Saturday, January 31, 2015

‘Minnow’ Pledged to Another (Sold)

Slavery in the UK was abolished by an act of Parliament in 1833, and with the exceptions of territories in the possession of the East India Company, the Island of Ceylon and the Island of St Helena it was illegal to ‘own’ a slave, or indeed to enslave anyone. Many slaves were abducted from their countries of origin and sold to those who exploited them for whatever purposes their ‘owners’ deemed fit.

There is a marked difference between a slave and a mistress. A slave is ‘owned’, but a mistress offers her services willingly. A slave may not be paid or paid very little for his labour, but generally a mistress will receive favours from the one with whom she has a relationship. More often than not there will be a sexual element to the association.

I must state that I’ve never had a real mistress, nor have I ‘owned’ a slave, and there is no way my wife would ever allow me to treat her as slave; furthermore, I do not 'own' her, but I do have a secret that everyone who reads this blog knows about. Now that statement contains a misnomer, because a secret is not a secret if the subject is commonly known. However, I’ve had many mistresses in the form of waterborne vessels, mostly with sails and nearly all of them pretty to look at.

My most recent mistress was ‘Minnow’. She was not the prettiest, but she had many fine attributes. Note the past tense, which indicates that our union is no more, because she has been pledged to another. To the best of my knowledge she is not being sold into slavery, but she willingly goes with an expectation of a relationship akin to that of a mistress, i.e., she will be favoured, pampered and maintained.

From the foregoing, you can take it that ‘Minnow’ has been sold and that she is no longer available for purchase.


Slavery Abolition Act 1883

Mistress (Lover)

Friday, January 30, 2015

An Enquiry about ‘Minnow’

'Minnow' on a nice day

My car this morning!

View from the back of the house

This morning I woke up to find a blanket of snow over the ground, which was a bit unfortunate, because I had agreed to have an enquirer look at ‘Minnow’ with a view to possibly buying her. As he was coming all the way from Blakeney in north Norfolk, I didn’t want him to be disappointed by not being able to see her in the open. However, commonsense and courtesy told me that I should text him to explain that I was not prepared to take the boat out of the garage, and accordingly I advised him not to come. I sent two messages, but I did not receive a reply; therefore I assumed he was not coming.

How wrong I was! At the appointed time of his planned arrival he knocked on the door. Completely unprepared, I led him to the garage where he found ‘Minnow’ as she was, in her state of hibernation. He was very contented for me to leave him to explore the boat before asking questions to clarify a few points. I felt apologetic about not being able to take ‘Minnow’ outside for him to step the mast and to play with her rig, but he assured me that under the circumstances it would not be appropriate.

As is usual with prospective buyers, he said he wanted to think things over before deciding whether to make an offer. I am therefore waiting to hear from him.

*Meanwhile, if there are any other interested persons, please get in touch by phoning or texting me on my mobile: 07588288060. The first to make an acceptable offer and to place a 10% deposit with a guarantee to complete full payment within a fortnight will have her. She can be left in my garage until the spring, if that is what you would want. I am happy to deliver her on her trailer to any location within a hundred miles radius of Hockley, Essex, free of charge, and beyond that for an agreed payment to cover my costs.
*Note: 'Minnow' was sold on 31st January, 2015.


‘Minnow’ for Sale – Part 2

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mirage 2700

Here we have another development of the Mirage range of yachts by Thames Marine. You’ll note that the 2700’s deck has been raised higher than the Mirage 28’s deck by the addition of a lip around the entire moulding. Apart from that she’s similar to the Mirage 28, but shorter by more than a foot on account of her stern being truncated and the transom being more upright. The upper moulding and a lower profile cabin trunk of the 2700 account for both boats having the same headroom of 6’. The fin keel version has more draught than the 28.


LOA                                                 27’0”
LWL                                                 21’0”
Beam                                               9’ 5”
Draught                                            3’ 6” Twin Keels - 4’ 9” Fin Keel 
Displacement                                    5,953.5 lbs
Headroom                                         6’ 0”

Snapdragon, Mirage and Invader Association

Designs by David Feltham – Sailboat

Around Britain in a Mirage 2700 by Stan Lester

Photos of Mirage 2700

Mirage 2700 Rivendale off Fleetwood. First Short Sale 2013

8 Mirage 2700s for Sale

Mirage 2700 – This Boat has been Sold (Nice photos)

Fin Keel Mirage 2700 Sold

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mirage 28

There are loads of these Mirage 28 yachts for sale. At Apolloduck* alone, there are a dozen at the time of uploading this short article.

Designed by David Feltham, the Mirage 28 is a solid, well constructed Thames Marine production boat. A masthead GRP twin keel sloop, she is like a much larger version of Thames Marine’s first successful yacht, the Snapdragon 23**, and of course, her accommodation is more commodious. With standing headroom throughout, and five berths, a full galley complete with stove, and a separate toilet, she is very comfortable. The heads compartment is accessible, both from the forward cabin and the saloon. There’s a quarter berth for the skipper and a ‘v’ berth for the kids or guests up forward.

All in all, she looks like an able coastal cruiser that could also be competitive in club handicap racing. If the going gets tough her inboard diesel will help reassure her crew they will make it back home by Sunday night, so as to be able to start work on Monday morning.

*Apolloduck Adverts for the Sale of Mirage 28s

**Snapdragon 23


Snapdragon, Mirage and Invader Association

Mirage 28 (Feltham) – Sailboat

Mirage 28 Statistics

Other Yachts Designed by David Feltham

Photos of Mirage 28s

Snapdragon and Mirage Yachts Built by Thames Marine

Mirage 28 for Sale £8,950

Mirage 28 for Sale £11,950

Mirage 28 Mk 2 for Sale £12,000

Mirage 28 (Not for Sale)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

‘Finda’ – A Miniature Hastings Beach Boat

On my wanderings at Hullbridge I have often seen this colourful day boat. She’s one of those old wooden vessels you can’t fail to notice on account of being so very different from the normal plastic grot with little character. There’s no other boat like her, at least, not at Hullbridge. She’ll always have a flag fluttering from the rigging, which speaks an invitation to passers-by, “Come, look and enjoy.”


Character Boats

Hastings Beach Boat

Hastings Beach Boat - Part 2

Monday, January 26, 2015

360 Degrees

7 Forked Strut Moulding

Bosun Ship's Compass

'Minnow's' Compass

While on a recent walk I found myself counting support struts on alloy car wheels without giving any real thought to why. All of a sudden I noticed a wheel that had 7 supports, and instinctively this didn’t seem right. As I continued my walk I discovered there were other cars having wheels with 7 struts. The rim of a circular wheel can be divided into equal parts equivalent to 360 degrees.  Now, as you know, 7 cannot be divided equally into 360 to produce a whole number. In fact it produces a decimal number of 51.4285714. This got me thinking about the versatility of the number 360, since it can be divided by every number from 1 to 10 with the exception of 7 to produce whole numbers. 360 also has 24 divisors.

As a navigator familiar with a 360 degree compass I wondered what was special about the number. Why had it been chosen and adopted worldwide? Why wasn’t there a metric compass? After all, almost everywhere, metric has become the standard means of measuring distances, volumes and weights, why not degrees?

The metric system was developed in France at the time of the French Revolution. The length of a metre was one ten-millionth of the distance between the North Pole and the Equator on a meridian passing through Paris. For determining latitude by a meridian sun sight a ship’s navigator could have done so with an instrument calibrated in decimal degrees, assuming latitudes marked on his chart were also in decimal degrees. Decimal degrees are known as grads or a dons, and as there are 100 of them to a right angle, there are 400 in a complete revolution equating to 360 standard degrees.

Historically, commonsense prevailed in consideration that there are approximately 365 days comprising a year in which the earth revolves around its own axis 365 times. On an approximation that a year is equivalent to 360 days of 24 hours each, the earth moves about one degree a day around the ecliptic. Hence we have the magic number of 360 degrees. This conveniently allows for 24 time zones of 15 degrees of longitude per hour. A day can be divided into 24 hours, each of which can be subdivided into 60 minutes, each of which can be subdivided into 60 seconds. Degrees of longitude similarly are divided into 60 minutes that can be subdivided into 60 seconds. In this digital age, more commonly minutes and seconds of longitude and latitude are represented numerically as decimals, e.g., 1 degree 30 seconds becomes 1.5 degrees.

In view of the fact that designers of cars rely heavily on computer aided design I should not be surprised that some car wheels have 7 struts incorporated into their alloy wheel mouldings, and perhaps I should take more note of the digital compass on my Lowrance Expedition GPS.


Degree (Angle)

Introduction to the Metric System


Points of the Compass

Compass Rose



A Compass for Sandpiper

Minnow’s Compass

Confessions of an Old Salt

Wheels Collection

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Snapdragon 23

This is an early Snapdragon yacht built by Thames Marine of Canvey Island, Essex, after the firm, known as Thames Structural Plastics, moved from Rayleigh in 1962.

Snapdragon 23s were built with different hull options: with a centreboard or with a long shallow keel or with triple keels. This one at Hullbridge is a three keel version. Bearing in mind she must be over 50 years old, she looks remarkably clean and well preserved.

Apart from sitting headroom only, she is a very functional yacht. Her furling headsail and lazy jacks must have been added in more recent times. Note that she has an adjustable solar panel fitted to a staff on her starboard quarter, setting it clear of the backstay and topping lift. She has a tabernacle for raising and lowering her mast. There’s a boom claw for attaching the kicking strap. The teak Samson post is excellent for securing mooring and anchor lines, and her mast is well supported by having three shrouds either side, in addition to a backstay and a furling forestay.

I have some affection for this style of yacht, since they were produced in the 1960s when I dearly would have bought one if I could. I thought these new-fangled GRP boats were ultra-modern and chic.  Such a yacht was well beyond my reach as a young teacher earning barely more than £500 a year.  Instead, I acquired a second-hand Torbay Class 2 Racer* for little money. She was my first ‘proper’ yacht.

Snapdragon 23 –Sailboat

Statistics for Snapdragon 23 Centreboard Version

 Snapdragon 23 Photo

Snapdragon History

Snapdragon for Sale Hertfordshire £770

Snapdragon 23 for Sale £1,995

Snapdragon ‘Abaco’ for Sale £3,450

Snapdragon 23 for Sale £3,800

*'Phillida’ a Torbay J Class 2 Yacht

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Snapdragon 24

The 24

The 747

The 24

The 24

In October, 2010 I did an article about the Snapdragon 747.* There are subtle differences between her and the earlier Snapdragon 24. The 747’s rig was modified by having a higher aspect ratio mainsail than the 24's. She also had 2 Genoas, the number one being 40 sq ft larger than the single Genoa of the 24. The rudder was redesigned, for what reason I do not know. I also think the 747’s windows were more angular with sharper corners. (Compare photos above.)

Both models were built by Thames Marine of Canvey Island in the early 1960s. It is much to their credit by way of construction with heavy lay-up GRP that these boats are still active and giving service to their owners today.


*Snapdragon 747
Snapdragon 26
Snapdragon, Mirage and Invader Association
Snapdragon 24 - Sailboat
Sail Measurements of the 24 and the 747
Snapdragon 24 Yacht

Snapdragon 24 for Sale £5,990
Snapdragon 24 for Sale £6,750
Snapdragon 24 Sold
Snapdragon 24 Sold
Snapdragon 24 Sold

Friday, January 23, 2015

Finesse 24

Alan F. Platt, an Essex boatbuilder, designed and built both the Finesse 21 and the Finesse 24. The larger Finesse 27 was also built by Platt, but she was designed by Maurice Griffiths – that’s according to Sailboat

I have here two grainy photos of a Finesse 24 moored on a mud berth at Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. A friend of mine, who has sailed one, says she was not much cop to windward, but I doubt owners of these shallow draught wooden cruising yachts are too fussed about performance on the wind. If they find the wind is contrary, they will be happy to sheet in the main, roll up the jib, and let the reliable Yanmar diesel engine help out. When they arrive back on the mooring they will be comforted by the warmth of her varnished saloon that is fitted with a four-seat dinette and a generous galley.


Finesse 24 – Sailboat

Finesse Owners Association

Practical Boat Owner Review – Finesse 24
Watercraft Magazine Article about the Finesse 24

A F Platt (Finesse) Ltd.

Finesse 24 for Sale £3,250 (Reduced)

Finesse 24 for Sale £5,000

Finesse 24 for Sale £6,495

Finesse 24 for Sale £8,000

‘Drifter’, a Small Sailing Cruiser, perhaps a Finesse 21

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Derelict Boats

A one-off Tri

An Invader

One of these appears neglected

A sad looking scow 

Leigh Motor Boat Club

Belton Way Smallcraft Club

I suppose you could visit many a creek, club or marina in Kent, Essex and Suffolk, and you would find boats that appear to have been abandoned. Many of these weather-beaten, dirt-scarred vessels will actually belong to owners who can no longer upkeep them. They may not have the time, energy, enthusiasm or wherewithal to do so. They would love to find buyers, but because of the depressed market, they cannot sell them. Mooring or lay-up facilities may not have been paid, so by default the owners are in danger of having their boats legally confiscated by those to whom dues are owed.

When I recently paid a visit to Leigh-on-Sea to find a Golant Gaffer that was for sale, I was amazed at the number of uncared for boats there were lying around in Leigh Creek and at two local clubs, Belton Way Smallcraft Club and Leigh Motor Boat Club.

Now is the time for anyone who wants a project boat. With a little research, their owners may be found and bargains struck. Ideally, you will want to have your ‘prize’ brought home for quick and easy access. You should take into account the costs of transport to your place and back to the water. Work out what has to be done and how much cash will be required to do the job. Bear in mind the annual costs of keeping and using her.


Golant Gaffer

Belton Way Smallcraft Club

Leigh Motor Boat Club

Walking at Heybridge (With photos of decaying boats)

An Uncared for Leisure 20

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

‘Minnow’ for Sale – Part 2


This is a short note to remind readers that ‘Minnow’ is still for sale. A number of people have expressed an interest in her, and some have pledged to buy her.

It is at this time of year that aspiring sailors plan the season ahead, and in a few weeks, those who are without boats will be looking to acquire ones suitable for them – boats that meet their budget, and preferably ready to go – no work necessary. ‘Minnow’ is such a boat.

If you are considering single-handed micro-cruising, then she might be up your street, or more to the point, you want to do a spot of shallow water sailing, perhaps along the coast, or in and out of estuaries, or even exploring the Broads. Her mast can be unshipped in a jiffy, and she has auxiliary power in the form of a Honda 2 HP four stroke outboard. (No oil mix required)

Realize that for offers in the region of £2,900 you can have absolutely everything - the boat with her road trailer, and all gear for cruising, including her GPS units and Autohelm 800.

My phone number is 07588288060.


‘Minnow’ for Sale

Proposed Sale of ‘Minnow’ – Is She Expensive?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Capitulation – Photos Now Uploaded


I have been forced into accepting that if I am to upload photos to my blog I shall have to do so by using Chrome or Firefox. I am able to open Chrome for every upload, but it’s an extra step that has to be added to the process. Therefore I am still hopeful that Google will come up with a solution for people like me who prefer Internet Explorer as their default Operating System.

You will find that I have been able to supply missing photos to previous articles.

Links to Previous Articles

Yachting Wallpapers

Golant Gaffer

Monday, January 19, 2015

Not Happy with Google and Blogger

Behind the scenes a number of us Bloggers have been posting to the Blogger Help Forum with the aim of trying to solve a recent problem of not being able to upload photos to our blogs.  It has been reported that if we change our Operating Systems to Google, all will be hunky-dory. We can then upload our photos with no problems!

That leaves us with choices – to change or not to change or to wait for a solution.

It seems to me that we are being held to ransom. This should not be the case. It is my contention that Google should live up to its moral responsibility and sort the mess out.

Not everyone will be happy changing their computer’s operating systems. I happen to like the one I have, which is Windows Explorer 9. It’s the one I am familiar with, and apart from my Apple mini iPad and iPhone, I have always used Windows-based systems.

Big players such as Google, Microsoft and Apple are forever trying to expand their empires by ‘capturing’ more and more cyberspace users. The more they can enslave us by keeping us in their clutches, the happier they are. They learn all they can about us; then they bombard us with advertisements tailored to our interests. The more mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers that rely on their Operating Systems, the more revenue they stand to gain. Facebook and Twitter and other social media providers increasingly do the same, while we lose more and more of our personal privacy because of their relentless spying.

Choices widen. Do we accept and resign ourselves to the fact that our personal privacy is being eroded? Do we believe we are being exploited? Do we want the whole world to have access to every aspect of our lives? If we opt out of Cyberspace we stand to lose what can be gained by access to it – an almost infinite knowledge base, innumerable opportunities for buying online, opportunities for expressing our opinions to a wide audience and rapid communication with anyone anywhere in the world. In these times, the benefits seem to favour opting in.

We might get choked up now and again, as I am with not being able to post photos to Bills-Log unless I change to a Google OS, but that’s part of the price I might have to pay. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. There’s always a cost. We all have to pay for the tune.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Problems Uploading Photos

Dear Readers,

Please bear with me. As you’ve gathered, I have had problems trying to upload photos to the blog. This is very serious, because I am heavily reliant upon photos for illustrating the contents.

Yesterday and today I sent ‘feedback’ to Google who now own and operate Hopefully, they will get back to me with a solution. If a solution isn’t forthcoming, I shall have to consider archiving the blog and starting a new one, perhaps with

Such an action would be very regrettable, because I’ve had a lot of satisfaction over several years blogging with and I would like to continue the relationship.

If there are any experienced bloggers who may be able to help, I would very much appreciate it. The only official course of action is to ask questions at the Blogger Forum. There are no phone lines, texting facilities or email links to Blogger technicians.

Here’s what happens when I attempt uploading a photo:

I go through the normal process of opening a photo to the Blogger platform; then a pop-up appears at the bottom of the computer screen with the words, ‘Do you want to open or save resumable  (1.56 KB) from’ I then have the option of clicking: ‘Open’, ‘Save’, ‘Save as’, or ‘Open’. Whatever option I choose, it makes no difference – nothing happens.

Where a thumbnail of the photo to be uploaded normally appears, there is a blank square with a small cross in the bottom right-hand corner. The cross indicates a failed attempt at uploading. If I click the cross, a pop-up appears with the words, ‘Lost connection to server’.

My URL is and my browser is Windows Internet Explorer 9 - the very latest version, fully updated.

This problem started on Wednesday, 14th January, 2015.

My Regards to all,


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Yachting Wallpapers

My computer is a Dell Studio laptop that I have had for several years. Now and again I change the wallpaper to stimulate interest and pretend I have a new computer. Mostly I choose backgrounds portraying marine scenes. These are nearly always original photographs taken by me. My cameras are not sophisticated. I have a Sony Cyber-shot 7.2 Mega Pixels camera and my iPhone 4S which I mostly use.

Professional photographers always do a better job than me. They know their craft, and they have specialist equipment; therefore I like having their photos as backgrounds.

Yacht Racing Images of the Year presented by Mirabaud, turn up some corkers. Quite often they are action packed, which is not so good for wallpapers, since saved folders can be difficult to find amongst the clutter of visual imagery. Sadly, I cannot reproduce any of the Mirabaud collection here, because they are all copyrighted, but you can click the first link below to see them.

You are free to use my original photos set out above for wallpapers, but they remain copyrighted to me, and they should not be copied or reproduced for commercial purposes. [This would be the case if I could upload them!]


Mirabaud Racing Images of the Year 2014

Desktop Nexus Yachting Wallpapers

Sydney Boat Show Photo Competition

Ocean Images (Some good photos, but not large enough for wallpapers)

Yachts and Yachting Photo Gallery

Hamo Thorneycroft Marine Photography

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Golant Gaffer

Out of curiosity I paid a visit to Leigh-on-Sea to discover if I could locate the Golant Gaffer for sale that was listed on yesterday’s blog. I noticed she was at Leigh Motorboat Club, which is about a quarter of a mile up Leigh Creek, beyond Belton Way Small Craft Club.

I couldn’t find unobstructed views of the yacht, but I was able to read her name on the transom, i.e., ‘Blue Goose’.

On Googling ‘Golant Gaffers’, I’ve discovered there are others for sale. (See links below)


Golant Gaffer £11,500

Golant Gaffer No 1 for Sale £11,950 with a Yanmar 1GM 10 HP engine

Golant Gaffer for Sale $35,000 with inboard and road trailer

Golant Gaffer for Sale in Brittany Euros 33,000

Golant Gaffer – Seashell Boats

Golant Gaffer – an article by Classic Marine

The Golant Gaffer – a PDF by Classic Marine

Small Boats from Small Garages – Golant Gaffer

Golant Gaffer - Atlantic Crossing

Golant Gaffer Video 2010 Jester Challenge – Start from Plymouth

Golant Gaffer – built in Berlin

Golant Gaffer – Sailing Scenes

Golant Gaffer – Photo of ‘Green Bottle’

Golant Gaffer – no longer available at Ancasta

Belton Way Small Craft Club Leigh-on-Sea

Leigh Motor Boat Club

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Seven Super Yachts for Sale at

Fairey Atalanta

Friendship Sloop 28

Gaff Cutter - George Glasson

Golant Gaffer

2002 Looe Lugger

1948 Spittsgatter 815

Tumlare Classic Yacht 'Susmar'

These yachts are advertised for sale at today, 13th January, 2015. Links to them may shortly become defunct, but photos copied from the adverts will remain here - by courtesy of and their advertisers.

I’ve chosen these lovely yachts because they are of interest to me, not that I have money to buy them, but because I like them. The most expensive, at £65,000, is an Alan Pape modern rendering in steel of an 1895 Looe Lugger. The cheapest, a beautiful Tumlare designed by Kund Reimer of Sweden, is a favourite. I first learned of Tumlares when reading Adlard Coles’ ‘Heavy Weather Sailing’, in which he describes surviving a gale aboard one in the English Channel.

Another of my favourites is Uffa Fox’s Fairey Atalanta. Two are available at Apolloduck, but the one featured here does not reveal the asking price.

The Golant Gaffer is rather special on account of her hull being built by a professional for himself, but for reasons unknown, he did not finish her. The current owner completed her to a high standard, and she’s only been in commission for two seasons. You need but look at the photos to appreciate the quality of workmanship. If I had the cash, this would be the boat for me , and furthermore she’s virtually on my doorstep at Leigh-on-Sea!



2002 Looe Lugger £65,000

Atalanta 26 – designed by Uffa Fox - Price not quoted

1948 Spittsgatter 815 £8,000

Golant Gaffer £11,500

Gaff Cutter – George Glasson £15,000

Tumlare Classic Yacht SUSMAR £6,000

1978 Friendship Sloop 28ft Gaff Cutter £18,500