Monday, March 23, 2015

‘Galway Blazer 11’ renamed ‘Galway Blazer of Dart’

'Galway Blazer 11'

'Galway Blazer 11' again

Bill King at 100

Peter Crowther

See link***

Yesterday in the comments section, Alden Smith mentioned there was a similarity in appearance between Julian Mustoe’s ‘Harrier’ and Commander Bill King’s ‘Galway Blazer 11’. I met Julian when he was preparing ‘Harrier’ for his great adventure, and I remember him saying he had deliberately designed her to have similar characteristics, for strength, for reduction of wave impact, for water shedding qualities and increased buoyancy. The drawbacks of the cigar shape were more windage and the unfriendly, hazardous deck, as with ‘Galway Blazer 11’. However, ninety-nine percent of the time both yachts were handled from the security of the cabin.

After returning home in 1973 from sailing ‘Galway Blazer 11’ around the world, Commander Bill King put her up for sale. I met him at the West Mersea Yacht Club when he gave an illustrated lecture about his voyage, and he said he had enough sailing to last him a lifetime. I remember seeing his yacht at the London Boat Show where she was the star attraction. Peter Crowther bought her in 1974 for £10,000 and he entered her in the two-handed Round Britain Race that year. He invited me and my brother to have a look at her when she was at Plymouth before the start of the race.* Peter renamed the yacht, 'Galway Blazer of Dart' and he owned the Angus Primrose designed schooner for many years before she was lost in the 1996 Single-handed Transatlantic Race and he has written a book** about his experiences sailing her.

*Small Fry, Part 1 (With a mention of ‘Galway Blazer of Dart’)

**Single-handed Sailing in Galway Blazer by Peter Crowther
Other Links

The Life and Times of Commander Bill King

Hall of Fame - Bill King

Peter Crowther and ‘Galway Blazer 11’

Peter Crowther – Landlord of the Dragon
Golden Globe Sailor Celebrates His 100th Birthday

Bill King (Royal Navy Officer)

In the Company of a True Hero – Commander Bill King

Commander Bill King Obituary

Commander Bill King Obituary

Commander Bill King - Galway Blazer II – 1968

Commander Bill King - HMS Snapper - 1940

Commander Bill King - Interview - 2006

Commander Bill King Obituary - RTE News - 2012
Commander Bill King - RTE Nationwide - 2002


Alden Smith said...

Bill, How nice to think a comment of mine may have lead to a Blogpost by you, and I am glad you did post because it reminded me that I have not read Bill Kings book 'Capsize'. I have read two of his other books:

'Adventure in Depth' - the story of his ultimately successful (but nearly fatal) circumnavigation of the world, and..

'The Wheeling Stars' - A Guide For Lone Sailors which has some good diagrams showing how he repaired Galway Blazer after coming into contact with a great white shark on his circumnavigation.

Bill King was a very courageous man not only during the war but also courageous in his attempts to "expunge the scar left after years as a hunted man in submarines".

There is a poignant aside in one of his books where he describes how for some reason he missed one of the missions of the submarine he commandered during WW2 either for another duty or sickness - his command left with another captain and his crew - were never to be seen again - even reading about it, haunted me for a while - But whatever troubles the war bought Bill King, like many others of that trying time he tried in his own way to deal with it.

He has written another book which I haven't been able to get anywhere called "The Stick and the Stars" which I think is about his war time experiences.

I have Peter Crowthers book 'Single Handed Sailing' which deals with the sad loss of Galway Blazer and another 'Practical Junk Rig' by Blondie Hasler and Jock McLeod which features Galway Blazer.

Bill, you have inspired me to read 'Capsize' if I can find a copy - I am sure Amazon Dot Com with have one!

William Serjeant said...

Well, Aden, you are well read on the subject. Thank you for the added info. Capsize is available here at for £14.98.

Some such second-hand books can command a good price, but I can usually find them at Essex County Library free of charge on loan. It's not the same as having my own copy, but at least, I can actually read the book.

Alden Smith said...

Thanks Bill, I bet 'Capsize' is in our local library.

Alden Smith said...

And I have visited many of these links that you have posted - really interesting.

Jim Schofield said...

Thank you Bill for this post.

I have been fascinated by junk rigs for a long time and the men who have promoted them in the West. I built a junk rigged 16ft dory many years ago. It sailed well but family life took over.

So a quick question, what do you think of a junk rig on a 19 ft . Seawych ?
You have sailed junks and Seawychs, so would they work together ?


Stephen Mundane said...


The Stick and The Stars is also available in the UK for a reasonable second-hand price:

William Serjeant said...

The main advantage of converting a Seawych to being a junk-rigged yacht would be ease of reefing. There would also be the advantage of not having to get up on deck to reef the mainsail. On the downside, she's not the best boat for sailing to windward, and with a junk sail she would perform less well. Personally, I would keep her as she is, especially if she has a furling Genoa.