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Well, what a start to the new year. After several visits to PHYLLIS in Largs Marina to keep her ready for returning back home after my last post it's all been delayed due to the current COVID-19 worldwide pandemic.

Phyllis on the hard at Largs Marina

On my last visit to Largs Marina (11-14 March 2020), and finally with the anti-foul and oiling of the toe rails finished the marina lifted PHYLLIS back into the water, on Saturday. Allocated a tidy berth G7, close to shore, on the fuel dock pontoon, very handy.

Woke to find a heavy frost on my car.


The week had been very mixed weather and the Thursday, in particular, was grim. Very wet and windy, some snow on the hills too. Totally unsuitable for doing any work on the boat. I decided to visit Arran and call in at Lochranza, to meet up with an old friend who used to live in the same village and who I've been sailing with several years ago. Alas, the weather suspended the ferries from Ardrossan to Brodick. Therefore I chose to visit Millport on Great Cumbrae, as being only a short ferry trip from Largs town was still running. The town was deserted, in the pouring rain. Stopped for a coffee at a wonderful little cafe which also turned out to be a chocolatier. Bought some chocolates to take home and then caught the bus back to the ferry.

Hebridean Princess at Largs

It was a surprise to find the Hebridean Princess on berth at the end of the Largs Ferry pier.

From Largs, town car park I decided to travel north to check out the chandlery at Inverkip Marina. What a ride, the road at times ran alongside the seafront. Twice I found myself literally driving through waves, no visibility at all and pushing the car onto the other side of the road too. Fortunately, on both occasions, no traffic was on the opposite side of the road.

After launching PHYLLIS on Saturday I drove home, via Glasgow, due to the weather. On arrival at home effectively started self-isolation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. PHYLLIS's stay in Largs Marina was until 31 March, but the Marina gladly extended my contract until the end of April. I await further updates from the government to see when I can get PHYLLIS back to her home berth in Deganwy.

Afraid not all the planned work was completed during her lift out. The most important, fixing a persistent leak and an increase in the bowsprit length was completed. Along with new anti-foul and hull painting. Varnishing too of the cockpit and all the spars. The leak was found by Roger, from the boatyard, who spotted that a plank gap had appeared starboard side directly behind the rear engine beam. A tingle was made to complete the repair.

While out of the water a survey was completed 6 March 2019 by Jonathan Jackson (Ulverston) which proved more than satisfactory for the insurers.

The anti-foul paint job ruined the log paddle, ascertained once in the water, so a new replacement was procured at a very favourable price. The fitting of it, in the water, was a very slick job which resulted in less than a tablespoonful of water entering the boat!

April 5th and Phyllis was re-launched for our return to Deganwy, on 10th April, after a short stay in Fleetwood Dock. We were now prepared for the season ahead.

Phyllis has been moved to Skippool Creek on the River Wyre for lift-out 8 Oct 2018 by David Moss Boatbuilders.  After some eight years, she needs some work and where's a better place to do it than at the original boat builders who restored her.

We have always had some difficulty in turning her and often had to opt for a 'jibe' rather than the preferred 'tack', particularly when attempting to turn thro' the wind against an oncoming sea.  We'll be taking a look at the bowsprit to see if by extending the length we can gain some advantage by having the staysail and jib further apart.

Other jobs will include the stopping of a persistent water leak, plus painting, varnishing and antifoul.

Going to look too, to see if we can engineer all our sail control from the cockpit.  I'm sure we can but it will need to 'look the business' without spoiling her lines.

And while she's out a survey for the boat insurance.

Click image for full size picture.

The NOA & OGA together enjoyed five days of celebration during the arrival of the Tall Ships to Liverpool for their Three Festivals Regatta, linking a trio of vibrant port cities – Liverpool, Dublin and Bordeaux – in anticipation of some nail-biting racing across the Irish Sea and Bay of Biscay.

Civic Reception to kick-start the Tall Ships Three Festivals Regatta 2018


Liverpool put on a spectacular show by starting the first stage with numerous civic and maritime attractions and firework display. Each evening a 'Ghost Ship' appeared in Albert Dock, a very special and unique water and laser light display.

On the Friday 25 May 18, the Nobby Owners Association hosted a buffet for all its members and guests from the Gaff Rig Association, including the current national president Alistair Randall and the DBOGA (Dublin Bay OGA) ex-national president, Sean Walsh. An opportunity too for the skippers briefing for the following day activities.

Saturday 26 May 18 and the role of the gaffers was to provide a public spectacle while the Tall Ships were on their berths, showing off our classic traditional boats along the River Mersey waterfronts on both sides of the river. This was a long day covering a full tide from an early morning lock-out to an evening return. The day proved very interesting. Late afternoon sudden and totally unexpected gusts, reportedly up to 50 knots (yes, that's correct 50 kts..!) ensured a Mayday call when a boats steering broke mid-river. Other incidents included an almost full broach and capsize, an engine failure, and a crew mutiny, to promptly reef, made the day's events very memorable. A late evening leisurely dock cruise with supper completed the day's events and a welcomed wind-down!

Sunday 27 May 18 and the fleet were accommodated in Albert Dock for viewing and onboard visits by the general public. The evening concluded with an invite for boats and crews to a BBQ on the Tall Ship 'Morgenster'.

Sean Walsh (DBOGA) with a plastered lower leg remained determined to get around on his little scooter to enjoy the festival and everything it offered. Well done.

Bank Holiday Monday 28 May 18 and the Tall Ships prepared for a 'Prade of Sail' before commencing their race around the Irish Sea to Dublin for the next stage in their festival. The gaff rigged boats departed Albert Dock and led them out of Canning Half Tide Dock into the River Mersey. Several of our gaff rigged boats were to go directly to Dublin and stayed to participate in the parade of sail. 'Phyllis' had other plans to get to Dublin via the Menai Straits, Caernarvon, Morfa Nefyn and Greystones. Remarkably several days later we arrived in Dublin (Poolbeg) just as the Tall Ships quiet literally entered the River Liffey, appearing out of the early morning mist as they had been becalmed in the Irish Sea around the Isle of Man during our voyage time.

View the Liverpool Tall Ships Photo Gallery to see what we got up to in Liverpool.

Saturday 19 May 2018

Just before the closure of the cill at Deganwy Marina [05:00 hrs], an early morning start, to catch the last of the ebb to catch the flood shortly after passing the Gt. Orme. Two nobbies, ourselves, Phyllis from Deganwy and Comrades from Conwy, en-route to Liverpool to rendezvous with the Tall Ships over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

We managed a little sailing until we got to the Orme and we had to motor most of the way. Rhyl Flats and we crossed a massive algae bloom brought on no doubt by the nice warm weather. Not a single turbine blade turned on any of the windmills as we passed them by. A leisurely cruise to lose some passage time so we could enter the Mersey via Rock Channel which is only navigable typically a few hours either side of HW. New Brighton as expected was full of families enjoying the sunny day.

Finally on a berth at 14:20 hrs, after our lock-in. Then to catch up with other Nobby owners and share a few jars of liquid refreshment.


After a winter of all the usual jobs and a good sailing day today, although a little cold with a northeasterly variable F3 it was time to shake out the cobwebs. Others were out too, to enjoy the blue skies and thanks to Peter Holt I can post these pics.

Joined by a great crew, Steven and Karen we enjoyed the day out.  Oops...! I forgot to drop the topping lift.  Another reason to blow away the cobwebs.

Hopefully, that is!  After dreadful winter months of rain after rain followed by the beast from the east temperatures are now starting to rise.

A maritime historical marker too this March.  The total loss of Holyhead Marina along with some 80 boats during the storm Emma with a force 10 northeasterly which brought disaster to Holyhead. Not only millions of £'s worth of boats lost and sunk but the work and income for many who relied on the income from visiting and permanent berthed yachts and working vessels in this deepwater port.

Storm surges of 5 metres totally wrecked the marina pontoons and virtually all the boats berthed in the harbour. Remarkably this disaster was not reported by UK mainstream media. Fortunately, Facebook and YouTube provided the evidence. For some upsetting scenes for any mariner check out the videos on YouTube.  Simply search Holyhead Marina storm, Emma.

With the weather steadily improving 'Phyllis', with just a couple of small jobs to complete her winter slumber, is raring to go. A visit this coming weekend to the Beaulieu Boat Jumble might just find an interesting item or two to fit on 'Phyllis'.

4 June 2017
Conwy Nobbies and Classics return from a day early from Liverpool, missing the 30th Anniversary River Mersey Nobby Race, due to an impending poor weather forecast that would have prevented the fleet from getting back home for several days.