Monday, 2 December 2019

A Video on "My Classic Boat", new sails and a paint job

Time passes by so fast and its ages since I posted here.  A few things have happened since my last post.  Firstly, I treated Margherita to some new sails.  The two headsails were pretty rough after 11 years out in the weather so I asked Peter Sanders of Lymington to quote for new ones.  I ended up thinking I may as well replace the mainsail too. With a slightly longer bowsprit as well, the overall result is much better headsail separation and a boat that points better and is faster in a given wind (below and up to hull speed).

The second thing that happened in 2019 was that I met a man called Bob Aylott at the Solent Gaffers Yarmouth Rally in May.  He operates a web site called "My Classic Boat" on which he posts short videos of people talking about their boats.  He interviewed me at Yarmouth and later in the year came down to Poole to shoot some scenes of me sailing around in the shallows of Whitley Lake.  The result can be found here.... 

The third thing was that I finally had enough of crawling under the boat on her trailer sanding down antifoul and putting on new. It kills me these days.  In any case, 10 years worth of self-eroding was starting to come off in lumps and I could not face stripping it back.  This, coupled with worrying corrosion on the steel centre plate led me to book her into Traditional Shipwright Services in Poole. She will get a new Bronze centre plate, a copper coated hull and a full paint and varnish job.  I re-do the varnish regularly, but the paintwork has lasted since 2008 and is now showing signs of fade and failure on corners. The bill is rather eye-watering, but everything should now last me out I think. To keep costs down a bit, I stripped her bare before delivery. Should look smart in 2020!

Weird linear corrosion.  The guttering is some 2mm deep now

Margherita stripped bare - inside and out

Tucked into a crowded boatshed at TSSS Poole

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Under my last post the question was asked if I needed a preventer to stop the rudder hitting the outboard prop.  I do as they will clash and the alloy prop machines chunks out of the plywood rudder blade.  I know this for a fact....  The pictures show the preventer in its two states, active, around the tiller and passive with the loop passed around the starter cord handle, in an attempt to eliminate the chances of running the engine without the preventer in place.  The two Samson posts are very useful for mooring up and are strong. They go down inside the hull, and are glued to the transverse frame.  The main sheet arrangement was my attempt to avoid an intrusive metal horse or a rope one that gets in the way of the tiller or allows blocks to clatter around on the deck etc. You can see it in the last two pics.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

I have been asked about portlights and pumps fitted to Margherita. The bilge pump Is a Whale Compac 50 and is mounted in a fixed portion of the cockpit floor/sole.  The outlet goes out to starboard, through the side of the cockpit (into the internal accessed stowage area) 90 degree bend then piped up to under the seat base and out through the side of the hull.

The portlights were supplied by Timage in UK and are chrome plated brass.  They do open but I seldom do as sealing them is a pain as the rubber seals are hard.  They are screwed to the cabin sides from inside the boat and the outside rim is dressed with a screw - on chrome trim.  They are shown on the Timage web site at  But I am not sure if they still do them.  They are also on Norfolk Marine's web site.  I have two different diameters Timage ref 8B00C and 8C00C.  I cannot access the boat to measure the dia at present - ask if you want me to and I will do it next month.


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Some design details of Margherita

I have been asked how I stow my anchor on the foredeck.  Here are some pictures of what I came up with. The lashing goes through two eyes screwed to the foredeck.  The anchor holds well, with 2m of chain and rope

Also, I got Phil Swift to alter the cockpit stowage.  Instead of small lockers with lids, I asked for lidless lockers with enough room to stow a 12litre fuel tank on the engine side and warps and fenders on the other.  Works a treat and allows easy quick access.  I also added two Sampson posts to the cockpit rear for mooring up etc.  Very useful. Other shillings have the aft Henderson hatch cover in the deck.  I thought this to be both ugly and impractical so I have it in the rear cockpit bulkhead.  looks better and allows easier access to spare warps and fenders etc. stowed inside.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The start of 2017 - bigger bowsprit

Over the winter, I got Dick Phillips of Willow Bay Boats to make me a longer bowsprit.  The aim was to improve the separation of the staysail and jib.  The clew of the jib tended to sit on the staysail when sheeted in half way (sort of when on a beam reach).  I played with an old bit of 2 by 2 with the boat in the garden to see what looked reasonable.  I ended up with a mere 8 inches/200mm longer.  But it makes a big difference.  the sails set better and the boat looks longer and sleeker.  She is now 20ft/6.1m over spars! First two sailing pictures were taken by Alan Robertson, the last one by Peter Edgington. Thanks guys.

Round up of the rest of 2016

I am not very good at keeping up with this am I?  2016 was a pretty good season and I did a couple of trips up to the Solent for old Gaffer Association meetings, including "YOGAFF" at Yarmouth and a meet up at Beaulieu. In September I went back to Cowes for the Annual Race and Rally. I do not race "Margherita", but I do crew for Tony and Sally Kiddle on their Golant Gaffer "Step back In Time"  Anyway, here are some pictures..........

Low tide in Newtown Creek

Newtown Creek
Broody weather in Keyhaven

Sunrise at Arne - Poole Harbour

Moon rise at Arne

On the wind
surfing along in the Needles Channel
Goose-winged foresails on a windy day, running with the breeze from Poole to Keyhaven
Moored up at Newport Isle of White
Punching into Christchurch harbour against a strong ebb

Fishing in the run at Christchurch

Mudeford Quay

Christchurch Swan asserting itself

Sailing back to Poole via the Needles Channel - never done that before
Bucklers hard on the Beaulieu River



Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The 2016 Season begins

I retrieved Margherita from her winter barn storage at Easter.  I was able to do the odd maintenance task and varnish removable items, but as I have to work on the hull in the open, the varnishing of cabin sides and bulkwarks was frustrated by awfully variable weather during April.  One minute too hot, then too cold; or a day with a 10 minute shower in the middle!  Anyway, it all got done in the end.  The hull white paintwork is still in pretty good nick, as is the cream of the superstructure.  I gave most of it a light T-cut and polish, which livened it up again. There is some fading and dulling of the light cream paint used, most evident when I touch up the odd ding.  It is all Epifanes two pack polyurethane, which is very nice to use. 

One interior addition this year was to make and install a small rack for the tea and coffee making materials.  It was an interesting exercise in spiling to get the components to match the compound curves of the hull. The piece of foam is to stop it all going walk about while being towed to Poole.  Not sure if it will be needed when sailing.

I launched Margherita into Poole Harbour on May 6th, which was warm and sunny.  My first trip out was over the weekend of 13-16 May.  Three cold nights on board, huddled in my sleeping bag with most of my clothes on.  I did get some good sails though, and bedded everything into place ready for the season.  Here are a few pictures taken while moored at Shiptall point in Poole Harbour.

all neat and tidy

sunset over the nature reserve

Looking SW towards Corfe

Sunrise at 04.30


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Some of my favourite pictures from 2015

Best Pictures of 2015

Here are my favourite pictures of the year.....

Margherita waiting for the tide - off of Furzey Island, Poole Harbour

Sunset in Arne Bay Poole Harbour

Cattle on the foreshore in Newton Bay,, Poole Harbour
Ghosting along near Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour
Sunrise in the upper Wych, Poole Harbour (taken by Tim and Jackie on "Pentire")
Sunset at Shipstall Point, Poole Harbour
Sunset looking west from Cleavel Point, Poole Harbour

Seen in Christchurch Harbour opposite the Christchurch Sailing Club