Friday, December 31, 2010

Iain Oughtred’s Ness Yawl

Yesterday I featured Douglas Jones’s John Welsford Houdini; today I’m displaying photos of his Ness Yawl.

Which of these boats came first I do not know, but he made a really good job of building both of them. Douglas named his Ness Yawl ‘Sheer Delight’, which makes perfect sense, because I cannot but admire her beautiful sheer. She was designed by Iain Oughtred, who is noted for designing pleasing looking craft which also function well.


‘Ness Yawl’ designed by Iain Oughtred

Ian Oughtred Boat Plans

‘Jeanie Henderson’, a Ness Yawl (Excellent Photos)

Ness Yawl pre-cut kits

Ness Yawl Kits

Giacomo de Stefano’s Ness Yawl Voyage on the River Po

Building the Iain Oughtred Ness Yawl

Tirrik – smaller version of the Ness Yawl – Jordan Boats

Trailering a Ness Yawl (See Page 23 ‘A Tale of Two Trailers by Alan Glanville

Thursday, December 30, 2010

John Welsford Houdini 'Esther'

I can’t remember when, but I met Douglas Jones at a Dinghy Cruising Association gathering at Cobnor, Chichester Harbour. He had brought along with him his John Welsford ‘Houdini’ dinghy that he so well built. Seeing the boat in the flesh, I was surprised how large she appeared to me. She was only 13’ 2” long, but she was very wide (5’ 10”). The cumulative effect of her width and the generous depth of her topsides made her look much larger than I had anticipated. I suppose in truth, that the size of a boat cannot ever be assessed by length alone. Volume and displacement give us a far better understanding of a boat’s size.

Douglas named his boat, ‘Esther’. Presumably he gave her this name after the lady who became Queen of Persia more than two thousand five hundred years ago. An entire book of the Old Testament section of the Bible revolves around her. The story tells of how she became queen and how she was used of God for saving Jews at that time from being exterminated. My presumption about the name is derived from the tiny logo in the form of a fish* on the transom of his boat. This symbol is used by some Christians to convey to others that they are followers of Jesus.

Douglas gave me photos of ‘Esther’ which were published on my old Small Sailboats website. I am reproducing them here.




Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why build a 'Paradox'?

Motif of my Old Paradox Website

Just imagine you are lounging in a comfortable bed while observing trillions of stars twinkling in the night sky above. You are, in fact, sailing Paradox as she glides over a glassy sea. She's being propelled by an almost imperceptible zephyr. You sip a coffee and replace your mug on its purpose-built gimballed tray. From within the cocoon of your immensely strong, compact ply and glass boat, you scan the horizon through 360 degrees. This is easily done without moving from your bed, since you can conveniently see all around through the toughened Perspex cabin windows. There's no sign of life, apart from the triple loom of the lighthouse which you observed half-an-hour ago, the one that matches the waypoint programmed into your GPS. This marvellous navigational aid is conveniently set at eye level, attached to the port side window by its vacuum sucker, and, as is the case for the echo sounder, the grid compass light and your PDA, it is powered by the mains battery, which, is charged by an efficient solar panel. A chart is spread on the transverse table above your lap.

Routinely every hour you mark your position as determined by the GPS. The red LED lamp that's plugged into a cigar lighter illuminates the chart. There's only another 12 miles to go, but at 2 knots you'll be arriving after daybreak. Comforted by this fact, you relax and enjoy the satisfying gurgling sounds made by the stem cleaving the water. Astern there's a magical phosphorescent wake resembling millions of showering sparks streaking from a Guy Fawkes rocket. Paradox holds her course - only now and again do you rest your hand on the steering line to make the slightest tweak so as to realign the luminous north-pointing arrow of the compass central within the grid.

As you look around your boat that you so carefully built according to the wonderfully detailed drawings of Matt Layden, you realize your deep contentment cannot be measured; no other yacht, no matter how expensive, luxurious or prestigious could bring such joy. When the going gets tough, her overhead hatch can be pulled to, and being watertight, the interior is kept snug and warm, while fresh air enters the cabin through an ingenious ventilation system, i.e., a 'vent box', that also supports the mast. Should your miniature, but rugged coastal cruiser get caught in the ultimate storm, she most probably would survive because of her strength. Even if she were to turn turtle (a most unlikely event, because of her well above average ballast ratio), she would definitely right herself. Her arched deck and the buoyancy of her cabin top would make her unstable in the inverted position. What if somehow she became flooded? Her fixed buoyancy in the form of foam insulation should keep her from sinking. Perhaps the feature you love most about your treasured possession is the ease with which her sail can be hoisted, lowered or reefed from within the cabin. There's no need to venture on deck, even in the roughest conditions, which means you can avoid exposure and the dangers of being outside the boat. For these reasons you admire the ingenious, but simple system Matt devised that allows the single lugsail to be furled around the boom. This procedure is hardly more difficult than rolling a window blind around its roller, except you need to use two hands and have a little practice at synchronizing the movement of the halyard and the furling line. When there's no wind, out comes your yuloh that is stowed on the starboard side deck, and the sail, yard and boom are lowered, before being secured on the port side deck where they are retained by a metal loop.

While you remind yourself of the fine characteristics of Paradox, you note that a swell has started to make itself felt from the south west, and the masthead light is gyrating accordingly. The wind suddenly freshens and there's a pitter-pattering as waves slap the side of the hull. Your little ship begins to heel and her inclinometer shows 6 degrees. You adjust the sail and secure the sheet in the jam cleat while you make a mental calculation as to your new ETA. You are thankful that Paradox is now sailing at her average cruising speed of 3 knots, which should mean you'll be able to find shelter by entering the creek at sunrise, where you'll beach her on the sand just after high water. Her flat bottom and chine runners will enable her to creep right up to the water's edge, where she'll find the best lee behind the cliff from the freshening wind as it backs to the south east. You'll drop your small Fisherman anchor astern as you approach the beach, and when the stem nudges the sand shortly after high water, you'll lay out your 7 kilo Danforth from the bow mooring cleats. That'll be the conclusion of another fine night sail, and you'll wonder why so few yachtsmen take advantage of the generally more stable winds to be found during the hours of darkness.

When the water ebbs, leaving the boat high and dry on the gently sloping sand, there's a welcome lack of movement. The sound of wavelets against the hull can be heard no more, but there's just the faintest rustling of trees above the cliff, and through the open hatchway you hear the soothing, rhythmical sigh of breakers as they discharge their energy on the distant dunes. You bring out the eggs and bacon from their plastic boxes in the food storage locker below the cabin floor and you light the stove. Three thick rashers of bacon are first placed in the frying pan, and when they are partially cooked, two large eggs are broken into the pan to accompany them. As the smoke-flavoured bacon sizzles, the fried eggs assume their familiar, irregular form - a marbling of white and yellow. You heartily gobble down your choice cereal, lubricated with fresh milk. Your kettle is partially filled in readiness for a cup of tea and for washing up after breakfast. To your mind there's nothing more pleasurable you could possibly be doing. After a morning nap, you will spend the rest of the day exploring the area, even if it means wearing waterproofs, which you never wear when at sea, because your are protected from the elements by your cleverly designed boat. Matt even thought about how to make it easy to get in and out of the boat when she's beached by providing a permanent step attached to the rudder stock. In conjunction with a loop of rope below the waterline, you find the step is useful for boarding the boat after enjoying a swim at some idyllic spot. The kick-up rudder can be fully raised to the vertical position, and it is unusually large, because to a degree it functions as a keel. Both it and the chine runners combine their magic to minimize leeway.

As you ponder these attributes you also wonder what adventures tomorrow will bring, and you further conjecture what you may be doing next weekend. Perhaps you'll take the boat on her trailer to one of the East Coast Rivers and you may invite your grandson to share the experience? After all, although your boat is small, there's enough room for both of you, even over night. You know you can meet the costs of taking the boat by road, because you are not lumbered with mooring fees and storage fees for hard-standing during the winter, neither do you have to fork out for having the mast taken out by a crane when laying up the boat; indeed you can easily maintain her with little expense.

You clap your hands with glee, because you know you are the most fortunate of sailors; one who owns and sails a characterful little ship that has so many excellent features.


These are YouTube Videos of the Paradox ‘Faith’. All of them are attributed to Al Law, except the last one, which features my first attempt at working the yuloh; this was filmed by my daughter.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Appraisal of 'Faith' my Paradox Sailboat

It took me a year and a half to build my miniature coastal sailing cruiser. She had a few unusual features that appealed to me, such as her chine runners and her standing lugsail that could be reefed by rolling it around the boom. Another valued attribute was her enclosed cabin with all-round visibility that enabled me to control the vessel from within, so that I was protected from the elements, no matter how tough the going got. Although she had a flat bottom with considerable rocker she was self-righting and her shallow draught of only 9" allowed her to sail to windward in 2' of water. An advantage of her flat bottom was her ability to sit upright on a beach – especially useful when her skipper needed a good night’s sleep.

This remarkable boat designed by Matt Layden was only 13' 10" long and just over 4' wide. When fully ballasted her displacement was 1410 lbs, of which 397 lbs were lead ballast and 154 lbs were water ballast. Because she was no larger than a medium sized dinghy she could be transported on a road trailer. I actually used an un-braked trailer linked to my Ford Mondeo family saloon and I found this combination worked well. I did the 600 mile return journey to Falmouth from Southend-on-Sea without difficulty.

My first test sail took place on the River Crouch at Burnham where I launched ‘Faith’ from the fairly steep slipway of the marina. On the first day the wind was light, and I found that she performed flawlessly on all points of sail. I was delighted with how she tacked between the many moored yachts. Under those benign conditions with smooth water and a light wind I could hardly perceive signs of leeway, there being barely a visible wake, presumably because her underwater sections presented little resistance to the water.

On the second day, conditions were lively, since the wind was in the region of Force 3 to 4 from the west, gusting to 5 or more. The flooding current of 1 ½ knots was against the wind which resulted in waves with breaking crests, the distance between them being approximately the same as the overall length of the boat. You can imagine the effect this had on her, and there was a moment when she failed to come about when changing from being on the starboard tack to the port tack. Fortunately I had sufficient room to wear 'ship' by bearing off and running downwind before gybing. She was very slow to come around because of the pressure of the wind on her sail. I had too much sail up for the conditions. When appropriately reefed she would even bear off when the sail was sheeted amidships.

A noticeable characteristic of Paradox was her slowness when tacking, particularly when the water was choppy. She would need to be sailed around in a smooth arc. Suddenly changing the angle of her rudder would not result in her coming around, as would be the case with a lightweight dinghy; instead her rudder would simply act as a brake. Because her mast was set to port of her centre line and her sail was hung to the port side of her mast, the resulting drag on that side could make tacking from starboard tack to port tack problematical, but if the boat was not tacked until she was moving fast there was every chance the manoeuvre would be successful. I learnt a technique from Al Law that he used when the water was choppy. He released the sheet when the boat was headed into the wind, and at the same time he would move forward into the cabin on the starboard side. I'm not sure why this worked, but by releasing the sheet, the sail feathered into the wind, and his weight being further forward, correspondingly brought the centre of lateral resistance forward, which facilitated the completion of the tack.

I next tested 'Faith' while on a fortnight's cruise in the West Country. There she was sailed under varying conditions when she was fully loaded with provisions. At that time I had not carried out modifications to her yuloh to improve its articulation from side to side and therefore I could only use it as a paddle. (Later when I got it working properly I could generate about half a knot in smooth water.) Al and I sailed in company much of the time, which led me to believe his 'Little Jim' generally went to windward more efficiently than 'Faith'. Overall, there didn't seem to be much difference in the boats' performance, because after sailing all day on open water we would arrive at our destination together.

I found my Paradox behaved wonderfully well in winds of force 4 to 5 when sailing along the coast between Plymouth and Salcombe. There were times when our boats were hidden in the troughs of the Atlantic swell, and when we entered Salcombe, the seas were confused because waves were rebounding off the cliffs as we approached the infamous sandbar. After leaving Salcombe the next day, en route for Brixham I felt very secure in my little boat as she ran before the wind. Unlike some boats I've owned, 'Faith' hardly rolled when running, and I believe that was because of her flat bottom and chine runners.

The boat had ample room for provisions. In fact, I believe she had enough stowage space for an ocean crossing. She could dry out and sit upright without requiring supports. There was room for a full-size single mattress, and of course, there was no need to erect a boom tent. Before turning in for the night, I simply closed her waterproof hatch. Condensation was not a big problem, because of the flow of air through the ingenious waterproof vents, and for those who chose to insulate their boats with closed-cell foam, it provided an additional defence against condensation while acting as buoyancy in the unlikely event of the boat being holed. In the lazarette, behind the removable transverse seat, there were bins for warps, fenders, pots, Wellington boots, wading shoes, vegetables etc., plus a gimballed Gaz stove. I could use this while underway for heating water, and even for cooking a meal.

The tiller was attached to a steering line that passed through blocks so that I could sit facing forward while using it to steer the boat. Either side of the cabin, below the line, there were handy shelves. Under them there were compartments for bulkier items. Food was kept under the floorboards. The battery was located in the forecastle on the port hand side opposite a storage bin on the starboard side. Between the stem and the first bulkhead there was yet another storage bin, which I used for items that I seldom required. I built a transverse table that could be set up before or after bulkhead three. I found it useful when having a meal and when using my laptop computer.

All in all, I was very pleased with my little boat, believing she would be ideal for the sort of sailing I envisaged for my retirement. Mostly I intended to use her for day sailing and the occasional short coastal cruise. I thought I would equip her with an outboard motor because of the limitations of the yuloh.


‘Faith’ was later fitted with a Honda 2.3 outboard, which served her very well when she cruised along the south coast of England to the Scilly Isles.

This article is a revamp of one at my old Paradox Sailboat website.


‘Faith’, a Paradox Sailboat

Al’s Web Site about ‘Little Jim’

Al’s article about our first failed attempt to reach the Scilly Isles

Paradox Sea Trials by Glen Maxwell

My Paradox ‘Johanna’

Close up of Al’s Paradox – In the Boat Shed.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Yucatan East Coast Mexican Traditional Sailing Craft

Balearic lateen rigged boat

Lateen boat at Port Olympic

Sri Lankan Proa high and dry

The Proa being launched

In the summer of 1998 I crewed aboard the yacht ‘Secant’ for a cruise along the southern coast of Spain and the Balearic Islands. Now and again I had opportunities for taking photographs of traditional local sailing craft. They all had lateen rigs, as your can see from photos reproduced here.

When I visited Sri Lanka I had the wonderful experience of sailing a local proa rigged with a reversible sprit sail.

Early in the New Year* I shall be holidaying in Mexico at Playacar and I shall be looking for traditional sailing vessels there, but an Internet search has not provided a single link to any such craft. I can’t believe the place can be so devoid of local ingenuity for the purposes of fishing. There surely must have been beach boats capable of being launched through the Atlantic surf or ones suitable for fishing on the Bahia de la Ascension or the Bahia del Espiritu Santo.

My disappointing google only came up with modern small sailing catamarans based at the private beaches of hotels. The hotel where I shall be staying lists among other activities, sailing catamarans, windsurfing, kayaking and bodyboarding.

Well, if you know of any traditional local sailing craft in the region of Playacar on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, please drop me a line via the comments facility.

*That’s if the weather permits flights to operate from Gatwick. I take nothing for granted, for we cannot know our future.


Sri Lankan Proas

Memorable Cruise Part 1 (Aboard the Yacht ‘Secant’)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sailor’s Rest

A Portion of Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ painted in 1889

Sailing free on the emerald sea

Is the sailor’s dream and glee

Dancing on rhythmic waves

He revels in life and forgets the past.

His body is warmed by the summer sun,

And it is cooled by the flying spray.

He feels the wind upon his cheeks,

And sets his sails for the place he seeks.

Be it a secret haven close to heaven

Where albatrosses soar and porpoises leap,

Or a quiet bay with a transparent deep,

There in the lee of a palm-fringed beach

Where jewelled fish shoal and play

And silver sharks hunt their prey.

Wavelets lap upon golden sand;

Shadows lengthen with dipping orb

From bright blue to scarlet hue;

Darkness doth absorb.

Starry night, balmy air,

Crescent moon appears.

Soundings found, fathoms deep,

Our Sailor drops his hook.

Peaceful night and eternal sleep

In the lee of a palm-fringed beach.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day Joy

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”*

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid His hands on them.**

*Luke Chapter 2, verses 8 – 20

**Matthew Chapter 19, verses 13 - 15

Friday, December 24, 2010

Carols from Kings

You know it is Christmas Eve when you hear carols being sung by the choristers of Kings College, Cambridge. The tradition is for the service to be broadcast live on BBC Radio 4, starting at 3.00 pm. This year a similar service was recorded and filmed earlier in December for broadcasting on BBC 2 in the evening, and I had the privilege of listening to it while viewing the superb setting within the late Gothic Chapel via the screen of my ancient television set. As an experiment I took a few photos of various scenes with my Sony Cybershoto 7.2 Mega Pixel camera and I was surprised with the results which I am sharing here.


Kings College Cambridge – The Chapel

Daily Telegraph Article reporting on the live performance

Cambridge News

Creative Boom

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sir Henry Pigott

Glory 11

The most amazing things happen that sometimes never come to light. At other times, glimpses of incredible achievements momentarily appear on the scene, and one such relatively unpublicized voyage of a lone sailor is remembered by me and perhaps by others who are old enough to have been around at the time. The voyage to which I am referring is Sir Henry Pigott’s crossing of the Atlantic aboard his Mirror Offshore 19 foot yacht, similar to Dylan Winter’s.

No matter where I search on the Internet, precious little information is revealed concerning Henry’s voyage. A trifle more has been written about his circumnavigation aboard ‘Glory 11’, a modified 19’ 8”Colvic Watson motor-sailer. (See my previous Blog at: )

Henry's Blogger Icon

Henry, who must be in his mid 90s, is a follower of this Blog! You can see his avatar, icon or chosen pictorial image among those of the other 52 followers’. The tiny picture would appear to represent a scenic view over a stretch of sparkling blue water. In the foreground on the left-hand side there’s a colourful clump of foliage and on the right-hand side there’s a red, green, yellow, blue and white abstract design. A vessel, which may be Glory 11, takes up a central position, and beyond her there is a dark green shoreline.

When searching for information about an event, the rule is always to get it from the horse’s mouth, i.e., from those actually involved. If that can’t be done, seek verifiable information from eyewitness. On that score, looking back to my earlier Blog referring to Henry’s circumnavigation, I have discovered in the comments section that Ken says he has seen an article in the archives of the Yahoo! Corribee Coromandel Discussion Group about Henry preparing his Mirror for the crossing. Patrick also says he has sporadic contact with Henry, and confirms that Henry lives near the Solent.

Well, Henry, if you are reading this, would you like to bring us up to date with information about your many trans-Atlantic crossings, and particularly your early crossing aboard your Mirror Offshore 19. Did you modify her in any way, perhaps by changing her rig to junk? I imagine the standard Bermudan rig with its small sails would have been adequate for downwind sailing in the trade winds. Did you use a self-steering system? What route did you take?

Ken and Patrick, if you have any more information, maybe you could chip in? Thanks Patrick for the link to your ‘Voyage of the Foxglove’. (See link below)


My Previous Henry Pigott Blog, including Glory 11

Corribee Coromandel Discussion Group

Patrick’s Blog – The Voyage of the Foxglove

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Links at Bills-Log – Making a Links Resource

Control Key (Ctrl)

Holding the Control Key

Left-clicking Mouse

Yesterday, John used the comment facility to ask why I do not make clickable links at my Blog. In my reply I explained that it was far too time-consuming, especially as I do a daily Blog. As it is, I can spend several hours a day researching, writing and presenting my Blog. A thought occurred to me that visitors could copy links from my pages, and, with very little effort, they could assemble a collection of them to build a resource related to their own interests.

This is how it can be done:

1 Copy your chosen links and replicate them on a Microsoft Word document. This is best done by using the right click menu from your mouse or touchpad.

2 Give each link a title, and place it in a category, for example, sailing canoes, trailer sailers etc..

3 Energise your links by deleting the last letter or number* of each link and replace it with an identical letter or number, then key in a space. At that point the link becomes ‘live’.

4 Providing you are online, i.e., connected live to the Internet, you can open an energised link by letting your cursor hover it while holding down the control (Ctrl) key and left-clicking your mouse. The webpage in question will popup on your screen.
I know this works on my Windows computer, and, as I have no experience of working with Apple computers, I cannot say if the same will apply to them.

Why not give it a go with this link to Dylan Winter’s ‘Keep Turning Left’ website?

*If a link ends with a forward slash, delete it as you would a letter or number.

Incidentally, I have been humbled by the generosity of Dylan, who, in response to yesterday’s Blog, has given me three months subscription to his website. Go on boaters, join forces with other supporters. Generosity deserves generosity. I have been much abashed for my meanness.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Keep Turning Left – Dylan Winter

A Mirror Offshore 19 similar to Dylan's 'Super Slug' (Source of photo:

In January of this year I posted a eulogy* in praise of Dylan Winter who provided boaters and yachtsmen with a wonderful collection of YouTube videos featuring his leisurely, anti-clockwise circumnavigation of Britain. Dylan formalized his collection by coordinating them on his website ‘Keep Turning Left’, and inaugurated a scheme whereby subscribers could make a small donation in the region of £5 for access to all of his videos, photos and written blogs.

As a freelance journalist he greatly relied upon revenue gained from YouTube (Google) and AdSense when viewers clicked on his videos and from revenue when people clicked on advertisements, especially Amazon. Apparently there was at least one individual who rather too enthusiastically clicked on advertisements without buying items – at least, this appears to be the lame excuse used by Google for denying access to his videos. In so doing, this anonymous organisation has barred us from seeing his videos at YouTube and at the same time this has deprived an honest man of his main source of income.

I can’t blame Dylan for denying people access to my YouTube Playlist, ‘Keep Turning Left’, featuring many of his videos – at least, that’s what YouTube would have me believe when I visit my list at: . After all, Dylan deserves payment for the enormous amount of work he puts into filming, editing and presenting his superb collection of videos, many with appropriate audio accompaniment.

I confess to being tight-fisted to the extent that although enjoying Dylan’s videos I have never contributed to him in exchange for viewing the full content of his website. I am the loser - the choice is mine, but I feel for him, because he is a sincere man trying to eek out a living. I can and do support him by publishing this article. Maybe others can speak out in his defence? This has been the case with members of the Yachting and Boating World online Forum at: . (You need to be a member to read entries.)


From information on Dylan’s website, he may be contacted by post at 23, Botyl Road, Botolph Claydon, Bucks MK18 2LP, or by telephone (01296 712761)and by email to

Dylan’s boat is a 50 year old Mirror Offshore 19 diesel motor sailer that is named ‘Super Slug’, which he affectionately calls ‘Slug’, when sailing with the wind, and ‘Pig’ when going against the wind!

If you become a contributor to ‘Keep Turning Left’ you should gain access to 26 videos from 2008, 35 videos from 2009, 44 from Scuttlebutt and 8 written blogs.

*Dylan Winter – Keep Turning Left (My previous blog)

More Links

Dylan’s Website

YouTube Keep Turning Left’s Channel where I found the under-mentioned videos still working at YouTube on Tuesday, 21st December, 2010:

Mirror Offshore 19 Diesel Yacht for Sale (Similar to Dylan’s yacht) £2000 as at 21st December 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winkle Brig

Photo from Wikipedia at:

Eric Bergqvist designed and moulded my Folksong 25 which I finished from a GRP hull and deck. Shortly after building Folksongs in 1984, Eric turned his hand to manufacturing 16 ft Winkle Brig trailer-sailers. He manufactured about 120 of them before production ceased in 2002.

They are quite a bit smaller than the coastal cruisers I’ve considering over the past three days, i.e., BayCruiser 20, Drascombe Coaster, and the Cornish Shrimper. Therefore they are probably more suited to estuary cruising, lake sailing and exploring inland waterways like those of Holland and the Broads.

Here’s what Alan of BoatShed Wales has to say about a Winkle Brig he is brokering* at Neyland:

“It is often said "the smaller the boat, the bigger the fun" and I subscribe personally to this mantra - however, I have not tried a Winkle Brig - yet! But I bet she's a whole lot of fun; a real 'Swallows and Amazons' pocket cruiser ……………………………. A sturdy little craft of exceptional build quality she has very spacious and traditional comforts in her homely cabin. She can be trailed behind the family saloon to different cruising grounds and will sit happily on a drying berth. This example has, it is true, seen some better days, but there is nothing to scare off a keen amateur DIY'r. A couple of warm weekends with scraper and varnish, a hull polish, maybe even a re-spray , then head off up some deserted creek, light the oil lamp and dig out Riddle of the Sands - go on, you know you want to!

*Winkle Brig 16 for Sale £3,999 (as at 20.12.10)


Length 16 ft – with bowsprit 20 ft

Beam 6 ft 8 in

Draught 1 ft 2 in – with twin keels down 2 ft 6 in

Disc 650 kg

Mainsail 104 sq ft

Jib 42 sq ft

Topsail 26 sq ft

Other Links

Winkle Brig Owners

Winkle Brig Photos

Winkle Brig Photo Gallery

CreekSailor Blog on the Winkle Brig (Detailed Article)

Winkle Brig at Wikipedia

Winkle Brig "Mary Ellen" on Kielder Water

Winkle Brig Partan sailing on Windermere

Going to windward off St Mawes

My Folksong ‘Zeta’

‘Zeta’ Transformed by Julian Mustoe to become ‘Harrier’

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cornish Shrimper

Having looked at Swallow Boat’s BayCruiser 20 and the Drascombe Coaster I thought I would have a butchers at the Cornish Crabber. All three trailer-sailers are capable of coastal cruising with a crew of one or two people.

I thought the Shrimper Owners Association website would be the best place to start, but I could find very little information about the boat itself. The history page tells of the first plywood Shrimper designed and built by Roger Dongray in 1978. He was helped by local carpenter Mike Hughes who built nine more plywood Shrimpers under licence. Cornish Crabbers took an interest in the boat and they produced their first GRP version (No.11) in 1980. Since then, more than a thousand GRP boats have been built, and there are about six hundred owners who are members of the Association.

The website has a photo gallery containing 22 images, plus a section of articles with photos from members who keep their boats in twelve areas around the coasts of the UK, France, the Netherlands and Portugal.

There’s more information about Shrimpers at the manufacturer’s website: .

Boats can be fitted with Yanmar 1 GM diesel inboard engines, or they can be powered with a suitable outboard. They are gaff rigged with Sitka Spruce spars treated with Sikkens. The Mk 11 version replaced the original GRP boat in 1995. She has a higher cabin trunk, a forward hatch and a self-draining cockpit.


Length of deck 19ft 3” 5.87 m

Length on waterline 17ft 7" 5.33 m

Length overall with bowsprit 22ft 6" 6.86 m

Beam 7ft 2" 2.18 m

Draft - centreplate up 1ft 6" 0.46 m

Draft - centreplate down 4ft 0" 1.22 m

Displacement 2,350 lbs 1,070 kg

Ballast 700 lbs 319 kg

Sail Area 194 sq ft 18 sq m


The Shrimper Owners Association

Cornish Crabbers Shrimper Page

Cornish Shrimpers for Sale as at 19.12.10

Eastern Yachts (Shrimper for Sale – very good photos) – as at 19.12.10

Bobcary Boatyard – Specialists in Shrimpers

Cornish Shrimper No 1

Cornish Shrimper Channel Crossing (No 10 Plywood version)

Cornish Shrimper Isolde (No 10 Plywood version)

Cornish Shrimper 888 Sailing in the Solent

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Drascombe Coaster

Max, who owns the splendid Bursledon Blog* website, mentions in a comment to yesterday’s article about Swallow Boat’s BayCruiser 20 that he was in correspondence with Julian who owns the BayCruiser 20, ‘Daisy Grace’. Julian is keen to compare his boat with Max’s newly acquired Drascombe Coaster, and Max is looking forward to seeing Julian’s boat. I’m sure Max will do an article about their meeting, and I for one, will be interested in reading it.

Well, he has set my mind on researching the Drascombe Coaster. I was taken aback when I did a Google, because of the mass of information available on the subject of Drascombe boats. I’m not going to list them all here, because you can find a collation of their details at the Drascombe Association website.

For an in-depth description of the attributes of the Drascome Coaster, have a look at Tom Colville’s masterful presentation: .

As far as I can see, there are two UK distributors/builders of the Drascombe Coaster, namely Churchouse Boats and Honnor Marine. You can’t fail to be gripped by their presentations which describe the qualities of these characterful craft. When I say you will be ‘gripped’ with what you’ll see, I don’t mean in terms of website wizardry, but with the quality of the boats.


Photos are by courtesy of ‘Boats and Outboards for Sale’ and they are copied from this advert which gives details of a Drascombe Coaster that has been sold:


LOA 21’ 9” (6.63 m)
Beam 6’ 7” (2 m)
Weight 1060 lbs (480 kg)
Sail Area 164 sq ft (15.22 sq m)


*Bursledon Blog

Drascombe by Churchouse Boats

Honnor Marine Drascombes

Drascombe Association

Drascombe Coaster (Personal View by Tom Colville)

Drascombe Coaster "Aquarius" Renovation Project

Specifications of some Drascombes

Drascombe Coaster Struner @ ijsselmeer, nl

Drascombe NL 2008 Summer Meeting Grevelingen

Peter Duggan’s Website

Great Scottish Drascombe Cruise, 1995, by Peter Duggan

Boats and Outboards for Sale (Sold Coaster)

Friday, December 17, 2010

BayCruiser 20

Swallow Boats have come a long way since setting up their boatbuilding business; they are now into cabin sailboats up to 23 feet in length. I particularly like their BayCruiser20, which is full of attractive features. She’s a 20ft 3ins water ballasted trailer sailer with a ketch rig for ease of reefing – simply drop the mainsail, but a better performance can be obtained by reefing the mainsail.

The boat has sitting headroom and a central folding table that disguises her centreboard. Up forward there’s a large double ‘v’ berth and two quarter berths. She has bags of storage space, despite having two separate compartments under the floor of the boat for water ballast – 880 lbs in all. She can be sailed in light winds without water ballast. All the sail handling can be done from the cockpit. The latest version of the mainsail looks to be very efficient, along with the standard carbon mast. In addition to marine plywood, fairly high-tech materials are used in her construction, including Airex® closed cell cross linked polymer foam between glass laminates and Dyneema rigging.

Some would consider being able to have their boat transported on an un-braked trailer, a great advantage, since maintaining brakes on a trailer can be a bit of a bind. Swallow Boats’ demonstration BayCruiser 20 meets that requirement, i.e., the total weight of the boat and her trailer comes out at 650 kilograms, giving a 100 kilogram reserve for margin of error. Bear in mind that braked trailers are cheaper to buy.

I believe at least 3 BayCruiser 20s have been launched, and there is a very good Blog about ‘Daisy Grace’ with several photos of the boat. (See link below.)


Length: 20ft 3ins (6.17m) Beam: 7ft 6ins (2.3m) All up weight: 990 lbs (451kg). Weight of water ballast tanks: 880lbs (400kg)

Note: All photos are courtesy of Swallow Boats – see links below.


Swallow Boats BayCruiser 20

Daisy Grace

BayCruiser 20 Construction Photos

BayCruiser 20 Capsize Test

BayCruiser Launch at Cardigan

Thursday, December 16, 2010

‘Ping’ 6.2 metre Ocean Pocket Cruiser


'Ping' again

By chance, when surfing the Internet, I came across a reference to a small, but powerful ocean cruising yacht by the name of ‘Ping’. She was designed by naval architect, Eur Ing Alastair G L Hunter. I had heard of another of his yachts, the double-ended, single-chine ‘Shuffle’, of which there are three versions: the 7.3 metre, the 7.8 metre and the 8.2 metre – all of them made from steel. The smallest of his yachts is the ‘Phantom 14’, which he designed for coastal cruising and weekending. This 14 foot strip-planked, gaff rigged cutter, with a long bowsprit and a topsail, has sitting headroom, and enough space to accommodate a crew of two.

‘Ping’s’ designer classifies her as a ‘pocket deepwater cruiser for one or two people’. She has a 6.2 metre steel, dory-type hull with a heavily ballasted, deep fin keel and a skeg hung rudder. For extended passages, she can carry up to one tonne of stores and still perform well, on or off the wind. An unusual feature is her steeply sloping coachroof which provides good headroom near the companionway, and it gives shelter for her crew when the boat is going to windward. I wouldn’t describe her as the prettiest of boats, but she has several attractive features, such as her wide side decks, long foredeck and shallow sheeting angle for the foresails, plus a self-draining cockpit with a high coaming. Because of her initial stability she will feel like a much bigger yacht.



Phantom 14

Shuffle 720 and 780

Cruising Yachts by Eur Ing Alastair G L Hunter

Shuffle 24 Sold

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Boat Trailer for ‘Sharpy’

Seen from above

Side View

Road dirt on wheel

Gavin Atkin is well-known for his small boat designs. I met him several years ago at one of the Beale Boat Shows.

Recently I was looking at postings by the UK Homebuilt Boat Rally Yahoo Group, and I came across an offer from Gavin for a free boat trailer. Being an opportunist, I emailed him in the hope that the trailer would be suitable for ‘Sharpy’. She’s the lightweight, one man keel boat I am building. He suggested that I might like to look at his trailer, but before doing so, he would send me a photo and give me measurements, etc.. Then, as he had to visit a friend in Chelmsford, he offered to drop the trailer off at my place, which would not require him to deviate far from his original planned route.

What could I say? A free trailer, plus free delivery was mine for grabs. As good as his word, he turned up one evening with the freebie. As far as I was concerned, his good deed put to rest the acronym TANSTAAFL, which stands for, ‘There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!’

Now that I have the trailer, I’ll need to take a few measurements for working out how to build a support cradle for ‘Sharpy’, so that she will not be subjected to unfair loading when being transported on the trailer. Ideally I would want her to remain on it whenever she is not being sailed. If the lifting keel can stay in the boat, that will make the job of preparing her for sailing so much easier. In fact, all I’ll have to do is attach the trailer to my car, and off I go. Her spars and sail would also be kept on the trailer. That would be far better than having to take the boat out of a storage rack in the garage, get her onto my car and put her keel parts in the boot. I would also need to remember to take the pair of wheels that would be used for getting the boat to the water’s edge.

Derek Munnion, the designer and builder of his own ‘Sharpy’, carries his boat on an adapted roof rack, which has a long roller that extends over the boot of his car. This makes it comparatively easy for him to push his boat upwards and forwards onto the roof rack, and of course, he does not have the hassle of finding a parking place for a road trailer. There are pros and cons for transporting the boat on a roof rack, but I would prefer a trailer, mainly for ease of handling. Hopefully, I’ll be able to adapt the trailer to satisfy my needs.

Thank you, Gavin.


Gavin Atkin’s Boat Designs

In the Boatshed (Gavin’s online boating magazine)

Gavin’s Free Boat Design Resources

Gavin Atkin’s Homepage

Gavin Atkin - Medical Writer

Gavin at Linkedin

UK Homebuilt Boat Rally Yahoo Group!