Congratulations! Drifter now available for day sailing in Falmouth.

Last month, Drifter was issued with her Maritime and Coastguard certificate, which is a mandatory document for carrying passengers. This shows that the vessel meets or exceeds very strict safety requirements. We worked with a Dutch surveyor over many months, discussing the best ways to implement the requirements in a sympathetic manner and the result is that Drifter has fully retained its beauty and charm, whilst becoming a fully certified vessel for carrying between 6-8 passengers under sail. Continue reading “Congratulations! Drifter now available for day sailing in Falmouth.”

Getting under sail in Falmouth, Cornwall!

Some people look at Drifters spars, rigging and winches and express how complicated and hard it must be to manage under sail. These people are mostly those with modern yachts fitted with shining patent high tech equipment which rightly or wrongly, they believe to be an advancement with regard to ease of use and offering them more versatility.  There may be some truth in that, but in our own experience of sailing modern yachts, when problems occur with that much advanced equipment, it often results in stressful moments and expensive repairs. Continue reading “Getting under sail in Falmouth, Cornwall!”

Leaving the Netherlands

Durgerdam, near Amsterdam.Durgerdam July 2017

It has been a few months since we purchased ‘Drifter’ in the pretty town of Hindeloopen, Friesland.  Our first few weeks were  spent in the ‘Skipshelling  Blom’ boatyard that built the barge in 1976. The Blom family are still running things today as they have for nearly 3 generations. They made us very welcome and took great interest in our plans to bring the barge to the UK. Continue reading “Leaving the Netherlands”

Sailing barge – Lowering and raising the mast

One of the key features of a sailing barge is the ability to lower the mast for routes with low bridges and there are various mechanisms for doing this. ‘Drifter’, our 1976 built Lemsteraak has a mast which swivels on a robust pin passing through the mast near its base.

The mast pivots in a strongly constructed three sided box mounted on the deck called a ‘tabernacle’. There is a winch and wire on the front of the barge onto which the rigging leading to the top of the mast is transferred. Also a special removable strut mounted onto the base of the mast creates a ‘crane’ like system to enable the mast to be laid and lifted to/from  horizontal.

With the mast lowered, the barge can then travel into discrete waterways without lifting bridges.  This ability has also allowed us to easily perform any maintenance or repairs to the mast, avoiding the need for a costly crane.

The video  shows us raising the mast after we left a shipyard in the Netherlands that could only be accessed by boats with a maximum height of 3 meters. The procedure is not without its dangers as the mast is extremely heavy and would seriously damage the barge or cause injury if something should go wrong. Good preparations and safety checks are paramount. You will also see us routinely checking the rigging for any snagging.

Also note at the end of the video the ability to raise the spar on the bow (the Bowsprit) to make the barge shorter for moorings or easier to maneuver in tight spaces.

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