This wooden yacht is laid up near the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at Burnham-on-Crouch. Before I bought ‘Ladybird’* I considered buying her because I was attracted to her, and she was for sale at the time. I can’t remember details regarding her designer and builder; nor can I remember if she was a one-off, or if she was one of a particular class of yacht. What I do know, is that she is very similar to my old Wessex One Design, ‘Shyauk’, but a little larger all-round.
Unlike ‘Shyauk’ she has a doghouse which gives more room just where it is needed at the point of entry into the cabin and where the galley is most likely to be situated, or perhaps a navigation station with a table and drawers for charts, pilotage books etc. Again, my memory is hazy about the internal layout, but I do remember the large windows of her doghouse that allow her crew to see what is going on outside.
I was put off buying her because quite a few jobs had to be done that I was unable to do well and believed I would have had to employ a shipwright to put them right. Furthermore, I realized she would be more expensive to upkeep than a smaller fibreglass boat, and although I liked the look of all the varnish, I didn’t relish maintaining it.
I am attracted to this type of yacht incorporating a moderate fin keel, a skeg-hung rudder and short counter. She has less wetted surface than one with a long keel, hence she’s faster because of less frictional drag, and yet she has good directional stability. These characteristics make for excellent manoeuvrability, sensitive steering and above average windward ability.
It looks as though her owner is in the process of stripping the hull of paint below the waterline to thoroughly inspect the planking and seams before making the surface good again. This sort of thing when done well can bring great satisfaction. There’s comfort in knowing the boat is sound and that she will perform as she should. She’s a nice yacht, suitable for coastal sailing and handicap club racing.
Round Britain and Ireland Race
‘Shyauk’ Around Britain and Ireland Race 1974 – Small Fry – Part 1
*’Ladybird’ in Hibernation