Sunday, November 30, 2014

Minehead Harbour, Somerset

The Old Minehead Harbour

Minehead Harbour today

One of the 7 plaques designed by Sue Webber

Harbour regulations

At the start of  the South West Coastal Parth 

When I was a youngster I sometimes cycled from Taunton, where I lived, to Minehead and back in a day. I usually did this with a friend. Our purpose was to enjoy the ride, and do some sunbathing, if the sun cooperated. In those days, sunbathing was not the dangerous activity it is now, on account of a weakening of the Ozone Layer.

Minehead brings back other memories for me, especially one when I arrived there in a small sharpie after sailing with a friend from Highbridge. We set out on a day sail with that purpose in mind, but the wind headed us and the only way we could make progress was by walking the boat through the surf. Needless to say, we both became very cold and exhausted. After securing the boat in the harbour we returned home late that night to find our parents in a state of panic. They thought we had been lost at sea. There was no way we could have communicated with them to inform them of our safe arrival at Minehead, because they had no telephone, nor did any of our immediate neighbours.

One thing I noticed on my recent visit was that nature of the beach had changed. In my teenage years there was a gorgeous sandy cove; now it is mostly rocks, pebbles and weeds. Apparently a severe storm in 1990 washed away the sand, and badly flooded parts of the town. The importation of 320,000 tons of sand in 1999 seems to have made little difference, neither has the expenditure of £12.6 million on building sea defences, although the new sea wall will undoubtedly help minimize the threat of flooding.

The Harbour, if you can call it a harbour, is much the same as I remember it 60 years ago, but of more recent origin are seven plaques attached to the wall by the walkway. They were designed by Sue Webber, and they represent the rich maritime history of Minehead which can be explored by surfing the NET.

Not far from the Harbour there is a large sculpture symbolizing the South West Coastal Path that follows the coastline from there for 630 miles to Poole, on the South Coast. 



Minehead – Wikipedia

South West Coast Path

South West Coast Path Association

Sue Webber – The Minehead Harbour Plaques

Sue Webber – Profile

Minehead Lifeboat Station

Archive Photos of Minehead Lifeboat

Minehead Maritime Legacy Sets Sail

Ozone Layer

Highbridge, Somerset

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bridport, West Bay, Dorset


Outer Harbour

Cliffs to east

Gig 'Bucky-Doo'

'Bucky-Doo' again

Back from shore leave, I was never far from the coast. In fact, I was at Bridport in Dorset, which has a small harbour, the inner part of which mostly dries at low water. A new pier has much improved facilities for visiting yachtsmen on account of providing space for a floating pontoon which is deployed during the summer months.

When crossing Lyme Bay with various yachts I was never keen to visit the harbour because of its narrow and shallow entrance. Now that it has been improved by the building of a substantial west pier, and dredging for removing silt, I would certainly consider going there.

I was not enamoured with a new building overlooking the Harbour, as it appears to stick out like a ‘monstrous carbuncle’, to use a euphemism coined by Prince Charles in 1974 regarding a proposed extension to the National Gallery.* To my mind, this ugly building does not fit in with the magnificent cliff and beach scenery, and by its very size and structure it destroys the beauty of the place.


Bridport Gig Rowing Club

Bridport Rowing Gig Blog

Jurassic Heritage Coast

Welcome to West Bay

Bridport Harbour

Bridport (West Bay) Harbour

Geology of the Wessex Coast

*Prince Charles: When I said monstrous carbuncle …

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sailboat Links for You While I’m on Shore Leave

The essential function of the Internet is the transference of information between computers, and much of the information takes the form of stored knowledge by means of digital systems. Knowledge empowers those who posses it. An essential characteristic of the human is his ‘frontal lobe’ which is the part of his brain that processes knowledge, and accordingly he can determine actions and responses to it. Our curiosity and quest for more knowledge is almost universal for those who have cognitive ability.

 In recent days, anyone with a TV, radio, computer or smartphone will have heard of Philea, the spacecraft that landed on Comet 67P after 3,907 days getting there from the surface of the earth. This is one example of man’s quest for knowledge, and of man’s desire to tell others of his discoveries.

Now, it’s no secret that all of us have particular interests, and we are motivated by them. We delight in learning more of them and applying our newfound knowledge for our satisfaction. Many who read these pages are avid consumers of facts relating to small sailing craft. That is one reason why you return time and again. I happen to enjoy researching the subject which thrills me, and I get a kick out of communicating my enthusiasm.

This business of communication is another facet of human activity. We are not contented with assimilating knowledge; we want to share it with others. For this reason I want to publicize links leading to web pages containing information about many small sailboats and activities associated with them. Here they are:

 Sailboat Links Pages

‘Photos of Boats I Have Owned – Part 1’ (The first of eight pages)

Cruising Logs’ This gives access to articles I have written about my various sailboat adventures.

‘Small Sailboats’ Here, there is a collection of links to my articles featuring small sailing boats.

‘Web Links - Miscellaneous’ This takes you to a number of small sailboat websites.

Other Links

Philae (Spacecraft)

Frontal Lobe

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dreaming of Classic Wooden Yachts

 If you are like me, you are a bit of a dreamer. How pleasant it is to leave this world of reality and enter the realm of daydreams.

My fantasy dream world is in Peace Haven, the Harbour of Wooden Ships. Anchored in the sheltered cove there are many beautiful and graceful ladies of the sea. Their etched lines tell of past heroics, hard honest work, times of jubilation, triumph over the odds, and battles with the elements: wind and waves, snow, rain and fog.

The test of years has proven their worth, and they are ready for more adventures. They hunger for open waters, for fine sailing and fair winds - the Trades and palm fringed atolls, sea shanties and the laughter of happy crews. They relish the short sharp, slapping seas of the Channel, the biting, whining wind and the long ocean swells of testing and delight. Gales, and wicked waves, hail and snow; nothing can prevail against them until the sun shines again. Then, all is calm and peace. There is a gentle rolling, and the rhythmic creaking of a mast; silence until the wind returns to take them home.

When it is all done, and back in port they rest. They reflect and are glad. Men work. They repair and renovate, paint and varnish, scrape, pitch and tar; patch and sew, splice and whip, and make ready for the next adventure. They victual ship and dream.

Fine ladies of the sea are beautified again – revitalized; their bones are far from the muddy grave in The Creek of Death. Rejuvenated they live on, cherished by the sons of men of the sea who will die before them, their souls to be reunited on the everlasting Ocean of Peaceful Dreams.


Classic Yacht Brokerage

Wooden Ships

 Half Price Pilot Cutter ‘Carlotta’.

Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter £145,000

A Traditional Falmouth Gaff Cutter – ‘Ro-an-mor’

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hanse 32 C

While I was at Rice and Cole I took a single photo of this Hanse 32 C. I have since discovered she was built in Germany to a high specification, and that her interior is luxuriously fitted out. Designed by Judel/Vrolyjk she is optimised for shorthanded performance sailing with a self-tacking, furling jib, a fully battened mainsail with lazyjacks, and control lines to the cockpit. Her forward accommodation includes a double ‘v’ berth, a hanging locker and bags of shelf space. In the main cabin there is 6’ 2” standing headroom. Long settees and a large table provide ‘home’ comforts. She is light and airy on account of her port lights, both in the coachroof and the hull.

If you have £60,000 to spare and more to keep her, you will be able to get hold of a nice second-hand Hanse 32. The much cheaper option is to hire* one when you have time to sail her and in a location where the weather is better than it is in the UK most of the time.


LOA                        32’ 00”

LWL                        28’ 6”

Beam                    10’ 8”

Draught                4’ 7”



Hanse Yachts UK

Hanse 325 (Newer version)

*Hanse 32 for Hire in Australia

Hanse 320 Bareboat Charter

Hanse 320 for Sale £59,950

Hanse 320 for Sale £59,950 (Same as above)

Hanse 320 for Sale £54,134

Hanse 325 Video (Latest version)

Hanse 320 Forum

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

RS Elite Keelboat

Designed by Phil Morrison for members of the Hayling Island Sailing Club in 2003, the RS Elite Keelboat has become popular at several clubs, including the Royal Burnham Yacht Club, where fifteen Elites entered the National Championships held between 14th and 17th July, 2014.*

RS stands for Racing Sailboats, which business manufactures and markets a wide range of racing dinghies, keelboats and a catamaran.

I am not normally interested in racing sailboats, but the RS Elite has attractive sharpie lines that remind me somewhat of the Star class Olympic boat that Phil Morrison campaigned in 1983/4.

Phil is a very successful designer of racing dinghies and keelboats and an equally successful helmsman who has won many trophies.

If you like the look of an RS Elite Keelboat, she’ll set you back £29,150, and that’s without a road trailer! There is a second-hand one advertised at Noble Marine for £9,995: , and there’s another at Clark and Carter for £8,000:



RS Elite Keelboat

RS Elite Class Association

RS Elite

RS Elite

*RS Elite 2014 National Championships

RS Elite National Championships Results

Phil Morrison

Phil Morrison

Phil Morrison

Phil Morrison Boat Designs

2013 Crewsaver RS Elite Stadium Cup

Line Drawing of the RS Elite

Royal Burnham Yacht Club RS Elite Events

Hayling Island Sailing Club – RS Elite News

Star Class


Monday, November 17, 2014

MGC 27 Cruiser-racer

The MGC 27, designed by Rob Humphreys, originally started life as the Contessa 27. At that time, in the early 1980s, she was marketed by Jeremy Rogers, but she was later produced and marketed by MG Yachts who gave her the brand name MGC 27. She was a high performance cruiser-racer that was available with a fin keel or a drop keel.

‘Magic’ featured in the photo that was taken at Rice and Cole is a fin keel version.

Apolloduck currently has 5 for sale between £18,950 and £19,995.


MGC 27 and Contessa 27 Yachtsnet Archive

MGC (Contessa)27 Synergy – MGC 27

Rob Humphreys

Rob Humphreys

MGC 27 (Video of exterior)

MGC 27 (Video of interior)

Apolloduck – MGC 27s for sale on 17th November, 2014

MGC 27 Sold, but nice photos

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Squibs – Part 3

Squib racing is still in pretty good shape, but trawling the NET I have discovered that the boat is no longer being built, and the builder’s licence has been revoked* by the RYA. If anyone has more up-to-date news on this, please let me know.

Here are two more photos to add to others in Parts 1** and 2***

Incidentally, it is stated in a letter**** from the Chairman of the Squib Owners Association that Squibs are safe. (1) I think this should be qualified, because there is a YouTube video*****showing an incident that occurred at Thorpe Bay when a Sandhopper - a twin keel version of the Squib - capsized and sank.

Any boat with an open cockpit is never completely safe. Many years ago a Dragon Class Yacht sank at Torbay whilst racing. She took a large wave, filled and sank. When racing at Thorpe Bay, I saw at close quarters the sinking of an Alacrity twin keel yacht. She, too, took a wave over the cockpit, and within seconds the crew were floundering in the water, and the yacht had completely disappeared. Fortunately both crew members were wearing life jackets and they were picked out of the water within minutes.

(1)In the penultimate sentence Jenny Riley uses the words, ‘………… fair and safe sailing with like minded, helpful, and fun-loving people.’ I understand what she is saying, but when there are strong winds and breaking seas there is always an element of danger.


*RYA Revoke Builder’s Licence (Updated 11th November 2013)

**Squibs – Part 1

***Squibs - Part 2

Parker Liftkeel Yachts goes into liquidation as at July 2009 (Builders of Squibs)

National Squib Owners Association

Squib Sailboat

RYA Squib Information

****A Letter from the Chairman of the Squib Owners Association (31st August 2010)

Sandhopper Racing

Squibs for Sale between £2,450 and £12,000

Squib Sailing on YouTube

*****Sinking of Zeus a Sandhopper at Thorpe Bay

Sandhopper Racing

Alacrity Sailboat

Alacrity 19

Alacrity 19

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hunter Sonata – Part 2

November 2014

November 2011

I note that the same Sonata that was featured in Part 1* is still at Rice and Cole. One thing of which I was unaware is that David Thomas who designed her, deliberately shaped her aft sections to bring the transom just above the waterline to prevent her from planing. As she was meant to be used for racing and cruising, he did not want, in his own words, “to frighten family crews and granny.”  His emphasis was on windward performance, not downwind sailing; hence she is not as stable and predictable before the wind as a boat with a planing hull, i.e., one having a flat and beamy transom, the lower edge of which is at or close to the water's surface.

For more information and photos see my first article.*

22' 7"
18' 5"
8' 6"
4' 6"
Sail Area
David Thomas
Hunter Boats


*Hunter Sonata (Part 1)

PBO Review May 1988

Hunter Sonata

Hunter Association

Sonata’s for Sale between £2,500 and £6,000

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Prelude, an Ian Proctor Small Sailboat

Ian Proctor has a host of small boat designs to his credit of which the Wayfarer is perhaps the most well-known, but the most manufactured* must be the 11’ Topper Polypropylene racing dinghy - more than 56,000 of them! Ian drew the lines of a number of small sailing cruisers such as the Nimrod, the Eclipse, the Pirate and the 19’ 3” Prelude featured here.

Preludes were initially manufactured by Rydgeway Marine and afterwards by Pegasus Yachts. Between them, over 500 were produced and sold. There were three versions. Prospective owners could choose from a drop keel, a fin keel or a bilge keel version. Preludes were made by assembling four GRP mouldings. The basic hull had an inner moulding bonded to it comprising built-in berths and a galley unit. Bolted to these, an upper moulding formed the cabin top, foredeck and cockpit. The cabin ceiling was lined with a thin moulding to impart an attractive, maintenance free surface.

If I had a choice, I would prefer a twin keel version with its cast iron streamlined rear extensions. They help stabilize the boat when taking the ground, so as to make her suitable for drying moorings. She is a practical, low maintenance sailing cruiser for two people. I like her spacious self-draining cockpit. I also like her easily managed furling Genoa, along with her slab reefed mainsail. Similar to other boats of her size, such as the 19’ Seawych, she will require to be reefed early to prevent undue weather helm. If she is a drop keel boat with a lift-up rudder, it will be important to keep the rudder fully down to maintain balanced handling.


LOA 19'3'' (5.86m)

LWL 17'0'' (5.18m)

Beam 6'10" (2.09m)

Weight: Approx. 750 Kg (1650 Lbs)

4- Berth minimum 6'1'' (1.86m)

Draft Fin Keel 3'9'' (1.15m)

Draft Drop Keel 2'0''/4'6" (0.61/1.38m)

Draft Twin Bilge Keels 2'3'' (0.689m)


10, 800 Wayfarer dinghies have been built to date:  


Prelude Owners Association

Article about the Prelude

Ian Proctor

Prelude Owners Forum

Prelude 19 Yacht/Trailer Sailer

 Geographic Distribution of Preludes

1971 Prelude – Nice Photos

Three Preludes for Sale at

Prelude 19 Yacht Video

Prelude 19 purjehdusta

Prelude 19 Yacht


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Reminders: Sailboat Links and ‘Minnow’ for Sale

'Minnow' at home

'Minnow' on her trailer

'Minnow' afloat
Dave who has the blog ‘Scamp #243’* suggested I should add links on the right-hand side of my homepage pointing to my ‘Small Sailboats’ page** and to my ‘Cruising Logs' page. ***

No matter how hard I have tried to do this, I have failed, but both pages have been updated and links to them can be found below.

I would like to remind readers that ‘Minnow’, my Paradox Sailboat is still available for purchase, should anyone want to make an offer. Details may be obtained by visiting .


*Scamp #243

**Small Sailboats