Friday, December 11, 2009


Generally I don’t feature large yachts on my Blog, but of late I’ve been looking at a few of the famous ones like Joshua Slocum’s ‘Spray’, John Voss’s ‘Tilikum’ and more recently Marcel Bardiaux’s ‘Les 4 Vents’. Another vessel that comes to mind is ‘Badger’, the 34’ junk-rigged dory that belonged to Pete and Annie Hill. Together they made at least three circuits of the North Atlantic in their attractive ketch. The first took place between 1983 and 1985 when they called into the Canary Islands, the Virgin Islands, Florida, Nova Scotia, Iceland, the Loften Islands, Norway and the Shetlands. The second voyage between 1986 and 1987 took them to Spain, Morocco, Venezuela, Bahamas, Bermuda and the Azores. The third during 1989 and 1990 saw them visiting Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, the Canary Islands, Virgin Islands, Cuba, Bahamas, Bermuda, finally arriving back in Scotland.

Annie Hill wrote a book, ‘Voyaging on a Small Income’ telling of her experiences and imparting pearls of wisdom gained through her voyaging. It’s a fabulous book for anyone intending to take to the seas for protracted Blue Water cruising. She has included details of yachts she believes are ideal for a couple to live aboard. They can all be built from plans by amateurs who have the necessary skills and resources. ‘Badger’ was a Jay R Benford sailing dory with a raised, flush deck. That configuration made for excellent headroom and gave bags of space below, sufficient for a large work area comprised of a navigation station, and a galley, right by the companion way for easy access to the foot well where the tiller came to hand. Forward of the work area there was a spacious saloon with two settee berths, one either side of a folding table, just right for civilized meals when conditions allowed. A separate double berth in the forepeak, with commodious book shelves and a linen locker completed the open plan accommodation, except of course, I failed to mention the large heads compartment with a basin and shower, by the companion way.

There’s much to be said for choosing a dory-type yacht, especially the sort with a wide flat bottom that allows her accommodation to be pushed out to her sides, and such a shape also makes for a stable platform coupled with good load carrying capacity. Dories are easy to build with plywood because of their simple shape with flat panels forming their sides and bottom. For durability and ease of maintenance the exterior is sheathed in GRP. A long, flat raised deck, as with ‘Badger’, provides more buoyancy in the event of a knockdown, and it makes for unimpaired deck work because of there being few obstructions, unlike yachts with cabin trunks and narrow side decks. Her free-standing ketch, junk rig was economical to install, since both masts were shaped from readily available timber and no special expertise was required of the sail maker, because her Hasler sails were cut as flat panels - any camber being achieved, depended on how the battens were fashioned, thinner sections inducing more bend. Oh, by the way, there was ample room for stowing a punt on the foredeck in addition to having space for anchor work.


‘Voyaging on a Small Income’ by Annie Hill

Published by Waterline Books,

101 Longden Rd, Shewsbury, England, 1993.

ISBN 1 85310 425 6



Annie Hill’s Blog

Annie Hill

1 comment:

Annie Hill said...

Nice write up, but I should point out that Badger is a schooner, not a ketch. She had completely stiff battens - bendy battens are rarely a success because you want the sail to be flatter in heavier wiends, not the other way round.

Badger also spent time on the Labrador and in Greenland and Newfoundland. She cruised all round athe Falkland Is for over a year, and sailed to the Antarctic archipelago of South Orkney before heading N to circumnavigate South Georgia. Truly a great little ship.

Love your blog!