Sunday, August 31, 2014

Open to Offers for ‘Minnow’, My Paradox Sailboat – Part 2

'Minnow' yesterday ready for inspection

One interested person

This is to clarify what is being offered, for I am offering to part with my Paradox!! Yes, I expect in return from whoever has her, a fair payment. If I receive anything for my labour for improving ‘Minnow’, that will be an earned bonus, but I shall be satisfied if I recover my expenditure on acquiring her and the cost of materials and equipment lavished on her - things like quality marine paint, ball bearing blocks, 12 volt battery, stainless steel outboard bracket, a Gaz cooker, assorted chandlery, warps, anchor, yuloh pin, pennant etc. Then there’s the cost of a brand new bespoke trailer that has only been used twice. In addition to all of this, I am offering goodies such as 2 GPSs, an Autohelm 800, and my Honda 4 stoke outboard motor, even charts and tinned food. The sail was professionally repaired by Jeckells, and it looks almost new.

‘Minnow’ is a very special boat on account of the merits of her design, not least her boom furling lugsail, chine runners and almost unique accommodation providing security and complete, instantaneous cover for her helmsman who can control her from within the cabin. There is no need for deck work. Anchoring and sail management is all done from the security of the cabin. She has a yuloh for manoeuvring her in confined waters. She is ready to go! Nothing to do; just add personal possessions, launch her and be off.

In my opinion, she’s a single-hander, suitable for someone who wants to explore creeks, estuaries and do a spot of coastal sailing. An experienced sailor could take her further afield, but that would be real adventure sailing. She’s a boat quite different to any other, and to get the best out of her, you have to learn by experience. She will look after you, because she’s very forgiving. You can make the stupidest mistakes and survive, because she will not capsize and her gear is strong. Obviously, if you do crass things like getting caught in a gale off Portland Bill, you’ll be taking her to her limit, but even then you may get away with it.

If you want to learn more, please contact me by phone at: 07588288060 or by email to barnacleid at yahoo dot co dot uk. A chap phoned me from Germany, but I would have no dealings with him, because I believed his intentions were dishonourable. He was phishing, and I wasn’t taken in. I’m only interested in dealing with bona fide enquirers from the UK.*

* Please note that I was entirely wrong about my assumption that the caller from Germany was phishing. I have apologised to him.


Open to Offers for ‘Minnow’, My Paradox Sailboat

Friday, August 29, 2014

Open to Offers for ‘Minnow’, My Paradox Sailboat

This won’t come as a surprise to some of you, but I’ve decided to put ‘Minnow’ up for sale. I feel I am no longer able to undertake the sort of ‘voyaging’ in small boats that I have so much enjoyed throughout my life. All this summer ‘Minnow’ has been languishing in my garage accumulating dust. The forecast for the second half of next week is for a lovely, warm spell of weather, but I have no desire for being afloat.

I would far rather have another, perhaps a younger person make use of ‘Minnow’. Therefore I’m open to reasonable offers for the sale of the boat, complete with her Honda outboard, gear and trailer. A good offer will secure the lot, including the Autohelm and GPS. She’s ready to go, with charts, tinned foods and fuel for the engine.

If you are genuinely interested and have cash, please contact me by phone at 07588288060.

This is a chance of a lifetime, because Paradox sailboats seldom come onto the market.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Lifeboat – Part 2

November, 14th 2005 saw me copying a poem to my blog for that day’s entry. Here it is again, but with illustrations of pulling and sailing lifeboats in service at the time the poem was written, i.e., about 1880.

"The Lifeboat"
By George R. Sims

Been out in the lifeboat often? Ay, ay, sir, oft enough.
When it's rougher than this? Lor' bless you! this ain't what we calls rough!
It's when there's a gale a-blowin', and the waves run in and break
On the shore with a roar like thunder and the white cliffs seem to shake;
When the sea is a hell of waters, and the bravest holds his breath
As he hears the cry for the lifeboat -- his summons maybe to death --
That's when we call it rough, sir; but, if we can get her afloat,
There's always enough brave fellows ready to man the boat.
You've heard of the Royal Helen, the ship as was wrecked last year?
Yon be the rock she struck on -- the boat as went out be here;
The night as she struck was reckoned the worst as ever we had,
And this is a coast in winter where the weather be awful bad.
The beach here was strewed with wreckage, and to tell you the truth, sir, then
Was the only time as ever we'd a bother to get the men.
The single chaps was willin', and six on 'em volunteered,
But most on us here is married, and the wives that night was skeered.

Our women ain't chicken-hearted when it comes to savin' lives,
But death that night looked certain -- and our wives be only wives:
Their lot ain't bright at the best,sir; but here, when the man lies dead,
'Taint only a husband missin', it's the children's daily bread;
So our women began to whimper and beg o' the chaps to stay --
I only heard on it after, for that night I was kept away.
I was up at my cottage, yonder, where the wife lay nigh her end,
She'd been ailin' all the winter, and nothing 'ud make her mend.

The doctor had given her up, sir, and I knelt by her side and prayed,
With my eyes as red as a babby's, that Death's hand might yet be stayed.
I heerd the wild wind howlin', and I looked on the wasted form,
And though of the awful shipwreck as had come in the ragin' storm;
The wreck of my little homestead -- the wreck of my dear old wife,
Who'd sailed with me forty years, sir, o'er the troublous waves of life,
And I looked at the eyes so sunken, as had been my harbour lights,
To tell of the sweet home haven in the wildest, darkest nights.

She knew she was sinkin' quickly -- she knew as her end was nigh,
But she never spoke o' the troubles as I knew on her heart must lie,
For we'd had one great big sorrow with Jack, our only son --
He'd got into trouble in London as lots o' lads ha' done;
Then he'd bolted his masters told us -- he was allus what folks call wild.
From the day as I told his mother, her dear face never smiled.
We heerd no more about him, we never knew where he went,
And his mother pined and sickened for the message he never sent.

I had my work to think of; but she had her grief to nurse,
So it eat away at her heartstrings, and her health grew worse and worse.
And the night as the Royal Helen went down on yonder sands,
I sat and watched her dyin', holdin' her wasted hands
. She moved in her doze a little, then her eyes were opened wide,
And she seemed to be seekin' somethin', as she looked from side to side;
Then half to herself she whispered, "Where's Jack, to say good-bye?
It's hard not to see my darlin', and kiss him afore I die."

I was stoopin' to kiss and soothe her, while the tears ran down my cheek,
And my lips were shaped to whisper the words I couldn't speak,
When the door of the room burst open, and my mates were there outside
With the news that the boat was launchin'. "You're wanted!" their leader cried.
"You've never refused to go, John; you'll put these cowards right.
There's a dozen of lives maybe, John, as lie in our hands tonight!"
'Twas old Ben Brown, the captain; he'd laughed at the women's doubt.
We'd always been first on the beach, sir, when the boat was goin' out.

I didn't move, but I pointed to the white face on the bed --
"I can't go, mate," I murmured; "in an hour she may be dead.
I cannot go and leave her to die in the night alone."
As I spoke Ben raised his lantern, and the light on my wife was thrown;
And I saw her eyes fixed strangely with a pleading look on me,
While a tremblin' finger pointed through the door to the ragin' sea.
Then she beckoned me near, and whispered, "Go, and God's will be done!
For every lad on that ship, John, is some poor mother's son."

Her head was full of the boy, sir -- she was thinking, maybe, some day
For lack of a hand to help him his life might be cast away.
"Go, John, and the Lord watch o'er you! and spare me to see the light,
And bring you safe," she whispered, "out of the storm tonight."
Then I turned and kissed her softly, and tried to hide my tears,
And my mates outside,when the saw me, set up three hearty cheers;
But I rubbed my eyes wi' my knuckles, and turned to old Ben and said,
"I'll see her again, maybe, lad, when the sea give up its dead.":

We launched the boat in the tempest, though death was the goal in view
And never a one but doubted if the craft could live it through;
But our boat she stood in bravely, and, weary and wet and weak,
We drew in hail of the vessel we had dared so much to seek
. But just as we come upon her she gave a fearful roll,
And went down in the seethin' whirlpool with every livin' soul!
We rowed for the spot, and shouted, for all around was dark --
But only the wild wind answered the cries from our plungin' bark.

I was strainin' my eyes and watchin', when I thought I heard a cry,
And I saw past our bows a somethin' on the crest of a wave dashed by;
I stretched out my hand to seize it. I dragged it aboard, and then
I stumbled, and struck my forrud, and fell like a log on Ben.
I remember a hum of voices, and then I knowed no more
Till I came to my senses here, sir -- here, in my home ashore.
My forrud was tightly bandaged, and I lay on my little bed --
I'd slipped, so they told me arter, and a rulluck had struck my head.

Then my mates came in and whispered; they'd heard I was comin' round.
At first I could scarcely hear 'em. it seemed like a buzzin' sound;
But as my head got clearer, and accustomed to hear 'em speak,
I knew as I'd lain like that, sir, for many a long, long, week.
I guessed what the lads was hidin', for their poor old shipmate's sake.
So I lifts my head from the pillow, and I says to old Ben, "Look here!
I'm able to bear it now, lad -- tell me, and never fear."

Not one on 'em ever answered, but presently Ben goes out,
And the others slinks away like, and I say, "What's this about?
Why can't they tell me plainly as the poor old wife is dead?"
Then I fell again on the pillows, and I hid my achin' head;
I lay like that for a minute, till I heard a voice cry "John!"
And I thought it must be a vision as my weak eyes gazed upon;
For there by the bedside, standin' up and well was my wife.
And who do ye think was with her? Why Jack, as large as life

It was him as I'd saved from drownin' the night as the lifeboat went

 To the wreck of the Royal Helen; 'twas that as the vision meant.
They'd brought us ashore together, he'd knelt by his mother's bed,
And the sudden joy had raised her like a miracle from the dead;
And mother and son together had nursed me back to life,
And my old eyes woke from darkness to look on my son and wife.
Jack? He's our right hand now, sir; 'twas Providence pulled him through --
He's allus the first aboard her when the lifeboat wants a crew.


George Robert Sims

George Sims

In the Workhouse Christmas Day by George R. Sims

RNLI Pulling and Sailing Lifeboats


Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Henry Finlay 1911 Pulling and Sailing Lifeboat

Lifeboats through the Ages

The Lifeboat

Southend Pier and Lifeboats

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

‘Temagami’, a Lovely Gaff Cutter – Part 2

This is a follow-up to an article about the gaff cutter ‘Temagami’ published on 12th July, 2014 in which I mentioned she was undergoing sea trials before setting off on a cruise to Holland.

She and 30 or so English yachts under the flag of the Old Gaffers Association (OGA) participated in the Netherlands OGA ‘Cross Country Tour’ celebrating their 10th anniversary. Altogether 62 boats, including yachts from the host country and Belgium, assembled at Wemeldinge at the start of the tour on 25th July.

Only last year, the OGA celebrated their 50th anniversary with a Round Britain Challenge, culminating in a rally with a gathering of 200 boats, skippers, crews and families at Cowes, Isle of Wight.

The accompanying photographs of ‘Temagami’ under sail were taken by Sue Lewis who is the publicity officer for the OGA. In a recent email confirming I could publish her photos she mentioned the ‘Sailing By’ website* which was launched by the OGA as part of their 50th Anniversary celebrations. I recommend you take a visit, for it contains many interesting articles and nautical tales.

The OGA are always looking for new members. To learn more, go to the 'about' page of the OGA website** .

*Sailing By

**About the Old Gaffers Association

Other Links

‘Temagami’, a Lovely Gaff Cutter

Old Gaffers Association

OGA Hit Headlines in Hoorn: 7th August 2014

Beer Luggers (The Origin of ‘Temagami’)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Small Sailboat Links at Bill’s Log

Paradox 'Faith'

I recently uploaded a page* of links to articles I’ve written about small sailboats, but I failed to include links to every article. Therefore I’ve added the under-mentioned articles in an attempt to be more inclusive. I may discover others and add them; so it may not be a bad idea to check the list now and again for any that could be of interest.


Added Links

‘Sand Flee’

 Snapdragon 747 – Smaller sister to the 26

 Westerly Griffon

Westerly Nomad

I’ve also included these recent ones:

Snapdragon 26

Westerly Centaur

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Belton Way Small Craft Club Leigh-on-Sea

I was a member of the Up River Yacht Club at Hullbridge, on the River Crouch, and also of the Marconi Sailing Club on the River Blackwater. Being a member of a club can be advantageous, particularly when it comes to paying for moorings and winter lay-up. Clubs have useful facilities such as changing rooms, showers, toilets, a bar, a lounge and even a dining room. Depending on the size of a club, it will have a slipway, and maybe a jetty or a pontoon. There will be secure storage for tenders and dinghies, and there may visitors’ moorings.

Most sailing clubs organise racing and cruising events, and if crews are required, usually willing hands can be found. Novices always want to gain experience.

At the heart of a club there’s the social hub, usually centred on the bar where members come together. Those who enjoy organising events will always be in demand, and there are never enough helpers for maintaining a club’s premises. Helpers are required for the annual regatta, both ashore and afloat to work rescue craft, and operate race control. At the end of the season there’s the AGM, and the annual dinner and dance when prizes are given and speeches made.

Well, I’m not a member of the Belton Way Small Craft Club at Leigh-on-Sea, but from casual observation, it is obvious that the members are a laidback crew who enjoy close company in their tiny shack, known as, ‘The Green Hut’. There’s hardly a time that I’ve passed by and not seen someone there and the flag of St George proudly flying at the flagstaff. What a great vantage point they have overlooking the top end of Leigh Creek. From their balcony while sipping tea and smoking fags they can view happenings towards Two Tree Island Nature Reserve, Benfleet Creek, Canvey Island and beyond to the Thames. For them, there’s never a dull moment: perhaps the flooding or ebbing tide, wading birds, a yacht being scrubbed on the slipway, passing cloud shadows, sparkling reflections, a distant spritsail of a Thames barge, or the local yacht, ‘Nancy Grey’.

Not for them the Royal this or the Royal that, the Blue Ensign defaced; not for them a posh entrance hall with silver trophies displayed in glass fronted cabinets; not for them a club tie and jacket; but for them a mud stained floor, a creaking door and paint spattered jeans;  for them deep friendship founded on comradeship from the past, the telling of tales, imagined adventures and a pure love of things nautical, all manner of boats; sailing, fishing, mucking about and glorying in the mud, a snooze, a carton of fresh cockles and copious mugs of darkly brewed tea.


Belton Way Small Craft Club

Leigh-on-Sea Bank Holiday Amble Part 2 (With a photo of the ‘Nancy Grey’)

Up River Yacht Club

Marconi Sailing Club

Friday, August 22, 2014

Snapdragon 26

In many respects a Snapdragon 26 is similar to a Westerly Centaur*. Their internal volumes are roughly identical, the Westerly displacing 6,700 lbs and the Snapdragon 4,500 lbs. Both offer comparable caravan-type accommodation. The main difference between them is the configuration of their keels. The most popular version of the Snapdragon has bilge keels; others have fin keels. Either way, the keels are encapsulated, unlike the Centaur’s, which are of cast iron bolted to the hull. The Snapdragon’s keels are upright, but the Centaur’s are splayed. The latter are more efficient for windward sailing; however, when it comes to settling in mud, splayed keels are subjected to unfair forces tending to push them apart. In some cases this has caused leaks where the keel bolts pass through the hull. Snapdragon keels are not fault free, because over time, the GRP becomes worn at their bases, necessitating them to be shoed.

Snapdragon 26s were designed by L. Wakefield, and about 200 of them were built between 1966 and 1969 by Thames Marine at Canvey Island, Essex, England.  If you are looking for a cheap family cruising yacht, good value ones can be found for as little as £3,500.

*Westerly Centaur


Snapdragon 26 Sailboat

Centaur 26 - Sailboat

Thames Marine UK

Snapdragon, Mirage and Invader Association

The Island Sailing Club – Canvey Island (Where Snapdragon, Mirage and Invader Association events are held.)

1968 Snapdragon 26 Fin Keel Version for Sale in Kent £3,450

Snapdragon 26 Twin Keel version for Sale in Devon £3,950

Snapdragon 26 – This boat has been sold, but good photos.

Snapdragon 747 – Smaller sister to the 26

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Leigh Cockle Bawley ‘Endeavour’

Here I have photos of ‘Endeavour’, the last remaining wooden Leigh-on-Sea cockle bawley. She is maintained by the Endeavour Trust, a charity set up in 2001 for preserving her. She was built in 1926 by Cole and Wiggins, at Leigh-on-Sea. A programme of activities ensures that she leaves her mud berth for participating in events such as viewing the Thames Barge Match this coming Sunday, 24th August, and sailing to St Katherine’s Dock for a Classic Boat Rally on Friday, 12th September.

‘Endeavour’ took part in the evacuation of British and French troops from the beaches of Dunkirk during World War 11 in June, 1940. Another Leigh Bawley, ‘The Renown’, never made it home because she hit a mine resulting in the loss of her crew of four.

One can become a member of the Endeavour Trust by submitting an application form to the Trust with the appropriate fee for the type of membership required. Here’s a link to a copy of the form:

This is not the first time I’ve posted photos of ‘Endeavour’ to my blog. You can see the others by visiting the link below marked*.


Endeavour Trust

Cole and Wiggins

Association of Dunkirk Little Ships

*Leigh-on-Sea Bank Holiday Amble

Leigh-on-Sea Bank Holiday Amble – Part 2

Leigh-on-Sea Bank Holiday Amble – Part 3

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dilapidated Sailing Day Boat at Leigh-on-Sea

The centreboard day boat featured in these photos was once the pride and joy of her owner. From appearances she’s been left uncared for on the mud at Leigh for at least two or three years. In that time timbers have been exposed to the elements that have taken their toll.

You can image how lovely she would have looked in her heyday; golden varnished mahogany, smartly painted decks, galvanised fittings, Tufnell fairleads, cleats and winches, cotton sails and a Silver Century Seagull outboard motor. Here she is but a memory, doomed to further decay, unless some mad soul falls in love with the wreck that she is, and brings her back to life at great cost, both with time and money. 

Note: She is very similar to an Essex One Design built by Cole and Wiggins, of Leigh-on-Sea. (Added 21st August, 2014)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An Autohelm for a Paradox Sailboat

On port side ('Faith')

Fixture for linking cords ('Faith')

Support brackets ('Minnow')

Steering Line Attachment ('Minnow')

Components ('Minnow')

I was recently asked about the usefulness of my Autohelm 800 that I installed on both of my Paradoxes.

Because a Paradox has excellent directional stability when underway there is little need for an electronic steering device, but I found the Autohelm useful for leaving me free to top up the outboard, to update the log, to plot a position on the chart, to have time for brewing a cuppa, or simply to take a rest from steering. I also found it helpful when picking up a mooring, or coming alongside a pontoon or another vessel.

The photos show the installation of my Autohelm on both ‘Faith’ and ‘Minnow’. ‘Faith’s’ was on the port side, and ‘Minnow’s’ on the starboard.


Solution for ‘Minnow’s’ Autohelm

Better Progress with ‘Minnow’