I once owned a Fairey Fulmar, and I kept her on a mooring at Hullbridge. She remained afloat at all times, which was a bit unusual for that part of the River Crouch. There were two reasons for being able to remain afloat: her shallow draught when her keel was raised, and because the mooring was located in an ever present pool at low water.
Laying the mooring was a bit of hoot, because my meticulous plan didn’t quite work out as I hoped. The story goes as follows:
I had a child’s wooden wheelbarrow that I filled with concrete into which I inserted a loop of iron rod before it set - So far so good. The result was a nice mooring block conveniently placed in the wheelbarrow for transporting it to where I may want.
At low water I went to the spot of the proposed mooring, and I tried digging a hole in the mud which was about two feet under the surface of the water, but it proved to be very difficult. Eventually I was satisfied the hole was big enough, and at each of the four corners I inserted long canes as markers. Before the tide came, in I wheeled the barrow and its contents to the middle of the river, adjacent to the Up River Yacht Club’s slipway and buoyed it.
As planned, I found myself standing on the bow of my Fairey Fulmar an hour before high water hauling the rope which was tied to the mooring block. Because of the combined weight of me and the block, the prop almost came out of the water! To make matters worse, I could not at first remove the block from the wheelbarrow, because it was buoyant. To reduce the weight at the bow I kept the block submerged. Meanwhile the yacht was drifting out of control. By forcefully prodding the barrow with the boathook I was able to free it. I returned to the cockpit to gain control and to bring the yacht back to her designed waterline for the prop to have enough drive for making headway.
Approaching the wiggling canes, and about fifty yards away from them, I set an anchor from the stern so as to position the bow by the markers. By the time this was accomplished it was almost high water at the stand of tide with just enough current to keep the yacht by the markers. I cut the engine and went forward. Apprehensively I lowered the block between the four canes. A later inspection showed that the hole was not quite large enough for the block, but there was still enough depth at low water to keep my Fairey Fulmar clear.
She turned out to be a fine yacht for East Coast cruising, on account of her lifting keel, but care had to be taken when traversing swatchways because of her 5’ 9” draught when the keel was fully down. Winding it up and down took ages. At 20’ LOA and with a beam of 7’ 9” and headroom of 5’ 5” she was a comfortable two berth cruiser. Despite her top-hamper, her performance to windward was exceptionally good. Her one big drawback was her inability to hold a course. Having to always steer by hand was a nightmare. The inboard engine situated under the cockpit floor was easy to get at.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of her, and I can’t even remember her name. This is a shame, because I have not been able to include her in ‘Photos of Boats I Have Owned’: http://bills-log.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/photos-of-boats-i-have-owned-part-1.html
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