Saturday, 23 October 2010

Pettifox and Dolly Pentreath

Another newcomer to St Ives this year was Pettifox of Scilly.  I thought she looked a bit like a Bristol Channel, or Scilly Pilot Cutter, maybe a bit smaller, though she is in-fact based on the Breton Crabber.
She was designed by Francois Vivier and there is an article about her from The Boatman here

She was built in 1992 and normally plies her trade on the Scillies, I'd have taken the opportunity to have a sail on her but unfortunately due to the high winds she was only motoring.    

really like the lines of this motor boat, she is obviously well looked after and loved.   I do like raised topsides.

This is Dolly Pentreath, she was built in St Ives in 1993 and is a St Ives Lugger.  Its interesting how different she is to Pettifox, designed to be used for chasing herring and pilchards she is double ended, with a massive lugsail and mizzen and huge bumkin. 

This photo was borrowed from the Mounts Bay Lugger Association

An unknown Gaffer out near Godrevy Lighthouse.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

St Ives Jumbos

A while ago I wrote about our holidays in St. Ives.  The harbour there has always got something going on, whether the tide is in or out.   


We hadn't been for a couple of years and its always interesting to look and see what has changed. These two superb boats have appeared recently.  They are St Ives Jumbos, which is a bit of a misnomer as they are actually one of the smallest types built and sailed there. 

These two were built by Jonny Nance who is himself descended from a line of St Ives Boat Builders. You can find out all about these boats at the association's excellent web site.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Gaffers Three

And now, despite enormous public demand, what the world has been waiting for;
Gaffers Three........

We got away to a pretty good start, I don't think many boats actually beat us across the line, there were gaffers all round us but mainly to leeward, some ahead and quite a few behind which meant we had a grand view as they all came lolloping past us. 

The start line was conveniently tucked into the lea of West Cowes, so the water was still quite calm and the breeze stiff to moderate for a while after the start, enough to stop you lighting your pipe but, not enough to blow it out. TW had a double reef tucked in, she was wearing a jib maybe one size bigger than required for the occasion, mainly due to the Storm Jib being on the kitchen table awaiting repair.

The course took us across the entrance to Cowes, squeeked down the Island side of Gurnard then on to Saltmead.  The wind was blowing from the south west, bang on the nose, and the tide was giving it a run for its money, so this meant a big tack out towards the New Forest shore. As we sailed out from the lea of the island the waves and wind increased, by the time we'd started to come out into the middle of the Solent the wind and waves were getting up, maybe a 6 by this time.

There's a chart of The Solent here

Away over on the New Forest shore Fawley power-station chimney could easily be seen with its vertical row of red lights.  By this time the larger boats, the ones which hadn't shot away at the start were getting the bit between their teeth, Ocean Pearl came past looking glorious, and very very big.

TW battled on, shouldering into every wave. Now and again a big green one would come, she'd give it an extra hard nudge and the spray would come over the bow, giving the crew a good soaking. Normally I hate wearing a hood, it feels really claustrophobic, but when a bucket of salt water comes at you they are the best thing for stopping it all running down your neck and filling up your wellies.

Once Cee Dubbs had thought we’d gone far enough he thought we’d better put in a tack, there was a fair bit of lea helm due to the slightly oversize jib and it wasn’t certain she’d actually go if asked, but Cee Dubbs waited until there was a bit of a lull and a flattish spot.
"Righto, here we go, ready about, wait for it, wait, back it, back it, back it, right now, Yes! excellent."

We were now on starboard tack heading over towards Salt Mead which was to be left to starboard heading for East Lepe which meant an almost 270 degree turn to head north-east-ward again.
Cee Dubbs thought we might not get round, the tiller was almost over on the rail trying to keep her straight and there wasn't much more helm to give her. "We might have to wear ship, gybe round in a figure of eight,  but with a bit of luck, a bit of a lull and good seamanship meant she sailed round with the mark to starboard, like the amazing little ship she is. 

We were now on a run, and the sound of the wind died away as it always does when you're going with the wind, TW took off surfing down the waves.
I looked behind and saw Pegasus rounding the mark, a few seconds later she appeared to be sailing back towards it.
 "Must've missed it, going round again"

A minute or so later I heard an almighty bang, sounded like a starting cannon going off. It took us a minute to realise what we'd heard but when we turned to look Pegasus had lost her mast. 
When she'd made it round the mark and the wind had come onto her stern the pressure of the wind in her sail must have been too much for the rigging. By this time we were surfing down-wind, the sea lifting us from the stern and catapulting the wee ship forward, looking back the following sea seemed bigger than ever.

That’s when we decided to call it a day.

Fun’s Fun etc, but when much bigger boats start to get into trouble it may be a foolish man who ignores the signs.

We found that mobile phone number and called it in.

It was a straight run all the way home, by around 4.30 pm we were rolling in over the bar into the gentle waters of Chichester Harbour, and maybe wondering whether we should have gone on a bit longer.  

A few days later I noticed on Chris Partridge’s Blog that Ocean Pearl had lost her bowsprit, probably the same day.

I got this e-mail from Cee Dubbs;

It seems reasonable to assume that Pearl lost her prod about the same time as Pegasus lost her pole.  Actually I looked it up on Bramblemet archives and around 11.00 it was blowing some twenty knots, gusting to twenty-seven; it then had a little hissy fit at about 11.50 blowing twenty-five knots, gusting to thirty-seven.  Thereafter, it settled back down to merely grim.

That is top of five going to top of six, with middle six going to middle of gale eight.  Glad we noticed.

I have to tell you seriously that if I had had the storm jib on board, I think I might have gone on trying, but forty squares up for'ard was giving her something of a lee helm when it might have been essential to luff up, or be laid a long, long way over and I don't think she would have tacked without it, or really been able to keep moving through the lumps.  It would have been endless bashing about, wearing ship and scouting for marks in the murk.

Makes me shiver to think about it.    

Me too!