Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Is this a One-off Yacht?

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


Unknown said...

Hi there Bill! Looking at your photos, I do believe she looks very similar to an H-boat. The hull lines are almost the same, with the skeg rudder and lifted stern. H-boats however were (and still are) made of grp fiber glass... And do not have a dog house. In malta they used to build a similar boat, called the 'Calypso', some of which can also be found in wood, but they do not have a skeg rudder, and the keel is much longer. Nice boat however! I can imagine her performing much like an h-boat... And they sail beautifully!

Unknown said...

Hi Bill , I write here because I do not find your email address . First of all thanks for the interesting biographies of solo sailors . But I would ask you to shrink the big picture of your boat always present .She detract viewing and reading the chapters of the blog .
Thank you and good wind from Berlin .

William Serjeant said...


She was built long before the H-boat, but you are right; she has similar lines. I happen to like H-boats, and I imagine they are a joy to sail.


William Serjeant said...


Thank you for pointing that out. What operating system to you use?


Unknown said...

Apple computer