Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A trip to the Solent and a meeting with "Marjory" - July 2014

I decided to take advantage of a spell of settled weather to attend an impromptu gathering of boats from the Old Gaffer's Association in Newtown Creek on the Isle of Wight.  Setting sail from Poole on Thursday 4 July, I ran in front of a F4  and spent Thursday night anchoin Christchurch Harbour, before heading for Hurst Castle and the entrance to the Solent early on Friday morning.  Those who know these waters will be aware that, ideally,  you need to get to the Hurst race with the tide either slack or gently beginning to move in your direction - especially in a small boat like mine.  Through lack of wind, I motored most of the way and got through with the tide just beginning to run against me.  From there it was a gentle two hour motor to Newtown Creek.  

Those reading this who have been there will know that it is a beautiful spot and very popular with people from all over the Solent. Here are a couple of Pictures of the scene around my National Trust Mooring (£15 per night)

One of the objectives of the weekend was to meet up with Tom and Catherine Taylor, who I had made contact with through this Blog and who now own "Marjory", which is Shilling number one. Phil Swift's Prototype, she was built in 1998 for Roger Boxall and, after spending time with him around Milford haven, is now based in Chichester.  This is how she looks, with the Yawl rig that most Shillings have.  Very Pretty.

It was interesting to compare the two boats, built 10 years apart. Mine has more built-in bouyancy and hence less space below, but I have a lower centre box top which makes it easier to move about in the cabin, I think.  Overall though, it was encouraging to see how well Marjory was ageing - well done Phil!

later in the day I motored to the other end of Newtown Creek and met up with a number of boats from the Old Gaffers Association, Solent Group.  All very friendly and welcoming , we had a BBQ on the shore in the evening.   This is "Roma", owned by Mike and Jessica Warren, with "Helen" anchored behind her.

On Sunday, I followed Roma and Helen across the Solent in a dead calm and up the Beaulieu River to Bucklers Hard, where we spent the day enjoying the sunshine and exploring the village and museum. The Master Builder pub proved a crashing disappointment food-wise, the only good thing being the view. 

The Beaulieu River is beautiful.  After Roma and Helen departed on Monday morning, I motored 2 miles or so up river to Beaulieu Abbey, home of Lord Montague, which is the limit of navigation. Amazing houses on the river bank.

Motoring back down to the river entrance, I raised sail and tooled around in a good breeze and heading westward with the tide, I anchored in Keyhaven for the night.  

On Tuesday, I motorsailed from Keyhaven and until I got to Bournemouth Bay, when a day breeze enabled a fast sail to Studland Bay to wait the rising tide needed to get into Poole, where I moored up in Bramble Bush bay for the night.  

On Wed July 10th, I sailed around for a while before mooring in the shallows off Brownsea and cleaning ship.  Then back to the mooring. A great trip all round, with 6 nights on board and new friends made.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

2013 - A Much Better Season!

Yes, yearly updates are rather sad I know, but life has been busy.  I update my Facebook page with about the same frequency! 

Well, 2013 was a much better sailing season and I took "Margherita" to places she had never been before, as well as making new friends.  I launched in Poole on 31 May and took her home on 8 October.  Between those dates I enjoyed 26 days sailing, spent 24 nights on board, made one trip to Christchurch and two to the Solent (more in a later post).  For those few souls who were wondering, my "new for 2012" but untested commode-cum-bucket toilet works OK.....provided you are careful.  It enabled me to perform my ablutions in relatively crowded anchorages without embarrassment. 

This is me sailing around near my mooring while talking to Chris Green on his Wharram Catamaran "Skinny Dipper".  He kindly took the pictures.

You can tell the water is relatively shallow by the shape of the wave form around the hull.  The Wharram is new to Chris, and a team of willing volunteers helped him erect the mast alongside our club pier, at low tide.  He had no shortage of advice and we got it up without mishap.

Chris on the cat with myself (blue) and Pete Brown, offering advice...whether he wants it or not!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

What happened to 2012?

Full of Enthusiasm, I varnished my mast and spars to perfection in the sun of March and early April, washed and cleaned the hull and applied antifoul.  I then rigged Margherita and loaded up all my (rather too extensive) inventory of stowed items.  Then it rained and the wind blew.  Then I hurt my back.  Then it rained rather more..........then I gave up! I did not launch at all in the end.

So, all that was accomplished in 2012 was varnishing and the construction of a new experimental and as yet untested toilet which is a cross between a "bucket&chuckit" and a comode (see below).  Looking on the bright side, all I have to do this year is antifoul again. I have to get afloat in 2013 if only because I have entered in the Old gaffers Association's 50th anniversary rally at Cowes in August.

When I was discussing the build of Margherita with Phil Swift, I was keen to fit in a Porta-Potti. however, even the smallest available was a stowage nightmare, let alone the problem of using it without mishap. So, we settled on "bucket&chuckit" and I stow a bowl under the cockpit sole.  The picture above shows the cabin in normal sitting mode.  The idea for the toilet shown below was to see if I could get more privacy by rigging up something in the cabin for those times when one is not moored up in isolation somewhere.  The picture below shows the toilet base sitting across the side supports that hold the seat base when it is raised to form the head of the port sleeping berth. The seat base stays in its low position and I moved the cushions out of the way for obvious reasons. When not in use, the toilet base stows under the seat base rather neatly. The plastic bowl, with its plywood lid, stows under the cockpit sole as before.


Dry run testing suggests that there is just suficient knee and head room to use the device with washboards in, but I am not sure about with the hatch shut - I may have to cut my head off.... we shall see!

Meanwhile, on a more uplifting note, and to help me remember what it all feels like on a good day, here are a few pictures of Margherita anchored up in sunshine during 2011.  I hope for the same in 2013.



Saturday, 11 February 2012

Margherita Sailing

Over the past couple of years I have been lucky enough to have other people taking pictures of me at sea under sail.  Here are the best of them.

In Poole harbour

Sailing in Poole Bay

A Beat back from Christchurch  - F5 on the nose, and a reef

These last four were taken by David Harding of "Sailing" and are his copyright

Improving Margherita

Hello again You can tell that I am not much of a Blogger as I have been silent after that first burst of enthusiasm in 2008. Since then, nearly three sailing seasons have passed and I have made good use of Margherita in and around Poole, sleeping on board for some 70 nights in total. I have not been too far afield;  to Lymington once, Christchurch Harbour a few times, and to Swanage on day sails.  But it is always fun to sail such a lovely boat, even if only round in circles! Since 2008 Margherita has had a write-up in both Practical Boat Owner (summer 2010 issue) and Watercraft Magazines. I have also made a number of improvements and additions to Margherita that have worked well. Here are a few that may be of interest.

Transom height. The first improvement was to cut about 35mm off of the transom top to lower the engine further into the water. Phil Swift did this for me (I lacked the courage!) over the winter of 2008/9. It is still a bit too high but the clamping screws are almost on the deck so it is not possible to lower further. The shape of the boat and its light weight means that if you go forward by more than a few feet, the engine lifts out of the water and you get cavitation and lose cooling water pumping.

Cockpit Tent. This was designed by me using lots of bits of rope to get a workable space envelope and then patterned up and manufactured by Dawn Morgan who trades as "Cover Girl" in Swanage. She made a good job of it. What I wanted was somewhere to put stowage when two people were sleeping in the cabin, or for when I needed a bit of privacy or weather protection. You can see that it ties under the raised boom (I have put a whipping on the topping lift rope so that I know when the boom is at the correct height) and fastens to the hull throught the scuppers in the bulwarks. I did not want holes or hooks in the hull. The four corners have adjustable buckles the rest use velcro loops. You can tie the sides up to allow some fresh air in but when it is all battened down you need to be sure of your achorage as you cannot see much of what is going on around and about.

Adjusting the trim.  Margherita is very much a small yacht not a big dinghy, and she sits in the water with solidity.  This is aided by a 50kg steel centre plate and by around 90kg of steel punchings in 4kg bags.The boat builder and designer Phil Swift came up with a very neat  way of stowing the ballast.  He made two boxes that are bolted to the transverse frames and take the weight, rather than it sitting on the hull.  Each box has a curved base to match the hull shape and is divided up into 9 compartments and has a lid that ties down firmly.  I have moved ballast to starboard and forward to better balance the 25kg outboard and she sits almost level to the waterline now. 

Cockpit and Sail Covers.  I had these made in Windermere when the boat was being built and they work well.  The sail cover was initially too big hence the rope around it but was reduced by the maker and now fits well.  The cockpit cover was a work of art and fits brilliantly.  Keeping Gulls off is another matter.

Mooring.  She is moored much like the many shrimpers in the harbour, with the header chain clipped to the D ring that goes through the stem (and also carries the bobstay) and a rope strop from the sampson post that joins the chain, via shackle that is placed far enough down to make normal loadings go to the boat via the strop and the chain only takes load in a heavy blow.  The chain goes to a swivel and thence to the sinker.  As you can see , my mooring dries at low tide.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Some Design Details of "Margherita"

1. Stowage of long items. On other Shillings I looked at there was no where to stow long items such as a boat hook except on the side deck where it would catch the sheet ropes or you would fall over it. On Margherita we made cut outs in frames 6&7 in either side of the cockpit just above seat base height to allow such items to be stowed out of the way behind the seat, under the side deck. This works really well and reduces clutter. You can see this in use, as well as fuel stowage arrangements, in the cockpit shot in my second post.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Taking Margherita Ashore for the Winter

Some of the weather in September was as good as July should have been and it went on until around mid-October.
After a final sail on 8 Oct in brilliant sunshine and gentle winds, I took Margherita out of the water the following day, using the hoist at a local marina - it is easier if more expensive!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Building Margherita

Margherita is a "modern" wooden boat, held together largely with epoxy. The hull is cedar strip, covered in glass fibre inside and out and all of the remaining structure is marine ply and solid mahogany (or the modern sustainable equivalent!) Mast and spars are Douglas fir. and fittings a mix of bronze and stainless steel, Phil Swift, who runs Willow Bay Boats in Cumbria UK, designed the Shilling and builds them pretty much on his own. A clever man.

She is 17ft long over the deck, 19ft with the bowsprit; 6ft 6 ins wide and has a draught of 13 inches with the centre plate up and 3ft with it down. Sail area is approximately 170sqft. The lines were scaled from the Deben 4 Tonner, which originated in the 1930s on the east coat of England.

1. The hull is planked with 12mm thick cedar strip over the frames. Frames are covered in gaffer tape at this stage to prevent the hull skin sticking to them.

2. With the hull planked, it is faired using sanding boards ready for covering with glass fibre cloth .

3. The hull is filled and faired again after covering with epoxy and glass fibre, and the keels fitted

4 - 6  After inverting, the frames are removed and the inside of the hull cleaned up prior to sealing with a layer of glass reinforced epoxy resin. The frames are then glued in place and the fit out gets under way.

7. The picture of her in the water was taken minutes after the first launch. You can see that the cabin is small, but there is room for two to sleep, as well as a small cooker and lots of stowage - but no toilet other than a bucket!