CRUISING YACHTS : By the Surgeon's Eye, Issue 83, New Year and

A watercolour of Zeta, built to Harrison Butler's Zyklon Z4 design of 1937.
The painting is by Zeta's custodian, artist Magda Buijs.

Contents of Issue 83, Summer 2018

Contents of Issue 83
Cover: Zeta
Editorial: Fray Bentos Boat
Dispatches To The Fleet, Summer 2018
Joan's Centenary Celebration by Richard Farmer
Ard Chuan's Military Friends by John and Carol Mills
Naiad: A Circumnavigation of Mull by Neal Hill
Rose Of Arden's Other Life by Andrew Cocks
Ganga Devi Lives On by Martin Harvey
Stopping Rotting by Myriam Spicka
A Trick Of The Light : Aniva Lighthouse by Aquina Wood
Boat Spotted: Vindilis by Richard Farmer
Boats For Sale, Summer 2018
Icebreaker by Lee Shore

Fray Bentos Boat

   For me, one difference between being on the boat and being in the house is in the foods eaten. In part this is the result of moving from my kitchen's five hob, twin oven cooker plus dishwasher to my galley's two burner, one oven Taylor's paraffin stove and a bowl of lukewarm soapy water. On land, rustling up a full roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings is no big deal whereas on the water it's so very much easier to take the lid off a Fray Bentos tinned pie and pop it in the Taylor's oven along with an adjacent dish of tinned carrots and peas. Having done so recently, I was idly thinking how much metal was in the lid that typically ends up in the recycling bin when I spotted that it looked roughly the same size as a porthole. Amazingly, it wasn't just roughly the same size; it was a perfect fit. I'd often thought that when in port I needed a curtain across Tramontana's portholes for privacy or blocking out an annoyingly bright marina light. Now I had the kernel of a solution. Ten pies later, I have a set of black painted pie lids, with retaining clips for when it's windy, that can black out the boat. Not so much of a pie in the sky idea; more of a pie in the porthole brainwave.

Fray Bentos Boat 


!•¡•!   After three HBA Committee meetings and an AGM a considerable number of projects have been given a firm push towards completion. Sail Numbers for all Harrison Butler designed boats have been allocated, and the related matter of the issuing of Authentication Certificates and Bronze plaques is in hand; Chairman John-Henry has written to the membership with the details and the first orders are being processed.
!•¡•!   The HBA 2018 Yearbook has been sent to all members. The March edition of the OGA's Gaffers' Log featured articles on the Albert Strange designed Emerald and the Harrison Butler designed Tramontana. The June 2018 edition of Classic Boat featured Harrison Butler's Zyklon design, as realised with the Z4, in the “Affordable Classics” series.
!•¡•!   Diary date: The HBA's 2018 Laying Up Supper is at the Ferry Restaurant at the Elephant Boatyard on 29th September.
!•¡•!   RECENTLY SOLD : Caracole, Watermaiden (Harrison Butler), Sea Harmony (Albert Strange), Dawn Lady (Hillyard), Capella of Kent (Buchanan), and Rowan IV (McGruer).
!•¡•!   NEW FOR SALE : Trade Wind, Yarinya, Kandoo, Zephon (Harrison Butler), Dawn, Leona, Constance, Venture, (Albert Strange), Lady Ailsa, Wendy Woo (Hillyard), Caballo De Mar (Buchanan) and Judith (McGruer). The Harrison Butler designed Thalamege is back up for sale as a project. Another worthy project is Lalern (AR Luke).
!•¡•!   Congratulations to Grant Hesk who's 1971 built wooden Hillyard, Trimley Maid has taken him across the Altantic, December 2017, in 25 days without any issues. A four page feature on Grant's achievement features in the current issue of The Hillyarder.

Trimley Maid in Saint Lucia, December 2017
Trimley Maid in Saint Lucia after her December 2017 Atlantic crossing


Joan's Centenary Celebration

Richard Farmer
The HBA's South Coast Social Secretary

   The late Joan Jardine-Brown was a daughter of Harrison Butler, the one of THB's five children who is particularly fondly remembered by the Association because of the strong interest she took in her father's work. She become president of the Association when it formed in 1973 until her death in 2011. Had she lived this would have been her 100th year. It seemed appropriate to mark the occassion by way of recognising the passion with which she nurtured an organisation dedicated to championing her father's talent in designing boats for the common man and woman.
   Seven boats that had been built to the designs of Harrison Butler thus agreed to do their best to gather at Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight on June 2nd 2018. The boats were Cobber, Destina, Lindy II, Mary Niven, Mischief lll, Sabrina and Vindilis. Fortune smiled as the weather permitted all to assemble as planned, most travelling through light airs, some mist but also lovely sea breezes. With everyone safely at Yarmouth, two very convivial evenings were spent in each others company. It was great to see seven boats together, and inspiring to see the progress David and Beryl have made on Mary Niven, recently relaunched after many years laid up ashore. Amidst the fun of racing model longboats, a BBQ of sausages and burgers, and plenty of bubbling fizz, HBA chairman John Henry proposed a toast; “Happy 100th, Joan”.

Happy 100th, Joan
The gathering in Yarmouth, June 2nd & 3rd, 2018
to celebrate the late Joan Jardine-Brown's centenary


Ard Chuan's Military Friends

John and Carol Mills

Ard Chuan

   In June 1962, Carol and I bought Ard Chuan, built in 1930 by Dickies of Tarbert to Harrison Butler's Cyclone II design of 1928. Later that year, from our home cruising ground in North Wales, we took her via the Canal du Midi on a year long voyage that called in at Spain, the Balearic Isles, Gibraltar, Morocco and Corsica. Back in Wales we then laid Ard Chuan up ashore at Port Dinorwic for four years, planning our big adventure. This was, between August 1968 and May 1969, to cross the Atlantic. Half way across we met the French Helicopter Carrier Jeanne D'Arc and her Destroyer escort, Victor Schoelcher, which is in the above photograph, taken from one of the Carrier's helicopters. Our two military friends offered us food and assistance; Carol was all for a bottle of wine and fresh bread but I was too worried about damage to Ard Chuan should they then attempt to winch it down to us from a helicopter or come close alongside with the Destroyer.
   All communication was by megaphone; no VHF or GPS for us in 1968. Instead, when we parted company the two French Warships stopped bow to bow on the horizon with the gap between indicating the course to steer for Barbados. All told, our transatlantic exploit took in Northern Spain, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Barbados, the Leeward and Windward Islands, the US Virgin Islands and concluded in Southport, North Carolina where, a month later, we sold the boat to a US Navy sailor.

Ard Chuan

   The photograph above shows Ard Chuan's distinctive rigid wooden doghouse over the main hatch. As far as we could tell this appeared to be part of the original build although none of the other yachts constructed to the Cyclone II design have this feature. When we owned her, Ard Chuan had what I believed to be the original engine, a Kelvin petrol-paraffin 8 hp single cylinder with magneto ignition. She came to us with no electrics at all; I removed the oil lights and fitted electric navigation and accommodation lights before our Atlantic crossing. She was also, unusually for a yacht of that era, Bermudan rigged with a self tacking staysail.  I speculate that the original owner may have requested alterations to the original design in seeking easy handling and comfort at sea.


Naiad : A Circumnavigation Of Mull
~ Enjoying A Late Season Sail ~

Neal Hill
The OGA's Secretary for Scotland

Treshnish Isles
The Treshnish Isles : Photo by Neal Hill

   At the beginning of September 2017 Naiad, built to Harrison Butler's Englyn design of 1932, sailed from her mooring in Loch Feochan, south of Oban. A light south-westerly breeze took her in fine style up the Sound of Mull and into the anchorage in Loch Drumbuie for the night. The forecast for the following day was for a strong north-westerly and a sea state west of Ardnamurchan of “high”. It was an easy decision to spend the day heading for the shelter of Loch Sunart and, along the way, enjoy five miles of interesting pilotage as far as Salen Bay where there is a pontoon and very good facilities: it was but a short walk to the hotel for beer and a meal. After two nights in Salen, and with a forecast for easier conditions, Naiad cast off and headed for the open sea. However, as the Sound of Mull approached it was obvious that the sea state hadn't eased yet and so it was decided to put into Tobermory for the night.


   With a forecast of lighter wind for the next few days, an early start was made, Naiad motoring to the north of Mull where she picked up a northerly breeze for a glorious sail to Arinagour Bay on Coll. A walk ashore allowed Naiad's crew to meet many of the inhabitants, sheep, and visit Coll Hotel for the evening. Fairwinds the next day allowed a visit to the Treshnish Isles, a line of interesting and peculiarly shaped islands, all different with the particularly distinctive Dutchman's Cap at the southern end.

Fingall's Cave on Staffa
Fingall's Cave on Staffa : Photo by Neal Hill

    Naiad then headed past Staffa before changing course for Iona where at the end of the Sound of Iona we sailed through the “Streamer Passage”, a navigational challenge avoiding underwater rocks, possible thanks to Antaries Charts' accurate charting of the area, and into the wonderful anchorage of Tinker's Hole.

Naiad, built to Harrison Butler's Englyn design of 1932

   Alas, the weather was predicted to return to normal later the next day but before the gale and rain arrived Naiad motored in calm conditions along the south of Mull to Oban and the newly opened “Oban Transit Marina”. It has taken many years to get this marina established but it is a great asset allowing berthing in the centre of Oban with all its facilities but with a maximum stay of three nights. It is very convenient for the old but recently re-opened Oban Inn; good beer, food and chat.
   The south-westerly gale and heavy rain arrived in time for the final motor south in the Sound of Kerrera to the shelter of the mooring in Loch Feochan; a firm signal that it was high time to prepare for the winter lay-up.


Enveloped By The Fog Of War
~ Rose Of Arden's Other Life ~

Andrew Cocks
The HBA's Yearbook Editor

   I took Rose of Arden “home” for a visit to where she was built, pre World War II, to Woodbridge this year. In compensation for the yard being turned into apartments and shops, I found that a pictorial history of Rose of Arden's builder, Whisstocks, has been published by a family member. This led to email correspondence with George Whisstock, son of the builder, and enthusiastic archivist of the firm who supplied the picture below of Rose of Arden's launch. It came with a mystery.
   I have always thought, believing the “blue book”, that Rose of Arden was launched with that name in 1939 and laid up during the war, the official Lloyd's registration being in 1948. However, George having unearthed the photograph, told me that the boat was actually launched in August 1938, with a yard build number of 121, for a Mr H J B Burke and originally named Rover. So now the thinking is that Rose of Arden had a pre war life about which I know nothing; a missing ten years enveloped by the fog of war.

The photograph of Rose Of Arden being launched in August 1938
The image is courtesy of George Whisstock from the Whisstock archives.


  Ganga Devi Lives On

Marin Harvey

   In 1961 I was a student at Falmouth School of Art and remember the news about a tiny steel boat, Ganga Devi, sailing into Falmouth having voyaged all the way from Hong Kong, an exclusive account of which has featured in five parts in recent issues of this publication.
   It was in 1972 that I next encountered Ganga Devi. She was in Bob Piesy's yard on Restronguet Creek, a tributary of Carrick Roads, the estuary of the River Fal. She was sat on the beach, looking rusty and uncared for but equipped with basic sails and gear. We (my then wife Christine and myself) paid around £600 for her. In the Autumn of that year we sailed Ganga Devi to Plymouth. I remember a “lively” overnight stop in Fowey where a carnival was in full swing. At the time we lived on a decommissioned steam yacht, Norien, by Hoe Lake in Plymouth. Little Ganga Devi snuggled in beside her and throughout that winter we gave Ganga Devi a much needed refit. We began by stripping out most of the existing wood work before putting in a full sized chart table, a galley with a paraffin stove, and four bunks, two for the children, forward, and a double for us athwart ships. We painted her orange in the vague hope of disguising any appearing rust streaks.
   The following Easter we sailed in company with Ludanna (a Dutch Boyer) and Kelpi, the famous 1904 Alfred Mylne designed prototype for the First Rule 12 metre yachts of 1907 onward. The plan had been to make for the Isles of Scilly but we spent over a week sheltering in Carrick Roads, storm bound. That summer we sailed Ganga Devi to France, our first cross channel trip. At the insistence of my father, we'd purchased a compass, a set of up-to-date charts and a life raft. I had also enrolled in a Yachtmaster course. A teacher on the course, who navigated aboard submarines during the Second World War, advised that I marked a position on the chart every hour and if I thought our speed fell below four knots start the engine. I followed the advice and, lo and behold, after twenty four hours we arrived in L'Abervrac. We anchored, hoisted the yellow Q-flag by way of requesting “free pratique” and awaited boarding and inspection from the Douane. And waited, and slept and waited. Somewhat puzzled, we then ventured ashore, and searched out the Douane, who was intrigued with the tiny yacht wearing a yellow flag. He issued us with a “carte vert” and explained that it came with the condition that we buy our duty free from his wife's hotel.
   That summer we sailed as far as Brest and then to Penzance and out to the Isles of Scilly. I rebuilt the engine the following winter, a Volvo penta MD1. The following summer we explored the Gulf de Morbhian and the magic islands of Houet and Hodeic. By this time we were sailing in company with Tradewind, another Harrison Butler designed boat, then owned by Phil Gordon.
   In 1976, with a family of growing children to accommodate, we decided to sell little Ganga Devi and bought Dromengro; thirty feet of floating concrete cottage that we loved. It was not until 1998 that I sold Dromengro.
   Boat less, but looking for a small yacht for my son Jonathan, I visited the boat yard at Millbrook on the Tamar where I found Ganga Devi again. She was in a terrible state. Her keel was rusting badly, she was leaking, and didn't have long before being only good as scrap. I bought her again. We loaded her onto a lorry and took her home to our garden in Stoke Climsland, in the Tamar valley.
   The next four years were spent restoring Ganga Devi. Jonathan spent hours breaking out the pig iron ballast from the concrete filling only to discover that the keel was too far gone; a new one was needed. Drastic action was necessary. I cut her bottom off, re-framed her and replated her to the waterline in places. I put a stern tube out amidships, to replace the failing one which was on the quarter. We installed a 10 hp Volvo engine, replaced most of the deck and the gunnel. Her mast was shorter than Harrison Butler's design indicated it should be, so a new top mast was scarfed in to take it up to design height.
   In the spring of 2002 Ganga Devi was relaunched at Calstock on the Tamar river and after sea trials Jonathan and I sailed her to Falmouth where I jumped ship and he pressed on for Baltimore, Ireland, into the teeth of a nor'wester. My welding held and he arrived. Ganga Devi is still owned by Jonathan and is moored near Castletownsend, in County Cork, Ireland. Ganga Devi lives on.

Ganga Devi
A recent photograph of Ganga Devi
Built in steel in the Netherlands around 1936


Stopping Rotting
~ Wooden Hull Maintenance ~

Myriam Spicka
The HBA's Baltic Correspondent

   In Greek Mythology, Sisyphus was the King of Corinth, condemned because of his cruelty to forever repeatedly roll a huge stone up a hill in Hades only to have it roll down again on nearing the top. Many a wooden boat owner must think about that stone as they contemplate each year the Sisyphean task of conserving a wooden boat floating in salt water and frequently rained upon from above. As soon as Mowa is hoisted out each Autumn I creep about the pressure cleaned hull, searching for damage or changes in the surface of the wood. I watch how it dries, looking for patches that are drying more slowly than they should, and fret over spots and seams that weep. Last winter part of the transom was renewed and I was keen one year later to see how it had coped with prolonged submersion.

Mowa's Transom
Rot in Mowa's Transom necessitated a new piece of oak being fitted in 2016
How best to prime and antifoul the hull to stop it rotting again ?

    As all wooden boat owners know, it's difficult to decide what to do for the best to preserve a wooden hull, inside and out. Doing nothing is not an option, for without anti-fouling on the exterior all manner of tiny sea beasts will decide that a chewable wooden hull is a great place to set up home and raise a family. Internally, it is rain water that has found a way in that is the harbinger of doom. If allowed to pool over exposed wood, it'll start rotting the timber fast. Alas, ask five boat owners what they do to “stop the rot” and you'll get ten very different answers. It helps, of course, if a boat is built correctly in the first place. The early Harrison Butler designed Zyklon Z4's had hull planking infamously screwed to the ribs with brass screws which corroded rapidly in salt water; difficult and expensive to put right. If a vessel has undergone a restoration, there too is scope for blundering. Recently a surveyor told me of an owner who had refastened an entire hull with stainless steel screws. Stainless steel, marvellous in an atmosphere, deteriorates quickly where there is little oxygen, such as underwater. The surveyor's advice was to replace the hundreds of newly inserted stainless steel screws with similar, but made of silicone bronze.
   There are so many seemingly good ideas that turn out to be bad. When hulls made of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) started to become mainstream in the 1960s, it wasn't long before a few boat owners experimented with coating both interior and exterior of their boat's wooden hull in epoxy resin. Hard wearing, durable and a most effective waterproof barrier, it seemed to offer the low maintenance advantages of a plastic hull with the warmth, solidity and aesthetic appeal of wood. I personally know of a boatbuilder who did this to his Arthur Robb designed Lion Class sloop twenty years ago. Whenever the opportunity arises I stick my nose into his bilge because I know that there is a very real danger of the epoxy encased wood rotting from within. To date I have not smelt any rot but the practice of suffocating wood in epoxy is now frowned upon. I suspect his boat will be difficult to sell for that reason alone.
   My favourite book about boatbuilding and conservation is Thomas Larsson's The Big Book of Wooden Boat Restoration. Every year I study this. The perfect wooden hull would seem to be one that has been calked and sealed with white lead. Below the waterline Mowa's builders embraced the idea, but above, penny-pinching seems to have been the guiding philosophy with planks that are glued together. A previous owner's quick fix of a Sikaflex plank join always attracts my critical eye. Above and below the waterline I follow Mr Larsson's advice: Owatrol Oil over the bare wood-surface, followed by primer. Above, a few coats of International Toplac white paint complete the job, whilst below I apply three layers of hard antifouling.

Antifouling the Hull
Preserving the underwater part of wooden hull
1) Owatrol Oil D1 over bare wood
2) An Aluminium Primer, e.g Primocon
3) Antifouling, taking the recommended precautions when applying

    For 95% of Mowa's hull this all works very well but I have an ongoing issue with the plank ends at the transom where water is extraordinarily adept at getting past the paint and into the end grain of both transom and planking. Perhaps this is where a thin, penetrating solvent or 'wood hardener' product could produce a better barrier against water ingress. I'm open to suggestions. The boot top is an ongoing experiment with different products, all so far failing to withstand attack from mussels, scrubbing to remove slime, and the high-pressure-cleaner; nothing lasts longer than one season.
   The conundrums and experimentation with different products and techniques are, of course, part of what makes owning a wooden boat interesting; they are so like living things with demands and needs but also providers of great joy. Although that stone constantly needs rolling back up that hill, at least it is moving and, as the saying goes, “a rolling stone gathers no moss”. Keep on rolling !


A Trick Of The Light

Aquina Wood

   One could be forgiven for thinking that Aniva lighthouse is not of this world; a computer game graphic, perhaps. However, this abandoned installation, built by the Japanese in 1939, is to be found off the southern coast of Sakhalin, a thin but 950 km long island in the Pacific Ocean, directly to the north of Japan. Seized by the Russians in the Second World War it's rumoured to now be contaminated by radioactive material and Mercury from a 300 kg pool of the metal in which the light floated as it rotated. This marvellous image is from a Russian postcard of the structure. It is powerfully arresting and radiates danger and foreboding.

Aniva Lighthouse
Aniva Lighthouse, a photograph lifted from a Russian postcard


Boat Spotted : Vindilis

Richard Farmer
The HBA's South Coast Social Secretary

Vindilis on the cover of Yachting Monthly
The plans for Vindilis were published in the April 1935 edition of Yachting Monthly

   Vindilis is the yacht that Harrison Butler had built for himself and in consequence she is well documented. She features in his book Cruising Yachts: Design and Performance where, in the fourth edition (published in 1995), there are five black and white photographs of Vindilis, including one of the interior. The building and launch of Vindilis is described in Yachting Monthly articles published during 1935 and 1936. Vindilis is also mentioned in detail in the 2008 book The Moody Legacy by David Moody as she was the first boat they built. Moody Yachts built four Harrison Butler boats altogether, the other other three being Zingara , Lindy II  and Edith-Rose. Lindy II is a sister ship, also built to the Vindilis/Davinka design in the same year. Yoldia was recently described as “the elder sister of Harrison Butler's own yacht, Vindilis” she being built in 1928 to essentially the same 1925 design, seven years before Vindilis and Lindy II.   


For Sale
Featuring vessels designed by Thomas Harrison Butler,
Albert Strange, James McGruer, David Hillyard and Alan Buchanan.

 Worthy project : Lalern (AR Luke Design)

Harrison Butler designed
Caracole : Bogle Design : 1934 : Portsmouth,UK : SOLD
Cyclone : Cyclone Design : 1941 : Netherlands : £11,500
Fiddler's Green : (Derived From) Englyn Design : 1959 : Toronto, Canada : SOLD
Isabella : Omega Design : 1984 : Australia : EXPIRED
Jacaranda : Z4 : 1938 : Frankfurt, Germany : EXPIRED
Jane : Bogle Design : 1939 : Cornwall, UK : £10,000
Jolanda : Omega Design : 1996 : Germany : EXPIRED
Kandoo : Cyclone Design : 1922 : Kent, UK : £POA
La Bonne : Nursery Class : 1919 : Devon, UK : £POA
Quest of Sydney : Vindilis Design : 1936 : Queensland, Australia : £POA
Saltwind : Z4 : 1940 : Spain : £19,900
Senorita : Cyclone II Design : 1934 : New Zealand : EXPIRED
Thalamege : Yonne Design : 1935 : Medemblik, Netherlands : Less than £3,000
Trade Wind : Bogle Design : 1935 : Maine, USA: £POA
Thule : Yonne Design : 1934 : Netherlands : £17,700 - £22,200
Watermaiden : Rose of Arden Design : 1939 : Cornwall : SOLD
Witte Walvis : Z4 : 1939 : Netherlands : EXPIRED
Yarinya : Yonne Design : 1933 : Ijsselmeer, Netherlands : £10,550
Zebedee : Z4 : 1938 : Ireland : £4,750
Zephon : Zyklon Design : 1950 : Cornwall, UK : £5,000
Zircon : Z4 : 1938 : River Orwell, UK : £5,500
Albert Strange designed
Constance : 2006: Walton Backwaters, UK : £POA
Dawn : 1905 : Cowes, IoW, UK : £60,000 (GU Laws designed)
Leona : 1906 : Woodbridge, UK : £POA
Sea Harmony : 1937 : Massachusetts, USA : SOLD
Venture : 1920 : Ardfer Yacht Centre, Scotland : £220,000
McGruer designed or built
Albertine : 8 ton : 1960 : Argyll and Bute : SOLD
Camellia Of Rhu : 11 ton : 1959 : Chichester : £43,500
Elona : 13 ton : 1962 : Scotland : £95,000
Inismara : 12 ton : 1963 : UK : £87,500
Judith : 11 ton : 1929 : Dungarvan, Ireland : £20,000
Rowan IV : 9 ton : 1938 : Gareloch : SOLD
Sally Of Kames : 8 ton : 1953 : Chichester : £28,500
Tiarella : 8 ton : 1953 : Rye : £19,500
Tuloa : 8 ton : 1951 : North Wales : Project, less than £3,000
David Hillyard designed
Aeolus Of Wannock : 12 ton : 1970 : Shoreham : £18,995
Billy Blue : 9 ton : 1932 : Newhaven : £25,000
Chaletta : 9 ton : 1956 : Poole : EXPIRED
Civetta : 11 ton : 1969 : Palma, Mallorca : £35,000
Emeritus : 8 ton : 1967 : Rye : £12,950
Golden Beaver : 28 ton : 1954 : Inverness : £94,000
Lady Ailsa : 9 ton : 1955 : Dartmouth, UK : £10,000
Lady Grey : 9 ton : 1958 : Belfast : SOLD
Wendy Woo : 20 ton : 1965 : Dartmouth, UK : £45,000
Yeoman's Maid : 8 ton : 1965 : North Wales : £6,750
Alan Buchanan designed
Caballo De Mar : 7 ton : 1963 : Lancashire, UK : £2,000
Capella of Kent : 15 ton : 1964 : Dartmouth : SOLD
Freydis : 9 ton : 1964 : Plymouth : £19,250
Kalina : 15 ton : 1966 : Jersey : £85,000
Manureva : 26 ton : 1970 : Australia : EXPIRED
Merle Rose : 9 ton : 1968 : Italy : £17,750
Mintaka : 11 ton (Steel) : 1966 : Malysia : £34,400
Reina Cristina : 11 ton : 1963 : Australia : £21,300
She : 11 ton : 1962 : South Africa : £53,000
Sinbad of Abersoch : 10 ton : 1961 : Solent : £65,000
Sodalis : 9 ton : 1972 : Amsterdam : £26,000
Thendara : 8 ton : 1961 : Solent : £15,000
Willy Bolton : 35 ton : 1970 : New Zealand : £200,000



Lee Shore

   Received as a Christmas present, the book Icebreaker by Horatio Clare is about the Finish vessel, Otso, used to clear paths through the ice at the northern end of the Baltic Sea, in the Bay of Bothnia. It's about as far removed from the sort of boating I enjoy as it is possible to be but, nonetheless, the book proved to be a fascinating insight to Finland, it's culture, history, seafaring and the political situation between Russia and NATO. It's well written in an entertaining manner and reveals Finland to be a country much overlooked and underrated by the rest of the world. It's innovative in how it views education and social inequality.
   A book about an icebreaker has to, of course, address the issue of climate change. Initially, I thought this would mean the days of needing an icebreaker are limited as global ice melts, but as the Arctic becomes accessible in consequence, the race to exploit it's natural resources, which has already begun, will require more icebreaking ships not fewer.
   I had not appreciated that it is so cold that a sea lane cleared, ices over within minutes, with the result that merchant shipping often has to follow the icebreaker very closely, a stressful situation should the icebreaker suddenly be slowed by thicker ice, a resulting shunt from behind a constant worry.
   There are many enlightening conversations between the author and the crew and officers of the Otso captured in the book. I particularly liked the discussion about how seafarers have a better understanding of how many disasters unfold than the majority of our land based human race; “The mass and momentum of ships mean that by the time you begin to make urgent changes the point at which they could make any difference has passed. I have seen it on small craft and large - the apprehension, the small alteration, full comprehension and the sudden reversing of engines, the spinning of the wheel, the crunch” - This in the middle of a conversation about mankind's response to climate change.
   Icebreaker is a thoughtful and intelligent book, absolutely up to date, that addresses many of the big issues of our time. It's turned out to be my best Christmas present, and gave me a thought provoking start to 2018.



CRUISING YACHTS : By The Surgeon's Eye

Editor : Martin Hansen
Proof Reading : Dr Helen Jones
Far East Correspondent : Dr Stephen Davies
Australian Correspondent : v a c a n t
Netherlands Correspondent : Michiel Scholtes
Baltic Correspondent : Myriam Spicka
UK Correspondent for The Solent : Robert Griffiths
UK Correspondent for Dartmouth : Allen Clarke
Contributions are most welcome be they
fully formed articles, rough notes or snippets of News.
If you feel you would like to contribute on a regular basis,
applications to join our network
of correspondents are welcome.
CRUISING YACHTS : By The Surgeon's Eye © Harrison Butler Association, 2018

Maidstone by Albert Strange
“Maidstone” by Albert Strange, 1882


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