Category Archives: News and Reports

Updates and reports on events

Crane in Day, April 2018

Everyone was too busy to be taking photographs, but still we managed to take some, so ‘VOILA’ a new post that attempts to do the best with a rather sparse bunch ¬†ūüôā

Above all, however, we must thank our craning-in crews, our club house caterers, and a particularly big thank to our Banks man ‘Mike Morris’ for all their hard work.

A big crane arrives on a windy Tuesday morning and sets up just a few yards off Jamila’s starboard bow. At this point members awaited with abated breath as to whether it would all go ahead.
Members chat amongst themselves whilst Wardley’s ‘Banksman’ Mike Morris engages in a serious discussion with the crane driver.¬† High above twenty knots of wind is registering on Jamila’s anemometer.
Finally a decision is taken and the crane’s bright red jib elevated itself high into the Blackpool sky, dwarfing the surrounding masts. Next, a large hook silently descended to a point just forward of the driver’s cab, as seen in the photograph, and a set of¬† hardened steel lifting chains were hauled out. GAME ON!
Wardley’s crane-in crews organize into gangs of four men,¬† and surround the first boat to lift. Each man must attach one of the four lifting chain hooks to its designated strop.
Four crew members clamber aboard Jamila. The two seen in the photograph are to the aft awaiting their respective lifting hook to arrive.
First boat is Jamila.
John Gorse stood on the port bow of ‘Jamila’ diligently awaits a ‘soon to descend ‘ steel hook.
And finally away goes the first boat of the day across the yard, keeping low to the ground because of the wind,¬† and onward into a safe location in¬† mud berth one. She will then be ‘waiting for the tide‘ that is due in a couple of hours.
And a little later on, away goes ‘January Six’! The first four boats are placed directly on to the floor of an empty creek and must await¬† the flood tide. Once floating they will be moved to nearby jetties or to¬† mooring out on the river. The¬† rest of the boats can then be craned straight into the water.
This photo DOES NOT tell the tale, but throughout the day, ¬†tea, coffee and bacon & sausage sandwiches were provided by three wonderful ladies (including our vice commodore Lynda Mathews). Thanks for your most welcome contribution!. This particular image was taken very late in the day when John Gorse kindly provided toasted tea cakes to any lingering Wardley’s yachtsmen. This photo only shows a fraction of those served up.

Video thanks to Darren Griffiths.

Wardley’s crane-in day, Tues 17th April, fast approaching.

From the left: Tom, John, Nick, Richard and Andy. All working hard in a yard where tea is always in plentiful supply.
Nick, John and Simon out on the river checking mooring tackle. It was grey and overcast, but amazingly quiet. The only sounds were those of the shoreline waders, woodland birds and the odd squadrons of Oyster Catchers flying past.


Not all the mooring chains inspected passed muster.
This mooring chain looked quite good! Encouraging!


Some good work has been done fixing-up decaying jetties. (Well done Norman). However, there’s much work to do else where.


Wardleys’ boats are getting their bottoms scraped and anti-fouled. Its hard physical and messy work. Notice all the barnacle-scrapings carpeting the gravel.


Wardleys sailors have found time to get in a few ‘2018’ warm-up sails. This is Richard at the helm of Sailfish 18 ‘Peter-Duck’ somewhere between Skipool and Wardleys Creek.


Another photo of a ‘2018’¬† day-sail on the river. Believe it or not, this photo of Wardley’s Creek was taken on the 4th February. Darren and Simon ventured out on Sailfish 18 ‘Peter-Duck’. They weren’t the only yachts out and about. There was a good showing from the Blackpool and Fleetwood sailing club, battling to be the first over the line


A back of an envelope sketch of a scary moment last year. (See the Three Men in Two Boats video clip from 2017). Its looking north up the Wyre with Knott-End on the right. Norman Ingram’s Sika (Golden Hind) came along side ‘Lueth’ (Manta 19) that was anchored awaiting the flood tide. However, the extra weight of ‘Sika’, all 5 tons, was too much for Lueth’s anchor. Both boats were caught by the tide and whipped backwards at 5 knots onto a sandbank. ‘Sika’ lurched over at 45 degrees showing a keel embedded in the mud. She stopped dead. The flood tide surged around Sika’s hull in a maelstom of foam and broken water. With John Gorse fighting with the rudder, Norman ‘Ace’ Ingram traversed the heaving deck up to the pulpit and put out his biggest and heaviest anchor. Amazingly it held firm! In half an hour the rising water re floated ‘Sika’ and all lived happily ever after.


An impressive boat has appeared in mud berth number 6. This is Vic Mathew’s new motor sailor. There’s plenty of work to do to get her ready for Morecambe Bay. Vic reckons she won’t be ready for her first sea trials until the start of the next season.

Odd and Sods photos Nov 2017

Just a few photos taken during the 2017 season. If you are a member and have any photos to share on the site, please send them in to “” with a short narrative.

Tom in the bow of Malcolm’s dinghy. Taken shortly after successfully retrieving an anchor that had been buoyed in the main channel. It was cut loose due to some serious anchor dragging/snagging when Jamila was caught out in a half gale coming back from Piel. The anchor was finally deposited on the main jetty in Knott End and shortly after put in the back of a car. The photo was taken a hour or so after high water at the point when the motor-boaters were packing up and going home.


Tom securing Malcolm’s dinghy after the successful execution of Operation ‘Retrieve Jamila’s Anchor’. Propulsion was supplied by a¬† circa 1972 British Seagull Forty Plus. Fresh fuel was correctly mixed at 25:1. The ancient Villiers carburettor was well tickled.¬† This famous piece of British Maritime folk-law started on the third pull. Its unique musical note carried to the port of Fleetwood¬† bringing smiles from the retired fisherman.
Off loading the anchor on the Knott End slipway. This is where the Knott End ferry operates a service across the river mouth to Fleetwood. But beware when launching on this slipway. The eagle eye of the ferry skipper will lock-on and before you can slip your moorings, you’ll find your self¬† ¬£7¬† lighter – receipt provided.¬† Still, once off and away you’ll find tidal steams that¬† surge in and out up to five knots. Use them correctly and there won’t be a lot of paddling to do! Get it wrong on the other hand, … !
A more modern dinghy. A bit small in this configuration to rescue a heavy buoyed anchor like described above. However, with its optional inflatable tubes that attach around the gunwale it turns into a quasi RIB for all intents and purposes. Thus safe and pretty much unsinkable.
William’s ‘Otter’, stood awaiting the next tide. This Wardley’s yacht that has spent more time on the river in recent years than any other. She’s a good little boat for the Wyre estuary and Morecambe Bay. She takes the ground well as can be seen. She also has a trailer on which the skipper can take her home for winter maintenance.


John G’s ‘Westerley 25′ family cruiser. A triple keeler tailor-made, one could argue, for Morecambe Bay. In many way’s you could consider it a 23’ boat with a two foot extension designed to house a decent sized outboard motor. It had a diesel inboard when John first bought it, though not any more! The engine room is now a useful place to stow the extra kit that once invaded the main cabin. Instead of the once oily inboard there is a clean and quiet ten horse Yamaha securely fastened to the original¬† transom bracket put there by the builders.


On a cruise across to Piel this little critter landed on the boom. I guess its tired little wings needed a rest. Surprisingly it didn’t seem at all concerned about the Skipper sat only a few feet away. It simply sat there and enjoyed the ride. Eventually it flew up and away and continued on its journey.
When sailing to Piel, ever thought about forgoing the Ship Inn’s excellent hospitality and just sail on up to Barrow? Or perhaps you just want to, out of curiosity, see just how far you can go?¬† Well this is it – the bridge over to Walney Island! Here you are out of the dredged sections used by the commercial boats , and where your depth sounder’s low alarm will begin to trigger. Time to crank up the plate if your are a lifting-keeler! On the other side, if you can get your mast down, you’ll be off on your way to Haverig and other delightful South West Lakeland destinations.


One of the outer lateral markers coming into the Barrow channel. Captured on the last day in September. Visibility had been poor, bordering on fog for most the the way over. At around 16:30h the sun suddenly made a spectacular appearance as you can see above. Normally, the whole background would be awash with wind generators. Not today though. Only these few falling within the sun’s globe could be seen. An eerie but unforgettable sight.


Yes, you’re right, no where near Morecambe Bay. However needs-must and work took this Wardley’s member over to the great city of Leeds. Lucky me ,I stayed in a hotel situated on ‘Leeds Dock’. Here was my ride into the city centre. Mixing work with pleasure one could say!
Pic 1. Low water ———— (see caption below)
Pic 2. High water. ——- Not many Yachtsmen in the world need to cope with 10 meter (33′) tides. At Wardleys we flip between the two scenes twice a day. The transformation is quite amazing, and¬† goodness knows we are amazing for putting up with them.


Wind over tide on Morecambe Bay. The disturbed waters can create an intriguing effect when the sun is low in the sky. Tacking into such seas with the wind on the nose is tiring in a small yacht. In the other direction, however, with wind on the beam it can be quite thrilling.


Darren on Wardleys Yacht ‘Thunderball’, sailing off on another adventure.

Crane Out, October 2017 Photos


A big crane came to Wardleys Marina Yacht Club on the 9th October 2017. There was a detailed action plan and everyone was ready at their stations.
Wardleys take health and safety very seriously. All members operating within the lift zone were issued day-glow jackets. On some members they are close fitting. On others, they flapped around a bit, which wasn’t a bad thing for a crane driver since they give a good indication of wind speed and direction.
The BANKS man! Mike was Wardley’s crane out day “Chef d’Orchestre”. He wore an orange coloured day-glow to differentiate him from the other workmen. The crane driver takes instructions from the BANKS man and no other! He doesn’t use a baton, but uses a god given hand to emit an intriguing form of semaphore that invokes cranes into action. He might not be able to make pigs fly but he can sure make boats fly.
Tom preparing for the next lift. Each boat has a line attached at each corner. Four men, one on each, ensure that boats are positioned correctly when lowered back to the ground. A detailed map is drawn-up in advance showing the location and orientation of each boat.
Placed by the crane on her custom cradle. The graceful lines of yacht Brendan clearly demonstrate that classic yacht shapes reigns supreme in the beauty stakes. This is not hard when surrounded by bilge keelers, but this last type of boat certainly reigns supreme on Morecambe Bay for wholly other reasons.
The BANKS man helped by ACE Wardley’s sailor Norman ensuring that the chains are man enough and up to the job. Veteran club member and ex Commodore Vic Mathews with years of experience is in the background casting an extra pair of eyes over matters.
As mentioned previously, each boat is assigned a gang of four, who pile aboard each boat, who ensure that the strops are safely positioned, who attach the chains and ensure that there are no impediments or things likely to be damaged, and who then hop off and using the mentioned “quartet of ropes” guide the boat to its final resting place.
Six boats were made ready for the lift the day before. They were all positioned in the mud berths closest to the crane. The idea was to lift all six out before high water. Strops were already in place and ready to be attached. As it happened, only four got hauled out. The boats at the extremities were just too stuck hard in the mud for our poor crane to manage. Still, soon the incoming tide eased the keels from the glue and then all was sound. The two remaining boats were quickly shifted – job done!
A lovely modern British built Hunter awaiting the crane. This boat has a self tacking jib and an amazingly roomy open plan interior with accommodation going right the stern. Nice piece of kit.
Wardley’s members also take drinking tea and coffee very seriously. Tom, one of our ACE sailors (ACE=has sailed out into the cauldron of Morecambe Bay more than four times this season) is particular good at striking that classic English tea drinking pose, as this photo well demonstrates.
Lynden Haliwell’s boat is next. It is the biggest of them all and it was left to last so that the crane could be optimally repositioned for maximum heave. Needless to say she came out as sweat as pie.
We’ve talked about the ‘Gangs of Four’, about our amazing BANKS man, (and even about our tea drinking club stalwarts), but let us give a big hand to the crane driver. He’s the man in the orange jacket beside the crane. This is the man whose safe pair of hands we most relied on. With his play station joy-stick, and using less energy than your average teenage gamester shooting up virtual zombies, all our thirtysomething combined tons of shipping were positioned within millimetres of plan. Well done that man!