Tag Archives: Wardleys Marine Yacht Club

gorgeous new year’s day+3 at wardleys Creek 2021

Winter days can be bleak and miserable, but when high pressure comes to dominate there is not a better time of the year for great quirky English scenery, and the best is surely to be found right in our WMYC boat yard. And don’t’ take my word for it, check out the number of people parked at the top of our Creek carrying expensive Nikons, Olympus OM1s’ and the like.

Note: the following photos are auto-sized so should be explorable by zooming-in.

Above: Norman Igrams’s Sika. One of many Wardley’s boats that have been all over the Irish sea and some. Norman was on his boat today making all and sundry cups of tea, and keeping everyone at a good 2 meters safe distance.

Looking down the creek toward the Wyre. Galadriel can be seen floating and showing off her sea kindly curves. Today the tide crept in at 13:36, lifting most boats but not all boats, and then crept away again whence it came.

Above: John Jacques’ ‘Barn Dancer’. She’s a supremely capable Marcon Sabre 27 that will take you anywhere you want. John is also a keen Drascombe Dabber sailor whose vanished mast can be seen rising yonder from a nearby mud berth.

Above: A closer look at ‘Barn Dancer’s well organised but simple cockpit. A nice generous centrally positioned ladder makes her easy to get on and off when dried out at Piel. Let’s hope that she gets a good run of sea miles in 2021, with her top notch Skipper at the helm.

Above: Barry’s de facto country cottage’s derriere. The most magnificent of all derrieres at the club. This great boat can be often seen in Douglas Harbour IoM, sometimes perched against the wall, affording her long standing WMYC skipper a better location-location-location ascetic than most country cottages you will see around.

This is Tom’s slim and sleek ‘Thunderball’. A Westerly 25 triple keeler. She’s a shallow daft go anywhere boat that is just as happy sailing out in an F7 wind as she is plonked on the mud a short distance from a waterside pub awaiting the return of her WMYC skipper. There are some good YouTube video clips of ‘Thunderball’ out in Morecambe Bay revelling in choppy seas. She is a solid a boat to be sure.

Above: ‘Peter Duck‘ is a WMYC modified Sailfish 18 with additional glassed in concrete ballast and a keel suspended from an open steel frame as opposed to the original enclosed glass fibre moulding. She’s amassed a record of fifty four Morecambe Bay crossings in all weather, and has explored the upper reaches of Morecambe Bay like no other boat in the yard.

WMYC member Billy’s Annabelle. And what a boat! She has a classic semi-planning hull. And a classic sea going boat’s bow for punching safely though seas at displacement speeds and a wide flat stern enabling her to rise up on the plane at 20knots when sea conditions permit. And all from a super economical 45hp Honda outboard. You could say she has the best of both worlds. And as for the comfort afforded by her superstructure, need I say more…

Above: ‘Wispering Wind’ Is a forty foot, go anywhere in the world, deep keel, ocean yacht. She is still under construction, requiring her two junk rig masts erecting and her cabin interior fitting out. After that she will be heading straight off to warm exotic places, such that are not obtainable in our beloved Morecambe Bay. And in doing so, long sought after sailing dreams will become a reality, and I dare say by proxy, also enjoyed by the greater WMYC community. Good luck on ya John, and do keep in touch once you’re gone.

Above: Here’s a eclectic photo of a the happy band of WMYC club boats across the creek.

There is just a little bit of telephoto to squash together all what we like.

And that is, comfortably inland where life is pastural and song birds sing, but not far from seaborn adventure where the waves crash and the seabirds shriek.

Above: And finally a photo of Steve Adams, Norman Igram, and Jim Preston all in covid-19 camouflage. As can be seen, WMYC sailors are as safety conscious on land as they are on the sea.

Wardley’s boat sails to scotland single handed part 1

Pulling yourself and kit to the starting line for a single handed cruise out into the Irish sea is never as you might imagine it. When sat at home enjoying the warmth of an open fire with a mug of tea in hand, the expectation of a summer cruise always includes a sun that  shines, a sea that always shimmers, and gulls that glide endlessly in a perfectly blue sky. The reality was somewhat different. There was a cold wind, a miserable grey sky, and a gale forecast in four days time. With this, and being alone, and added to the stress of preparing to get away, a cloud of melancholy descended. I suddenly became painfully aware that I was leaving a safe and  cushioned world for a very uncertain Irish sea  where anything could happen and something was almost certainly going to do so.

First leg send-off at the Fairway.

The Marina was deserted. My electronic pass got me into the building. No one was there. I comforted myself with a cup of vending machine hot chocolate. This small but strangely up-lifting treat reminded me of youthful days with pals following a swim at the local pool. It did its job, at least in my head the sun started to break through the cloud. I still had to stock up on diesel. The plan was to take as much as I was likely to need and replenish on route where the opportunity occurs. Fifty litres of capacity in all sorted cans sat empty in my car. It was soon coming up to High Water Fleetwood, and still no marina man on the fuel pontoon. This was the last bit of the jigsaw before I could set sail. Maybe this service was disrupted because of COVID-19? Should I go to ASDA? The thought of filling the cans at the pumps and lugging them all the way down to the boat didn’t appeal. Time was running out, a decision would have to be taken soon.

Ten minutes earlier, I had checked Jamila’s sea worthiness. She looked great. Her batteries were OK, she had dry bilges, her engine started the instant the key was turned. yes, she was sitting pretty. So far so good.

Jamila Ready for anything?

I walked out into the car park to see if anything was happening elsewhere. Maybe the marina lads were doing an errand somewhere nearby. Just as I walked around the harbour office a tooting car horn caught my attention. I looked over and saw a friendly face beaming back at me from a small white van. It was Billy Wizz from the club. Bill is one of those steadfast characters that are the bedrock of any organization. He is a cup half full man, always smiling, always good humoured, and always ready for a natter about boats and some good old club gossip. Together we went back to the Marina office and drank yet another cup of hot chocolate.  He cheered me up with a bit of banter and news of goings on at the Wardley’s Marina.

Up until this point, Billy had not yet been adorned with the moniker ‘Wizz’. He had for a long time suffered more than his fair share of bad luck with boat engines, but had recently found a crack marine mechanic who sprinkled some magic dust over his Honda’s Forty-Five horses and had bought them back to life.  On this very day Billy was determined to  take his very competent Hardy 18 out into the Fleetwood channel and up  to twenty knots in speed.

Billy Wizz with a mini Jaws!

I was beginning to feel much better thanks to Billy.  The proverbial sun had begun to shine again, and to make things even better, in walked the missing fuel pontoon man, just as I had been readying myself for a trip to ASDA. The fuel pontoon man, with a broad smile containing a wry hint  of amusement such I should dare to doubt his honour, had assured me that there was plenty of diesel to go around, and would sort me out whenever I wanted.

Billy announced that he was awaiting a pal from the club, Martin, and that in due course would escort me down the channel for a good old send off, explaining it would be an excuse to test out his newly wired up ship’s horn.

First leg to Ramsey on the Isle-of-Man. Game on! Jamila finally got on her way, leaving the calm and safety of Fleetwood Marine, turning left in to the river Wyre, and eventually meeting the gently swell of Morecambe Bay as the river gave way to the sea.

Author and Jamila’s skipper

There is always a feel-good factor to be had when leaving port with a full tank of fuel and with various five and ten litre cans stashed in and around the boat in reserve, which is not always the case when weekend sailing.  And this sense of well being is accentuated when you find yourself creaming along under full sail on a broad reach for a whole twelve hours, and moreover with a favourable tide.

As the Fleetwood promenade began to resemble a thin line in the distance, in what looked like a miniature pilot-boat, Billy and Martin could be seen rapidly approaching in  the distance.

By this time Jamila was at full pelt, ploughing an nice frothy white furrow down the Fleetwood channel toward the Fairway Buoy. But in spite of mother nature’s awesome power pushing at the sails, and the boat’s willingness to respond, Billy was nevertheless catching rapidly and was in the process of earning his new nickname Billy Wizz.  He could be seen sitting at the helm of his fast fishing boat, beaming from ear to ear, as he approached and soon overhauled the sailing boat. His crew member Martin was stood in the stern holding on tight looking vaguely embarrassed at the ease of it all.

Speed and brute power

A photo session then took place. Both Skippers tried to out do each other with clever artistically framed camera shots, as if both boats were the iconic ‘Christine Keeler’  in the buff on a back to front chair.

To the sound of a few farewell hoots of Billy’s ship’s horn, Jamila continued her long march out into the ocean, and the miniature pilot-boat, with a fuel gauge needle rapidly heading south, calved a long turn creating a fanfare of spray and spume and headed back to  safer  waters. 

Photo session – Jamila on her way for Ramsey, Isle of Man.
Photo session – Billy and Martin

Jamila charged on and on. The first waypoint  Halfway Shoal marks the absolute limits of navigation west of Walney. Between said waypoint and the shore errant sailing boats  run a risk of spending a night on a sandbank, which is not normally a feature of this Wardley’s sailor’s passage plan. Once clear of the Heysham Deeps and over the Mort Bank shallows where big boats don’t  venture, the auto pilot was set allowing the skipper to duck down into the cabin below. It always good to get away from the tiller for short periods. When out of the wind and spray the charts can be checked, the passage plan can be verified, the chart plotter can be gazed at, and maybe  the barometer can be tapped.  And in addition,  these days you can’t forget ones social media commitments!

Boat position for social media.

Why not do a posting showing an electronic position and a  pretty sunset over water came to mind? Surely better than yet again another picture of an enormous plate of food from an American holiday, or a  picture of mate’s daughter  pouting her lips? To be honest the FB ‘Likes’ tend to prove me wrong on this score such is social anthropology these days. In any case, as the land starts to recede you’ve got a get a move on before the signal vanishes.  From then on you are out at sea on your own.

The vast wind blasted space between Walney Island west and the eastern shores of the Isle of Man is a show case for  the new world wind turbine paradise  that keeps our kettles bubbling and our router lights pulsating. The passage plan to Ramsay leaves the Halfway Shoal buoy to the north west, threading  between the  Walney West wind farm and the Ormonde wind farm to the north, up past first one  north cardinal, then on to another north cardinal buoy,  scraping the boundaries of the  Walney Extension Wind farm — that’s three  farms in all — until the field of vision is clear all the way to the Isle of Man.  The canny Wardley’s sailor leaves Fleetwood an hour or so before high water getting across Morecambe Bay at slack water or there about, and then hitches a ride on the ebbing tide towards the Isle of Man lasting six hours. The neat trick it to get into the lee of the IOM before the tide turns and tries to sweep you back down towards France. Get positioned roughly in the vicinity south of the Bahama south cardinal, you’ll find the contra flowing flood tide is weakened by the IOM land mass, and will never reach its normal speed as it would do further to the east. 

Big blighters and lots of em.

Passing the shear scale of this array of wind farms is impressive. Our PM talked up Britain’s windfarms in a recent speech on tele. He lamented the days when people claimed that the power generated by these installations would be unable to knock the ‘Skin off a rice pudding’. Well, I got a little bit close to one of these towering turbines and experienced first hand the deafening scream that pulsated my ear drums as a  blade, exceeding the wing span of a jumbo jet, came down from the sky at one hundred and fifty mph, reaching its lowest apex, and then shooting back up skywards a moment later. An experience such as this puts you in no doubt of their awesome power and that these things can kick-arse, at least when the wind is blowing.

Luckily for my little fluttering burgee and mast head aerial, the said lowest apex of one of these monster blades is well above the height of Jamila’s not inadequate proportioned mast. 

Later in his speech, Boris continued and listed off notable British wind farm locations, citing Teesside, Humber, Scotland and Wales, but no mention of the biggest of them all off Walney Island, Chez Nous. You just cannot get decent speech writers these days!

Once south of the Bahama south cardinal buoy and after seven hours of sailing the vast wind farms began to recede into the east. The first glimpses of the Isle of Man appeared. Mountains shrouded in cloud and mist could be seen up a head. The tide had turned by this point, but who cared. It would  never reach a speed, as I have explained above, to worry Jamila, She was still  doing what she was doing earlier on when Billy Wizz turned tail, and that was creaming along under her billowing white canvas sails with a full Beaufort force five wind coming at her from the beam. Like Brer Rabbit in the briar patch, this was where Jamila was born to be,  and what she knew best.

Haughold Head Lighthouse

Maughold Head lighthouse FI(8)30s 15m began to resolve itself as Jamila surge forwards and onwards. Situated to towards the top of a dramatic rocky cliff, the said lighthouse it just what any Hollywood director would like to have in his movie, say in a scene where some hapless undersized fishing boat is being stalked by some ravenous blood and flesh obsessed shark. The destination was an overnight anchorage in Ramsey Bay, and, unfortunately for this particular Wardley’s sailor,  not safely tucked away in the atmospheric port of Ramsey, where there would be beer on tap in the ‘Harbour Hotel’. Instead, I would be exposed out front in the bay, swinging from a hook clinging to a submerged sandy beach, two hundred yards offshore. Such a position would be exposed to any easterly gale that might appear in the  night. But fortunately, in the modern internet age, Wardley’s Sailors are not reliant on tapping the barometer with a finger to gauge the impending weather anymore. A glance at my  iPhone’s display revealed a friendly message from my service provider welcoming me to the IOM, and  to paraphrase, assuring me of  business as usual at no extra charge.

Jamila at Anchor

Once at anchor it was time to relax and ponder the current Covid-19 situation that had denied me, as a Wardley’s sailor bound for Ramsey, my inalienable right to drink a beer or two in a port side bar. Still I couldn’t complain. I got to briefly share an anchorage with the celebrated IOM tramp steamer ‘SILVER RIVER’. Hallowed company it was for sure. I have now bumped into her both at Glasson Dock and Ramsay. She wasn’t to stay long though. We had both had arrived at roughly the same time. The SILVER RIVER passed JAMILA as we both negotiated the final reach  of the Walney Extension wind farm. Fortunately for Silver River, the COVIDE-19 rules do not exclude commercial traffic, only leisure traffic to the Isle of Man like me. Ramsey is not an all tidal port. Boats can only enter and leave port two hours before and after high water. As soon as there was enough depth for Silver River to drag her bilges over the soft Manx mud, she weighed anchor and disappear between the jutting but impressive parallel harbour walls. 

Silver River. moving heavy goods of any description between Glasson Dock and Ramsey. Both dock dry out at low water, where she sits on her keel.

The irony of the Isle of Man Covide-19 rules is that they were quite rightfully make by a risk averse committee mentality, to protect the elderly tax exiles,  who  most probably during their rise to financial supremacy had conducted themselves  in quite a NON risk averse manor, most probably borrowing other peoples money as capital,  under the protection of limited liability where the risks and costs of failure are yet again most probably borne by the  good folks from from the excluded mainland — or perhaps this minor pension fund investor currently swinging at anchor in Ramsey Bay. That said however the people of IOM are incredibly friendly and welcoming in better times and the very best of them are the harbour masters and crew that operate the ports of Ramsey and Douglas. 

Ramsey Bay

Luckily, that night the weather was kind. A gentle onshore wind maintained a view out of Jamila’s companion-way toward a lovely row of  Georgian Terraces, which as the day slowly turned to night were gently illuminated by cleverly sited  multi coloured lights, bringing out the magnificent spender of a by-gone era.  It must be said here that this type of aesthetically pleasing architecture is rarely seen now for utilitarian cost-saving reasons,  compounded by a lack of skilled artisans,  and a modern greed for space including a modern desire for oversized glass windows and balconies.

But I had to count my lucky stars, since it was I who had the best view in town that night and it was costing me nothing. “Oh, to be swinging at anchor out in Ramsey Bay”! (SA, get your guitar out, I can feel another Wardley’s ballad coming on!).

The next episode coming soon: from Ramsey – Port Patrick – Cushendun via the very disturbed and rough waters of the ‘Point of Aire’!

Crane Out Monday 28th October 2019, and photos of new Jetty in progress.

Crane out date is Monday 28th October.

The crane has been booked, so let’s hope for good weather and low winds.  HW 10:55 GMT (clocks go back the night before!), 10.1m.  Members involved need to be on site early before 8am.

The craning plan is on the Clubhouse notice board – if your details are incorrect or missing, please contact a Committee Member as soon as possible.

Prepare in advance by slackening all guard rail wires and with two  lengths of rope around the hull, one forward and on aft on the desired lifting points, so that the strops can be pulled into position in a timely manor.  Please ask if unsure.

New Jetty in Progress. Thirteen photographs

Starting a the bottom of the slip and working back towards the club house:

1.

The extremity of the existing jetty is to be preserved.

2.

On the left hand side jetty, John Gorse proudly oversees progress

3.

The starboard side posts (rows 7 & 8 ) at the far end still await there complementary port side post.

4.

View of completed pairs, rows 6, 5, and 4. Note that rows 5 and 4 now have the scantling affixed.

6.

7.

Rows 4, 3, and 2 with scantlings and decking. The march of progress!

8.

Same as above put further back.

9.

Yet to be joined with the start of the existing jetty (the first post).

10.

Timber yet to join the affray. Five quotes for timber were sought with massive differences in price.

11.

Going slight back in time from the above images. Before the scantlings and decking.

13.

Our WMYC Club sadly flag flying at halfmast in respect of our dearly departed Pablo Bars.

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.

Anchoring at Bass Pool full report. August 2019

A brief synopsis goes like so: –

Five Wardley’s yachts entered ‘Bass Pool’ to drop anchor, three  lay there for the whole night.

Those that felt secure enough to trust their ground tackle all had big heavy hooks with plenty of chain, or had the modern  delta type anchors that cut deep and efficiently into the sand and mud.

Those who relied on their Chart-plotter for a suitable location were punished severely  by an  ebbing tide, and  were left embarrassingly  high and dry. The moral here is don’t trust the men from the ministry and their new fangled electronic charts.

Those who sailed furthest into the pool dried out briefly until the tide returned.

Those on an imaginary  line between the lighthouse and the castle brief elevated a few inches and settled again once the flood tide began.

Only those gently swinging at the outer margins of Bass Pool stayed afloat throughout.

Skippers with ladies aboard opted for the perceived greater safety of the large buoys closest to the pub.

Fifteen sailors and two Wardley’s dogs joined in the club event that took place overlooking ‘Bass Pool’ behind Piel castle. Everyone had a great time and later mingled with the other party goers on the island.

The night at anchor was quiet All those involved returned home safely the following day.

Lots of people on the island.

Continue reading Anchoring at Bass Pool full report. August 2019