The Tall Ships – what a great sight at sea level

FURTHER to my column last week about the Tall Ships arriving in Greenwich and the interest it called, my friend Douglas Dick from Shepperton and a long-term member of Desborough Sailing Club with his wife, Sally, wrote to tell me about his experiences with these beautiful sailing craft.

Douglas wrote; “Just over a week ago,  Sally and I were in Falmouth, visiting my daughter who is a GP in the area.

“Of course we visited the Tall Ships as they were tied up in Falmouth Dock, in particular ”Tenacious” of the Jubilee Sailing Trust because my regular crew (at Desborough) had been part of the volunteer crew a few weeks earlier, and also the Lowestoft Trawler “Excelsior” to share the odd yarn or two on this very similar vessel to the “Kenya Jacaranda” , a Brixham Trawler on which I used to sail.

“But the greatest thrill was to join the Tall Ships as they assembled in Carrick Roads for the Parade-of-Sail preparatory to the Tall Ships Race from Pendennis Castle to the Isle of Wight.

“We toured the fleet in a Pilot Gig, (I rowed at ‘bow’ – Sally was a passenger) from the Gig Rowing Club of St Agnes, which my daughter is in the Ladies’ First Crew – it was just fantastic seeing the Tall Ships very much from sea level!”

I can really relate to that – you only get the true scale of some of these sailing ships from the water – and particularly the latent power that sail possesses. It’s long been an ambition of mine to sail aboard a square rigger – one day I shall get round to it.

Thanks for the recollections, Douglas – I hope we don’t have to wait too long before the Tall Ships return.

My brother, Alan, is busy working on his new boat – Chief Brody – at the Bridge Marine boatyard but the more he delves into it, the more confused he’s becoming about its parentage!

He bought the boat as a Seamaster Cub – the small brother of our old boat, Terra Nova, which was a Seamaster Admiral. But he’s not at all convinced that it really is a Seamaster at all.

The big problem is that it doesn’t have an original nameplate that most Seamasters possess and there is no builder’s number that he has been able to find.

I suppose it’s not critical to his future enjoyment of the boat, but it’s just a little irksome when you think you’ve bought one thing that later turns out to be something completely different.

If I know my brother, he’ll keep worrying away at the problem until he finally traces the Chief’s lineage!

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, Sunbury New Lock will be out of commission from now until mid-December so that the Environment Agency can carry out refurbishment of the lock chamber and replace the lock gates. This is part of a £1.8million programme of works being carried out over the winter months on some of the agency’s assets on the Thames.

Penton Hook Lock will also be closed from November 3 until December 19 so that the tail lock gate pintles can be repaired.

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