Monday 29 December 2014

This could be any Summers day but it was in fact yesterday at Roches Point. Surprising amount of boats out in the harbour mouth and a few sails off in the distance, Within an hour the sun was setting and it was pretty cold so I was happy enough to stay in the nice warm car.

Sunday 21 December 2014

The boats are both now laid up ashore for the rest of the Winter, My Charter boat just got lifted this week so that puts an end to the longest season I have had, I launched in late March and had my last days out early in December. I don't have a Baltimore mooring so I was tying up in Hegarty's which meant getting up and down the river in the morning and evening, leaving at day break and getting back after dark. 
The last morning out the boat was frozen solid when I arrived around 7 on a Sunday morning. She has no cold start so it took a bit of cranking before she came to life. All the decks where frozen as well as all the ropes. I had to stop a few times on the way down river to hose down the windscreen. Things finally thawed out a bit by the time I was South of Baltimore. 
It was a novelty for a few days but I don't envy lads who fish commercially all Winter.
I am going to organise another heavy duty mooring next Summer so I have the option of staying in longer if not all Winter. My current moorings should be well up to it but I would want to be absolutely sure. Operating from a mooring would mean I could avoid the really early mornings and late evenings and working as much in the dark. 
As for Winter sailing! Its pretty dam cold in the wheelhouse not to mind standing in a cockpit.

I'd like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Here's to a great 2015 and a fantastic Summer's sailing. Cheers!

Saturday 13 December 2014

So kid's, bubbles and my laptop haven't mixed well so once again I'm without all my photos and everything. I'm getting properly stuck into a house renovation for the winter and i find this a good  time of year to cover up the boats and leave them well alone until the spring, although my charter boat has yet to be lifted out. I have quite a list of things to do to teal before next season but most of it is next to impossible while the covers are on anyway. I'll just have to stock pile with timber, varnish and paint in the mean time. The first thing i will do is give the mast 2 more coats of varnish and have it stepped so i can put up a boom tent to make work possible but that won't  be for a few months yet. I've been reading a few books which i found really good so if your looking for some holiday reading and old boats are your thing then   "tales from a cornish lugger " and its sequel "more tales from a cornish lugger" i would  highly recommend. The second book is mainly based aboard the lugger 'Ibis' which has been sailing around here in the last couple of seasons.                                            

Friday 28 November 2014

Sunny Sundays

Teal sailing out of Glandore late on a Sunday evening during the Summer. Photo by Tim Cooke

Strangely every Sunday this month the weather has been lovely and the forecast for the week ahead looks good too. A year round mooring is becoming a must for next year at least for one of the boats.

Friday 21 November 2014


I'm renovating my parents old house at the moment and when I took down a stud partition I found a newspaper and a few photos that Dad put there 20 years ago. At the time he was skippering a charter boat out of Courtmacsherry, he was running the Mark Antony, a wooden (probably half decker) that I don't remember all that well other than it had an open back wheelhouse with a raised floor that housed the engine and vibrated like mad. One of the photos was of a second boat belonging to the same person. The 'Valhalla' I remembered her as being very good looking and an older design, I think Dad chose to run the the Mark Antony because she had more room despite being shorter.
The boats where replaced in the mid to late ninetys, I would love to know what happened to the Valhalla, She must be something a long the lines of a West Country Tosher and about 35ft long. As well as that I really like the name. It would be a crying shame if she rotted away somewhere.

The joys of running a passenger boat back then, No rails, no licence and pretty sure Dad said they didn't even have a bilge pump worth talking about.

Monday 17 November 2014

November fishing

Teal is all tucked up now for the Winter, I put a proper cover over her so hopefully she will stay reasonably clean and dry although she has already been subjected to blasting grit fall out which makes a big bloody mess. Downside to being near the trawler slip. The sails have gone off to the sailmakers, the rigging screws are in a big tub of diesel and the rigging wire is sitting in a bucket of linseed oil. I flushed the engine but I still need drain the block and the exhaust before any frosty weather. I will be selling a little Petter AC1W 6hp soon by the way if anyone is looking for one. The single cylinder version of Teals engine.
I am holding out as long as I can keeping my charter boat in the water in the hope of good weather, Yesterday was looking good and I had a group so I headed off before day break, It was a lumpy morning out but as the day went on it settle down nicely and ended up being a gorgeous evening. I had the sun setting behind me on the way back up river. It was fairly well dark by the time I finished up. 
There are Fin whales and humpbacks about but unfortunately they are staying further South than I have been fishing, although the gannets were putting on a great show diving for sprat all day.

Friday 7 November 2014

Last day out

We moved the charter boats back to the boatyard for the Winter on Wednesday, Absolutely beautiful day out for the 5th of November. Makes you not want to put them away, By Thursday the weather was crap again

Local fishing boat working in the harbour

Saturday 1 November 2014

Down South & Southward bound


Leo & Co. have the right idea and set off from Baltimore a few months ago onboard Síle a Dó.
Síle started life as a Hegarty built fishing boat, By the time I first ventured into Hegarty's Leo had been toiling away in a tent for quite awhile, She had at that stage grown several feet longer and had her deck beams in place, I think she had gained a ballast keel and a built out rudder skeg by then as well. She has been sailing locally for the last few seasons. Great to see them off in her now and Leo getting his moneys worth.

Sile before her conversion
Leo's blog of the conversion here

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Teal sailing

Little video by Tim Cooke of Teal leaving Glandore harbour for the winter

Thursday 23 October 2014

Sail dilemma

So now that the Jib and Genoa have cleaned up so well I have kind of given up on the idea of the cream sails. It just doesn't make any sense to replace good sails that I can't afford anyway. I do on the other hand have enough to replace the mainsail this year.
So the dilemma is this, The current mainsail is not in bad shape, it just needs some patches to hold new eyes for the luff lacing and the rust marks cleaning off of it. On the other hand it is completely ruined by the big FOR SALE marks on it.
So I could go ahead and replace it and that will be about all I can afford this year or I can opt for a new mizzen, which is desperately in need of replacing plus a new staysail as the old one is very tired and get the main repaired and perhaps even a cover for the mainsail all for around the same price.
            The other thing to factor in is it will be difficult to get the money together again to replace the main and if we had it sorted we would have the bulk of the cost of replacing the set behind us.
Stupid problem I know.

Please excuse our saggy luffs, It was the first weekend out and we had the worlds worst piece of rope as a staysail halyard. You can see the issue with the main & the mizzen for that matter, The rust marks on the other have since cleaned up lovely.

Monday 13 October 2014

Stuff on the river

100yr old Teal and 102yr old An Faoiléan

Smouldering gorse, I know they get a little grazing out of it but I don't really get it, It does smell good though. Burning Quarantine Island was probably a bit unnecessary as its about 10mtrs square 

Guillemot on her mooring

I'm not entirely sure 

Bit envious of this place and there little pier 

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Packing up

We went down and cleared Teal out for the Winter today. Brought home the sails, mizzen mast and spars and put them all away. Opened the bolts on the bottle screws ready for the mast to be unstepped and cleared out the interior of all the various paraphernalia that accumulates on a boat.
She was dried out so I went over the bottom with a paint scraper, It was only really bad where the anti-foul had been scrubbed away and on the rudder for some reason. She will have the mast down and be on the hard tomorrow if she isn't already.
Nothing out of the ordinary happened beneath the waterline thankfully, she did squeeze the putty out a little as she took up but that was to be expected.
I'll winterise the engine and fill up the diesel tank etc when she is out.
Bit depressing taking it all apart again but it will be Spring again before we know and there will be loads to do, in a rush no doubt.

Thursday 2 October 2014

Thats it

The weather finally showed signs of breaking so I decided to take Teal back up river this morning. I actually managed to get the night away so I headed down just before dark yesterday evening and moved her in closer to the pier so I could access the pub for an end of season pint.
After my breakfast this morning I put up the mainsail to see if there was enough of a breeze to take me as far as the sound. There was not. So I started up and had a leisurely motor up the river. Her bottom is desperately in need of a scrub now so going anywhere at more than a leisurely pace is kind of out of the question anyway. I'm surprised she has so much weed on as that anti-foul has proved very good on my other boat over the last few seasons.
                   Overall I would call the season a great success, apart from the bit of engine trouble the first day she has been trouble free and takes no water. She could probably do with a bigger prop and I have a list of other little changes to make inside but there was no other way I was going to figure that out other than by using her. Not that I had time to do any more before she went in.
Now I just have to wait for her to be lifted out so I can winterise her and give thing a pre winter coat of varnish and a coat of paint on the canvas.

Porthole view

New book and an Oil lamp, What more could I want
(Tales from a Cornish Lugger)

Monday 22 September 2014

Closing days

I got set to leave Union Hall on Friday with a plan to head for Kilcoe to spend a final night on board before returning to the mooring in Baltimore. No sooner had I the sails set when I got a booking for Saturday morning so I resigned to getting the boat as far as Baltimore.
I had a somewhat frustrating sail with the wind being lighter than forecast and being dead astern with the ever present swell at this time of year to make a dead run quite uncomfortable. To add to that I had somehow figured the tide was with me for the day but as I realised later it was actually against me albeit a small tide anyway but every little helps (or in this case doesn't help)
As it turns out it was somewhat of a blessing as my postponed trip lead me to go in much nicer weather and a friend of mine came along to try his hand at sailing.
We headed to Poulgorm bay for the night near Jeremy Irons castle in Kilcoe, We had a nice easy sail most of the way but the wind died out amongst the mussel beds so as it was getting pretty dark at that stage we motored the last mile into Poulgorm. We rowed to a small Island in the centre of the bay and with the help of a very powerful head torch found a little gravel beach to land on and another to light a BBQ and a camp fire. We were a little merrier rowing back.
This morning was beautifully sunny again so we sailed back to East Skeam were we anchored off and went ashore to explore, before finally sailing and motor sailing back to Baltimore.
Not bad for the end of September. It may be the last trip of the Season but there is still no sign of any terrible weather so as long as it holds out Teal will stay in the water.
There is a fantastic photo taken by Kevin O Farrell as we sailed past Cunnamore Pier into the sunset HERE

Sun setting on East Skeem

Anchored off East Skeam

Ruins on the Island

New Helmsman

Kilcoe Castle

This one is out of focus but I like it, The extra ballast has her on an even keel now so just to lower the waterline. Might go with black anti-foul next year

Sunday 14 September 2014

Peel Castle Gascannan sound

Stumbled across this on youtube the other day, Its hard to say how the conditions compared to the day we went in there in Teal but considering the Peel Castle is up around the 50ft mark you can imagine the effect it would have on 21ft Teal. Note: the confused breaking see ahead of her, I assume she is making her way out, We were running in.

Late Season Sailing

So its been a fantastic Summer, I didn't get to sail quite as far away as I had hoped but I certainly won't complain. August has been a busy month with work and the lead up to last week. So I'm now a married man, BUT I have some brownie points which will be used for sailing. So I'm waiting for a break in the the weather to make my move. I won't get too far but the plan is to head West again and maybe visit some of the Islands and after that I may head back up the river for the Winter depending on the forecast, My insurance allows me to stay afloat until the end of October but it is always struggle to make the move from Union Hall to Baltimore at that time of year and usually by then we have weathered at least one gale on the mooring.

Here's a little video of sailing Castle Island channel earlier in the Summer, The sails look pretty bad in it it but we have since tackled the head sails with a weak oxalic acid mix which brought them up really well, So good in fact that some might avoid replacing. It removed the rust stains very easily

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Quite times

Well its anything but at the moment so I haven't had any chance to go sailing recently, I am glad Teal is in Union Hall because I have been able to row over and do little bits and pieces the odd evening. Mainly just pumping out any rain water and giving the engine a run. I made a point of scrubbing off what weed I could off the bottom the other day, She was getting quite green around the water line and seems to have lost a lot off her anti-foul on the bow, presumably from rubbing the mooring ropes when the wind is against the tide.
I'm trying to find about 200kg of compact ballast to put amidships and in the stern, That should bring the total to around 2 ton and I reckon she would be about right at that.

The pictures on my camera of the moment Teal touched water this year didn't come out good so I had Ken send me this one which did, Very nervous right then.

This is how high she floated, Not great for the launch pics but I wasn't going to leave her like that for long so a half ton of iron scavenged from around the yard got her down to where she is now. 200kg more should level her out a bit then I can adjust the water line over the winter. Really I need lead because I'm lacking room for Iron.  She had several old waterlines but this was the most recent one and one which looked right. 

Friday 22 August 2014

Home base

Its a busy time at the moment between work and my wedding only a couple of weeks away, so I don't see a lot of sailing happening for a few weeks. Its bit of a pain having to go to Baltimore just to check on Teal and the mooring she was on is a long way out and can't be seen from anywhere so I took the chance today to bring her back to Union Hall.
I put up all the sails but after about 15 minutes the little breeze that I had vanished, I had also realised just after I had left the harbour that there was absolutely no way I would be back at the time I had said, so I had to motor for 4 hours. I could have sailed from about the halfway mark but it was a light flukey breeze and I needed to get back.
At least I can keep an eye on her now with the weather deteriorating. I also want to get a coat of varnish on things before the winter and play around with the ballast so that I can get the water line right, I think she is under propped as well so I'm going to see if I can get another prop or maybe have that one repitched over the winter.

The Cove in Baltimore

Charter boats heading out for the annual Baltimore fishing competition

Saturday 16 August 2014

Two tides to Baltimore

Tim Cooke took this fantastic picture of his boat An Suire with Teal sailing out in the background a few weeks ago, I might need to talk to you about getting this one for my wall Tim.

A photo of Teal ghosting out the harbour a few weeks ago.
Ken is actually standing on the deck making a little video and zooming in on An Suire. If anyone really has nothing better to be doing for a few minutes here it is

Friday 15 August 2014

Big Boat Build

Just spotted this on youtube, Teal is still in her tent at the time

Sunday 10 August 2014


This weekend was the second event which we wanted to get to this season. The Ballydehob Gathering of the Boats. Ballydehob is a shallow tidal estuary, an old pier which was used in the past for landing boat loads of sand for use as fertiliser sits beside a weir and a beautiful disused 12 arch stone railway bridge, The weir carries a causeway which allows you to cross the river and walk back along the railway bridge offering a lovely view of the harbour and in this case, of a huge procession of traditional boats making their way in.
                              The Gathering of the Boats is a fleeting kind of festival in that all the boats come and go on the same tide with a BBQ and a few beers and some music in the process. I've attended it for the last 2 or 3 years but it was great to finally arrive in Teal. Its also a harbour which I would have been hesitant to go into in Teal without others to follow but as it happens the Mussel farms are easy to get through and the channel is well marked. I had a look at the pier at low water today so I know where to go in future should I want to dry out in there. There doesn't seem to be any resident boats there so its likely any drying boat would have the place entirely to themselves

The forecast for yesterday wasn't exactly promising but I had it in my head I was going come hell or high water. It's all sheltered water sailing anyway so I wasn't going to let the rain stop me, thankfully many were of the same opinion and it seems it was the biggest turn out to date. The drascombe lugger association were out in force with about 25 boats attending. All the usual suspects were out, the Mackerel boats the lobster boats and  numerous others, 'Teal' and Brian Martens 'Guillemott' being two new (albeit very old) additions.
                       We had a lovely sail from Baltimore to begin with, meeting up outside the estuary at 2.30 amidst a squall of wind and rain. We dropped most of our sail and went in under staysail and mizzen, we eventually started the engine to keep pace as we got further into shelter. We rafted up about an hour and a half before high tide and set about relaxing. The rain held off much better than anticipated so there was plenty of chitchat and Cormac who is the main organiser gave a rundown on all the boats in attendance along with nice t-shirts for the boat owners. Following that we were at the top of the tide and began slipping away around 4.45.
The whole flotilla motored off down stream and back to where they came from, We upped sail once out into the mussel farms but the wind soon died and we had to motor most of the way back. We picked up the mooring in heavy rain about 7 o'clock and headed home to dry out.
Its a great little event and the rain did little to dampen spirits, looking forward to next years.

Teal & Guillemot
Guillemot was built in 1893 in Baltimore and rebuilt in Hegartys at the same time as I was working on Teal, She was relaunched a week after Teal and had her first sail at Baltimore wooden boat festival as well.

Drying out this morning

One from last year, A glorious day.