by Julia Jones
I was sitting on a bench overlooking Suffolk Yacht Harbour at Levington and the River Orwell beyond. It was a lovely afternoon with a breeze just getting up and some classic sailing vessels on the river, contrasting with the more modern yachts moored near me and the towering cranes of Port of Felixstowe downriver. I was trying to explain to a friendly cameraman the ways in which I felt there had been such a profound shift in Britain’s attitude to her maritime heritage during my lifetime. His name’s Jon Swallow and he’s volunteered to come and record some of the sessions at the forthcoming Suffolk and the Sea Day (Felixstowe Book Festival ‘fringe’ sessions at Trimley St Mary, June 25th). We had met to discuss developing the 5th session, entitled You Too Can Go To Sea, into a film which the organisations supporting Suffolk and the Sea day could send out to schools, youth organisations, clubs, support groups. It would aim to explain that sailing and sea faring is not an exclusive activity but can be enjoyed at many levels. We want to kindle an interest and excitement in sea-going opportunities, remind people that we are not only land dwellers.
By Julia Jones
Gunboats at dawn, painted by Peter Scott.
I’ve recently completed a study of some of the yachtsmen who volunteered to serve ‘in an emergency’ in the years before the second World War. From December 1936 the Admiralty issued an invitation to ‘Gentlemen interested in yachting or similar pursuits’ to put their names forward for ‘executive’ service. These men formed the RNVSR, the Royal Naval Volunteer Supplementary Reserve. In the process of research, I have been fortunate to have met some of the descendants of these men. I’ve been glad of their help and have also found that they share my feelings of respect and heartfelt gratitude for the way in which their fathers, uncles, grandfathers chose to put their normal lives, pleasures, careers on hold, committing themselves to serve wherever they were sent. Sometimes the jobs they were assigned to do were tedious, more often they were terrifying. Continue reading
By Matt Lis
Photo courtesy of Charmian Berry.
An International One Design is not a typical Deben boat. The International One Design with its long keel, deep draft, powerful rig and sleek lines was actually designed for the waters of Long Island Sound and Bermuda, with one purpose in mind: to race. International One Designs, IODs for short, are now found all over the world. The design was quickly popularised after their initial build in 1936 and spread across the United States. Soon fleets sprung up in Norway and at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, too. To give some more local context, in 1936, whilst Bjarne Aas was designing and building the first IODs at his yard in Norway for the class’ conceiver and driving force Cornelius Shields, in Woodbridge Everson & Sons were building the penultimate Deben Cherubs and Whisstocks Boat Yard was building the first of the Deben Four Tonners.
By Bertie Wheen
…by a river we all call home, there was born an association.
Page 5 of the River Deben Association Newsletter, Spring 1997.
By Russell Read
This article is prompted by the enthusiastic piece from Matt Lis in The Deben Magazine for Autumn 2021 which suggests that there is a strong case for larger boats than Josh Masters’ launch to go electric. Well, the 1907 26’6” Albert Strange-designed canoe-yawl Mist is one very classic yacht which, originally intended to be engineless, has already done this.
by Josh Masters
Photo: Claudia Myatt
Introduction from Julia Jones (RDA Journal Editor):
I am one of many river users who is currently wondering what I can do to reduce my carbon emissions. The RYA (Royal Yachting Association) has recently published their aspiration to make the UK’s recreational boating sector zero carbon by 2050 with a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from boat engines by 2030. https://www.rya.org.uk/about-us/policies/environment-and-sustainability.
It’s perhaps easier to see what can be done with new-build boats than with yachts like mine, built as a motor-sailor in 1946. While I can safely undertake to use my sails as frequently as possible (that’s the joy of being a water-born hybrid) it will remain impossible to push one’s way out of the narrow Deben entrance against a spring flood if the wind is adverse. Continue reading
by Nan McElroy
If you’re a devotee of Woodbridge boatyard and the River Deben, you may have spotted Eric and Maxine Reynolds manoeuvring a particularly unfamiliar, curious-looking traditional craft towards the end of 2020. It’s wood, of course, but awfully skinny, and perhaps ten metres long with minimal draft. It’s outfitted with long, flat wooden oars, but no rigging. What is it, exactly? Where’d it come from? When will we see it again? And how, exactly, does it work?
by Robin Whittle
Gillie and I retired from 505 dinghy sailing in 1995 and bought our Shrimper 19, ‘Bumble Chugger’ (124) in 1996. The Shrimper is one of the most popular of small yachts built by Cornish Crabbers Ltd. ‘Bumble Chugger’ has provided us with some wonderful adventures exploring the local estuaries and distant shores. She has also enabled us to continue racing which has been of more interest to me, but Gillie has taken part with great skill, even if not with my enthusiasm!
By Peter Willis
A bit more about Sam Doman’s pretty dinghy Longshore, which featured in an article by Robert Simper in the Autumn 2020 issue of The Deben. With her eye-catching blue clinker-style hull and cream single battened lug sail she’s become a distinctive sight off Woodbridge. She’s also been shortlisted in the ‘Spirit of Tradition’ section of the annual Classic Boat awards. (If you read this article before voting closes – 8th March, we hope you’ll be inspired to vote for her – voting link at the end of this article).