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...)

Friday, 14 November 2014

Of Ffly, Ffools, Ffloods and Bouncing Bombs

You may recall that, as part of my extensive training to become commodore (I am hoping against hope someone will stand up and call my bluff when the time comes) I was foolishly obliged to sink and salvage a boat, which I managed to achieve to my fellow club officers' satisfaction in the aftermath of one of the Autumn's particularly nasty southerly gales.

Graham Lamond, from the FF association, who has advised us on many occasions, read of the sinking, and also the flood that struck my workshop around the same time. He writes:


I was sorry to read  that you had been flooded and that Ffly had been sunk. I know from personal experience what a trying time it is.

If you like irony - the following story may be of interest....

In May 1943 Lancaster aircraft from RAF 617 squadron attacked the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams in Germany, wreaking destruction on the homes, factories and inhabitants of those downstream. I am from Lancaster and as a boy, reading the book buy Wing Commander Guy Gibson 'Enemy Coast Ahead', ensured that the exploits of 617 were fixed firmly in my mind.

Sixty two years later, in June 2005, torrential downpours following a heatwave brought flash flooding to many villages in North Yorkshire. The old Victorian earth dam at the disused Boltby reservoir 3 miles up the valley from us partially gave way under the weight of water rushing into the lake from the surrounding moors. The resulting torrent swept down the valley causing plenty of destruction but, mercifully, no casualties until it passed through our village of Sutton under Whitestonecliffe, where it swept through our house like an express train on its way downstream.

My Flying Fifteen, 'Fettercairn' was in the garage and, secured to her trailer and she bobbed around until the levels fell, settling at an angle against the partially collapsed garage. Fortunately the damage was relatively minor and she was repaired to sail again, even though the insurance company wrote her off. Not so the house, which was a mess, as you now know yourself.

And the irony? One of the former names of Flying Fifteen 'Fettercairn' belonging to the boy from Lancaster was 'Dambuster' and her sail number?


All the best to you.


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