Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fairey Fulmar

I once owned a Fairey Fulmar, and I kept her on a mooring at Hullbridge. She remained afloat at all times, which was a bit unusual for that part of the River Crouch. There were two reasons for being able to remain afloat: her shallow draught when her keel was raised, and because the mooring was located in an ever present pool at low water.

Laying the mooring was a bit of hoot, because my meticulous plan didn’t quite work out as I hoped. The story goes as follows:

I had a child’s wooden wheelbarrow that I filled with concrete into which I inserted a loop of iron rod before it set - So far so good. The result was a nice mooring block conveniently placed in the wheelbarrow for transporting it to where I may want.

At low water I went to the spot of the proposed mooring, and I tried digging a hole in the mud which was about two feet under the surface of the water, but it proved to be very difficult. Eventually I was satisfied the hole was big enough, and at each of the four corners I inserted long canes as markers. Before the tide came, in I wheeled the barrow and its contents to the middle of the river, adjacent to the Up River Yacht Club’s slipway and buoyed it.

As planned, I found myself standing on the bow of my Fairey Fulmar an hour before high water hauling the rope which was tied to the mooring block. Because of the combined weight of me and the block, the prop almost came out of the water! To make matters worse, I could not at first remove the block from the wheelbarrow, because it was buoyant. To reduce the weight at the bow I kept the block submerged. Meanwhile the yacht was drifting out of control. By forcefully prodding the barrow with the boathook I was able to free it. I returned to the cockpit to gain control and to bring the yacht back to her designed waterline for the prop to have enough drive for making headway.

Approaching the wiggling canes, and about fifty yards away from them, I set an anchor from the stern so as to position the bow by the markers. By the time this was accomplished it was almost high water at the stand of tide with just enough current to keep the yacht by the markers. I cut the engine and went forward. Apprehensively I lowered the block between the four canes. A later inspection showed that the hole was not quite large enough for the block, but there was still enough depth at low water to keep my Fairey Fulmar clear.

She turned out to be a fine yacht for East Coast cruising, on account of her lifting keel, but care had to be taken when traversing swatchways because of her 5’ 9” draught when the keel was fully down. Winding it up and down took ages.  At 20’ LOA and with a beam of 7’ 9” and headroom of 5’ 5” she was a comfortable two berth cruiser. Despite her top-hamper, her performance to windward was exceptionally good. Her one big drawback was her inability to hold a course. Having to always steer by hand was a nightmare. The inboard engine situated under the cockpit floor was easy to get at.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of her, and I can’t even remember her name. This is a shame, because I have not been able to include her in ‘Photos of Boats I Have Owned’: http://bills-log.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/photos-of-boats-i-have-owned-part-1.html


Atalanta Owners Association
Fairey Fulmar – 1960 – Picas Web

Fairey Owners Club

Fairey Owners Club Forum
Fulmar 20 (Fairey Marine)

Fairey Marine Ltd

Fairey Marine

Fairey Fulmar for Sale £1,750

Ebay Bidding for Blue Belle 20 May 2014 £760

Atalanta 26

Monday, March 30, 2015

Small Sailboats Additions



Little Wing 15.5

Express Pirate

There is a separate page to this blog called ‘Small Sailboats’. A link to it can be found on the right-hand side, under the header photo. Today I added 25 new links featuring the following boats:

Cornish Crabber 24
Duck Punts
Etap 22
Little Wing 15
Lucky Town 7
Mystere Flyer 26
Ness Yawl
Parker 21
Pioneer 9
Raptor 16
Sharpy 15
Sneak Box
Solway Dory Shearwater
Trident 24
Valiant 18
Vivacity 20
Westerly 22
Wing 25

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fin Keel Caprice?

Is this a fin keel Caprice Mk V? She looks about the same size, but her cabin top is more streamlined and her transom and associated coaming appear to have been modified. Whatever she is, she looks pretty able.

I would appreciate your input.

Caprice 19 – A Robert Tucker Pocket Cruiser

Caprice – A Robert Tucker bilge keel yacht

Caprice Mk 1 ‘Shrimpy’

Caprice 19 - Sailboat Data.com

Caprice ‘Capri’

Robert Tucker

Twin-keeler – More on Caprices

Twin-keeler – Caprice in Spain

Twin-keeler - Another Mystery Boat

Shrimpy: a 18 foot Robert Tucker designed boat that sailed around the world

Robert Tucker Caprice for sale on 19 July 2011 (Details and photos)

Caprice (Yachting Monthly)

Robert Tucker Carpice - Sold

Caprice - Sold

Shane Acton

C. E. Clark (Cowes) Ltd.

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

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Julian Mustoe and 'Harrier'




'Harrier of Down'

It was with great delight that I recently came across a reference to Julian Mustoe. He is the intrepid sailor who set out in his modified Folksong ‘Harrier’ to sail around the world in the wake of HMS Beagle, aboard which Charles Darwin, the naturalist, developed his extraordinary theory of evolution.

Julian’s voyage was of particular interest to me, because ‘Harrier’, formerly ‘Zeta’, in her original glory, was built by me from a basic bonded deck and hull to the design of Eric Berquist. Julian stripped her out completely, only wanting her for her hull and junk rig. She was well ballasted with a ton of lead and her hull had no seacocks. He built a new raised deck to provide increased headroom and for greater internal volume.

To cut a very long story short, Julian succeeded in following the wake of HMS Beagle, but not without suffering the loss of ‘Harrier’ when she was wrecked on the Brazilian coast. He subsequently fitted out another vessel that he named, ‘Harrier of Down’, and he continued his great adventure, finally returning home after eleven years, not all of them at sea, on account of spending time ashore in pursuit of his interests and adding to his income.

An enthusiastic supporter of Darwinian Theory Julian wanted to see things for himself and to present in a book his own observations in light of Darwin’s voyage and discoveries. Here’s what he says about the book, which has yet to be published, ‘for the person who seeks pleasure and enlightenment from a truthful and informative book, and who can respond to the lure of past times, the interest of a modern journey and to the prospect of distant horizons.’

I congratulate Julian on his achievement and wish him every success in his new endeavour in 2015 to sail ‘Harrier of Down’ to the Baltic Sea for carrying out another historically based cruise exploring the territory and activities of the Hanseatic League.


*Julian Mustoe – Voyage of the Harrier

Julian Mustoe in the Wake of Darwin’s Beagle

‘Harrier’, a radically modified Folksong yacht

‘Zeta’ – Folksong

Second Voyage of HMS Beagle

Charles Darwin

Personal View of Evolution


Hanseatic League

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Eclipse of the Sun, 20th March 2015

Yesterday, along with millions of TV viewers, I had the privilege of watching the eclipse of the sun. Cloud cover where I live in Essex prevented me from seeing it firsthand.  I thought the BBC produced and presented their programme very well. With great technical skill they showed live footage of the eclipse from different parts of the UK and from the Faroe Islands.

The moon’s shadow first passed over S W England at Newlyn.  From there it progressed in a northerly direction over England and Scotland. Perhaps the trickiest part of filming was from an aircraft in flight north of the Faroes from where it was possible to film a full eclipse. Liz Bonnin was the commentator.  Elsewhere in the UK the eclipse was only partial. The further north you were, the fuller was the eclipse.

The 20th March 2015 also coincided with the Spring Equinox, the first day of the year when there are twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness for those at the equator. Coincidentally, the Moon happens to be in perigee; that’s when it is closest to the earth while travelling on its elliptical orbit. Because the sun, earth and moon are lined up, it is also a time when the difference between high and low tide is at its maximum – a time when tidal streams run at their fastest.


‘Breathtaking’ solar eclipse witnessed by millions

Solar Eclipse Photos from Europe

UK’s First Glimpse of Solar Eclipse

Solar eclipse: amazing picture from International Space Station was photoshopped

Solar Eclipse 2015: LIVE updates as the eclipse happens across the UK

Eclipse – Wikipedia

Faroe Islands

Freaky Friday: Solar eclipse, Supermoon, spring equinox

Not just a solar eclipse! Today sees THREE astronomical phenomena take place as the supermoon and spring equinox align

Total solar eclipse, supermoon, equinox: Friday’s celestial triple play

Southend Tide Tables for March 2015 (Highest tide 2 days after the equinox.)

Liz Bonnin

Friday, March 20, 2015

Newbridge Navigator Junk Rigged Yacht

There are three versions of the 19’ 3” Newbridge Navigator: those with a fin keel or with a lifting keel or with twin keels. The original Navigator 1, first launched in 1979, was designed by Robert Tucker and Newbridge Boats. The Mark 111 version came with the option of being rigged with a Chinese lugsail, referred to as a junk sail. I like her wide side decks and her uncluttered foredeck which has a draining anchor well.  I also like her high coamings for added security for the crew when in the cockpit which can accommodate up to four persons.  There’s no need to hang over the transom for getting at her outboard, because it is conveniently mounted in a well at the aft end of the cockpit.

A really good description of her can be found at this page: http://www.newbridge-nava.co.uk/boat%20swpec13.html

Being junk rigged, she has a special appeal to me, because I have owned four junk rigged yachts, and I found them exceptionally good cruising boats on account of the ease with which a junk sail can be reefed.

Modern versions of junk sails can be seen here: http://junkrigassociation.org/sailplans_current


SailboatData.com Newbridge Navigator

Newbridge Navigator Junk on YouTube

Newbridge Navigator and Ventura Association

Junk Rig Association

Robert Tucker – Yacht Designer

Yachts Designed by Robert Tucker

Newbridge Navigator Junk for Sale £1,650