For love of a boat – St Ives ‘Jumbo’

Following my ‘love of a boat’ post on 25th February, I want to speak up again for a project that I have only recently become aware of but one that so obviously meets the spirit of this series that I cannot believe it has taken me so long to find out about it.

We have spent this weekend in St Ives.

I had hoped to see the Jumbo, a replica of the smallest class of St Ives fishing lugger – (details of the project can be found here).

No chance – but I made up with it in viewing the many old photographs of the original boats available around the town.

Apart for appreciating the boat as a boat, my interest was sparked by a press release dated November 2007.

An extract from it reads:

“Our aim is to establish a racing class of these boats at St.Ives in order to regenerate a waterfront community in decline. How much more effective it would be if, in addition, these boats could be eventually used for the purpose for which they were designed whilst providing a seasonal income for a couple of individuals!

Clearly, there may come a time when, in addition to any green, carbon neutral credentials, a sail-operated fishery could become commercially viable or at least a natural way of conserving resources (as demonstrated by the Falmouth oyster fishery – much celebrated as the last in the world to be worked under sail).

In the meantime the skills required need to be developed. There’s a growing recognition that this approach would at least address some serious issues; the sustainability of fish stocks, the rising cost of fuel, the dependence on imported goods and the lack of employment opportunities in rural areas to name a few.

And if successful, the model could be readily repeated elsewhere.

Only a few months ago such a proposal would have been dismissed as romantic fantasy. So far however, my inquiries have been met with a degree of excitement.”

This is a brave start and I am sure that more than a few eyebrows have been raised.

However the project has powerful backing and a great deal of goodwill, to which I am happy to add my own small cupful.

I invite you to explore their well-managed site and appreciate the enterprise.

For the origins and full set of images in this series, here

For love of a boat – a new link

I have added Francois Vivier’s site to the “For love of a boat” links.

His small boat designs are an answer to the questions behind these posts.

Yes, there are people still designing and building ‘traditional’ boats .

In fact, there are a growing number of them finding ways and means to continue the evolutionary process and put traditional designs into a modern setting.

My thanks to Sjogin’s owner for pointing to Monsieur Vivier.

For the origins and full set of images in this series, here.

For love of a boat – reflection

Following on from yesterday’s post . . .

. . . . . . . . . . .  For the origins and full set of images in this series, here

“There’s not much sail in that collection” – Ed.

No, there’s not. There’s something else I’m  . . .

“A revival of working boats, locally-built, local materials, ‘close-to-the-sea’, preferably under sail? – Sounds pretty specialist, limitist, elitist to me.” – Ed.

No, listen, I’ve been trying to . . .

“And some of those boats look pretty badly kept. If their owners don’t look after them, why should we care?” – Ed

Listen, will you? Just listen!

I have been recording the boats for lots of reasons – (not the least being that I enjoy doing it).

For me, they reflect two things – the people who built them and the places where they were built.

When I was young, there was a song we used to sing along to. It had a verse:

“And they were all built out of ticky-tacky and they were all built just the same.”

Well, there’s plenty of ticky-tacky still around, and not only are things being built the same we are now being ‘encouraged’ to think the same.

It’s not so much about tradition, or being tied to certain materials, or blessed with certain skills (although that all comes into it).

It’s about people who set out to build boats that achieve beauty through a combination of their function, their structure and the knowledge, attitudes and skills that went into their construction.

No, they are not necessarily classical, nor tidy, nor showy, they merely reflect the lives of those immediately around them – about as far from ticky-tackiness and sameness as you can get.

That’s my take on it, anyway.

“Oh, really. What’s for tea?” – Ed.

For love of a boat – The St Ives Jumbo Association

I have added a link to the St Ives Jumbo Association.

How I missed the Boats in the Bay events I don’t know – (head down – working I should think).

Anyway, this must satisfy just about every aspect of boats that the “Love of a boat” column represents:

  • A revival of working boats,
  • ‘Locally-built’, local materials,
  • ‘Close-to-the-sea’,
  • Preferably under sail,
  • And Cornish to round it off.

Fair winds to them.

(Sit back and enjoy Alban Roinard’s video)

We shall be in St Ives next month for a weekend. I hope to follow this up with a photo at least.

For the origins and full set of images in this series, here

On Sailing a Folksong – annual mooring lift

The row out to the boat was shrouded in the morning mist – the top of the tide increasing the deep silence over still water.

Others were busy too. It was the annual mooring shift to allow the Cattewater Harbour Commission to lift and reset the moorings – a valuable service that gives peace of mind but requires some swift work to oblige.

The buoys are stripped of their usual tangle of lines and shackles, most of which have been there all year. As a result the pins are usually well and truly fast.

In Blue Mistress’ case this is not altogether true. We lost a pin due to a poorly moused shackle earlier last autumn, so there is one new, easily removed shackle. In fact all three of the shackles on our stern buoy (above) were relatively easy to remove but the two on the bow buoy were jammed. It required a very large spanner, another one jammed in the shackle to hold it still and two of us to lean on it.  Thanks to Freya’s skipper for his foresight and help – I promise to buy a bigger spanner next time!


When I looked up the fog had lifted and the rowers were out.

It seemed to good an opportunity to miss, so I motored down to the end of Mountbatten Pier in the sunshine, catching “Sweet As” returning from an early morning fishing trip.

The emphasis then came on lorries parked for the weekend – here below the mark (DirFRWG),

and here in gentle salute on the Cattewater Wharf.

For love of a boat – Agia Kyriaki 2004

Agia Kyriaki, Pelion 2004

I like the colours of this boat – and the sense that everything has been stowed, perhaps not to be used for a while.

The gas lamp for night fishing is still mounted but the canopy has been removed.

The rails and stanchions are rusting.

Despite all the gear aboard, there is a slight feeling of neglect compared to the vessels in the background.


Walking down from Trikeri on the hill above, we sat in the taverna with our coffees and decided to stay the night.

For the origins and full set of images in this series, here