Victorian yachting

And we mean, “Victorian”.

We hope that everyone will want to learn to to sail a very old boat, but there are some serious differences between a Victorian Yawl, and a modern Bermudan sloop…

New cordage, original fittings. Brass mast belaying pins.

There are lots and lots of ropes.
Halyards, purchases, running backstays, lifts, messengers, downhauls, ‘sprit shrouds, a bobstay, in-hauls, out-hauls, shake-it-all-about-hauls.
Alright, I made the last one up.
Lots more rigging than you’d find on any modern boat. And topsails. Two, to be exact, a Jib Topsail and a Jackyard Maintopsail.  This can be quite daunting, but it is actually very logical and maybe just a touch organic. We can put them all up, but usually only in sequence.

There are also no winches. Everything is done with muscle-power and the marvels of blocks and tackles. The only exception to this is a hand cranked capstan on the foredeck for the anchor chain. The original still exists, but is not only a museum piece in its own right – being a wooden barrel on hand forged iron brackets – but is far too deadly to pass either the common-sense test or the MCA Coding requirements.

All muscle power…

Well, nearly. There is no outboard for the dinghy, either. But then, why would you want one? Cleone’s dinghy is itself a classic 1950’s built Twinkle 10, a beautiful mahogany-on-oak dinghy built in Ipswich. So, short distances can be easily rowed, and longer distances can be sailed. The dinghy is equipped to be either towed behind Cleone, or sailed, or rowed, or even sculled with a single oar over the transom at the back.

The Twinkle 10 dinghy. Named ‘WMW’. Ask me why.

The dinghy – officially named WMW, or “the Squig” for short. Takes two people sailing, or can carry three people as a rowed tender. Perfect for exploring the river, and quiet little bays and beaches noiselessly – excellent for seeing wildlife without scaring the birds away. Easily rigged – though the crew will do this for you – if you have any experience at all in sailing small boats, you will find this a delight.

No gas aboard.

All heating and cooing is done by pressurised paraffin stove. Some may consider this labour intensive and fiddly, but it has great advantages over gas fuel. For a start, the boat won’t blow up unexpectedly, and whilst the world’s supply of ‘Rippingille’ stoves is not huge (though there is one for sale on eBay for £125, at the time of writing), a Taylors makes a better alternative. It also looks the part, being cast iron and brass.

Something else to polish when you are bored.


%d bloggers like this: