Saturday, June 16, 2012

In the Spirit of a Humber Yawl

In 1883, a club was formed on the River Humber, which is on the mid north-east coast of England. The Humber Yawl Club is still operating to the best of my knowledge, and I intend to do more reading about the club's history. The reasons that I am interested in this club is because of two of its most famous members - George Holmes and Albert Strange - and because of the irrisistable tugs which the boats originally used there have on my emotions.

Cherub II designed by the artist Albert Strange. Image courtesy of The Albert Strange Association and the book, Sail and Oar by John Leather (Conway Maritime Press)
LOA 20ft 2in
LWL 17ft 7in
Beam 5ft 10in
Draft 1ft 9in/3ft 9in
Disp. 2464lbs
Sail Area 249 sq.ft
Cherub II designed by Albert Strange. Image courtesy of The Albert Strange Association and the book, Sail and Oar by John Leather (Conway Maritime Press)
Cherub II, shown in the above images, was said to be Albert Strange's favourite design, which is significant given that he was a prolific designer. My first glimpse of the design came in 1983 when I was 29 years old. I had been sailing since the age of five, and for the most part my sailing had been solo and two-up dinghy cruising. I was fortunate to have had a grounding in racing, and it pains me to see people these days who have nice boats, but don't know how to sail them properly. Racing is an unforgiving way of discovering one's faults!

Because of my dinghy cruising background, I was immediately taken by the simplicity and snugness of the canoe-yawl concept and I was hooked. The initial exposure to Cherub II came because my good friend and dinghy cruising accomplice, Ian Hamilton, showed me a copy of the beautiful little book, Sail and Oar by the John Leather. The subject matter in the book was right up my alley, but my favourite chapters were (and still are) the ones about Albert Strange and George Holmes.

The definition of a canoe-yawl is fairly loose, with some people saying that the craft simply have to be sharp at both ends, and be yawl-rigged. However, a number of canoe yawls are rigged as ketches and sloops rather than yawls, but the famous designer, L. Francis Herreshoff said that the term 'yawl' when applied to a canoe-yawl referred to the 'yawl boat' hullform rather than the rig. One of the most beautiful canoe-yawls ever designed was L. F. Herreshoff's Rozinante, which was rigged as a ketch.

Sail Plan of the original Rozinante as depicted in the book, The Compleat Cruiser by L. Francis Herreshoff (published by Sheridan)

Lines drawing of the original Rozinante as depicted in the book, The Compleat Cruiser by L. Francis Herreshoff (published by Sheridan)


Rozinante rigged as a yawl. This sail plan was drawn by the Americanboatbuilder and designer, Doug Hylan

 

...to be continued


 




2 comments:

  1. I guess you know about these guys http://www.canoeyawl.org/ I can spend hours just browsing the designs and designers section - as you say irresistible.

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  2. Yes, I do know about http://www.canoeyawl.org/ and I recommend the site to others. I've been trying to get on to the Humber Yawl Club site, but it seems to be down at the moment.

    Ross Lillistone

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