Tag Archives: Piel Island

New 2022: Project Keep Wardleys Sailor Warm and Dry

I used to be one of the first sailors up in the morning. Often at the crack of dawn. I would be there exchanging banter with fellow sailors across the anchorage in Piel harbour, often shivering clutching a cup of steaming hot tea, as the sun starts its long climb over Ingleborough (2372ft)— a truly wonderful sight.

Recently things have changed. Now I’m finding I’m often the last to wake, but when I do wake it is with a feeling of extreme cosiness. Another ten minutes, why not! Often one’s dreams are the most colourful, and most memorable at that time of the morning. Even the thought of a nice brew, or even to behold a beautiful sunny morning, sunrays flooding in through the portholes dancing on the varnished bulkhead. But I am still happy to stay put, and dream of what the day might bring.

What has happened you might ask? Well, the answer is something totally silent and non-power-consuming: it’s my recently fitted charcoal stove, which runs happily through the night keeping me nice and warm but more importantly dry.

Here is a pictorial view of how this happened:

Proud owner of a new BENGCO. Thanks Darren G. for you invaluable help in sourcing it.


This is where the charcoal goes. Not really much room. The original seal has broken. However, aluminium foil serves well as a substitute.
How to light: Remove all ash from previous (important). Fill with charcoal. Take off bottom unit. Physically remove the wick. Soak it in mentholated spirit (keep mine in a marmite pot is useful). Slot back in. Open vent. Light. Refit bottom unit. Wait till see orange glow. Close vent nearly shut.
Wardleys Sailor  professional design work. Must fit as low as possible. to suck the cold and damp. And  a long pipe is all the better for warming the boat.


It is still at the back of an envelope stage. The flash ‘H’ cap is still to be born.
Wardleys sailor Billy Whiz lends a helping hand.
Where to put it? Blend in with window. Can increase window length to cover if finally removed.
Ordered stainless steel from internet. Toying with new material in garage.
The stove didn’t come with a pipe or a through deck flange. Have to fabricate it myself. Here I’m offering up the parts. Must get the angle right!


Flange welded up. Deciding how long the pipe should protrude. What is aesthetically pleasing?
What is the right length. Here I decide to weld the pipe after installation on the boat. Must not scortch the deck!
The day arrived to fit into boat. Cutting and chopping into the original fixtures and fitting. It hurts!!
Finally fitted, but not yet welded fully.
View outside. Not yet welded fully.
View from inside. Now the pipe is welded,to the flange  trimmed off, and bolted into the deck.
Ash! The down side is more cleaning in the boat to do. Plan to put a metal hearth in place. Rain down the pipe may cause the ash into a paste if not removed immediately, which is what can be seen in the photo. Had to poke about with the ash pan removed. Normally the ash is all in the pan.
Keeping a brew warm. Works a treat! Also, airing and drying out some damp shoes and coat.
Hard to visually see working. But believe me there is some heat coming out of it!
View from jetty. Eight bolts. Plenty of sealant. Flange works well, little heat gets to the fibreglass, even when at full heat.

NEW March 2022: A Wardley’s Trip to Piel Island

There were a lot of trips to Piel Island over the 2021 season. This is just one of them. The main aim is to get out to sea, watch the Lancashire coast with work and worries left far behind. See the Cumbrian coast in the distance come closer and closer. Navigate into the channel and find an anchorage. Get ashore in a small inflatable dinghy. Walk the walk up the long inclined jetty capable of handling a 36-foot tide, order a pint in the Ship Inn, then pay homage to the King of Piel (order more pints). Get back to our moored boats in spite of the 4-knot running tide. Hopefully, sail back into the arms of our loving families the following day.


Halfway Shoal: The turning point into Barrow Channel for all but the largest boats.

Kyle 2 ahead!
Castle panorama on Piel Island
Awaiting the tide
Port hole
Unfriendly natives?


Time to head back

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