Welcome to this month’s edition of ‘The Barnacle’. Within you will find the second instalment of ‘Three Men and A Concrete Boat’, some useful information regarding laying a mooring along with all the usual updates. There is also information regarding the latest efforts to set up a gig rowing club in Weston super Mare. If you have stories, photos or anything that you think may be of interest, we would love to hear from you….
For minutes of the club’s monthly general committee meetings, please see our website: www.wbyc.co.uk
With 2021 drifting off into the distance and having created memories we can all harp back on, we can now look to 2022 with great ambition and anticipation. We start the year with lightening evenings and the opportunity to crawl out from under our shells and take part in all the club has to offer.
Rob Strawbridge and his famed sailing committee have drawn up a season of sailing events. Bob Godbold ,our President , is drawing up plans for a summer club cruise including a jaunt to Ireland, Steve Caiger and Mo Parker are poised to provide a series of events at the Clubhouse and Stuart ,our moorings master is ready to start work on upgrading the pontoons. In the background many members are beavering away preparing for the new season and it is great to see members old and new helping each other out in preparing boats to return to the water in time for the spring.
So whatever your interest whether it be sailing , beer or even both, I look forward to seeing you at the Clubhouse, or on the water and most importantly joining in with the activities you enjoy as soon as you feel you can.
We have come through two pretty awful years so let’s all pull together and make 2022 a happy new year.
Rob Strawbridge and Sehlola
The winter SUNday series continues to attract good support with up to 7 boats turning out in (sometimes) glorious conditions to do battle around the cans. Paul and Anne Turner’s ‘Lasten’ is definitely not living up to her name and is proving hard to beat. The new Achilles 24 ‘Thetis’ is also performing very well with the likes of Mirage, Sehlola, Cutty Wren, Pandora and Drishane regularly making the start line. We look forward to warmer, brighter weather, longer days and further racing opportunities so please stay tuned for upcoming events.
Three old men and a concrete boat
By Bob Godbold
Chapter 2 – We are off. (eventually)
KRA is sitting resplendent and serene alongside the club pontoon. She had been moved from her mooring the previous day to the pontoon to allow refuelling, victualling and final loading of stores(and a lot of booze). Pip, Terry’s wife, had cooked several large meals which were safely in the Fridge, so we would not starve for the next few days. We were ready.
We duly assembled on the pontoon at a sensible hour of the day ready to depart. Hugs and kisses had been made, streamers thrown, the band played. Well not really, Pip had dropped the three of us on the pontoon them gone home to watch ‘Cash in the Attic’ which was apparently more interesting than us sailing off down the Bristol Channel, again. However, the weather had decided not to play ball. It was blowing 5-6, gusting 7. KRA was pinned to the pontoon by the wind. After a lot of pushing, heaving, swearing and an ample use of engine power we got free and set off out to the estuary of the River Axe. As we left the river and set off down the side of Brean Down the sea was rough. KRA is a big heavy sailing vessel but even she was being heaved about by the sea. Anything that was not screwed down or epoxyed to the deck or hull was flying around. We persevered for another 15 minutes but decided it would be ridiculous to carry on. This was a holiday not an ocean race. So we turned KRA around and headed back to the club pontoon. Once tied up and with a glass of cider, we consulted several sources of weather information and concluded we should not attempt to leave for another 2 days. Oh well the Dolphin would be open soon.!
2 days later we reassembled on the pontoon on what looked like a good day. We set off in high spirits, with the sun on our backs, the Bristol Channel providing its normal, gentle but annoying chop. We rounded the ‘Down’ and pointed KRA down Channel. With sails set and the engine running we set off for Ilfracombe. The next few hours were the normal gentle routine of keeping course, watching for other vessels, monitoring the radio, sustained by regular cups of tea and coffee and sandwiches. As we approached Ilfracombe we realised that we would have to wait some time for enough tide to allow us to get into the inner harbour, so we dropped anchor in Combe Martin Bay. Then followed an amusing little incident. I looked at the depth sounder and it was showing a depth of 60ft. I pointed this out to Terry as it didn’t seem right for where we were anchored. He assured me that it was the correct depth as the cliffs came straight down to produce deep water close. I was not convinced, so asked whether he had a lead line. One was duly produced and I dropped the line over the side. To cut a long story short it measured a depth of 6ft below the keel. Need to keep a watch on that one then.!
Combe Martin Bay
The tide ‘made’ and we eventually tied upon the South Wall adjacent to the Ilfracombe Lifeboat slipway. Another amusing incident of the many now took place. Sooty decide he needed to go and use the public toilet which was a about 50 metres across the quay from where KRA was moored. It was about a 2 metre climb up one of the harbour wall ladders from the deck of KRA to the quay. Sooty who has to walk with crutches, due to a serious back injury, asked me for help to get up the ladder. I said throw your crutches up on to the quay, but don’t drop them, then I will get you up the ladder. First crutch sailed into the night and clattered on the quay, The second hit the top of the wall, rebounded and disappeared into the water of the dock between the boat and the dock wall. Oops. So the only substitute was a deck broom. The sight of Sooty staggering across the quay with a deck broom as a crutch looking like Long John Silver(sans Parrot) is an image that will remain with me forever. I retrieved the wayward crutch from the bottom of the harbour at low tide the following day.
The evening was relatively uneventful. However, we did our best to support the brewing industry in the southwest. We left Ilfracombe for Padstow as soon as we floated which was around midday. The sea was relatively calm with a light Westerly wind but the weather forecasts were warning of rough weather and potential gales later in the night. With light winds progress was slow, even with assistance of the engine. By about 17:00 we were off Lundy but it was becoming apparent that we would not make Padstow that night before the predicted high winds and seas would be upon us. It was therefore decided to go back towards Clovelly and seek protection of the headland to the east of Hartland Point, this would give us good shelter from the forecast westerly winds. In a flat calm sea, we rounded up and picked up the Lifeboat mooring buoy and settled down for the night. As a note, one of the peculiarities of KRA was she had high toe rails with a teak capping, this required any mooring line to be fed through a fairlead hole in the toe rail. With Terry conning the boat and Sooty and I on the foredeck, we managed to feed the heavy line from the buoy through the fairlead and onto the Kingpost. Not an easy job even in the light conditions of the evening. It would prove very different the following day. Also both Terry and Sooty’s Laptops had now given up the ghost, along with their chart plotting software. So navigation would now rely on a GPS receiver that would give us position when it felt like it and good old paper charts, pencils and a Portland plotter. This would make life a bit more difficult at times later.
During the night the conditions went down hill rapidly. The wind increased to F6-7 and went round to the north west. With wind now blowing down the side of the Hartland Point the sea began increasing from moderate towards rough. KRA was now being shoved around and life was starting to become a bit uncomfortable.
Next episode: The Storm!
LAYING THE MOORING FOR TRIVIAL PURSUIT
By Rich Charles
This is how I laid my mooring on the River Axe during the summer of 2021. Please be patient with the terminology used to describe various components – much of this I have invented! I did so to aid clarity although, in retrospect, confusion is the more likely result. I was fortunate that a number of intelligent, pragmatic, WBYC members, shared their knowledge with me and gave up their time to help. Their reward, mostly, was to get plastered in mud, suffer my repertoire of Anglo-Saxon swear words and listen while I passed wind whilst heaving on cordage large and small. To everyone involved – a huge than you.
Deciding how to lay a mooring is a bit like decorating a house. There are numerous options; no one way is necessarily right or wrong. The outcome depends on a number of factors which are inter-related. The position of the mooring, the materials available, the existence or absence of any pre-existing mooring, exposure to weather, the boats length, weight and keel configuration. Above all I wanted a mooring able to hold my Farrier F27 trimaran, Trivial Pursuit, securely in place come hell, raging gales or high water.
I first considered how Trivial Pursuit should be secured to the mooring. Each mooring pennant would be fastened to a shackle attached to the riser just below the mooring buoy. It would then run through a fairlead on the edge of the deck to a cleat. Trivial Pursuit had two mooring cleats on the foredeck and two on the stern. This would enable her to be secured with 4 mooring pennants that would afford much greater security than a single pennant to the bow or stern. The first job was to check that the cleats were in good condition and man enough for the job. I did not want the cleats pulled out of the deck. The forward cleats were fine. The rear cleats, however, were made of nylon which had begun to perish. I replaced them with stainless steel and reinforced the deck below. I also replaced the bolts.
There were a number of geographical factors to mull over. The ebbing tide runs quickly, particularly after heavy rain, when the sea water is reinforced with fresh water draining from the Levels. This serves to gradually change the shape of the river bed and banks.
The Moorings cycle between being exposed and sheltered every 6 hours. Trivial Pursuit would be more exposed the higher the tide rose. Whilst the prevailing winds are from the South West, gales can strike from any direction. During a gale there would be times when Trivial Pursuit would face the full force of the wind, particularly when this coincided with the top of a spring tide. The mooring had to stand up in these conditions. Conversely, the river offers greater shelter the lower the tide falls. At the bottom of the tide, roughly 6 hours after high water, there is little or no sea water in the river. The river banks, which are approximately 20 feet high, afford significant protection.
The rise and fall of the tide required consideration. The top of a Spring tide can be over 13.5 meters above mean low water. On a neap tide, the height can be as low as 8 meters. The mooring needed to be flexible enough to hold the boat securely at any point between these extremes without getting blown too high up the bank to the south or too far into the river bed to the north. I wanted to avoid Trivial Pursuit being blown upstream or downstream where it might collide with vessels moored fore and aft of it.
Before work commenced, I conducted a series of visual examinations of the mooring using binoculars. I concluded Trivial Pursuit would take the ground well as there was a broad expanse of mud, on a gentle slope, to accommodate all 3 hulls with ease. I did not know whether there were any objects in the mud which might damage the undersides. There was nothing obvious. The mud is usually deep enough on the banks to swallow such dangers. I assessed the spots where the upstream and downstream anchors would be set in. The anchors needed to be placed where the river bed gives way to the thick mud which marks the start of the bank. The river bed was hard mud and littered with long abandoned sinkers. This was to be avoided at all costs. I took a calculated risk the proposed mooring spot would work provided Trivial Pursuit was kept away from the river bed.
I then needed to calculate the overall length of the bank lines and bridle before I could start assembling the gear. The starting point was to measure the distance between the anticipated position of the river anchor and the bank anchor on both the upstream and downstream side of the mooring. I discovered Google Earth has a measuring device which answered this question. The outcome was that I had a distance of about 65 meters to cover for both the downstream and upstream side of the mooring.
I then had to settle upon the design of the mooring. I had no hesitation adopting that used by Alan Hollier, a life member of the club, who helped lay many moorings over 40 years. This had evolved through trial and error and hard-won experience. The basic design of the mooring is at plate 1, which, I should emphasise is not to scale. The lower bank lines, particularly, are much longer than the ones shown in my sketch.
I then needed to purchase the tackle. This took a few months over the Autumn and winter. The upside was avoiding the frustration of having to await the delivery of components during the summer – here were long periods of waiting. The gear I ordered consisted of the following;
The bank lines – 2 x 100meter coils of 16 mm leaded line (leaded line sinks some pot line doesn’t).
The bridle – 4 lengths of long link chain each 12 meters long; each link was 12 mm thick. Long link chain was vital as it enabled the use of heavy-duty shackles. The comparison of heavy- duty long link chain to lighter, thinner chain is clear at plate 2. The advantage of making the bridle entirely of chain is that it acts as a damper in gales.
The riser – 2 lengths of long link chain 2 meters long.
The anchors – 4 x 30kg admiralty patterned anchors. I concluded these were far superior to anything else. The vendors web site asserted, “They are specifically designed for use with permanent mooring installations, they provide a high holding power option for various mooring configurations and are widely used for a number of commercial applications including fish farms, pontoon contractors and harbour authorities”. Yippee! An example can be found at plate 2.
The buoys – 2 x large A5 Buoys, which at 940 x 710 mm, had sufficient buoyancy to lift the bridle chain.
Get out of jail card – 2 x light marker buoys, to be secured on a short endless 5mm rope to the eye in the shank of each river anchor, to mark their position when lowered into the water. The plan was the buoys were small enough to be submerged completely 2 hours prior to high water and therefore would not present a risk to passing vessels. The anchors then be retrieved and moved should the need arise.
14 heavy duty shackles with 19 mm diameter pins – purchased from Mole Valley Farmers and much cheaper than smaller varieties sold by chandlers. Plate 4 illustrates these shackles.
Mousing wire – for securing the threaded clevis pin to the body of each shackle. This is achieved by passing a couple of turns of wire through the reach hole provided for this purpose in the unthreaded end of the clevis pin and around the body of the shackle hoop.
10 bean poles – for marking the position of the mooring on the river bank and to create transits to judge where to lower the river anchors into the water.
Red insulation tape – to mark the top of each bean pole to aid visibility.
I assembled the following tools; a heavy-duty hacksaw, sharp knife, lump hammer, battery powered angle grinder, long measuring tape, tape measure, black marker pen, large adjustable spanner, vice, wheel barrow, trenching spade, pick axe, hand trowel, work gloves, wheel barrow, 4 large blocks and appropriately sized rope – useful for tightening the mooring up later.
The next task was to mark out the mooring on the bank using the bean poles. I bound red insulation tape around the top of each to enhance visibility I used a measuring tape to find the centre of the mooring. I did this by measuring the distance between the nearest up stream bank line and downstream bank line of the adjoining moorings. I planted one bean pole at the centre point. Then, 1 meter behind this pole, I inserted a second pole at 90 degrees to the bank. By aligning these poles, I had a transit to use later, when in the work boat, so that I could be sure where the centre of the mooring was.
From the centre point, I measured half of Trivial Pursuits overall length downstream and planted two more bean poles, again, one behind the other. I then paced out 5 meters, further downstream and planted two more bean poles – again – one behind the other. I returned to the centre mark and repeated this upstream.
I then set about making up the upper bank lines, lower bank lines and bridles in my garden. This was the easiest place to accurately measure and cut the chain and leaded line and tighten the shackles using a large adjustable spanner and vice. It was also the best place to splice the leaded line – I learned how from tube tutorials – I held the line in the workshop vice while splicing. The disadvantage was lifting, carrying and transporting the finished articles. A trailer, friend with spanner hands and packet of weetabix did the trick.
Now for the difficult bit – a narrative describing how the component parts of the mooring were fitted together. At this point the reader should settle down with a strong coffee, their favourite reading glasses and to understand what I am on about – read the following paragraphs several times before trying to make sense of them.
The mooring was made in 2 halves; each were identical. Confusingly, each “half” was in two separate parts. In my world, Part A was the bank anchor and bank line; Part B was the river anchor, bridle, riser and lower bank line. This is better illustrated in the diagram at plate 5.
Part A, the bank anchor and bank line was simple to construct. 15 meters of leaded line was spliced to a shackle. The splice was about 300 mm long. The shackle had a 19mm clevis pin. The pin was held in position with mousing wire. The shackle was secured to the eye in the end of the anchor shank. The entire process was then replicated.
Part B was a little more complicated. The river anchor was shackled to a 12meter length of long link chain (the bottom chain). The shackle was screwed tightly in place and the clevis pin held with mousing wire. I then measured 6 meters from the eye in the shank of the anchor to a point half way along the chain. A second shackle was inserted at this point through the chain and the end link of a second 12meter length of chain (the top chain) and tightened up. The two remaining loose ends of chain were then shackled together. I pulled the bottom chain out in a straight line. Thereafter, I pulled the top chain upwards from the middle until it formed a perfect triangle in tandem with the bottom chain. Each side of the triangle measured 6 meters.
A shackle was then inserted through the apex of the top chain and a separate 2meter length of long link chain was secured to it to form the riser. At the loose end of the riser, a further shackle was inserted and an A5 mooring buoy secured. A further shackle was then inserted through the end of the bottom chain which was spliced to 65 meters of leaded line.
This was then repeated to construct the second river anchor and bottom bank lines.
I then transported everything to the river bank. Starting from the point of the furthest downstream bean poles, I measured 5 meters inland at 90 degrees to the river. This is where I dug the hole for the downstream bank anchor. The finished hole was about 2ft 6 inches deep. I placed the anchor into the hole horizontally, with the shank pointing towards the river. I hammered the fluke into the earth.
I then dug a hole, about 2 inches wide and a foot deep, from the anchor shank to the edge of the green river bank. In this hole I laid 5 meters of leaded line which I had earlier spliced to a shackle fastened to the eye in the anchor shank. I replaced the top soil with the turf on top to prevent injury to grazing animals.
I was left with about 10 meters of leaded line protruding from the edge of the bank in which I tied 4 equally spaced truckers hitches creating loops. The purpose of the loops was to enable the lower bank line to be fastened and adjusted.
To lay the mooring I used the work boat and the muscular help of 3 strong volunteers. One to helm and operate the engine; the other two to lower the river anchor at the designated spot. A fourth member of the team watched from the opposite bank to confirm the anchor would be dropped in the right place. This involved lining up the bean pole transits.
When the gear relating to the upstream side of the mooring was loaded into the work boat, including the anchor, bridle, riser, buoy and lower bank line, care was taken to flake in the lower bank line first, the chain bridle was then flaked on top followed by the riser and buoy. The anchor was last. My hope was that when the anchor was lowered the gear did not becoming tangled.
The work boat was manoeuvred into position over the spot where the river anchor was to be deployed about an hour before the top of a spring tide. The transit poles were lined up. The boat was positioned against the incoming tide and with engine ticking over. It held in position against the current. It was a matter of judgement and luck to find the spot at which to lower the river anchor so that it came to rest on the edge of the river bed and the soft mud. At an opportune moment, the river anchor, bridle, riser, buoy and part of lower bank line were lowered over the side until the anchor hit the bottom.
The work boat was then motored slowly towards the shore until the bow nudged the edge of the bank adjacent to the bank line. A doughty helper then disembarked and pulled the bitter end of the lower bank line through one of the loops tied earlier in the upper bank line. The lower bank line was pulled through this loop until there was no further slack and made off. The process was then repeated on the other side of the mooring. There was nothing further to do at this point other than return home and have a cup of tea.
I returned 6 hours later close to low water. Unfortunately, the downstream anchor was too far out into the river bed. The upstream anchor was about 6 feet out of place up the river bank. Both the upstream and downstream bank lines needed to be significantly tightened. The chain of each bridle was bunched together. The marker buoys, however, complete with their endless lines, were clearly visible. I intended to use them to move the anchors later.
I made 5 or 6 attempts to reposition both anchors using the work boat. This involved picking up the marker buoy, lifting each anchor in turn, attempting to pull it into position and then releasing the marker buoy. Eventually I succeeded in positioning the downstream anchor at the junction of the river bed with the river bank. The shank, however, was vertical in the air. The anchor needed to be properly set.
The upstream anchor resisted all attempts to re set it from the work boat. I eventually got hands on it just after low tide from a dinghy. I slid down the bank in a tender, a hazardous exercise which should be avoided. A club member kindly kept watch from the bank. We both had hand held VHF radios. I took two small anchors so that I was able to moor fore and aft next to the offending anchor. I also took a long pole to push the dinghy over the ground when there was insufficient water. When I reached the anchor, I was able to pull it into the dinghy and then reposition it a couple of meters away in the correct position. Using a trowel, I was able to dig the anchor into the mud and orientate the shank so that it pointed towards the bank anchor. Once the anchors were set I removed the marker buoys (apologies to one and all for the delay in doing this – particularly Mr Willis).
With the anchors and bank lines in the correct position, I then had to tension the lower bank lines to remove the slack and pull the bridle chains tight. Also, to ensure the river anchors were set into the mud to maximise the catenary action. I stood on the river bank and manually pulled the lines taught. This removed some slack. I needed, however, to apply far more tension if the anchors were to set properly.
I returned a few days later with 4 large pulleys, a rope and a strong mate. We fixed up a 4 to 1 purchase and pulled the lower bank line and upper bank lines together. We duplicated this on the other end of the mooring. We removed between 10 and 15 feet of slack from each. The river anchors were now well and truly set and there was no slack in the bridle. We then tied the upper and lower bank lines together using bowlines secured with round turns and cable ties.
Once the mooring had been tensioned, I attached two mooring pennants to the large shackle underneath each buoy. The mooring pennants had metal thimbles at the “buoy end” for added security; see plate 6.
I then made up a guest line, 4 ft shorter than the length of Trivial Pursuit (guest lines should normally be one and a half times the length of the boat). The guest line was made out of 16 mm floating polypropylene rope. I spliced a large carabiner to each end. The carabiner was then opened and the eye of the upstream mooring pennants secured with it. This was repeated with the downstream end of the guest line.
I did not use the mooring for several weeks as I wanted to be sure the river anchors were as well set in as they looked. I returned to the river bank every few days to reassess the mooring. After 3 or 4 weeks I was satisfied all was well and placed the boat on the mooring. At the time of writing Trivial Pursuit remains on the mooring which is doing everything I hoped it would. At plate 7 is a photograph of the mooring at low water before all the slack had been removed.
What would I do differently? If I owned a heavier boat, I would increase the diameter of the leaded line to 18 mm. With a lighter boat I would consider replacing the chain used on the bridle with leaded line particularly if the mooring was further into the river. I would in all circumstances, however, ensure the riser was chain. I would consider driving a length of galvanised scaffolding pole into the river bank immediately in front of the anchor fluke. I might also consider using telegraph poles or reinforced concrete lintels as bank anchors although I would want to insert them in deeper holes. I would consider marking the position at which the river anchors were to be dropped with poles driven into the river bed in advance. George and Paul did this with considerable success.
If anyone wants to discuss anything in this article, laying a mooring or would like a hand to do so please give me a shout. I will be delighted to help.
Richard Charles 7th January 2022.
Plate 1: Basic Mooring Design – Buoys should be A5
Plate 2: 12mm long link chain compared to lighter chain
Plate 3: Admiralty Patterned Anchor 30KG
Plate 4: Heavy Shackle with 19mm pin
Plate 5: Diagram of one side of a mooring
Plate 6: Thimble end of a mooring pennant
Plate 7: Mooring before the final tightening of the bank lines
Gig Rowing in Weston Bay
WBYC members get a taste of gig rowing at Burnham On Sea
Cornish pilot gig rowing is one of the fastest growing sports in the South West and there are now well established clubs locally in Clevedon, Bristol, Portishead, Burnham On Sea and Combwich. The idea of forming a club in Weston super Mare which may affiliate to our yacht club has been around for the last few years, but it now seems likely that this may become a reality. A forming body from WBYC are currently in discussions with the other local clubs and looking at how we can make this happen and the best way to proceed. There is much to consider including location, storage of gig and equipment, funding, promotion etc, but there is a lot of enthusiasm and the local gig racing community is offering a great deal of support. It looks likely that there will be some initial rowing opportunities in the form of taster sessions in both Clevedon and Bristol Docks in the coming weeks so please watch your emails and the Facebook page for further information. In the meantime, please spread the word to your friends and family and make them aware that this very popular sport is coming to Weston!
A number of boats have been during the recent weeks. Alice (achilles 24) has been moved up river onto our club temp moorings, the club catamaran is now on our club mooring closest to pontoon and Elise has been moved up onto our club temp moorings pending repair/replacement of her existing mooring.
Special thanks must go to Andy and Tom for the amount of voluntary moorings assistance they provide, its very much appreciated.
As we move towards the new sailing season mooring licence holders need to consider essential maintenance on your moorings to ensure they are fit for purpose and don’t pose a risk to other river users.
Please also ensure you have adequate insurance.
We have club workboats available to assist with moorings maintenance and we could hopefully get members together to form work parties as required.
Work will start on improving pontoons Asap weather permitting.
Happy new year to all.
Tel or WhatsApp: 07519804588
Bar and Social
Our social calendar ended with the Christmas party which was well supported and allowed our members to showcase their impressive karaoke talents! Many thanks to John Tyson for putting on the show which we all enjoyed. I am very hopeful that 2022 will see a return to a full social programme with different events to suit various tastes. Please watch your emails and our Facebook page for updates throughout the year.
Diary dates/useful information
Moorings: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel or WhatsApp: 07519804588
Beach Gate Key: (Full members only) Behind the bar (£20 deposit)
Parking Permit: Behind the bar
Club access/membership cards: Available in club or Email: email@example.com
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Tel: 07813 111592