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Sunday, 28 December 2014

Tidewater Cutter - Brego

The Tidewater is one of Maurice Griffiths designs, a cutter of 30 feet the original was mentioned in the famous journalist and designers book "Little ships & shoal waters".

The Tidewater is a classic Maurice Griffiths design with his signature shoal draft. The cabin roof is extended out to the full beam of the yacht and thus gives a volume in the cabin which one would not believe in a 30’ yacht. The cock-pit is deep, safe and very sheltered because the dog-house roof is extended aft to cover it. With her buoyant bows, 50% ballast ratio, full bilge and good freeboard this is a yacht which will sail relatively upright, she is a dry boat for her size even in a chop and her 4 ½ tons weight gives her a comfortable motion seldom found in modern designs of a similar size.

I received an email from Paul Calvert who clearly believes the Tidewater design is one of the best having owned Brego since 1995.

In Paul's words "She is, in my opinion, Maurice Griffiths best design. She sails very well, is well rigged with ample sail area and does well in light airs. She remains very balanced and reassuring when reefed down and sailed hard. She also steers herself hour after hour with no help from anyone (the Aries vane has only been on a year)".

"An extremely comfortable boat to live aboard and having a very good motion at sea. Starting out at Walton on the Naze in Essex we have sailed the East Coast Rivers, then to Whitby, Peterhead, Inverness, Caledonian Canal. All over the West Coast of Scotland. Then Ireland's East and South Coasts until she is now in Valentia Island, Co Kerry."

For a boat cruising the often chilly UK, that extended doghouse is a great feature as is the clear deck space forward, ideal for working and anchoring.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Lafayette's frigate "Hermione"

This week, at Rochefort in France, a replica of the 1778 frigate “Hermione” began her sea trials. The Hermione was a typical light warship of her day carrying an armament of 26 guns, each firing balls weighing 12 pounds, designed to pound enemy vessels to matchwood. 44 metres long by 11 metres beam, she carried 1500 sq.m of canvas on her 3 masts.

What makes Hermione more interesting historically than her 3 sisterships, or any other French warship of her day? The fact that in March 1780 she left Rochefort on a secret mission that was to culminate in Boston, US. On board was a contingent of French troops led by the 23 year old Marquis de Lafayette who had persuaded Louis XVI to send military and financial support to General Washington in his campaign against the British. He and his men arrived in Boston 38 days later.

The United States has never forgotten the debt owed in those most precarious days of revolution to the extraordinary young French visionary, who not only served as a Major General at Washington's side, but also won his respect and friendship. “Nous voila, Lafayette!” announced American Lieutenant Colonel Charles Stanton, on disembarking in Boulogne in July 1917 with the first 200 American troops to set foot in France in World War 1. The debt would be repaid by America's aid in the victory over Germany and the liberation of eastern France.

Hermione under construction at Rochefort
The replica Hermione project dates back to 1997 when a group of enthusiasts came up with the idea to reproduce the original 18th century frigate using traditional ship building skills and techniques. The keel was eventually laid with considerable ceremony on Independence Day, July 4, of that year. Since that date 3.7 million visitors have visited the construction yard, in the historic 18th century graving dock at the old arsenal in Rochefort, as the vessel has taken shape. In 2012 the bare hull was floated and towed up river before another huge crowd of fans.

Hermione will now undergo sea trials whilst her young crew learn 18th century sailing and seamanship skills climbing kilometres of rigging and handling vast square sails. After calling in at Bordeaux she will return to Rochefort for further fine tuning then in April 2015 set off across the Atlantic; destination Norfolk, Boston, Baltimore and New York.

Lafayette was more than just a revolutionary – he was a genuine innovator in the field of human rights. He supported the abolition of slavery even when it was common in America, Europe and the West Indies, and even tried to persuade his great friend and father figure, George Washington, to ban slavery during his presidency. In 2002, an act of the U.S. Congress made Lafayette only the sixth of seven honorary citizens of the United States. He is buried in Paris under soil from the site of the Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Whitehall Build

I received an interesting email and photo's from Bob the other day, about a Whitehall build, but let me tell it in Bob's own words.

"I have a boat I am finishing up it is a Whitehall type boat 18x5 ft. I am building it to row and sail. I saw the mould for sale on craigslist it was in my area so I went and looked at it was such a pretty boat I just had to build me one.

I have no history on the boat mould, the man I bought it from lived in No Name Key the Florida Keys, with no electric run to that island it is kinda rough and his family was going to move him to the mainland so they wanted to clean the yard up to sell the house. The old guy said a man that lived across the canal from him about fifteen yrs ago built the mould, made one boat, sailed it around for awhile. He was going to store the mould for the use of it to build him a boat he never did the mould sat in the bushes for years until I came along and bought it.

He told me the mould was made from a very old planked boat that could not be saved so they faired it and made the mould discarded the original.

Regards Bob"

Well she certainly looks nice, and that's a great looking workshop which on the assumption that Bob lives close to Florida might get a little hot in summer, but no issues with it being too cold to cure epoxy.

Looking forward to seeing the finished boat and thanks for sharing the story with is Bob.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Cara 16

Very few of these craft were built during the 1980's to a design by John Shuttleworth and built by Amber Boats. A classic looking gaff day boat with a semi modern underwater section which balances stability and a steel centre board.

Locally a member of the Old Gaffers Association sails this fine example "Miss Nighy" above.

Further afield I received an email from another Cara owner who sails "Carrots" in the Golf of Morbihan, below.

They might be few and far between but if a Cara 16 comes up for sale it would make a really nice day sailor.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Stevenson Projects "Weekender"

This is an example of the Stevenson Projects "Weekender"  built by Charlie Duerr of Jackson, Wyoming, USA.

Charlie explains "The boat isn't a tacking boat at all due to the small keel, but she really goes across the wind or running! I have spent the last 4 years Abusing her and testing her limits in WY, but have only turtled her once... During a crazy thunder storm. But, luckly she sails like a Dingy and rights like one too... Just stand on the keel and she comes right back up!"

The weekender is described as a boat that borrows some good ideas from the golden age of working sail, as well as some new wrinkles from space-age materials and power systems. It's a project that combines the best of both worlds-the classic lines of the sea-wise sloops of the turn of the century-and the quick-to-build, lightweight, low maintenance of modern materials.

Weekender is only one of many interesting pocket yachts and day sailors designed for DIY construction.

L.O.A.: 19'6" L.O.D.: 16' BEAM: 6' DRAFT: 3' (1' w/RUDDER UP) HULL WEIGHT: 550LBS SAIL AREA: 120 SQ.FT

I had to look up Wyoming which is about as far from the sea as you can get in the United States, none the less Charlie has a great little boat and what some fantastic locations for sailing.

For more details about Charlie's boat please see the Stevenson's Project pages and thanks very much for sharing with us.