Category Archives: You’ll enjoy this

Good Works, COVID 19 Crisis, Shameless Metaphores, and Setting sail for Morecambe

It has been too long since the last proper post. As you may have surmised I’m much keener on stories of sailing and getting out on the water than matters to do with construction, Jetties, mud-berths, and the general laborious nature of keeping a club like ours up and running. Well, here’s an effort to make amends.

There is one thing is for sure at Wardleys is that we’ve got some blumming good land skippers at our club!

And the proof that they can sail a keen course when working with their hands,  sail close to the wind when erecting impressive wooden structures,  and keep their wellies well above the muddy shores when blasting out quantities of goo standing in the way.

The new Jetty, getting these polls to the club and then into the mud was no mean feat.

If you haven’t been down to the club recently it’s just in front of the clubhouse jutting proudly out towards the river. A lot of hard work and effort have been sunk into the ground along with those ex GPO poles and other timbers.  And all made possible by Wardleys Member’s hard work and generous subscriptions.

And it hasn’t been without other types of cost borne by our brilliant club membership. If you were to plie the skipper of yacht Rivendale with a tumbler of whiskey and Canada dry he’ll tell you all about it! (Something about falling off the back of a lorry closely followed by a half-ton telegraph pole). Still, it looks like he’s gotten away with it, with only a very slight spell off work. He is as fine as can be now.

Well done lads and lass’. Fine workmanship.

In way of a pat on the back for all concerned. I am sure you have all heard of the comedian ‘The Landlord’. He would sum things up by lauding those involved with the words, “You Beautiful People, You Beautiful People”. And he would be dead right!

But ALAS the club just recently has had the WIND KNOCKED FROM ITS SAILS! 

I am afraid to say that even the best of Skippers (land or otherwise) cannot steer a canny course when a whopper of a wave slops over and takes away the mast and sails, wholesale!

Well this is exactly what has happened to the club with the COVID 19 catastrophe. If you haven’t just arrived back from planet Zog you already know what it is about.  I am afraid it looks as if our plans for the first half of the season have been sunk and are currently on a fair vertical descent towards Davy Jones’ locker.

Lord of the Admiralty, Boris was on TV the other night and he told us not to congregate in groups of more than two. We can’t even go further than a mile from home without good reason! And sorry boys,  boats are considered as second homes and do not count. Do not get any clever ideas.  We are so well and truly sunk — but hopefully only for the time being!

The planned 8th April Crane-In would now be ILLEGAL, under the terms of the govt lock-down.

We have had to lock up the clubhouse to deter those who might feel lightheaded about it all and thus wonder down in a delirious state of despondency.

Even our admiral in chief has got the lurgy

ON A MORE SERIOUS NOTE:

I am sure we can all appreciate the canny course through stormy seas the Government most certainly has to steer to give those of us who are disposed to falling overboard, in situations like this, the best of chances of getting pulled from the water by the brilliant NHS. To achieve this we must ensure that the NHS is not overwhelmed by too many hapless casualties thrashing about in the soup. That’s the idea anyway.

Norman ‘Ace’ Ingram, proving that Wardley’s Sailors know all about how to improvise when under heavy weather.

I  thus strongly urge us most excellent Wardleys skippers to all play our part! To shamelessly mix my metaphors, we’ve all got to BOX CLEVER to sail out of this MAELSTOM.

Let us all stay safe and make it to one of Steve’s renditions of Wardley’s Creek 2021

If my understanding of contagion is correct, at least 65% of us are going to get hit by a breaking wave (aka. the lurgy) before the seas go calm again.

Now back to the sail to the great Morecambe adventure?

I was brought-up in Morecambe and first learned to sail in a Mirror dinghy and then a little later on in a Wayfarer Dinghy, launching off the town hall slipway. We are talking about the seventies here. Yes, homemade wetsuits and hard plastic yellow lifejackets! And so very modern it all was! But to top it off, all the new boats had glistening gold aluminium masts and cardboard stiff terylene sails.  The sound of those early sails thrashing whilst head to wind at the bottom of the slipway, whilst waiting to go was terrifying. Then eerie quiet as the boat boar way to be replaced by the manic gurgle of speeding water, as the hull ripped onto an instantaneous hydroplaning adrenalin rush, resulting in a wet spray electric charge through a classic Morecambe Bay chop!

At Piel before setting sail for Morecambe in summer 2019.

Sorry, but moving forwards in time to the, not quite yet, sentimental summer of 2019.  One early morning two Wardley’s boats sailed out of Piel Island. There was Jamila (a Mirage 2700) in company with Andy Sargent in Kyle 2. Once having navigated carefully beyond the Seldom Seen scars and as far as the Walney lighthouse, the two boats split up and went their merry ways.  Kyle 2’s lay a course back to the River Wyre, and Jamila lay a course for Morecambe. The plan was to return to the slipway of my sailing youth when the sun was always shining and the wind was always blowing.

Leaving Piel Island in company with KYLE 2

As all time-served and experienced Wardley’s sailors know, there is a little bit of gamesmanship and a roll of the dice when deciding when to bear to port and set a course on the Blackpool tower. With a good surging 4/5 knots this always a good rule of thumb. You will eventually find yourself bearing down on the Fairway Buoy with the remnants of the Wyre Light just beyond. But misjudge the height of the tide, or your speed over ground, and you quite simply and unceremoniously hit the bottom.

However to lay a course to Morecambe, the easy but somewhat inefficient route is to follow a regular  Wardley’s Sailor’s course back to the River Wyre, as described above, and once at the Heysham Deeps turn ninety degrees to starboard and follow the big boats towards the all tidal port of Heysham.

Now laying an efficient fast course to Morecambe is a gamble on top of a gamble for the irregular navigator. The sandbanks are always shifting and changing. They are certainly not for the faint-hearted or for Building Society Bank manager types wedded to the words ‘Safe, Sound and Dependable’.

Now, the excitement for the risk-taking adventurer is to take the shortest route and get swept along with the flood tide! It’s further than the River Wyre but quicker to get to if you not deterred by the notorious Morecambe Bay Mort Bank shallows. (aka. Deadman Bank en Anglais)

The planned route to Morecambe. A high risk and excitement sailing plan.

The skipper of Jamila was feeling confident. He had just taken cyberspace delivery of updated charts on this laptop based chart-plotter.  He had all the information at his fingers and knew full well how to rig up a tidal curve with port corrected hours and the like. A china pencil inherited from most excellent Wardleys skipper Vic Mathews, Jamila’s previous owner,  facilitated such tertiary calculations, markings, and notes. A line across the electronic map was drawn. The sounding along the line were noted. Calculations were made compensating for the advance in time and the surging Morecambe Bay nine and a half meter tide expected that day. The synopsis was that it was going to be close, but there was a bit of contingency built-in. The fuzzy warm feeling knowing you’ve got contingency, fans the flame that ignites the, “Let do it”, decision  The route was not quite but roughly with the direction of the tide. Jamila was going to be dropping her anchor in Morecambe before Kyle 2 picks up at Knott End. Game on!

A quick VHF call to Kyle 2 was made to announce the plan. Andy Sargent voice replied with a slight raise in tone, “You are, are you, I do wish you good luck”,  but no explicit, or obvious implicit recommendation to rethink the plan.

A course for the seaside resort of Morecambe was struck. Jamila surged along at a speed over ground never seen before. A sharp eye on the depth was kept at all time. The margins were tight but were largely what was to be expected. Rushing along at 7-8 knots with between a metre and two metres at all times under the keel is not for the faint-hearted. Going forward or event standing up was to be a no-no. Also, going down below I was resolved to keep myself braced at all times in case of a crashing and unexpected halt. Most sailors will experience something similar for short periods when crossing bars, or banks in the Thames estuary, or general short cuts in tidal areas. But this short cut to Morecambe was going to take an hour or so of hard sailing in an F5.  I did not want to get hurt or to be thrown overboard.

After forty minutes of bowling along, the end was coming into sight. The intersection where Mort Bank gives way to Furness Bank then Yeoman’s Bank, which tapers off into the relatively deep Kent channel was in site. The seas were very choppy, as it was to be expected in shallow tidal water.  The depths registering on the sounder had so far been amazingly flat and consistent of over the six nautical miles covered so far. The size and scale of the enormous Heysham 1 and Heysham 2 nuclear power stations were making themselves felt to starboard. Time to get out the camera with the zoom lens and get a few mementos.

When charging through the sea, miles away from land, and at full pelt, the last thing you want to see just up ahead are birds standing in shallow water.

It is not uncommon to sail past flocks of black-headed gulls bobbing around en-mass out in the middle of the bay miles from anywhere in particular.  The seas around the boat were choppy, but no visual cues around the boat suggested anything particularly threatening.  Looking astern, Jamila was leaving a nice well-defined trail of foam and broken water in her wake. The first sign of trouble came with a group of seagulls 200 yards up ahead to starboard. There was something not right about them.  They were not bobbing about lifting and falling with the passing waves as one would expect, and surprisingly their bums were hoisted somewhat above the water such that their legs were partially showing.  SANDBANK ahead!

The plan went wrong because at the ‘B’ on Bank sounding was incorrect. I suspect that the soundings just above the ‘F’ in Furness were more realistic. The Moral of the story is Sand Banks shift and move.

Jamila shuddered to a halt from seven knots to nothing in a second or so. For a moment nothing, and then she let go of whatever she was holding on to, and carried on a little more, before repeating the exercise. This went on for a little while. I didn’t dare get up and do anything. Think of a bucking bronco in a cowboy movie!

Dropping both sails and the anchor, and waiting for highwater minus one hour was to be the preferred course of action. The offending sandbank was a good metre higher than charted.  The game was up. Morecambe will have to wait for a while.  So OK, my Wardley’s sailor pal Andy S will be picking up his Knott End mooring whilst I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere.  Well, that is the way the cookie crumbles! Jamila was still bumping along,  briefly shuddering to a halt and then lifting a bit and moving on to the next.

Eventually I saw what looked like barely covered sand.  I  immediately steered Jamila off at a tangent and beached her in the hope she would not budge so I could safely go up on deck. With the sails still up and slightly abeam the noise of flogging canvas was hurting my ears and raising anxiety levels into the red zone.

Once the sails were down and the Rocna anchor deployed a welcome calm descended.

A cup of tea was required.  It was time to relax, get some lunch, and ring Dad with news of progress. The plan is for him to pick me up and take me to my old home. In fact, Dad lives only a short walk from the Heysham’s Sunny Slopes, and if up there walking his dog, would be able to see me, as a  little dot, some four miles away on the sandy coloured sea that we had all grown to love over the last fifty years. I must confess to having both eaten, having a nap, and perhaps of relaxing a little too much. A whole hour had gone by. There was one hour to go to high tide ( HW) and six miles under canvas to sail.

The last leg of the journey was a trip down memory lane for me.  Armed with a good telephoto lensed camera, I was able to capture a record of all the great places I remember as a boy, and later as a young adult going out with the lads, drinking ale, playing pool, darts and let’s not forget, space invaders.

Jamila surged into the Kent channel passing the Heysham harbour, The Barrows, St Patricks Church, Heysham Village, the Sunny Slopes, Sandylands Promenade, The Battery, Morecambe West End, The Midland Hotel, The Winter Gardens Theatre,  Morecambe Central, and finally Morecambe Townhall. The promenade continues for several miles further northeast encompassing The Broadway Hotel, Happy Mount Park (remember Mr. Blobby), before terminating at the foot of a steep hill called Hestbank. I once spent two weeks in the first prominent whitewashed house on the said hill. From my room I remember seeing a long snake of people following the Queen’s Guide out across the vast planes of sands yonder to the foothills of the English Lake District.

Heysham village. A lovely neck of the woods with nice coastal walks in the vicinity.
Left to right: start of Sandylands Promenade, Grosvenor Hotel (Site), start of Sunny Slopes. The large building in the middle is now a block of Residential Fats. Before, there was the Grosvenor Hotel. A beautiful store five-story 1920s building with a very impressive exterior and interior décor. They tried to save it the government would not give it listed status. I big mistake in my humble opinion.
A testament to northern seaside resort architecture. Now gone forever. I wish the Weber family were still there.
Sandylands Promenade. There was a very large tidal pool which was very popular in summer. At low tide the encapsulated area was ten times larger than any common or garden swimming pool. Everyone from school would be down there on the few hot summer days that occasioned (remember 1977), and there was still space for a snog and a kiss that wouldn’t be noticed. Or so you hoped!
Morecambe’s world-renowned 90-year-old Midland Hotel. A world-class Art Deco build from the 1930s. As you can see it still looks a million dollars event in 2020.
The Wintergardens. Another massive theatre on a scale that matches those in the other major British seaside resort. To its right is the Art Deco Woolworth store building the 30s. In the foreground is Stone Jetty. Until the 80s there was a 50m outdoor swimming pool and Marine Land with a dolphin and performing sea lions. Unfortunately the foundation began to collapse into the sea.
Morecambe Central. Here you can see the lifeboat station. If you have ever heard the Morecambe hovercraft checking in this Hollyhead Coastguard, this is where it is stationed.

Jamila charged up to the notional finishing line bang on the time of high water.  The question at the top of the skipper’s mind was where to drop the anchor.

The plan, in brief, was to leave the boat, paddle to the slipway in the Avon round-tail,  be welcomed by the Dad and car, retire to the house set in a pleasant leafy setting, enjoy the evening sunshine on the lawn, drink a long G&T,  eat well, sleep soundly, return to the slipway,  and finally paddle back to Jamila on the early morning tide.

The Alhambra Theatre. I once performed in a school production here. It caught fire in 1977 and has been disused since. However like a to the truly enormous building, a lot of small retail shops were built around the outside. These all have been occupied since. World-famous in the Art Deco World. Morecambe’s Midland Hotel. Morecambe Railway Station to the right.

Down came the sails for the second time but this time the Volvo D3-20 was brought to life, and the anchor was to stay put for the time being. The hunt for a suitable place to stay the night was on. Where best to leave Jamila?  It was currently high tide and the intention was to leave on the next, so pretty much anywhere was up for grabs. Looking at the local boats at their moorings it was obvious that they all preferred to be tucked in behind big piles of rocks called Groynes. It looked cosy, safety in numbers, mess with one boat owner and you mess with them all. However there was not much space and certainly not enough swinging room to deploy Jamila’s trusty Rocna. Another reason not to anchor behind is that since the Groynes were built, they have silted up badly, and in places, bright green Marram grass has taken a foothold. And returning a little late to depart might mean a twelve-hour wait for the next tide. Unfortunately, the modern-day man paying the bills working to the rhythm of a google calendar cannot deal with such awkward practicalities.

The weather forecast for the night and the following morning was favorable.  So, dropping the hook outside the Groynes it was going to be.  The other consideration is that you don’t want some drunk walking out on the sands and lifting your anchor as a souvenir of their stay. There are plenty of pubs nearby on the promenade. Given Morecambe’s reputation for claiming the lives of hapless beach walkers, the plan was to anchor off in the deepest gully on the chart. With a bit of luck the anchor and boat would only be exposed very briefly, and it would frighten the  casual punter venturing out that far in the dead of night, or at least sober them up in doing so a bit.

Using my Belfield Chart Plotter, an electronically informed anchorage was chosen. The idea was to anchor in the Kent Channel that briefly runs parallel with the promenade. Hopefully Jamila would lie in the knee the deep waters oozing down from the Kentmere valley east of Ambleside and Troutbeck. This would be a good time to try out the Featherweight Seagull outboard that would spare the old arms and shoulders the effort of rowing ashore. With skipper at tiller Jamila zig zagging with an eye on the echo sounder gave a rough idea of the lie of the channel. A discernable underwater gulley was evident running north-north-east. Down went the Anchor followed by a three-minute spell in reverse gear to dig in. Then the engine shut down and all went calm. By this time the wind had dropped off somewhat but still providing a breeze for the Morecambe and Heysham yacht club members, whose dinghies suddenly appeared in respectable numbers from the very jetty whence I learned to sail.

Look for Kentmere, at the top right of the map. The source of the river Kent that runs past and parallel to Morecambe’s central promenade. Once reaching Morecambe Bay, the river passes Arnside Knott, and works its way across the sands, at times very broad and shallow such that the cross-bay walkers can easily wade through knee-deep, before congregating in the deeper channel that runs passed the town of Morecambe.

A school friend of mine who’s a good skier and sailor when responding to a Facebook: ‘What do you prefer’, type list of questions, was confronted by the trickiest one of all: “The Mountains or the Oceans”? Bearing in mind  he learned to ski very young on the slopes of the French Pyrenes (and I was there with him), and only later did he learn to sail on Lake Windermere crewing an E-Boat offshore one design: his answer was ‘ THE MOUNTAINS BUT ONLY JUST’. Well, I am hereby resolved to gainsay my good friend! Had he experienced the very special romance of sailing back to his home town, of dropping anchor on a glorious summer evening with Lake District Fells in the backdrop, had he been welcomed by a crowd of small sailing craft, by happy families with buckets and spades on the beach, and the smell of ice cream and candy floss in the air, his decision might have gone the other way?

Overnight anchorage. Slipway to the south. The town hall can be seen set back from the road with gardens leading to the main entrance.

Now one of the sailing craft peeled away from the pack and headed in my direction. It evidently wasn’t part of the race. It differed also in that it was a small well spec’d cruising boat with a tall slender mast. It had no trouble cutting through the, by now, light airs and easily plugged the ebbing tide. It got closer and closer, and it was clear that the skipper had something to say. Eventually when in earshot I heard the words, “You don’t want to anchor there. And can I respectfully remind you that you should not dry out your yacht without prior knowledge of the bottom, you would do better moving elsewhere”. There was something strange but familiar about the delivery of the said injunction. His tone of voice and demeanour were mildly authoritarian, but nevertheless polite and not at all unfriendly.  And also, he did not appear to be addressing only me? He also appeared to be addressing his own crew??

It was turning into one of those difficult to read experiences. Was it an ex Heysham High school pal I had failed to recognise having some fun at my expense?

The situation revealed itself when the boat suddenly went about and sailed off on a starboard tack. On the tall high aspect ratio mains’l  were the words emblazoned ‘Morecambe Bay Sailing School’. I had happened upon Morecambe’s very own Royal Yachting Association sailing instructor. All became perfectly clear and I broke out into a broad grin.  I had, after many long years of admittedly being mainly a weekender sailor, decided to secure my Yacht-Master Coastal Skipper’s examination, so I was familiar with the officer training style of instruction that entails. The RYA instructor then put in another tack and bore off and doubled back my way. I adopted that alert eager to please manor that all keen skipper candidates automatically adopt, I hailed back in his direction, “Where would you advise me to go SIR?”.

I was directed to a spot about 300 yards southwest downstream. Further away from the friendly crowd of moored cruisers, but closer and less work for the  Seagull motor to propel the skipper with overnight bag ashore.

The danger that I faced was that local commercial fishermen had erected a scaffolding structure to further their good enterprises and I am guessing, to net fish as they swim down the Kent at low tide.

Dad finally answered his phone. He was up at Windermere sitting in a friend’s living room looking out up the lake to the very hills and source of the river Kent. He was just about to leave. He could see the next ferry approaching. Once at Ferry Nab, a drive down Lythe Valley leading to the A6, a turn off at Carnforth Enroute Morecambe, and then descend the hill at Hestbank soon arriving at the town hall slipway.  I had a wait to endure, but a pleasant wait all the same.

In the meantime, a sight that caught my eye was a chap sailing a small 12′ Heron Dinghy. He was clearly a very senior member of our sailing community. Mid to late eighties I would guess. But amazingly and quite beautifully there he was out there in a small boat on a sometimes unforgiving sea squeezing every drop of goodness from his allotted time on our beautiful blue planet. Whilst pondering this wonderful senior sailor,  let us take a moment to remember Pablo, Robert, Peter, and Melvin, Wardley’s club members who started the 2019 season but sadly didn’t make it to the start line for 2020. God bless them.

Eventually I could see a man onshore watching me through a pair of glasses. By this time the crowd of sailing dinghies were either being dragged onto their launching trollies or were heading back to the slipway. The Avon was ready bobbing on the end of a painter, all that remained was to set the anchor light and lock the boat. A well-tickled carburetor is a good guarantee that a Seagull motor will burst into life first pull. They always do when you know-how, or at least within three on a bad day. The little trail of blue smoke between Jamila and the shore had long since dissipated once the greetings and formalities were over. The deflated dinghy, oars, outboard, and overnight bag were stowed in an awaiting car and whisked off to an address I still think of as home.

The Dad and the Wadley’s sailor Author.

Well folks that is pretty much it for the moment.  This was the first time I had sailed home. Everyone must try it one day. I would heartily recommend it if you can. Jamila was still there at six in the morning. One more night was passed at Piel Island, hosted by King Stephen and Shelia, and Jamila sailed back to Fleetwood marina the following morning–the Blackpool tower saw to that. If you made it this far god bless you.

Take care every one in these strange times.  Fingers crossed for 2020.

The boat called ‘Inchree’ – September 2019

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’.

 

Inchree’s view over Bass Pool and Piel Island beyond

 

Inchree has lost her bilge keels but still retains her big central block of pig iron. In her day, to keep the crew secure, stanchions once surrounded the boat, but only three now remain. The guardrail wire has long since corroded away.

 

She’s so slim!  But that is how boats had to be in the 50s and 60s. They had to be able to sail to windward. The idea of relying on the superbly reliable power of a modern engine was never fully factored into the equation.

 

Nevertheless she was equipped with an engine well that would take a small  3hp to get her home in a flat calm. Her owner wouldn’t need to hang over the stern in a seaway to operate the outboard. As can be seen, the port winch has succumbed to the passing years and is missing, but hidden from view, her starboard twin is still there and can be turned by hand, albeit with difficulty..

 

‘Inchree’s cabin by modern standards is very compact. Perhaps in the days before the cheap high calorie modern diet we didn’t need so much room to move about. Still, a quick glance is evidence alone that the designer thought long and hard to ensure the most convenient internal arrangement.

 

As already said, she had been well thought out. She possessed every convenience that was required in her time.. All members of the family were sure to want to come along and join the adventure.

 

Look at this photograph. With a bit of imagination one can imagine the water surging asunder, and possibly feel ‘Inchree’s bow rising and falling on the passing peaks and troughs. And maybe see a young child, proud of his father at the helm, peering through the window feeling both safe and exhilarated by the sight of the foaming sea.

 

Her name can still be seen clearly inscribed upon her bow. A proud owner there once was!

 

Well, time to get back to the mother ship and set sail to the English seaside resort of Morecambe, which is the next port of call.

 

Wardley’s sailors away we go.

CLUB EVENT: Let’s go Anchor on 3rd August 2019.

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.

Great holding power the ‘Silvikrin’ anchoring location in the Furness Peninsula.

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!
Note: times are GMT. Add an hour!
On the other side: –
Piel Castle in the distance looking back across Light House Bay. Jamila moored in Bass Pool at the bottom.
Andy Sargent on Walney Island looking back towards the castle and the lake district hills

Sailmaker’ Apprentice, February 2019

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 dipping lug

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.)

A balanced lug
Lug sail

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.

Standing Lug
Standing Lug sail plan

 

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.

The Gunter rig

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.