Sunday 20 June 2021

Back in the water again at last!

The 2020 sailing season did not happen for me at all.  Covid lockdowns delayed the work being carried out on Margherita by the boat yard in Poole and my ability to get there. I finally brought Margherita back home in August and spent a week or so re-fitting all of the cleats, brackets, jammers etc that make it all work. I could not have floated her before mid- August at best and It felt to me that it was not worth bothering. So, looking very smart, she went back into her barn for the winter.

What was done? a complete make over really. Dick Phillips of Willow Bay Boats made a new centre plate in bronze (damn the expense) to replace the rusty steel one. The boatyard stripped all antifoul from the hull and copper coated it before fitting the new plate and cloth sealing gaskets in the keel, retained by the keel irons. Using Epifanes two pack paint, the topsides were repainted in white and the deck and coach roof in Oyster. All varnish work was given a couple of coats of Epifanes two pack as well. The boot line was deepened and changed from blue to black to better match the copper/green of the new antifouling. 

All in all, she looks very smart I think. Apart from some fading of the wood here and there, she looks like new again

I launched Margherita for the 2021 season at Salterns Marina in Poole in late May, delayed by a bout of awful weather. I slept on her in the marina overnight to finish sorting rigging etc. before putting her on the mooring the next day.  She looked lovely - in my eyes at least! 

What have we done together so far?  In early June I sailed her some 20nm East to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight to attend the OGA Solent Gaffers annual Regatta. We cancelled it last year and had to modify some of the socialising for this one but 59 boats showed up! I was away for a week. I don't race her but did crew for friends on a couple of lovely Golant Gaffers. If you have never seen one of those - google it and take a look.

The new Bimini works well at giving me a bit of privacy in a marina and keeping rain out of the cabin while I get in and out.

Finally, last week I spent a couple of days just sailing around Poole Harbour and enjoying the boat going well in a decent breeze on a calm sea. Here is the sunset from June 15th. I was moored on the harbour side of Studland peninsula and this is looking West towards Furzey Island. 

More adventures to come, I hope!


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