Archive for the ‘Other Yachts’ Category

Another Vertue Spotted – Mea V89

Monday, August 1st, 2016

During my rather too short summer holiday whilst in West Mersea I spotted this fine Cheoy Lee built Vertue called Mea. Andrew, the friendly driver of the club launch, also pointed to another Vertue moored a few cables away but I can’t recall the name. Mea was built in 1959 of teak on ipol frames with a lead keel. In 1966 she was fitted with a Volvo MD1 diesel engine. I wonder if it is still chugging away! The boom is described as short, presumably because she has no bumkin. The Cheoy Lee Vertues do seem to last a long time, I expect this one will easily see out 100 years.

Vertue Mea V89

Vertue Mea V89

Mea V89

Mea V89

Vertue Spotted (Number V210)

Saturday, May 28th, 2016
Cilix V208 moored in Troon

Cilix V208 moored in Troon

23rd May 2016
Just after we arrived in Troon Harbour a nice varnished boat arrived. It was a Vertue called Cilix. She was built in Holland in 1993 from green oak frames and iroko planking. Alan was the owner and he had sailed from her base on the River Fal in Cornwall. Alan will be sailing around the West Coast of Scotland over the summer. The boat has some lovely features including some bespoke bronzework.. She has a bumkin, slutter rig and deck stepped mast. Alan explained how he can unstep the mast by himself, or at least without a crane. Certainly something I can’t achieve with Sumara’s keel stepped mast.
Keep an eye open for her if you are sailing the Scottish Islands this summer.

More Vertue News! V61 and Vertue 11 V14

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014


2nd February 2014

One day I’ll learn to use this WordPress program properly and then I’ll try to organise all the information regarding Vertues in a nice list with all the sail numbers. In the meantime I’m afraid its all a bit random.

A fine steel Vertue called "Virtue" V61

A fine steel Vertue called “Virtue” V61

Last week I got a nice email from Ben Deveson in Holland who has just purchased V61 called “Virtue”. Unusually she is built of steel and believed to be one of three. I had a look in the “Blue Book” and two are listed as being built in 1954 by Hitters and Proost, Netherlands (V61 and V64). There is no mention of V62 or V63 so maybe there are three steel Vertues. The sail number in the “Blue Book” is H331. She looks like great a testament to Dutch steel boatbuilding. Ben is keen to get her sailing as soon as all the other yachts penning her in the shed have been launched. He will then sail her to his mooring by his house in Badhoevedorp for some minor upgrading before embarking on some adventurous cruising the following year. The boat still has her original cotton sails! Hopefully we will meet up when Sumara returns from St Petersburg in 2015/16.

Last week I met Philip who owns Vertue 11 V14 called Corina. Corina is currently moored snuggly in Dover sheltering from the appalling weather. Last year we sailed together across the Channel and Corina beat Sumara by quite a distance. As Corina is having a new set of sails this year I think I shall decline any future racing although hopefully a bit of East Coast Cruising may be possible without undo embarrassment.

We both went to a talk by Robin Knox-Johnston on the Cutty Sark. They have built an 80 seat theatre inside the ship. We weren’t too impressed when he proudly announced that he shot a shark for no apparent reason other than sharing the same sea. Nevertheless everyone seemed to enjoy the talk. I can’t honestly say that I did.

Vertue News

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

South Dock 19th January 2014

I went to the Boat Show out of habit really. My expectations were very low. Last year the day out was made worthwhile because the show was linked to the outdoor show. The combination worked well with good stands in the Outdoor Show selling binoculars, cameras, decent clothing and bikes. This year the other show was the Telegraph Cruise Show. Zero interest from me I’m afraid.

However the start of the show wasn’t too bad at all. Firstly the trip there was fun. We went by boat from Greenland Pier (next door!) and took the cable car across the river. A great trip but a bit pricey. Tarik from Rotamarine had kindly given us two free tickets so that was an excellent start. We entered the hall and turned right and enjoyed our stroll down the aisle chatting with various stand holders until we reached the Adventure Cruising Corner. This was the best bit of the show. We went to two talks. Tom Cunliffe was hysterical the way he was slagging off all the AWB’s. I’m surprised the organisers didn’t throw him out. Then came Will Sterling who gave three shorts talks about his trip to the magnetic North Pole, his amazing “new” boat yard in Plymouth, and his dinghy sailing trips out to lighthouses. These adventurous dinghy trips suited his desire for adventurous sailing yet without taking up too much precious time.

Will as sailed around Spitzbergen, right the way around it, which is quite a feat and we had a good chat. As it happens he is currently renovating Vertue V111 (Tom Thumb). This sounds like a fine all teak Vertue built to Lloyds A100 specification. His client is keen to have everything in top order without it brimming with technical gadgets. It sounds like the yacht will be going on some adventures once the work is all finished. Will came down to have a look at Sumara and we had a grand evening together chatting about Vertues. Tom Thumb has a deck stepped mast so the layout inside is quite different to Sumara but we swapped information about cockpit locker drains (I’m rather proud of mine!) and teak decks.

I heard from two other Vertues this week. A chap called Greg Currie dropped me an email to say he owned Vertue V162 in Australia and was keen to see Sumara when he visits London in February. I shall look forward to that.

I sent Adrian Morgan a copy of our theatre catalogue as I had read in Classic Boat that he is an avid fan of the Axminster Catalogue. I received a nice acknowledgment and an invitation to sail in company with Sally Vertue V2 the next time we are on the West Coast of Scotland. Well sadly that will be a few years away with the Russia Trip being next on the list.




Friday, July 26th, 2013
Always get suspicious when the pontoons are shaped like speed boats!

Always get suspicious when the pontoons are shaped like speed boats!

Corina en route to Dover beating Sumara!

Corina en route to Dover beating Sumara!

Boulogne old town

Boulogne old town

Philip Main relaxing on Corina

Philip Main relaxing on Corina

Safely alongside in Boulogne

Safely alongside in Boulogne

24th – 25th July 2013

Log 9,029

Boulogne certainly isn’t a destination port like, perhaps, Dieppe but it is a really useful harbour which can be entered under any conditions. Once around the starboard pier-head you should follow the wall for a short while until the white painted patch indicates the main channel taking you into the visitors marina. Poor Boulogne no longer has any ferries which is a huge shame. It would certainly make a better weekend away than Calais does. Maybe someone should start one again on a smaller scale and link with hotels and restaurants to try and make it work. Mind you Boulogne isn’t instantly pretty but it has character and at least it is a real port rather than a stereotypical marina. It does boast a great shady Crazy Golf circuit, and aquarium and, if you just walk up the hill, it has a remarkable area surrounded by ramparts and housing a grand cathedral, the Hotel de Ville and a street of restaurants.  On our first night exploring our meal out was a bit of a let down. My peppered steak wasn’t and Grit’s Gallete was deep fried! However on our second attempt we went to a bright green café called La Scala.  Instantly recognising a typical French restaurant we dived in and ate as much as we could of a splendid but stupidly massive paella. We only got half way through which was criminal really but if we go there again with more people it would be an excellent choice. On the way back we passed a restaurant selling Cous cous which looked really special. The street was Rue de la Porte Gayole and the restaurant was called Strega. I reckon it would be worth a visit if you are a cous cous fan like me.

Whilst on our regulation stroll around the marina I spotted a Vertue 11 called Corina and called across. The owner, Philip Main , stuck his head up and we had a chat. You might recognise that “Main” name as it was his father who made the Main pulleys and fittings that I still have onboard Sumara. Philip was due to sail off that morning and we waved good bye to him as he motored down the channel. A few hours later he called at our boat having quickly recognised the cold air as he made his way through the outer harbour and quite correctly diagnosed FOG. It hardly made any sense for him to sail across to Dover in the fog when he could wait a day and sail with another Vertue (with AIS!). We readily agreed to the idea and we set off together on Thursday 25th July at 1000 GMT. Philip is local to these waters as he lives and works (making Opera Glasses) in Deal. It was pretty shocking to see the behaviour of some yachts in the shipping lanes. As Corina and Sumara presented our hulls at right angles to the ships and let the tide drift us across at an angle we saw one Dutch flagged yacht actually going head on to the ships simply ploughing on in the wrong direction while on the VHF Dover Coastguard were ticking of yachts who simply didn’t seem to understand the regulations. One of which was being reported to the flag nation. It rather lets the side down when people fail to adhere to the col regs.

Luckily we had a pleasant breeze and no fog. Corina was faster than Sumara gradually edging ahead. I think we will need a rematch one day! Not that it was a race of course. After 6.75 hours Sumara moored on the visitors pontoon awaiting a bridge opening to go through to Wellington Dock where I would leave her for a couple of weeks. Ironically we had to wait for a ferry before entering the western entrance – it is rare for ferries to enter Western nowadays. We celebrated our safe arrival by all going to Cullens Yard for a great meal which we ate while wrapped in blankets.

Two weeks in Wellington cost GBP190.00. Not so cheap but I feel it is a bit safer left in Dover rather than the outer harbour at Ramsgate.


Cutty Sark Sadolin Ultra Varnish Failure

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Cutty Sark Strake Varnish Failure and Water Ingress Under Stanchion Base


Cutty Sark Deck Trim Varnish Failure


Cutty Sark Deckhouse Door Varnish Failure

9th February 2013 Greenwich

I was shocked at the poor condition of the varnish on the newly restored Cutty Sark. These pictures are now about a month old (January 2013) but I have noticed the varnish has got even worse since. The ship only opened in the summer and there is varnish failure on almost every surface. Even some vertical surfaces are failing and they generally last a long time. It does seem such a shame that there was an opportunity to do a really thorough job on bare timber and that somehow this simple task has been messed up. Now the whole lot will need stripping off and re-doing at great cost. It will need doing pretty quickly too before more staining and water gets in. It was an apparent lack of maintenance which seemed to cause the Gipsy Moth to rot away in her Greenwich berth. I never saw anyone painting or varnishing the yacht. I can’t understand how every yachtsman knows that boats need annual maintenance and yet these “National Treasures” are left to suffer until they need radical and unneccessarily expensive work. Already water is getting under the varnish and causing black staining around some stanchion posts. Varnishing is not rocket science, it just needs doing in a tried and tested way. Why play around with new varnishes on an old ship when they clearly don’t work.

I found this on the Sadolin website and would be interested hear any comments:

“Craftsmen involved in the meticulous conservation of one the world’s most famous ships, Cutty Sark, are using the Sadolin Ultra Highly Translucent Woodstain system to decorate and protect her teak deckhouses, spectacular wheel, ornate pin rails, decorative panelling and many other wooden fixtures and fittings on deck.

Cutty Sark is an iconic reminder of a bygone age of sail and a symbol of Britain’s long and successful maritime heritage. Built in 1869, she is a shining example of Victorian ingenuity, engineering and craftsmanship, and one of London’s most popular attractions. In November 2006, however, the visitor signs were taken down and The Cutty Sark Conservation Project began: a massive undertaking by The Cutty Sark Trust to give the ship its biggest overhaul in fifty years and to ensure she has a secure and sustainable future.

Heery International Ltd, a division of Balfour Beatty Management and the principle contractor responsible for delivering the conservation project for The Cutty Sark Trust, specified Sadolin Ultra for the decoration and protection of woodwork above deck. Construction Manager Kevin Elson explains how the decision was made: “Ultra offered the very high degree of translucency that we were looking for,” said Kevin, “and the system has been formulated to provide exterior joinery with up to seven years decoration and protection before maintenance is required. Unlike yacht varnish it offers flexibility and a high degree of UV protection. And when the time eventually comes to maintain the finish, there’s no need to strip back to bare timber, you can simply clean the surface and apply a maintenance coat to revive the appearance and protective benefits.”

Maldon Painting Company Ltd is responsible for coating the exterior timber fittings. Director Geoff Smith had not used Sadolin Ultra before but is now a firm fan. He explains how it was applied to the deckhouses: “We stripped all the old varnish right back and sanded all the teak back to a perfectly smooth surface, before applying a coat of Ultra Basecoat. We then filled in any pinholes and cracks with Sadolin Exterior Woodfiller and went on to apply two coats of the lightest shade of Ultra. Once the deckhouse is refitted on the ship we’ll apply one last coat of Ultra to offer the maximum level of protection.”

Geoff’s decorating work is just one of a huge list of projects which have to be completed by an army of craftspeople, engineers and conservation experts before Cutty Sark is ready to welcome visitors once more in 2010, by which time the ship will be a much improved visitor attraction. Geoff said; “It’s a once in a life time opportunity to work on Cutty Sark and it’s a job I am really enjoying. It’s always good to be given the opportunity to carry out a project to a full specification using the best products and being able to take the time you need to deliver a really high quality finish.”

I wonder if they will use Sadolin Ultra again? It hardly seems to live up to the statement “up to seven years before maintenance is needed” promise. It didn’t survive seven months since the opening. Maybe there is a reason why it didn’t work. Perhaps it was applied a long time prior to the opening?  It would be good to know what went so wrong. I’m sure the painting company would have done their best, was the product faulty or poorly specified? Is there a decent maintenance regime in place? Whatever the reason, it is a real shame that a National Treasure which has had £50 million pounds lavished on it is in such a disgraceful state so soon after opening.

Thembi Update

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Making slow progress with light head winds, but definitely back on solid food!
Saw a kitiwake which must be a good sign.
Pos. 60.43N x 14.56W

Senat at 05.44GMT 5th August 2011

Stop Press: News from Thembi

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

I’ve just received news from the Good Ship Thembi

Hi Alasdair, We got 15 miles from Heimeiy before gale and big seas stopped us. Hove to 6hrs, but heavy breaking seas made landfall unwise. Heading S. Currently 61.21N X 19.24W When are you due in Oban? Hope all good with you. Rotten shark had last laugh – never again (feel so ill!) See you soon, Tim

It’s great to hear they are OK, well apart from the rotten shark. I think they made a good decision not to attempt landfall in the Westmann Islands but at least they had a really good go at it.

Sailing Plans. It’s ABC and its ABCBA

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

I think that is an army expression and apparently it means: It’s All Been Changed and it’s All Been Changed Back Again. Well for Sumara at least. On Sunday I checked the Grib files and the Icelandic Met Office were forecasting 20m/s (Gale force 8) and I felt the conditions would be too strong for Gudrun and I to make it around the headland to Grindavik. There wasn’t a great deal of point being in Grindavik for two or three days waiting for Ray when Gudruns mother lives in the centre of Reykjavik. We will wait in Reykjavik for Ray to arrive on the 3rd and set off on the 4th as per the original schedule. We decided to head off to the interior.

Thembi with the bigger yacht and sea conditioned crew were more up for the challenge and I believe they left to catch the Sunday evening south going tide around Reykjanes peninsular. They were hoping to go to the Westmann Islands but as they had all their crew onboard they would have had the option to run off south with the wind behind them to get below the depression centre and take a westerly back to Scotland. I know it was pretty blowy on the Westmann Islands on Sunday evening so it is very possible they are heading home. They may send me some position details later tonight and I will put them on the blog as soon as I hear. We have really enjoyed sailing with Thembi and will miss them dearly.