Issue Twelve Spring/Summer 09
ISLAND OF WINDS
ISLAND OF WINDS
ISLAND OF WINDS
24 ft. Eventide Sloop by Maurice Griffiths.
As seen at the Southend Air show about 2006.
I was interested to see this yacht mentioned on your web site. I had her from 1973 to 1978 having purchased her from the builder and original owner – Jim Gross. During my ownership she lay on a swinging mooring just below the Deben Yacht Club in Woodbridge and was laid up during the winters in Everson’s yard. With Jim she had crossed the North Sea several times but with me she went ditch crawling between the Roach and Southwold. With wife and /or friends I remember many happy weekends and holidays spent in her company. She was a happy ship. When I sold her to Colin Carden my wife cried.
Her origins are almost certainly known to you but in case not I quote below Jim’s description of her building. He subsequently wrote a piece for YM describing his underwater modifications in search of a degree of self steering. I see she is now rigged as a cutter with a good looking bowsprit – something I had in mind had I kept her. She came back to the UK with the materials to complete which was done professionally. That may explain the mahogany rubbing strake and the oak bunk frames! The original Vire/Fairey power plant would certainly not have produced a bow wave.
I should very much like to learn of her history subsequent to my selling her if anyone can spare the time. The picture shows her as she was during my ownership (in fact being helmed by her builder).
When she was in the Deben M.G. had 'Kylix' moored just downstream and Jim's brother (Lt Cmdr ex R.N.) was based at Ramsholt which meant we had to sail her very smartly from her mooring to the sea. Great days.
I don't sail now. A wise (but presumably wealthy) man once said we should have a foot of waterline length for each year of our age which would mean a schooner of 100' or more overall. A friend from those days keeps a motor cruiser on the upper Thames where I sometimes guest.
Strength to your elbow,
In 1971 Jim Gross wrote:-
Background, planning and description of vessel.
I have set myself the task of improving my boat and my own techniques and resistance to sea sickness to the point where I can enjoy my annual cruise on schedule with a certain independence of the weather conditions.
With this year’s cruise to Holland I felt that I began to achieve these aims and now I am ready to go further afield.
"Island of Winds" is a shoal draft YM Eventide, 24ft long which I built myself in Aden between 1964 and 1967. I was considerably assisted in the woodwork by John Sowells and the glass sheathing by Bill Graham, two good friends of mine. No local labour was used. [The building site was a windy island in Aden harbour – hence the boat’s name. – GB] It was originally intended to sail her home to the UK but I was thwarted in this plan by local disturbances which hampered completion. She was about ¾ complete when I shipped her home on a P&O cargo vessel and had her fitted out by Johnson & Jago of Leigh on Sea.
The construction is of 12 mm BSS 1088 marine ply on Afromosia stringers and chines. The stem is laminated Spanish oak, the hog of laminated Honduras mahogany and the transom is likewise mahogany. The stern knee, keel, deadwood and floors are all solid English oak. There are not many frames but what there are, are 4" x 1 ½" Afromosia, the main stiffening being the ½" ply bulkheads with pine framing. The only locally purchased timber used being the laminated Meranti deck beams to replace broken items arriving from the UK. The boat was not built from a kit.
Aerolite 306 and GBMX slow hardener was used with silicon bronze screws and copper nails for the butt straps. All this with her GRP sheathing and much loving care make her a very strong boat indeed. (A justifiable claim if she is still in commission forty years on. – GB.)
The rig is masthead sloop, now with new alloy mast (1971 – GB). The wooden boom has heavy duty roller reefing gear. (I added two rows of reef points – GB). There are 5 sails, Main 135 sq. ft., Genoa 143 sq. ft, No 1 Jib 105 sq. ft, Storm Jib 35 sq. ft and Storm Trysail 60 sq. ft. (This last was retained by Jim when he sold her – GB).
Is a Vire 6 ¼ hp. 2-stroke coupled to a Fairy hydraulic pump unit. The hydraulics are piped to the propeller unit set directly under the engine and behind the deadwood. The Gaines 2 bladed propeller is thus as deep and as inboard as can be where it is cavitation free even in rough seas and gives good manoeuvrability and quiet running.
If the current owner would like to get in touch with Gordon, his mail address is:- gordonbutcher at waitrose.com
Footnote. On our 2009 summer cruise we met up with the owner who knows the story here and has many papers referring to it. He says he will be joining us shortly!