I have a confession to make and that is i have a bit of a penchant for double-enders and yes, please be careful if you enter that as a search term on the internet or at least be prepared to be rather surprised ! and what’s more it’s nothing to do with my work either. I work in endoscopy by the way and in our parlance a ‘double-ender’ is a gastroscopy followed by a colonosccopy….not a lot of people know that !
Of course I am talking about boats only and i have noticed this odd phenomenon that i tend to take lots of pictures of double-ended boats be they ‘sharp’ , round, or canoe-sterned because somehow many of them just look right to my eye. It wasn’t always like this for me as there was a time when if a boat didn’t have a long sugar-scoop transom and a multi-panel super-bendy rig then i wasn’t really interested but all has changed and nowadays i seem to like ‘proper’ and seamanlike boats although I do also admit that i went through a final fling of big-assed (wide) boats such as the IMOCA Vendee solo boats and the world of wide sterned super maxi’s.
I’m not sure what changed it all for me but it was perhaps when i first saw, but didn’t get a photograph of, a Herreshof designed Rosinante which i still think is one of the most beautiful small boats ever designed. Three of my own boats have bee double-enders as well, the first one was actually a Wharram catamaran, the second a Frances 26 and my current one which is just possibly the best boat i have ever owned : a 22 foot Hunter Liberty.
A lot of these boats that i like to photograph now for the blog are wooden boats such as Spirit of Mystery and Springtide just because i like the look of them, i guess also that it was always a logical way of bending planks around frames and running them out logically onto a stern post.
This is Spirit of Mystery at Calstock boatyard, built locally and now owned by chris the boss here.
My own boat, a Hunter Liberty might best be described as ‘canoe’ sterned as its quite round, next to me alongside the wall is the Lugger , Spirit of Mystery and recently Chris has turned her round so that she is stern-on to me. Chris is wondering how to get the rudder off, i guess it will be a low tide job and some filthy messing around in the mud to get at the lower mounting. Spirit of Mystery by the way is the boat that Pete Goss built and sailed to Australia. The old Goss boatyard is just up the river from Calstock boatyard on the river Tamar where i hang out and keep my little boat.
Down at my regular anchorage spot in Sandacre bay there are currently 4 big boats, all big and chunky double enders one of them i have already covered but here she is again : Springtide alongside the quay. When i saw her she was getting a lick of paint and being prepared for a cruise up to Scotland.
One big boat at Sandacre bay i have been sailing past for years now….must be 10 at least and i have never seen moved nor have i ever seen anyone aboard her : i am still trying to find out the least snippet of information about her, here she is, name of Archangel . I think she is about 60 feet, ketch rigged and built in ferro cement. She is a hell of a mess on deck but would she make a superb project and maybe a liveaboard home.
Another boat in the bay is this bright red i think steel-hulled yacht. She looks like a husky ocean-going cruising boat : i can just imagine doing a comfortable night watch under that cuddy. A very similar boat i found in the Fleuve Odet was called ‘Sabi’ and i would have loved to have photographed my ‘WABI’ alongside her.
Edit..i later found that she is a Jay Benford design , based on a Colin Archer hull and also in ferro-cement. She was up for sale recently.
Here is my old Frances 26 with her rudder off while i had to sort out her rudder mounting : the Frances 26 is i believe the best looking boat that Chuck Paine ever designed, maybe because he designed the original boat for himself, funny but the next one in the range looks awful to my eye.
Not my boat and not my picture, this is Don and La luz.
There were i found some down-sides to the stern shape on WABI” : it was an absolute bear to make and fit the mount for her windvane self steering , we literally had to make a full copy of the stern first and take that to the stainless steel fabrication shop. Then when i did get the wind-vane fitted it was an awkward job perching on that tiny stern to get the blade up or down and fit the wind rudder. Generally a downside of double-ended boats is the loss of useful volume and space at the stern..like having 2 bow compartments such that the boat is always functionally shorter than a transom sterned boat.
Cheoy Lee i think.
This one i found alongside at the Falmouth yacht haven, i couldn’t see her name but she is like a big sister to my Frances except in chunky steel. Much of her fit-out is similar to my ocean-going set up though eg the hanked headsails and windvane self steering.
This lovely little boat is i think a scandinavian ‘spidsgatter’ : it has all the look of the type ie very low, clinker and double-ended. First time i saw her the owner was on board but i didn’t get time to stop and talk.
Finally for today here is my little boat : 22 foot Hunter Liberty
Steve Johnston wrote.
“Okay, I can help you with the double ender Archangel. She was home built on the River Exe by a guy called Rob. Made a superb job and probably the best ferro yacht I’ve seen. I sailed with Rob, his girlfriend Caroline and my (sadly late wife,) Jackie, soon after the boat was completed 30 years ago.
We sailed Dartmouth to Scillies where we left the boat and I understand Rob and Caroline sailed onto the West Indies. There my trail goes cold. Boat in pic is looking a bit tired now, but aftyer
The boat was kept in Dittisham Dartmouth.
Me : she has been sat there ever since i have been sailing in Plymouth and that is probably 15 years and i have never seen anyone go aboard.