Wednesday, December 16, 2009
During May and June of 2005 I completed a return trip in my junk-rigged Virgo Voyager to the Scilly Isles from the River Crouch. I sold her the same year, after having owned her for two seasons. She was a comfortable bilge keel yacht with standing headroom. Equipped with a Bukh 10 ME diesel engine and a Windpilot Pacific Light self-steering gear she was a very able vessel. ‘Bumper’ had been built by Newbridge Boats in 1982 when she was equipped with a tapered Needlespar mast, complete with a Hasler junk sail. Not the fastest or most efficient yacht to windward, she made up for it by having excellent accommodation – remarkable, since her overall length was only 23’. Her 6’ headroom and 8’ 4” beam accounted for her spacious interior. The quality of her build in terms of strength and finish was excellent. I couldn’t fault her fittings, equipment, woodwork, upholstery etc, including her stainless steel boarding ladder which I modified for fitting the wind vane self-steering gear. Because she only drew 2’ 10” I could happily sail her in the shoal waters of the Thames estuary. It was reassuring to know that she could take the ground and remain upright on her substantial iron bilge keels - providing she settled on level ground! I liked the ease with which she could be controlled from her cockpit without me having to go on deck to reef or hoist sail – a big safety factor, particularly when sailing single-handing.