Maybird Classic Sailing

Sailing 2011

12 December 2010

Maybird will be based in UK waters for 2011 and the big question is whether or not we do the Fastnet Race. This is a demanding but very rewarding campaign and so, provided we can muster a dedicated and committed crew, we will certainly participate.

The rest of the plan for 2011 includes a number of Classic boat Regattas, one-off races like the Round the Island Race and number of cruises to the Channel Islands, the South West and Ireland.

Maybird’s Meanderings 2010

09 December 2010

This was a very busy first year for Maybird.

2010 Sailing Trials
Sailing trials took place during March and April of 2010, mainly in the Solent and the veritable ‘Mates of Maybird’ morphed into existence.

Founder members include a vet, an airline pilot, a project manager, an accountant, a taxi driver and a number of the craftsmen that helped restore her. Despite the cold and windy weather, we all began to recognise the myriad of halyards and sheets all of which are the same colour.

The 2010 Season
As Rachel Carson said “……beginnings are apt to be a bit shadowy ….” And from a shakedown cruise joining the Dunkirk Little Ships and their voyage over the Channel, Maybird went from strength to strength. A really good time in the Round the Island in June racing towards the Needles with six sails hoisted at 9.5 knots, was followed by the British Classic Yacht Club’s Regatta in Cowes during July. This was Panerai’s first year of sponsorship and a number of the Mediterranean based Classics like Mariquita took part in what proved to be a very convivial and sociable gathering. The light winds did not favour Maybird’s performance, but her Mates did manage 1st prize in the Best Crew Fancy Dress competition!! August was Maybird’s month in the South West visiting many ports including Plymouth, Fowey, Falmouth, Newlyn and Dartmouth. During our stay in Falmouth, we took the opportunity to visit Weir Point, Restronguet, the home of Lt.Col. Hawkes, the first owner of Maybird, who moored her in the creek at the bottom of his garden.

Seal Alert
Maybird was returning into the Hamble River on the 17th November at 1600 hrs when the Mate sighted a seal just by the fishing boats moored off the Harbour Master’s jetty at Warsash. The tide was just starting to flood and the light was fading as the seal cruised along the surface of the river. There are approximately 25 seals in the Solent and their haul out area is at Langstone and Chichester Harbours. Apparently, there is a ‘loner’ amongst their fraternity that has a soft spot for the River Hamble. We think he has a soft spot for wooden boats as well.

The light winds experienced during the British Classic Yacht Club’s regatta in July led to much head scratching as to how we could improve Maybird’s sailing performance in light airs. The result is an additional headsail – a yankee – to augment Maybird’s sail wardrobe. We put the sail to test at the end of November with great results. Also on order is a smaller asymmetric which will be easier for the foredeck crew to handle.

Maybird's Mingerlings

08 December 2010

Lady Georgina Crauford
Prior to Maybird’s departure for the South West, a very convivial evening was spent on board at Berthon’s yard in the company of Georgina (nee Russell), John Russell’s daughter who owned Maybird from 1949 to 1972. Georgina (in the photograph above with Darryl) grew up on Maybird and also gave valuable input into her restoration.

Daniel Mill
Contact has been made with Daniel, now a boatbuilder based in Galway on Ireland’s west coast. Daniel was just a young boy when he made the passage from Lymington to New Zealand in Maybird in the early 1970’s. He is featured in the video – Maya – voyage of discovery and is looking forward to seeing her again.

Michael Tyrrell
We were not able to make the voyage back in 2010 to Maybird’s place of birth in Arklow, We regularly keep in contact with Michael Tyrrell, great grandson of the yard’s founder. A voyage to Ireland is planned for 2011 and has already aroused much interest in the Irish media. The Wicklow People ran an interesting story under the headline ‘Maybird returns to her place of berth’!

David Armstrong
During the last week of November, Maybird was reunited with one of her former owners – David Armstrong. David, together with his sailing partner, Sandy Mill bought Maybird in 1971 and sailed her to New Zealand via the Caribbean, the Galapagos Islands and Tahiti. He still lives in Auckland but was determined to make time in his busy travel schedule to “sail with the old girl once again ….”. In borrowed oillies, gloves and woolly hat, David took the helm once more and thoroughly enjoyed himself despite the weather. Peter Martin, who was responsible for Maybird’s rig during her restoration, was also aboard and was able to explain to David the intricacies of her original gaff rig design. The voyage ended with the crew in ‘The Bugle’ and with David regaling us about Maybird’s epic trip in the glow of a few swinging lanterns!

Brian Smith

07 December 2010

During 2010, we contacted Brian Smith, son of Jim Smith, who worked for the Berthon Boat Company at Lymington. Jim did most of the maintenance on Maybird during the 1950’s and 1960’s and often crewed for the Russell family. Brian very kindly let us have copies of three pictures from the 1950’s of Maybird and also one of his Father. These will be displayed on the website.

Media Matters

09 October 2010

Snappy, Snappy Click Click Beken, Phillips, Garlick, John et al
Inevitably we started Maybird’s first season with no photographs of her sailing and so most of the initial pictures on the website related to her earlier days. During 2010 we increased our portfolio of up to date photographs with contributions by Beken of Cowes, Den Phillips and the two up and coming snappers Mike Garlick and Pete John – founder Mates and valued crew.

Many more up to date pictures are now being used on the website.

National Historic Ships – Photography Competition
A stunning photograph of Maybird took second place in the competition run by National Historic Ships and Classic Boat magazine for vessels on their register. It was taken by a founder member of the Mates of Maybird – Mike Garlick – whilst on sailing trials off Eastbourne. The picture is a tribute to Mike’s bendy lens, his gymnastic ability to balance on the end of the bowsprit and, of course, his artistic vision!

The 25 minute video of Maybird’s restoration and sea trials will be completed in December and will be available to view on the website. The video features the craftsmen who restored her, previous owners, restoration works and sailing trial footage plus lots of history

Together with the film Maya – voyage of discovery, which is also available on the website, we now have two films recording some of Maybird’s recent past.

Restoration of the Year
December brought the news that Maybird has made the shortlist of Classic Boat’s Restoration of the Year Award. This is a great honour and testament to the skills of the team that restored her. Fingers and swayhooks are crossed on how we go!!
We have now learnt at the presentation(January 2011 London Boat Show),that the 40’ Schooner Fame won the award – owned by Dennis Conner, America’s Cup Winner, and restored in less than four months in San Diego, in time for Fame’s 100th Birthday celebrations.
Congratulations USA. We also rose a glass or two for our British ‘Mayboys’ who did such magnificent works on the restoration of Maybird.

Book at Bedtime
Good books continue to be a staple of conversation amongst the Mates of Maybird.

Good shipmates in 2010 have been David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas), Amitav Ghosht (Sea of Poppies), William Golding (Rites of Passage (Trilogy) and Amy Sackville (The Still Point).

Week commencing July 25th

26 July 2010

Most of this week is taken up with preparation for Maybird’s voyage to the West Country and finishing off various bits of carpentry. We will leave on Saturday August 1st from Lymington and take in both the Falmouth Classics Regatta and the Dartmouth Regatta returning to the Hamble at the beginning of September. This Saturday we will moor at Berthon’s in Lymington-the yard that looked after Maybird during the 1950’s and 1960’s when she was owned by the Russell family from Lymington. Hopefully Lady Craufurd, John Russell’s daughter will be able to join us aboard on Saturday. Another homecoming for Maybird…….

Saturday 17th-24th July, BCYC Regatta

24 July 2010

Mainly very light winds but weather bright and sunny for the 50 odd boats taking part in this year’s British Classic Yacht Club Regatta.This year it was sponsored by Panarai.Racing most days with a very active social side makes this regatta a must for anyone who enjoys older yachts.Opening reception and closing dinner at the Royal Yacht Squadron make this event very special.Most days Maybird was crewed by 7/8 people with a core crew of 5 supplemented by different guests on each of the days.The regatta concluded with a Parade of Sail past the RYS led by the beautiful Mariquita.

Saturday July 10th-Westwood Cup

10 July 2010

A beautiful sail out to Yarmouth and the Needles to see the Westwood Cup sailing boats returning to Cowes from the Western Solent.We were able to get really good views of Mariquita,Eleonora et al as they ran down the Solent.Both Beken and Den Phillips were out on the water.I was very pleased to see the Hasselblad toting Phillips as I have long admired her black and white pictures of East Coast working craft.Hopefully she was able to get some good pictures of Maybird.

Round The Island Race June 18th, 2010

19 June 2010

Maybird’s first race in the Solent since 1971.Of the seven crew two were actively involved in her above decks restoration-Peter Martin-rig and Bob Snow-spars.A beautiful day,bright and sunny with the wind mainly from the North.Very light winds at the start building up to F4 and F5 at the finish.From Cowes to the Needles we were able to fly Maybird’s 5 working sails plus her spinnaker and her mizzen staysail.From the Needles to St Catherine’s we were overhauling the bulk of the gaffers that had started 40 minutes earlier.St Catherine’s to Bembridge we were close hauled and had the tide against us for most of the remainder of that leg.It took many tacks to get clear of Ryde Sands.F5 most of the way back to the finish with the topsail up all of the way.It never ceases to amaze me the difference a relatively small sail makes to Maybird’s performance.We crossed the finish line in 9hrs and 40 minutes elapsed time.All aboard delighted with Maybird’s performance.

Dunkirk little ships spectator fleet

24 May 2010

24th May to 1st June Dunkirk 70th Anniversary Visit
Quietly, long before dawn on 24th May, Maybird slipped her moorings on the Hamble and made her way Eastwards out of the familiar waters of the Solent towards Selsey Bill.
Admirably organised by the Royal Southern Yacht Club this visit was for Maybird not only a commemorative and social event but also her first true seagoing trip since her restoration and a chance to put her to the test.
The first leg to Eastbourne was in calm weather with no real challenges other than to confirm that she was not designed for manoeuvring in tight spaces in modern marinas. The following leg to Dover saw her in some very lumpy seas where she showed how good a sea boat she is, and also just how useful the doghouse is when itʼs coming over green! Unfortunately not all of it stayed above deck, highlighting some work to be done and some changes in the sleeping arrangements.
Two nights were spent in Dover allowing visits to the excellent castle, dinner in the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club, and also for the less hardy boats to catch up. There were further unusual manoeuvres in accessing the fuel pontoon.
On 27th May we crossed the shipping lanes in good conditions,listening with interest to the RN frigate shepherding the flotilla of 50 or so “Little Ships” and arriving in time to see them enter Dunkirk to a loud and emotive welcome.
The subsequent visit was a mixture of bonhomie, nostalgia and sheer tiredness from the mixture of social, cultural and commemorative events. We finally departed under the rather confusing lifting bridges on the 31st and continued non stop, pausing only at Cowes to drop off the topsʼl for a little extra canvas to be added, finally berthing at her new permanent site on the upper Hamble.

Voted a very successful trip by all the crew, and a great boat to cruise on as long as the steering compass is moved so we donʼt all need hard hats!

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