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Gordy Hill

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Notice some of the cabin roofs tilt from the front and some are hinged on the side. I guess I'm not the first to notice the advantage of more headroom at anchor.

Also note the counter-balanced tabernacle mast.

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Awesome!  I'm not a sailor, only been aboard one of these beautiful things once in my life..............I always wonder how sailing works on something as relatively narrow as a river.  The answer is, apparently, by tacking............continuously!  Thanks for posting this Gordy.

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Gordy:

 

Thanks for sharing that. Reminds me of Henry Ford's quote about the color of his Model T cars.  If you want to enter a boat into that race, you can paint your boat any color you like, so long as it is white, with some gleaming bright work on the cabin sides. To anyone wanting to paint their boat in a traditional color, there it is.

 

A couple observations about the boat's themselves. For those of us who like to tinker and experiment with things like rigs, sails, etc., it is all there on full display. Balanced lugs, sliding gunter rigs, gaffs, etc. Some even setting topsails. But mostly all are fractional rigged sloops. Many have what may be self tacking club footed jibs, some do not. It is also easy to see how the sails are laced on to the mast and sprits. Many of the faster boats have loose foots. But no matter what, they all seemed to go to weather (sail upwind), pretty well. That old school stuff really did (and does) work. Would be really curious to see what the keel and rudder arrangement is beneath the water. They do seem to work, with boats actually heading upwind, vs. pointing upwind, but sliding off to leeward.  If a boat would not point well there, it would just slide back and forth in the same place.

 

The river looks to be deep enough to handle keels to 4 or 5 feet. Norfolk is flat country on the SE coast, off the North Sea. I was of the opinion they had a large tidal range, but perhaps this "river" is controlled by locks at the lower end? At any rate, if a boat is going to sail on that, it had better sail well. Those certainly do.

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   I had the pleasure of sailing three of the half-deckers from Hunter's yard in the Northern Broads and the Norfolk Broads are like nothing else I've ever experienced.  Although there was lots of fun short-tacking in heavy traffic, our sailing days were planned around which pubs we'd have lunch at, etc.  The video doesn't show the river Ant, which was the narrowest channel I tacked up on the Broads.  When we got to the tightest part of the river there was a barge doing some kind of work.  We tacked just in time to brush past the corner of the barge (fending), waited until the bowsprit was in the weeds before tacking on the other side of the river and barely brushed past the other corner of the barge on the way past (fending again).  There was, of course, an oncoming motor boat at the time but he slowed down enough for us to get past.

   The narrator mentions that these boats have long, shallow, and heavy keels and as a result can carry quite a distance through a tack.  That actually matters a lot when tacking up a really narrow channel against a current.  It was kind of counter-intuitive to me but I got the hang of it after watching my friends.

   They show the bridge at Potter Heigham, which was built by the Romans but they don't quite mention that one of the design criteria for many of these boats is that they fit under that particular bridge (if I remember correctly Hunter's Yard is upstream of the bridge).  As you can see in the video, there are only inches to spare with a lot of those boats (and don't go through at high tide.)  You need to be lined up pretty carefully, too because it's an arch.  If you're a foot too far to one side your mast will get polished. :)  I like to think of that bridge as a kind of filter, like the filters that Watertribe uses for their challenges.  I also like that the Three Rivers Race has marks that can be rounded in any order.  I suggested that to one of the Watertribe elders for the NC Challenge but she said it would be too hard to manage the checkpoints if everyone was going in different directions.

   Hunter's yard is here:

http://www.huntersyard.co.uk/our-boats/half-deckers/

The three half-deckers I sailed are Rebel Reveller, Brown Bess and Buff Tip - I wish I could have Buff Tip but she wouldn't like the conditions where I sail these days.  I think the Fremantle Doctor would do her in.

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