It is so sad to see once well founded boats left neglected and abandoned. But then again our boat builders need a steady stream of new orders to support the livelihood of themselves and their families. So maybe we should just accept that there will always be the boats of summer-day past, the boats of summer-day present, and the boats of summer-day future. Let us just remember the old and discarded as fondly as we can.
The stretch of tidal water called Bass Pool on the south side of Piel Island has been a focal point for WMYC sailors in 2019. Abandoned over looking the castle, as high up as can be carried by the tide, where the sand and seaweed give way to grass, lies a boat called ‘Inchree’.
HOLY MACKERAL, The season still feels like it has just started, but we’re already at the halfway mark. I know, it does not seem like last week since we were all CRANING IN, and proving emphatically to the WMYC’s HR department that we fully understand the word ‘TEAMWORK’.
Still, a sailing club would not be a sailing club without the odd SAILING EVENT, finding its way into the club lounge calendar (Linda, it’s the 3rd August).
Steve Adam’s our brilliant new Commodore decided that after my 52, often hair brained, crossings of Morecambe Bay in my Sailfish 18 in a matter of three years, I deserved bestowed upon me the title of ‘Sailing Captain’ . This honour did not come without obligation, and so here is the pay-back in the form of a PLAN for a forthcoming club event.
On quite a number of occasions when going to PIEL ISLAND, I and some other most excellent members of the club have eschewed the easy (Ronald McDonald’s Burger and Fries ) option of grabbing a mooring close to the jetty.
Instead we have sailed into BASS POOL and dropped anchor on the south side of the Island.
All I can say at this point is that it’s a JEWEL of a location that needs to be shared amongst us all
What I propose is to get out on our boats on the 3rd August 2019, cross the bay (it’s not that far really), and drop our anchors in the said narrow strip of water, and have a barbeque on the side of the Castle over looking our ANCHORAGE for the night.
For a bit of fun and to enter in the spirit of the occasion, we all get ourselves sailor’s hat, with an ANCHOR on the forehead band, and there shall be a PRIZE for the most authentic/comic look. See the Captain below, but it could also be the Jack Sparrow, or other. Our Commodore has offered to sponsor a prize.
For those who have not anchored for the night before, this is a great location. The bottom is good heavy sand and has a ‘Silvikrin’ max hold. Just let out enough chain and dig the anchor in with plenty of REVERSE THRUST. If your engine cannot shift your boat then the wind has no chance.
And if there is time, you can paddle to the south side (much closer to the boat). Check out the photo’s below of a walk to the lighthouse last year (the day before the 2018 CRANE OUT): –
Members are encouraged to participate if they can. Cruising in company is a great way to boost confidence, and we will aim to stay in radio contact at all times.
Skippers are often in need of crews: if you haven’t got your own boat, it’s likely that another club member would welcome you on board. Just ask around!
This post constitutes a refresher session on classic sails and rig configuration, there’s plenty of pictures and videos further on, but first an extract from a book called The Sailmaker’s Apprentice to set the tone: –
SEE HOW SHE SCHOONS! Cutting a feather in
a four-lower breeze, sails filling in powerful
curves and pulling like the muscles of a draft horse
with a heavy load; sails straining under the relent-
less force of the wind! By moonrise, the wind’s diminished to a
whisper—hardly a ripple on the water as she
ghosts slowly along under light sails; great cloth
phantoms tranquilly billowing in the moonlight.
Or in an oily calm, the limp cloth slats and slams
from side to side, awaiting the day when it might
explode from its boltropes under the force of a
howling gale and be lashed and beaten to useless
shreds. Harmony and discord in the marriage of
wind, wave, wood, and cloth.
A few weeks ago, on Saturday afternoon a group of Wardley’s sailors were sat happily in the lounge area of the club house talking boats as usual. The conversation turned to sails and rig configuration. We started to talk about gaffs and gunters, and lugsails, topsails, skyscrapers, real canvas, and the days before the utilitarian convenience of plastic sails and aluminium masts. It was a lovely conversation that went on for some time while outside the light faded as the tide slowly ebbed from the creek, and the only thing missing was a nice glass of whisky in hand. We’ve got to admit though, although we all roughly knew what we were talking about — we certainly all had wonderfully romantic images of brightly varnished spars hauling red coloured cotton sails high aloft, ropes smelling of tar leading down to banks of belaying pins and the like — it would be fair to say that we DIDN’T really know our gunters, from our dipping lugs!
Having just recently swotted up on the matter, I thought to try and address these evidently grey areas.
You’ll get refresher on: –
1. Square Rig
2. The Dipping Lug Rig
3. Balanced Lug Rig
4. Standing Lug
5. The Gunter Rig
Ok, let’s go.
1. Square Rig
An ancient sail and most effective on big ocean going sailing ships. Mast stepped centrally. A wooden ‘Yard’ up top. Sail cut square. No boom down below (loose footed). Equal sail for and aft of mast. Powerful on broad reach and off the wind, jibing not a worry. The square Rig. Can be a bugger to tack. (see the video)
As said above, square riggers are a bugger to tack, take a look at the Star of India trying. As you will see its not a walk in the park. Built in Ramsay IoM back in 1853. Now thousands of miles away based in San Diego (USA). The oldest working square rigger on the planet.
2. The Dipping Lug Rig
A variation of the square rig. A very powerful and effective arrangement on all points of sail. The best up wind of all the Lugsails. A bugger to tack though, having to drop the sail and re-hoist on new tack. With a central mast, a long gaff up top, and a loose footed below. The sail’s tack fix-sheeted well forward of mast. Can have a split configuration on the same gaff see the second boat in the image.
2. The Balanced Lug
Mast forward of centre plate, Gaff hoisted up top and pulled close to mast, and peaked high abaft. Sail laced on boom at bottom (can just be held at the tack and clew). Boom tied down by tack down haul to foot of mast. Sail cut out-of-square to accommodate the peak-gaff. Sail laced to gaff. (Junk rig is a fully battened variation.)
Two cracking little balanced lug tender dinghies. They’re probably more fun than their mother ships.
4. Standing Lug
Mast up forward of centre plate. High peaked gaff hoisted up mast. Loose footed, or a boom, at foot. Sail laced on gaff. Tack retained at foot of mast. The ‘Drascombe Dabber’ is an example with a loose footed main sail.
5. The Gunter Rig
This is the most common one you will see. The gaff is held to the mast by jaws at the bottom, and by the halyard keeping it almost vertical at the top. At the bottom of the mast can have a boom or it can be loose footed.
Now, the ultimate gunter sailing dinghy of all time must be the Mirror Dinghy. I learnt to sail in one and I’m certainly not the only one to have done so.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Over the coming week I’ll try to extend this post to include the more modern arrangements commonly use by Wardley’s sailors.
This film was shot a long way from our beloved Waldleys Marine Yacht Club. But since there’s not much going in the the bleak-mid-winter on the River Wyre, I recommend you watch this. I am hoping to move and enthuse you to draw up those passage plans, hoist those sails, and live out those dreams – and all before that blasted clock runs down.
It’s BBC quality!
Watch preferably on a good sized monitor or smart TV.