We spot a post on Facebook:
“Mainsail for a beautiful, fully restored east coast (UK) gaff cutter. Traditional sail with narrow panels. Headsails already completed again with narrow panels, traditional mitre cut and of course handwork that only Ratsey & Lapthorn can produce.”
“There is only one standard of work in this loft and that is the very best.” T W Ratsey, 1833 Ratsey & Lapthorn
We check whether these sails are actually ours, and yes, they’ll soon be ready to collect . . .
Steve returns to Suffolk in the van on 12 October to be sure we’re ready for Ratsey & Lapthorn on Monday. It’s the Harwich Shanty Festival at the weekend, so Bev drives down in the car after the gasfitters have been. To make sure there’s good access for measuring, Steve moves the boat round to the long pontoon by the travel hoist on Monday, and we wait for Andy and Steve. The weather is good, if a little windy at times, and they leave with all the necessary notes to make the sails over the winter. Feels like a really big milestone.
There’s been a great deal of thought about how to be sure the boat is secure for the winter, and doesn’t cause too much worry as we’re so far away. The decision is made to store her ashore at the Tidemill. So, as Andy and Steve leave she’s lifted out again in the travel hoist and taken up to her winter quarters. We take home as much as possible for storage and leave her tucked up ashore, looking forward to a trip to Spain and Portugal. Three days later, Brittany Ferries phone to inform us that due to the hurricanes in the Bay of Biscay, our ferry is cancelled. We depart from Plymouth instead a couple of days late - pleased to have missed the full Biscay experience!
Along with tidying up the site, Steve’s hoping that the sailmaker will be able to measure up before the end of the season, so is keen to get the boom and gaff in place. There’s also nowhere left ashore to store any spars!
James helps bring the boom on board and Steve sets up the gaff and calls to make a date with Ratsey & Lapthorn. All fixed, Steve and Andy will drive up from Cowes on Monday, 16 October. So, it’s time to get on with stowing everything that can be left on board for the winter and making a start on the bunks . . . fortunately, the weather seems to be quite settled, and not too cold as we may need to work into the autumn to get everything ready for the winter. Bev leaves Steve in Suffolk and returns to Derbyshire where the plasterers will be making a start.
There were two weddings, another ski trip to Val Thorens and the kitchen project to occupy us from January to mid-April 2017, but Steve made time to write a long list of all the jobs that need to be done in preparation for getting in the water this year!
There’s new sails to be made, and Ratsey & Lapthorn have been engaged to make these, so we’ll be off to Cowes later this month.
Moray McPhail, at BronzeWork in Martlesham, will be making the new keel bolts and sorting out all the other metalwork for us. Following discussions over the chainplates, it was agreed to have a channel to carry the shrouds over the bulwarks so, on our return to Suffolk at the end of April this was the first job to be done, port and starboard.
After joining the OGA at the Tollesbury Rally on 29 April, we returned to Woodbridge but the incessant wind forced us back to Derbyshire by the end of the week!