Friday, December 09, 2011

My Old Mistress ‘Ladybird’

I am not nostalgic about ‘Ladybird’, although I do have fond memories of her. When I sold her to my daughter I pondered what future the little boat may have. Because of changing circumstances she sold her to yet another who would become acquainted with her excellent qualities.

For a 19’ yacht I don’t think there is one with better accommodation. She has two spacious quarter berths and plenty of room up forward for a third person. There is ample stowage for gear and provisions under the bunks. A curtain gives privacy for use of the chemical toilet, and she has a very convenient galley by the companionway.

Her cockpit is large enough for three, or possibly four crew members, but it’s perfect for two. Under her cockpit seats there’s plenty of space for warps, fenders, a second anchor, ship’s battery, fuel etc. Her cockpit self-drains. Within easy reach of the cockpit she has a Honda 2.3 outboard motor which is sufficient for getting in and out of marinas, even for pushing her along at 3 knots, hour after hour when the sea is calm. A 4 HP to 5 HP engine would be better to provide clout when there is a strong headwind.

Her side decks are just wide enough for access to the foredeck where the anchor is ready for immediate use, having a galvanised chain that leads through a hawse to a locker below. The deck and hull mouldings are substantial and well finished. She has a furling Genoa and a roller boom for reefing her Bermudan mainsail. Her stainless steel standing rigging is adequate in strength, and her safety rails are supported by strong stanchions, a pushpit and pulpit. She is equipped with navigation lights, one either side of the coachroof and the stern light attached to the pushpit. The solar panel mounted on the coachroof never let me down, always providing power for the navigation lights and equipment, including two GPS units and an Autohelm. I was careful how I used the cabin lights, not to leave them on when I didn’t need them.

She’s not the fastest 19 foot yacht, but her performance on all points of sail is satisfactory for coastal cruising and Club racing. With a competent crew she should be competitive in handicap racing with a favourable Portsmouth Yardstick of 1216. Reefing the main early when the wind rises is the key to success when sailing to windward. Her encapsulated twin bilge keels are not the best for settling on hard ground, but they are fine for sand or mud. Care should be taken when settling on soft ground, because she has a tendency to settle by the stern, and as she does not have a skeg, undue pressure can be brought to bear on the rudder which needs to be locked in position so as not to be dislodged from the pintles.

The photos show how she is laid up at Rice and Coles, at Burnham-on-Crouch. Incidentally, I’ve been invited for a sail aboard my old flame, sometime next year, and I am looking forward to it and to meeting her latest owner.

Text for the Day

Romans 3:23 ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’


‘Ladybird’ has been sold – My tribute to her

‘Ladybird’s’ Cruise 2010

Portsmouth Yardstick Numbers

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