By Nick Ward.

It’s difficult to believe winter has descended upon us so quickly. Having enjoyed a most splendid summer and beautifully warm autumn, it seems such a shame to put the boats away for the winter.

Traditionally, many wooden boats were laid up afloat with all perishable items removed, and the upholstery, ropes, and running-rigging brought ashore to keep in lockup stores that were made available to owners by boatyards. The masts were removed, stored under cover and the yachts were towed to a mud berth and left there until the spring.

These mud berths were usually along the edge of creeks and rivers, sometimes dug out to accommodate the size of the boat. The boat was simply driven into the hole in the mud and well secured to posts driven into the banks. Timing was critical, and the job was normally done on a big spring tide. The yacht then settled into the mud on each low tide, in effect making her own mud cradle which kept her both supported and damp so as not to let her dry out. 

A cover protected the whole boat, open at the bow and stern allowing the air to flow through the open hatches. The brightwork or varnish was covered separately, wrapped to protect from the frost.

Warmer weather

With global warming we seem to have only two months of cold-ish weather these days which means we can still sail for most of the year.

I described the brokerage scene as quiet in the last issue, and the recent government performance has not helped. With inflation at levels we have not seen for many years and the financial outlook so uncertain, buying yachts is not a priority at present, but I do expect the market to recover in the spring.

Boatbuilding, however, is in full swing with a very handsome 1947 naval Pinnus motor launch being restored. This wooden launch is the real deal, she even has ‘futtocks’ (plural noun: futtocks: each of the middle timbers of a ship’s frame, between the floor and the top timbers!)

With an enthusiastic owner, the boat will be transformed into a gentleman’s launch complete with new teak deck, sound system and underwater lighting.

* Waypoint Yacht Brokers has one office covering the whole Island and can be reached on 07900 191 326 if you are looking to find your boat a new owner.