Friday, 29 March 2013

In Shoal Waters A C Stock

  It’s been a long time in coming but worth the wait, yes it is Charlie’s second book titled “In Shoal Waters” A. C. Stock. I’m not going to review it as that is best left to the experts who like to do that type of thing, but can tell you that I’ve read this book a few times now and each time I find something I may have missed and therefore glean more platinum that is Charlie’s wisdom and knowledge of his chosen subject matter written down in his informative and engaging style, that for me as a writer, at times, has some hilarious nuggets too.
  Anyone who sails a small boat on the open sea where danger and vulnerability are all part and parcel, and indeed at times insanely out of your control may nod in unison when I say this book is mile after mile of dinghy cruising adventure on a biblical scale, particularly his trip in Zephyr down to the Solent and the Isle of Wight.  
   Reading Charlie’s work you will gain an insight into what his type of cruising is all about – sailing, shed loads of it too.
  Chas was the original creek sailor and hundred mile trips were common-place, mostly finding himself at the head of a quiet creek at the end of a day’s cruising, often with just enough nap time to be straight off again to the next destination. With this his second book, Charles has sealed the lid on what it is to be a dedicated small boat sailor and in my view this is a must have piece of historical nautical writing. I am only saddened that Charlie didn’t get to see the finished book as it really is a lovely looking and well produced book.
  The photo on the back cover “The Jolly” says it all.   Purchase your copy here

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Shipmate Senior Gaff Cutter Dimensions

A number of small boat enthusiasts that have read the Creeksailor book have asked about the sail plan and various dimensions of Huffler, the boat that I explored every nook and rill of the Blackwater in. Its taken ages to find this as it was on an old SD card somewhere but as promised here is the original rough draft of her rigging and sail plan. It is in Jpeg image form only but is easy to download and study at your leisure.  I will upload  a few detailed images of the bowsprit, sails and cockpit layout if needed as and when I find them but anything in particular just  or email me or leave a comment as others may be of help to.

To get you on the water, to go creeksailing, there is no need to spend more than a few thousand quid at most but if you happen to be considering a shipmate - the boat sits high on the list of no-nonsense, honestly affordable (2K-ish), low maintenance, bags of fun creek-crawlers that actually sail rather well too, a couple have even circumnavigated the UK, and they benefit from sitting upright in mud. The basic boat can also be readily adapted to suit your own needs at little expense. I had a great time with mine and heartily recommend them, particularly if you want to go "ankle deep".. Good sailing, Tony

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Lets Go Nautical

   A nautical flavour from Youtube that can set the mood for the small-boat sailor who thinks big. The world is ours, go get it this coming season!

  Before you do, shut your eyes lay back and be taken way down your stretch of water, off to a distant coast - a sleepy creek, or just let your mind wonder to this selection which is a bit of pure nostalgic magic. If you never watched it on TV you may have still heard the soundtrack playing in the background of your own life at the time.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


An observation in our increasingly changed environment.

  The soothing coastal views of the Dengie are about to be obliterated by the erection of ten wind generators. This is a favourite stretch of coast for the sheer fact it has nothing on it. I am yet to find out whether the solitude you can find here is spoilt completely when tucked up in Hoo Creek for example, at low tide, when the wind generators just may be obscured from view. My fingers are crossed. But lets make no mistake in saying that Bradwell and the Dengie Peninsular has been one of the last great escapes within an hours drive from London where minds can be unrestrained by solitude, peace and quiet, rejoicing in the simplicity of open and free space. What an experience indeed. And this fact applies to millions of people who can only be unaware of how this part of our "heritage in landscape" is being ruined. In my view you cant put a price on the value that escaping the fast moving confusion and restraining hold that working life has for people. To be in and around the natural environment such as green open space, in amongst the trees or peering over clear horizons across the glittering sea is a proven natural tablet to good health and as a species we need lots of these tablets to exist together harmoniously. Given the choice I would rather look at a space that is clear of futuristic man-made towers that crowd the mind and cast a claustrophobic shadow on ones shoulders when they are in view. There are times and moments to wonder at such structures but while trying to escape the above said is not one of them, but sure when I go into town I expect to see this type of thing and have to wondered why every building does not have its own smaller wind generator. The concept of self sufficiency from the national grid by free energy from wind and solar is one that everyman should be encouraged and helped (cost-wise) to achieve as we have to find other energy sources so I look forward to the day when the man of modest means can walk into their local DIY store and pick up a windgenrator system able to run his home that is as affordable as a video recorder or TV. Would this ever happen though, surely we have the technology now but what about all that cash that is raised from over inflated prices and share holders windfalls...Emm... By clicking on this link you can read a piece I wrote about about the Dengie coast as it was only yesterday.
The health and well being promoting Dengie coast. All to amazingly it seems free from clutter. They came and they saw, and like a parking space, said - put something on it!

Other links


Sunday, 3 March 2013

London Gateway

A staggering amount of lowland has been swallowed by the site but some of the sea has been reclaimed for the dock
Zhen Hua in position at London Gateway dock with "next generation" cranes onboard
 Our cruising area is constantly changing and we are in the midst of some rather historical moments with regard to shipping and riverside developments and the use of our waterways. What with the ground breaking London Olympics and the new lock and docking area that was built there, and the Wallasea Island Wild Coast project dock in the Crouch we also have a mega dock London Gateway which while cruising in the Thames last year I was able to view from a distance being built on the north shore of the river, just below Mucking Creek ( Mucking was mentionend in an earlier Inshore Coast article) Couldn't really make out much as I had to stick to the Starboard side due to shipping movements but the first batch of new cranes have just arrived. What a staggering site they are comming up the Thames balanced on the ship Zhen Hua 26. Take a look here Zhen Hua 26 coming up the Thames

Friday, 1 March 2013

19th Century Cruising

 This just could be an image from a classic boot rally where craft and their boots had begun gathering for an annual meet, but no it was around 0800 hrs on an ordinary October morning-after in a sleepy anchorage in the Blackwater. Two tall ships and two spritsail Thames barges lay at anchor. I find waking up to a scene like this while cruising is truly magical, (not the boots the boats) and I do feel privileged to be able to experience this type of scene quite regularly and feel if nothing else could woo other would be visitors to the area then these should. While sitting in this scene it was an absolutely still morning with the odd quack from a duck and the sound of one or two crew arising to a whistling kettle that whispered across the estuary, and it was also the moment that one can't help but feel as if he has been planted straight back into an earlier time of 19th century sail perhaps, where  scenes like this were a part of daily life.  But then hold on a minute.. they are daily life? As I just said, a scene like this in the 2010s is a common one in the River Blackwater. What makes the scene so special I wonder, it is surly the vessels but just as importantly, the absence any white composite material.