years ago. On Sunday Christians will celebrate His resurrection from the dead, which guarantees for them, their hope of new life after death.

While all this is happening astronomers say they have found a planet capable of sustaining life. (See link below.) This planet, Kepler – 186f, has water, and without water there cannot be life as we know it.

John 4:13, 14 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”


Have we finally found earth 2.0?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hullbridge Riverside

If you like the idea of having your yacht at the bottom of your garden, then you may fancy a home overlooking the River Crouch at Hullbridge. These properties have unspoiled views across the river to land belonging to Marsh Farm on the north bank and beyond to a ridge where the Burnham Road passes between South Woodham Ferrers and North Fambridge. From their rear verandas and balconies the view extends from east, through north to the west, where on mid-summer evenings the most gorgeous sunsets can be seen reflecting off the water and mud flats. Air pollution over the metropolis enhances these spectacular scenes at dusk.

Wallasea Island lies nine miles* to the east, and a further ten miles will have you at the easternmost extremity of Foulness Sands, north of the Whitaker Beacon. A full day’s sail can be had by taking the ebb as far as the Whitaker and returning on the flood. As the prevailing wind is from the SW, the return trip will often entail much tacking. Get it right when the wind is from the south; you will have ample time for anchoring off the Sands to watch the seals and have lunch.

*Land miles.


5 Bedroom Detached House at Hullbridge overlooking the River Crouch, £770,000