Monday, January 18, 2010

'Harrier', a radically modified Folksong yacht

'Harrier' ready for a sail
At Bahia Salvador in 2001
'Harrier's' interior
From a newspaper cutting, Feb 2004 - see link
Julian in Feb 2004

Julian's proposed route
'Zeta' at the Scilly Isles

My Folksong ‘Zeta’ was built over a period of three years from a GRP hull and deck supplied by the designer and boat builder Eric Bergqvist. Details of her may be found by visiting this page of my Blog: . You can see a photo of her above, when she was anchored at the Scilly Isles. I had intended to make a circumnavigation in her, but you can read the full story by visiting the aforementioned web page. However, I sold ‘Zeta’ to Richard who was to become a very good friend. In fact, I sailed many more sea miles aboard ‘Zeta’ when Richard owned her than when she was mine. He sailed her around England, remarkably, by doing it at weekends and during his holidays! I crewed for a couple of the legs: Milford Haven to Wexford, and Wexford to Dublin. Apart from Richard’s circumnavigation of England, I crewed for him on trips along parts of the South Coast as far as the Scilly Isles.

I digress, because this is not about ‘me’, it’s about Julian Mustoe, and the transformation of ‘Zeta’. Julian acquired ‘Zeta’ from Richard with the intention of using her to follow in the wake of HMS Beagle. This historic vessel took five years to complete a circumnavigation, during which time the naturalist Charles Darwin made meticulous notes and collected specimens that helped him to come up with a the theory of the origin of the species. He subsequently wrote a thesis, ‘On the Origin of the Species’, which was published in 1859. Robert FitzRoy was the Beagle’s captain. Julian’s aim was to compare his findings with those of Darwin and FitzRoy.

Before he set off on his great adventure, Julian showed me around ‘Harrier’, for he had given ‘Zeta’ a new name related to the ‘Beagle’. As you may know, beagles are the hounds that accompany a hunt, otherwise known as harriers. I was in for a big surprise! Julian had completely stripped ‘Zeta’s’ interior and removed the superstructure of ‘my’ lovely yacht, before rebuilding ‘his’ yacht. He only had wanted ‘Zeta’ for her hull and her encapsulated lead ballast. His yacht resembled a humpback whale, but the increased volume gave her standing headroom and more storage space. The transformation was all carried out to a professional standard, and from the functional viewpoint it appeared good, but I had my doubts about the yacht’s windward ability. ‘Zeta’ had never made rapid progress when fine on the wind in anything above a Force 3, but now, with the increased windage and added weight I feared her speed would be reduced. Julian’s intention was to take ‘Harrier’ through the Beagle Channel and along the hazardous south-western Chilean coast, and although the ‘Beagle’ had made it, I fears for him.

As things transpired, there were to be surprises, the biggest being the shipwreck of ‘Harrier on the Peninsula Valdes, Argentina, and before that, her dismasting in a separate incident. The full story of, ‘The Death of ‘Harrier’’, can be read at Julian’s web site: . Julian, by the grace of God, survived and went on to buy another yacht, which he named ‘Harrier’ before continuing his voyage. The last time I heard from him, he was in New Zealand, with half of his circumnavigation to complete. He is a survivor, and I feel convinced he will succeed, where I failed, even at the start!


‘Harrier’, Julian’s web site

9th Feb 2004 Club Nautico La Ribera de Viedma Argentina – newspaper cutting


Kevin Beamer said...


Kevin Beamer said...
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Mark Brown said...
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Mark Brown said...

Wow! You’re a real sailorman dude! I wish I could sail often just like you, going around the world with my favorite boat. CE proofing is what I need to sail like you do. I am looking for the best proofing in the world to customize my boat. My only dream is to sail from coast to coast before I leave this earth. I wish to bring my wife to Europe by travelling with my boat. Imports process keep me at ease that I could still fulfill my dreams of sailing around the world.