Monday, October 22, 2007

Some changes to my Mainsail

Showing the luff hem with a slide
The Headboard

The tack

Over the Winter I have decided tht I need to modify the mainsail by adding a luff rope to the sail as there is no rope at present and the sail vibrates annoyingly when going to winward. So I post these pictures here so that people with more experience of doing such a modification can give some advice. My idea is to run the luff rope (around 6mm 3 -strand) up the Luff tape hem. Sewing it in at the head and tack and at each slide.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Strange Selection of Yachts



and Charm.
The Strange Yawls that I was privaleged to moor next to at Maritime Woodbridge

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Engine Problems - but not mine

And interesting it was.

As dusk was coming, on the sweeping bed from the Rocks, Crystal makes hand signals to indicate total engine failure. I had to act fast, and without to much fretting Crystal was under tow before long. Roach found it hard fighting the current and towing a 7ton yacht at the same time. The only thing to do was to anchor for the night. The Rocks is a perfect anchorage. So the next step was do maneouvre Crystal into a position where she could drop anchor.

By the time I found my space it was dark. Sods law my anchor dragged too, but on second attempt I was secure. The corned beef hash that Crystal cooked up that evening was very well received.

Getting to Maritime Woodbridge

Well I had not used Roach in a while, so I was quite excited about being invited up to the maritime Festival in Woodbridge. The plan, as with most of my boating plans, means leaving London late, and then doing the whole palaver of inflating a dinghy and loading in the dead of dark. Stowe everything, then eat something, and then go to bed.

On this occasion I am grateful to a friend who was giving me a lift to Pin Mill. He who owns a Frederick Shepherd yawl “Crystal” and we were both going to cruise to Woodbridge in company.

So off we went and by the time we had collected gear, inflated and loaded the dinghies it was well past midnight. It was not helped by the fact that my outboard seemed to be very unreliable on this occasion (usually it is not), but thankfully it started and I managed to get to Roach.

It’s amazing how long it takes to load a yacht from a dinghy. I knew I was doing a week’s cruise after the festival in Roach, so there was much stuff victual.

Atlast I was ready, and moved Roach alongside Crystal where we had dinner together. It was now 4am and almost time to depart for in order to catch the tide on the Deben bar. Everything went well and by Lunchtime we were at the Ramsholt Arms having a snooze before catching the next tide up to Woodbridge in fading light. This would be interesting!

Up to Butley and then Home to Pin Mill

A Thames Barge on the Orwell

The week was almost up and I wanted to spend at least one night up the Butley river which I have heard to much about. So it was off on the rising flood again and off my mud patch. I encountered quite a few yachts attempting to get to Snape on my exiting Iken and I am sure they were confused as to how I managed to get up so far – not realising I spent the night!

As soon I was beyond Iken all canvas was raised and on a freshening wind Roach was running at 5 knots. At Aldeburgh the river turns South and the apparent wind was then felt. A freshening 5/6 I reckon. Roach was scuppers under and powered down stream. I was amazed at this Eventide that left its mooring when I past it at Aldeburgh and it was gaining on me. I tweaked the sails and Roach kept her at bay, but I am sure that Roach should have outrun her well and truly. I think that towing an inflatable tender does not in anyway help and juts pulling on the painter by hand made me realise how much drag the dinghy was giving. Soon we were both overtake by a 18’ Cornish Shrimper – I had no hope. She was really moving and had a topsail set. Well, three cheers for the gaff rig!

My contest with the Eventide was not over yet, and when the River turned towards Orford, beat hard-pressed through the moorings. I decided it was time to shake-off Mr. Eventide and gain some confidence in Roach. Well, all I can say is that Roach behaved admirably. The small cockpit is good fo a single-hander and the new Tufnol ratchet block I got from Classic Marine was working a treat. I could hold the tiller in one hand and sheet-in with the other. Roach was heeling considerably, but she stayed balanced and tracked very well once through a tack. It requires some nerve doing this, as being a classic long keeler, she does make good leeway on the tack itself, but once the sails are drawing she hits the groove once again and you can once again steer confidently. Mr. Eventide, with his cutter rig, was making slow progress and Roach was soon beyond the next turn in the River reaching towards the Butley tributary.

Once anchored off the ruined wharf, I took the dinghy ashore to try and find a pub in the nearest village, Boyton. But there was nothing there but after a long walk to Hollesley I managed to get some bangers and mash and well deserved pint.

The following morning I decided to explore the upper reaches of this very pretty river in the dinghy. But it is very shallow and I aborted. My time was up. I had to be in Pin Mill by tomorrow evening. So I weighed anchor and motored at 1knot on the flood over the bar. The sail down to Pin Mill was non-eventful and I was on my mooring at dusk. A lovely week's cruise!

Aldeburgh and onto Snape

Approaching Snape

BBC World Service Monstrosity

Black Heath House with its own private marina!

Roach now stuck, looking towards Iken Church

Roach from the dinghy. By leabing her into the bank, I managed to get her pretty upright for a decent nights sleep.

Sunset on Iken Reach.

So then it was time to head off to Snape. What a lovely stretch of River. After the moorings a large expanse of water greets you, but bewared, it is very shallow and you must stick to the withies which are sometimes hard to decipher.

The channel starts to meander back on itself at the aptly names Troublesome Reach, and I ran Roach aground here only a few yards outside the channel. I was on the flood though, so it was a good excuse to lower sail and look like a deliberately ran aground when the tourist launch from Snape came by. After a cup of tea I kedged her off and continued the torturous twists under engine. I would advise anybody attempting to get to Snape to have the kedge ready in the dinghy already and motor. Sailing is a non option after Iken – the channel is only around 20ft wide at most.

Several larger yachts were aground ahead of me, so that reassured me and I continued onto Snape, to see if I could lie against the wall for the evening. I decided to turn around though as I could not get a patch of wall next to a ladder and I had already been a museum exhibit at Woodbridge, and was not in the mood to gawped at, so I turned back in order to find a “hole” which the pilot book described as being 2 metres at LWN. Well this hole simply does not exist as the deepest hole I could find (I sounded with a lead from the dinghy) was only 3ft at LW. So with water running out of the river fast, I rammed Roach into the bank so she remained relatively upright for the night. Roach behaved and I was rewarded a spectacular sunset in a most beautiful setting. I celebrated this by using the remaining ice for a proper G&T!

Woodbridge to the Ramsholt Arms

Roach amoung the Albert Stranges

My trying to slip the warps from the dinghy. A right spider's web of lines!

By popular demand I have been asked to recount last Summer’s inaugural cruise on Roach. So now on a wet and windy November night I have decided that there is not time better to reminisce Roach’s first real adventure in over a decade.

Well, on Sunday morning I decided to take my London friends to Ramsholt to have lunch at the Arms. I knew they would enjoy a lazy lunch out on the terrace, and the forecast was set to be scorcher, even in September. High tide was at 11am or so, and we decided to breakfast onboard before I got ready to slip the lines. Some sausages and bacon from the now Five Winds butchers in Melton really got us set. My single-flame camping stove (the galley is not a completed project yet) was a little over-pressed doing breakfast for four (I invited the next door yacht’s crew), and I look forward to getting the two -burner Taylors installed. You can do the eggs and the bacon at the same time then.

Anyway, after breakfast Roach “popped” out of her hole and we slipped her line. The wind was a very light SW and we ghosted down leisurely to the pub. All in all a lovely day out and the Scampi at the Arms was lovely. My friends left by taxi later in the afternoon and I went back to Roach to sleep off all the Adnams.

A few before and after shots

Gosh, as I was mentioned in this months Classic Boat mag, I thought I'd better put something in this blog to tell you how far Roach has come from when I first got her. Here are a selection of photos to give you an idea of the amount of work she needed.

by taking photos and drawing on them I could visualise the interior better - even though I was doing the interior to Dallimore's plans, I wanted to makes sure I agreed with him.

In the end the sideboards by the companionway were raised by 6 inches, allowing for more storage room under.

Here you can see the fairing process has started after .......

burning her paint back to bare wood. This was to check all the splines (a few needed repair) and to check the fastenings too. The keel was dropped and bolts replaced at the same time.

The decks and how they started to come up after a good sanding. Note the lovely skylight made to the original design by Sheraton Marine Cabinet.

The decks needed re-caulking and the main bulkhead with those really ugly windows in them had to go (it was rotten anyway).

The new cockpit, made with mainly solid mahogany, but some plywood too.

The old cockpit was shot. There where no gutters so the there was rot everywhere. The whole thing needed replacing and so did the engine and beds.