Monday, 6 July 2015

Completion and launch

Strictly speaking, this boat was never completed in the sense that modifications are ongoing in the light of time on the water. Details of these shortly.

As for launching, well, it was launched twice; once into the air as it was lifted by crane from my back garden and once - more properly - into the water.

The crane lift was pretty hair raising but was eased by the professionalism of the crane guys from William Rogers. Amazingly, it went without hitch and was achieved in about 20 mins.

The water launch was more tricky and took place at Fisherrow Harbour on the Forth. This is a pretty harbour with a very friendly boating community and helpful harbour master but the harbour dries out a lot and the slipway rarely reaches the water. In consequence, I was only there for a few weeks. Enough to see that she motors well, is stable and water tight but not enough to hoist the sails.


As can be seen, I've added splash strakes and scuppers to drain the foredeck. The mast and boom are a good length for stowing but the yard (or is it a gaff?) isn't quite such a handy length. The rigging is all pre-stretched polywotsit. Her name is Silent Annie, after the tall ship in Ted Fury's Irish folk song, The Lonesome Boatman.

I used to live on one of the inner Hebridean islands and on re-visiting the Oban coast at this time, I discovered Loch Feochan and Ardoran Marine. I couldn't afford moorings but the store and self launch facilities are great and suit the way I tend to use a boat. I launch and then set off on an adventure, during which I mostly anchor rather than use moorings.

The space to each side of the centre board case provides room enough for sleeping and the excellent canopy made by Forth Marine Textiles affords a good degree of wind and water tight 'comfort'. All the cooking and camping gear stows easily in 4 lockers and under the foredeck and the sails and canopy stow away in the huge aft locker. The motor fits unobtrusively in it's well and moves the boat at up to about 6 knots. Under sail, I've only managed 3 knots so far. The tiller is heavy and I'm not sure why. Also, a comfortable seat is a must for me on long runs.

My cunningly designed locker lids turned out to be a disaster and the lockers filled with water after heavy rain. They've now been replaced with neat black purpose built ones from Force4 Marine. The extensive areas of varnished wood have also failed to withstand the elements and have been largely stripped back and covered with deck paint; to my eye this is an improvement and she attracts many compliments on our journeys.

 I've grown unaccountably fond of Silent Annie and am loath to part with her but the day is approaching when she must make way for her bigger sister, Gossamer B (also a Selway Fisher design). But I haven't broken it to her yet!


London Stainless Fasteners Ltd. - (great range of nuts, bolts, washers, etc. and you can buy them singly.)

Sitebox. (stainless steel bolts).

Fyne Boat Kits UK. (kits, plans, wide range of materials, information and advice)

Force4 Chandlery. (marine chandlers)

Selway Fisher. (marine design, plans, advice)

The Battery Masters. (batteries suitable for marine use)

Classic Marine. (general marine tackle, bronze screws & nails, full range of Oughtred plans).

Robbins Timber. (large range of timber, fixings, resins)

Sail Register. (sails & covers to measure). (copper wires suitable for stitch & glue construction).

East Coast Fibreglass Supplies. (resins, fillers, matting, brushes, etc.)

Prism Plastics. (plastic washers, spacers, etc.).

Marinestore. (general marine chandlers - esp. bronze screws)

Bosun’s Locker. (chandlery andmarine brokerage)