The blog will now be devoted not to boat building but to my 82-year-old Vertue, Sally II, now undergoing a well needed refit at Johnson & Loftus in Ullapool (and gliding...)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Back Again

Nothing much to write about so I didn't these past few weeks, and yet, strangely, the stats tell an interesting story. It's as if those who chance on this blog have taken the time to catch up on all the stuff they may have missed in the past. Certainly there seems to be no discernible let up with the graph showing a steady three or sometimes as many as four people a week popping in.

No, it's more than that, he says immodestly. To date nearly 23,000 people have taken an interest, or maybe that's 23,000 hits from 1 stalwart? Who can say. Whoever you are, thanks.

News afoot, with the possibility of another faering to build, a launch for the South of France, another Tammie Norrie and a rowing boat for an estate up north. If all come to fruition I'll eat my apron. Indeed I hope they do not, as it will leave precious little time to celebrate a 75th birthday which falls next year. Yes, Sally II will have passed three quarters of a century, quite a feat for any boat. And last time I had a peak in her bilges, all was as sound as the day she slipped down the ways at Elkins in Christchurch.

Pitch pine planked with steamed oak timbers between grown timbers, copper fastened with a lead keel, the secret perhaps of her longevity is her strap floors, which tie the centreline together, basically, bridging the planking via the keel and bolted to the timbers. Tungum; that's the name of the stuff her first owner specified, for he'd read about this miracle metal in some journal, and its use in Wellington bombers' hydraulic pipes.

I've seen many bilges from that pre-war era, and most have a mixture of iron floors, copper and bronze fastenings, oak timbers and mahogany planking, which is a recipe for disaster down the line. So, a little foresight, and an extra £15 10s 6d in 1937 has ensured that Sally is still afloat (or was the last time I saw her, this morning when I drove to my shed to varnish the mast on the new dinghy).


  1. Was worried there, how had you reached 75 in such better condition than me, still a bit younger, then I saw that it was only the boat. Well, she's just a baby compared with Stroma, who's nearly 83.

  2. I had wondered how a strapping gent of your temperament had reached 75 in such short order, myself. Teach me to read closer.