Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Introducing the Florin - Margherita on steroids!

For a while now Phil Swift, who designed the Shilling, and Dick Philips who now builds them, have been discussing a larger version  - now christened the Florin. Part of the rationale was to offer better accommodation for the crew and also enhanced value for money as the labour to build a 21 foot boat is much the same as that for the 17 foot Shilling. I have been fortunate enough to be party to several design meetings and I have to say, Phil is doing a great job and Florin looks as sweet as Shilling does and should sail as well too. Here he is with the model he has made to develop ideas on.

Although only four feet longer, Florin is materially larger than Shilling.  Here is the Florin model along side Phil's original Shilling model.

This was really brought home to me at YOGAFF when I found myself moored alongside the first production Shrimper 21.  It was significantly bigger than Margherita in all respects - and much bigger than a nearby Shrimper 19 too. The cabin interior layout was hugely better than the 19, which I have never rated very highly. Looking at the pair of them, I think that the Shilling is far the prettier boat and I think that Florin will outshine the Shrimper 21 in every way.

Here are a couple more pictures of the Florin model, showing how well Phil has kept the sweet lines of the Shilling

There was a write up about the Florin in the May/June 2015 Issue of Watercraft Magazine. from where these drawings are taken. Meanwhile, detail design continues.

Vital Statistics at the moment are:- 

LOD 21ft (6.4m)
LWL 17ft (5.2m)
Beam 7ft 9in (2.4m)
Draft 18"/42" (0.46/1.07m)
Displacement 2535lb ( 1150kg)
Sail area for yawl 260sq ft ( 24.4sq m)

If you want to know more, contact Dick Philips at Willow Bay Boats, who will happily build you one - at a very keen price for the first customer!

Go on, you know you want one....................

2015 already.....Well, time flys doesn't it?

Sunset in Keyhaven
If you are looking at this Blog to learn more about Shillings, perhaps to buy one or have one made, take a look at the earliest postings where you will find lots of build photos and other details.

I never intended this Blog to be a blow-by-blow account of everything I do with my Willow Bay Shilling "Margherita", but I am a bit ashamed of one post per year!.  

I keep a diary (not really a log) of what I do and, to date I have spent over 150 nights on board since 2008 and a similar number of days sailing.  I have learned to live with and love little Margherita. she does everything well and is much admired.  Any limitations are mainly down to her modest size, but as I mostly sail on my own, she works for me!

In summary, 2014 was a good season for me with several trips to the Solent for Old Gaffer Association events, and lots of local trips too.  2015 has started well with another successful YOGAFF at Yarmouth, although I spent rather longer there than planned due to ferocious Westerly winds.  When I did sail back to Poole it was in the company of several Yarmouth 23s, which quickly fell behind in my wake, and a friend in a lovely Yachting World 5 ton cutter with which I was neck and neck all the way to Poole.  Margherita is fast when you have a decent breeze and calm(ish) seas.

Here are a few pictures from YOGAFF 2015.

Entered in the race this year was the wonderful Mariquita, designed by William Fife the third. She rather dwarfed all of the usual gaffers. There was the usual gaffer competitions as well, with Gaffer's Log yacht racing, broom pole jousting and scratch dinghy sailing. Lots of fun.

Nutmeg - a David Moss Sea Otter 18 Canoe Yawl

And then the wind got up and it rained! - so I stayed put for four more days!

Sailing Home to Poole - taken from the YW 5 Tonner "Joelle"

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Yarmouth IOW and the Old Gaffer's "YOGAFF" Rally

On Wed 28 May, Tom and Catherine Taylor in "Marjory" and myself in "Margherita" left Chichester early in the morning to sail to Cowes.  It was a grey drizzly day with an uncomfortable stiff wind over tide chop and was a hard beat all of the way.  We spent Wednesday evening in Cowes Yacht Haven, drying ourselves out. On Thursday, we had a pleasant broad reach under grey but dry skies to Yarmouth.


Two shillings dressed overall
On arrival, we were efficiently escorted to our pontoon berth amongst a growing fleet of Gaffers all dressed overall.  This was our first YOGAFF and it had attracted over 100 entrants, ranging from the Thames Barge Alice and the Pilot Cutter Jolie Brise.... all the way down to us!  The whole town was alive with people and activity.  Some seemed in keeping with the boats and the sea, and there was some good street music but much was (in my opinion) tending to street market tat.  

In the evening the YOGAFF organisers held a welcoming drinks party on the pontoons and on Friday evening they held an excellent nautical music evening at Yarmouth Sailing Club, recapturing much of the fantastic atmosphere of the OGA 50th Rally the year before at Cowes.

On Saturday morning there was the great YOGAFF race....but very little wind!  the fleet sailed and drifted over a shortened course for an hour or so and there was much confusion.  Tom entered Marjory with a borrowed crew, I did not.  At the evening prize giving in the Royal Solent Yacht Club, it was announced that Tom and Marjory had won their class....and the overall race on handicap - beating three times Fastnet winner Jolie Brise!!! Tom was amazed and delighted.

Marjory second from right

Marjory tucked in to the starboard side of Jolie Brise

On Saturday afternoon the sun came out and there was (scratch built) log yacht racing in the harbour and other races for the kids (of all ages!).  While others just relaxed in their yachts.

The Rally dispersed on Sunday.  Tom and Catherine left early to get the easterly flow of tide to Chichester.  I left at 13.00 to get the flow westwards past Hurst Castle.  Another hard and lumpy beat with wind over tide to Poole, arriving at 7pm, cold and damp.  I moored up in the harbour and fell on a tin of heated up beef stew .....and a whisky.  Back onto my mooring at Sandbanks on Monday June 2nd.   

All in all, a great trip from Chichester and a fantastic time at YOGAFF.  I will do it again.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

May 2014 - Chichester and the First International Shilling Rally

Launch day

On 15 May, I towed "Margherita" from home and launched her at Emsworth Yacht Harbour, in Chichester Harbour, and moored her in their marina for a couple of weeks, before sailing back to Poole.  I had her hoisted in with a crane, which looked rather scary! 

The following day I met up with Tom Taylor and his Shilling “Marjory”; the first one built by Phil Swift in about 1998. Together over the next couple of days we did some exploring of the harbour, and later sailed to Bembridge for a night.  It was very crowded and we were forced to anchor on the beach. which had a hideous cross current. Never again! 

!Marjory and Margherita on the beach at Bembridge

Four Shillings in the collection - and still not enough for an ice cream

Tom knows Vince Powell, who now owns Ten Bob (Shilling number 10 and the last one built by Phil Swift) and he keeps her at Emsworth too.  So, on 16 May we three met on the Emsworth visitors pontoon where Vince was puzzling over the mizzen rigging. Tom offered some advice..... 

We three agreed to meet later that evening at East Head, near the harbour entrance.  As Tom and I sailed slowly to our destination, against the tide in the entrance, I noticed a yawl with tan sails heading into the harbour.  As it got closer, I recognised her as Five Bob (Shilling number 5) with Matt Andrews on board. Quite by coincidence he had launched at Langston Harbour and sailed to Chichester – and he was as surprised as we were!  Five Bob is marginally longer than my Shilling at 17 ft 3 inches, and has her engine in a well. This works well for Matt as he keeps her on a trailer most of the time and does not suffer fouling problems, but it is in the water all of the time he is sailing, which must affect performance a bit.

Five Bob skippered by Matt Andrews

Five Bob and Marjory

So, we three beached in the mud of a falling tide and, after being joined by Vince, the four skippers spent the evening drinking Matt’s wine and comparing boats, before dispersing next morning hoping we could all meet again in the future somewhere. 

We were 99% certain that this was the largest gathering of Shillings ever accomplished and it represented half of the existing active fleet. Well done team!

Ten Bob

Left to Right - Five Bob, Margherita, Marjory and Ten Bob
Tom and I spent some time sailing together in Chichester Harbour exploring places I had never visited before.  It was surprisingly large and very attractive - but very busy on the Sunday.  The tides were a bit of a shock after Poole, with a 4M range at Springs and a ferocious current in the entrance!  The two boats were surprisingly well matched despite different rigs.  With a decent breeze the cutter rig of Margherita made her a bit faster upwind, but we were never more than a few hundred yards apart.  This matching was even more evident in our later sail together to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight ( a later post I think). 

Marjory leading Margherita

Marjory looking good
An excellent Long weekend and my thanks to Tom for his company and local knowledge.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

August 2013 - A Trip to the Solent for the Old Gaffer's Association 50th Anniversary Rally

I have been a member of the Gaffers for a few years now.  2014 was their 50th Anniversary, which they celebrated in a number of ways, including a round-Britain sailing relay.  The grand finale was a gathering at Cowes Yacht Haven of about 230 gaff and traditionally rigged boats of varying sizes, for four days of events and racing.

I left Poole at lunch time on Tues Aug 13th with the aim of sailing to Christchurch and with a gentle SW breeze on my quarter and full sail.  As I progressed, the wind kept rising and I was soon surfing down 2 metre waves, with too much sail up and starting to broach a bit.  Being on my own it seemed more dangerous to try and reef than keep going so I furled the foresails and pressed on, passing Christchurch and reaching Hurst and Keyhaven in under 4 hrs.  It was only when I turned head to wind in the lee of Hurst spit that I quite realised how blowy it was.  When I picked up a mooring , my wind speed indicator showed 24kts over the deck inside the harbour!

Being ahead of myself now, on Wed 14 Aug I sailed in a F5 (reefed this time!) to Newtown Creek and moored up for a chilly, grey and sometimes drizzly afternoon and night.  But it is a lovely place.

On Thursday Aug 15th, I set sail at 07.30 in a SW F4-5 again.  I ran close inshore to Cowes under goose winged head sails and no main.  Margherita goes well like that and I was at Cowes by 11.15.  The rally organisation was superb and all boats were assisted into their allocated berths by teams of volunteers in RIBS.  To my delight, I was berthed well inside the marina, next to Tom and Catherine Taylor and their Shilling Marjory (who I had met earlier in the season at Newtown Creek).  During the afternoon the sun shone and the marina became more and more active.  The OGA completely filled it, as well as part of Shepherd's Wharf.  It was a splendid sight and one that I am unlikely to see again in the UK.

There was racing on Friday (wet) and Saturday (very windy) which I did not participate in but I did go out with Tom and sail Marjory off of Cowes, which was very enjoyable.

The Solent Branch of the OGA, the rally organisers, had laid on a fantastic programme of events with food music slide shows, awards ceremonies and lots of drinking - all in a fantastic atmosphere of happiness and good spirits.  It was very moving at times and hilarious at others.

There were quite a few Dutch participants and they had invited each of the OGA groups they met during the round-Britain relay challenge to make a "Clog Yacht" ,using a kit of parts provided, and to bring it to Cowes for a race.......which they did!

The rally finished on Sunday, with a wash up meeting and presentations to all of the round Britain crews, and boats began to depart.  I decided it was too blowy for a beat to the west and elected to stay until Monday.  I left Cowes at 10.00 on Mon Aug 19 and, with a reef in the main, had a wettish beat to Keyhaven, arriving there at 13.00.  As the tide was still under me, I kept going and reached Christchurch at around 4pm, where I stayed for the night. On Tues 20 Aug I sailed  back to Poole and my mooring.  

By far the best and longest cruise yet with Margherita, with 7 days afloat and 7 nights on board.