Sunday, 22 November 2009

Winter Lay Up and other Thoughts

I've been kidding myself recently, that the weather would be nice and that I would have the time for a last winter sail. While we've had the odd nice day in between the gales, I've always been busy doing something else.

So on Saturday I bit the bullet and prepared Greta for her winter lay up. Despite the strong winds (and worse forecast) I rowed down river to take the sails off, run the engine, make sure the cover was secure and generally hunker her down for the next few weeks, before we haul her out.

Greta always looks a bit sad at this time of year, I have to keep on reminding myself that she will look great come the spring, polished and with a few coats of touch up on her varnish work.

Despite the wind and the grey skies, it was good to get out of the office and onto the river. As I rowed past Brooklands (below) I couldn't help noticing how splendid the house looked, with the last of the autumn leaves ready to fall. And for those of you who noticed - yes there are two Bentley's parked in the drive - his and hers perhaps!

Aeolus (below) is a gaff cutter, in the English "plank on edge" type, built in 1904 she is believed to be to a design by Fife. A friend of mine was interested in buying her a few years ago when she came up for sale, but although she was in reasonable condition, the almost 8 foot draft and absence of an engine, at the time put him off. Subsequent owners have installed an engine and undertaken significant restoration and improvements since then, but she still has that deep draft!

With the cost of moorings and the fact that you get charged for every foot including overhangs, a boat like Aeolus at 41 feet on deck, but 60 feet over all must be a harbour master's delight. Just imagine how much they can charge for that boom, which never actually touches the water.

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