Home Forums Sport & Leisure Curlew of the Channel

This topic contains 21 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Michael 8 months ago.

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #410934

    Michael
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 183
    • Contributions: 192
    • Scout
    • ★★★

    Member since
    23rd July 2016

    Having stood up for Brexit in another area of this Forum I thought I’d calm things down with a few sentences and pictures of my boat. The boat builder in Normandy made 400 of these little fishing boats using a traditional Breton sailing rig back in the 50’s and early 60’s. He made a small number with a small two berth cabin for recreational use. I don’t think there are any of the fishing boats left now and only half a dozen of those with a cabin. 1 is in a museum near Caen, 3 are owned by a traditional vintage sailboat club which leaves mine and another privately owned one on the north coast. The builder called them Courlis de la Manche, or Curlews of the Channel.

    Mine is in need of TLC and, to this end I’m just in the process of fitting a new engine, a Volvo Penta MD2. I went to the Volvo dealer the other day and was  talking with the young lady who ran the shop about the boat. I explained I had been extremely lucky to find a reconditioned MD2 engine. She said they no longer kept spares for these engines and I would be better off fitting a modern engine and be trouble free for years to come. I said I didn’t have the heart to fit a new engine in a fifty year old boat, it just wouldn’t sound right. These engines have a beautiful thump-thump-thump noise unlike the purring noise of a modern engine. She smiled at me. “I know” she said, “I have an MD2 engine in my boat”.

    The following photos are of my boat being brought up to the crane by the harbour staff. I love the way they simply push her along. The others are of the nice clean, newly painted engine bay and the dear thing sat waiting for her new engine. There’s a Force 6 gale forecast for tonight but I’ll resist the temptation just to pop down in the middle of the night to check she’s OK. I must admit I did double up on the mooring lines though.

    Going my way?

    3+
    #410943

    tigre
    Participant
    • Topics: 37
    • Replies: 7749
    • Contributions: 7786
    • Mega Star
    • ★★★★★★★★

    Member since
    23rd April 2016

    Great project, Michael, thanks for sharing. :good:

    Have you given yourself a time scale, or will it be a matter of when and if?

    1+
    #410944

    BartyB
    Participant
    • Topics: 16
    • Replies: 612
    • Contributions: 628
    • Guardian
    • ★★★★★

    Member since
    20th March 2016

    I’ve had wooden boats in the past and didn’t want another project so I have a plastic one but she’s rigged correctly :D

    0
    #410987

    Blue velvet
    Participant
    • Topics: 218
    • Replies: 16329
    • Contributions: 16547
    • Mega Star
    • ★★★★★★★★

    Member since
    19th March 2016

    Lovely boats  :rose:

    0
    #411127

    Fruitcake
    Participant
    • Topics: 105
    • Replies: 4903
    • Contributions: 5008
    • Mega Star
    • ★★★★★★★★

    Member since
    13th July 2018

    Beautiful boats, love that name Curlews of the channel Michael  :yes:

    0
    #411132

    Blue velvet
    Participant
    • Topics: 218
    • Replies: 16329
    • Contributions: 16547
    • Mega Star
    • ★★★★★★★★

    Member since
    19th March 2016

    Pity you didn’t ever chat with Bill, who was a member on here. He loves his boats and sailing  you could have had a good natter!

    1+
    #411197

    Anonymous
    • Topics: 69
    • Replies: 791
    • Contributions: 860
    • Star
    • ★★★★★★

    Member since
    1st January 1970

    I have to agree there is nothing like the donk,donk, donk of a vintage engine. I love Gardners myself. Spares are available in UK if you know where to look, but you wont need many. I took a starter motor to a very eccentric, aged gentleman mechanic in 2008, as I walked into his workshop carrying this very heavy lump, he exclaimed Ive not seen one of those since 1989! Its a 1956!

    Long story short, he totally rebuilt the starter, including stripping off all paint and repainting better than new in original Gardner colour. The invoice was three pages of A4 all beautifully hand written. The total £55.00. When I asked if it was inc VAT, he said in his local accent, we don’t have that sort of thing round here boy!

    Lovely to see old and traditional boats though wherever they may be.

     

    0
    #411205

    Michael
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 183
    • Contributions: 192
    • Scout
    • ★★★

    Member since
    23rd July 2016

    I’m sure everyone’s heard of the old 80/20 rule – well it applies to fibreglass and wooden boats. With modern fibreglass boats you spend 20% of your time doing maintenance and 80% sailing. With wooden boats you spend 20% of the time sailing and 80% doing maintenance. I think this is Gods way of saying all retiree’s should have wooden boats as they have the spare time :yahoo:   Having said that, she is an ongoing project although I hope to get some sailing in before the end of the summer.

    My plans to swap engines went haywire early this morning. My 44 year old Volvo manual says that the wide and narrow engine mountings are interchangeable. Guess what – the back ones are but the front are totally different. This meant that I couldn’t put the new engine in the boat. The men on the crane and the harbour master(actually a lady) were all very helpful and I’ve left both engines sat together on my trailer on the quay side and the boat moored waiting eagerly for her new engine. Over the weekend I hope to make some steel fabrications that will convert my new wide mountings to the old narrow boat fittings. The nice thing is that I seem to spend more time chatting with people who are walking past and stop to find out what is happening.

    The sail rig in English is a loose-footed standing lug yawl. In the Brittany area they are called ‘misainier’. Because most of the boats built using this design were fishing boats they didn’t want a boom, the wooden spar at the bottom of the sail, swinging side to side cross the centre of the boat where the men were working hence the term ‘loose footed’ ie the foot of the sail being loose.. They also sail quite well with just the jib(the sail at the front) and the mizzen(the sail at the back). This was really useful when fishing because the middle of the boat was uncluttered and the men could concentrate on the fish.

    One thing I’ve been really impressed with is the number of children even in todays winds who are out there sailing with everyone having a wonderful time. They arrive in bus loads and usually two or three to a boat, are towed out into the bay by an instructor. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen in the UK but I’ve never noticed it. I quite envy them. They are also very polite and always stop to stroke my dog and chat. I love France.

    0
    #411207

    BartyB
    Participant
    • Topics: 16
    • Replies: 612
    • Contributions: 628
    • Guardian
    • ★★★★★

    Member since
    20th March 2016

    Where abouts does your boat live Michael? I’m at Pontrieux and need an excuse for a bit of an explore.

    0
    #411254

    Anonymous
    • Topics: 69
    • Replies: 791
    • Contributions: 860
    • Star
    • ★★★★★★

    Member since
    1st January 1970

    Sorry to hear that Michael, but I have been there seen it and have the tee shirt as they say. However, where there is a will there is a way and it is only a temporary set back.

    Good luck and please keep us informed.

    0
    #415295

    Michael
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 183
    • Contributions: 192
    • Scout
    • ★★★

    Member since
    23rd July 2016

    Well, I made a couple of new engine mounts and the new engine was successfully fitted about a week ago. The electrics were connected and the engine was started for the first time and left to idle for 15 minutes whilst I checked oil pressure and water temperature. Everything appears good so yesterday she was moved back to her mooring under her own power. A small crowd had gathered to watch us go through the lock at the entrance to the port and even the lock keeper came out and gave a cheery wave. Old wooden boats seem to attract people in the nicest way. Tomorrow the tides are good and if the weather is fine I’ll take her out into the bay and get some sailing in. Fingers crossed.

     

    0
    #415305

    Michael
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 183
    • Contributions: 192
    • Scout
    • ★★★

    Member since
    23rd July 2016

    Visit YouTube for video of the month  :yahoo:   :yahoo:   :yahoo:

    0
    #415927

    Michael
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 183
    • Contributions: 192
    • Scout
    • ★★★

    Member since
    23rd July 2016

    Yesterday afternoon saw temperatures of 23 and not a breath of wind. Not exactly good sailing weather but it gave me a chance to motor out to the bay to give my new engine a test run. The following pictures were taken as I made my way down through Port Rhu to the lock gate, the lock keeper is standing on the right hand side, and into the bay. I understand the island with the impressive building used to belong to the family who ran the sardine business in Douarnenez but is now a museum. One day later and its cloudy and wet – where did summer go  :scratch:   :scratch:

     

    0
    #416410

    Fruitcake
    Participant
    • Topics: 105
    • Replies: 4903
    • Contributions: 5008
    • Mega Star
    • ★★★★★★★★

    Member since
    13th July 2018

    That looks idyllic Michael, how the weather can change in a day! It would have been a bit of a hairy sailing yesterday afternoon and evening!

    Have you ever had a sailing holiday? I mean where you fly somewhere and hire the boat. My brother is a keen sailor and has loved the two holidays he and his wife have spent around the Greek islands but mostly he enjoys his Sunday sailing at Bewl water (I think that’s how it’s spelt ) where his boat is kept, do you know it? I emailed him a photo of your boat, he said it’s lovely and does love the wooden boats but prefers to own a less labour intensive boat. He is a very competitive sailor!

    0
    #416467

    tigre
    Participant
    • Topics: 37
    • Replies: 7749
    • Contributions: 7786
    • Mega Star
    • ★★★★★★★★

    Member since
    23rd April 2016

    Lovely photos, I’m not keen on sailing have to admit, but the thought of the Greek Islands does sound appealing.

    1+
    #416613

    Michael
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 183
    • Contributions: 192
    • Scout
    • ★★★

    Member since
    23rd July 2016

    I must admit I’ve never been sailing around the Greek Islands but understand its a wonderful holiday. I have yet to hear of anyone who didn’t enjoy it.  In the early 90’s I had a Sigma 33 (33ft long!) which is a 7 berth cruiser/racer one design.  She was moored at Ocean village in Southampton and weekends in the summer were spent cruising the south coast with the family. With a family, a fibreglass boat makes a lot of sense, as the upkeep is a fraction of that of a wooden boat. The family wouldn’t have been happy if I spent a Saturday morning rubbing down and varnishing a bit of woodwork. Now that the children have flown the nest I find myself left alone with my collie/lab cross Max. It means I can spend all day rubbing down wood and varnishing and Max is happy to curl up in the cabin on one of the berths. A wooden boat demands a significant amount of time keeping her ‘up together’. On the other hand, people seem to be drawn to wooden boats and there is always someone who simply wants to stand and chat. On Friday, the previous owner came aboard and we had a long chat. It ended with him saying he was glad  that I had bought his boat. I took it as a compliment. Well, today I spent the afternoon painting the cabin roof cream and it does look rather nice. Tomorrow looks as if it’s going to be a nice day so I may try and wire up the electrics. That’s the problem with an old wooden boat, you need to be a ‘jack’ of all trades, master of none.

    0
    #416664

    Blue velvet
    Participant
    • Topics: 218
    • Replies: 16329
    • Contributions: 16547
    • Mega Star
    • ★★★★★★★★

    Member since
    19th March 2016

    You would enjoy the Greek Islands, I could do with a touch of Crete right now!

    0
    #416665

    Michael
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 183
    • Contributions: 192
    • Scout
    • ★★★

    Member since
    23rd July 2016

    I’m sure you’re right BV. Perhaps my Curlew should spread her wings  :yes:   :yes:

    I’ve just sent off my entry form for the Gulf of Morbihan ‘Old Timers’ week. It runs from the 27th May to the 2nd of June and looks like being an exciting week. Before you say anything BV, ‘Old Timer’ refers to the boat and not me :yahoo:   :yahoo:   Its about 110 nautical miles and ‘Tiens Bon’ will average, say, 5 knots so spreading the voyage over three or four days would be good.

    You never know. Perhaps it’s Morbihan next year and Greece the year after. :-)   :-)

    1+
    #419765

    Michael
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 183
    • Contributions: 192
    • Scout
    • ★★★

    Member since
    23rd July 2016

    Another warm, sunny day in Douarnenez. Its the time of year when the bigger boats are coming into the port and preparing for winter.

    Skellig, the blue and white boat, is a replica of the old fishing boats and was first launched in 2011. She was in port today and her sails were being taken away for cleaning, as was the upholstery.

    I have to replace a couple of deck planks that are suffering from the dreaded rot. I went into one of the boat shops along the quay and was trying to explain to the lady behind the desk that I was English and wanted to buy some wood. A gentleman looking like an older version of Captain Birds Eye came from the back and said with a large smile  ‘I might be able to help you’. We walked along to the boat builders next door. ‘Christoph’ he shouted. He turned to me and explained that Christoph would tell me he was German until he’d had a couple of glasses of wine when he would tell me he was French’. Christoph appeared from behind a very large boat looking like something from the 1930’s. He was really pleasant and asked if I’d mind waiting half an hour for him to machine the wood. I told him anytime in the next couple of days would be fine. Captain BE asked what wood had been used and Christoph shrugged his shoulders and muttered ‘LeClerc’. As they say, ‘If you buy an old wooden boat, you buy problems’. I shall repair the deck where necessary so I can get some good sailing in next summer and then next winter I can re-deck her with teak strips separated by black mastic and then she should look ‘Ship shape and Bristol fashion. May you have light winds and calm seas. :nodding:  :nodding:

    0
    #419773

    Anonymous
    • Topics: 41
    • Replies: 4919
    • Contributions: 4960
    • Mega Star
    • ★★★★★★★★

    Member since
    1st January 1970

    Looking at your profile pic and reading your stories and looking at pics you’ve posted, I believe you like yachts??

    0
    #419800

    Anonymous
    • Topics: 7
    • Replies: 85
    • Contributions: 92
    • Adventurer
    • ★★

    Member since
    1st January 1970

    I was in Concale a couple of weeks ago and a similar boat to yours sailed past, absolutely stunning, never been sailing, but the wife helped sail a Tall Ship around Grand Canaria,Think I,ll stick to the Classic Bikes, there was a programme on TV about the Thames Barges and the Lightermen, really interesting.

    0
    #419889

    Michael
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 183
    • Contributions: 192
    • Scout
    • ★★★

    Member since
    23rd July 2016

    It’s simple really. I just love anything old(I hope SWMBO doesn’t read this :laugh-rolling: ) Having lived in the IoM I have a love of old bikes although most of the models I owned now appear in museums. Gold Stars, Black Shadows, AJS CSR’s – all names to conjure with. I sold my old AJS, my trials Enfield and my Suzuki GSXR to come to France along with my vintage tractors and stationary engines. Having arrived in France I seem to be accumulating old tractors, cars and boats again. Something about leopards and spots comes to mind :laugh: My excuse is that someone has to look after these things in order to educate future generations!

     

    0
Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.