Saturday, 11 May 2013

Shamrock 0 - 1 Weather

The boat shed was alive with activity on Tuesday afternoon with ropes and all the gear required for the planned "Old Gaffers" trip, being dug out and then stowed on-board Shamrock (well scattered on the cargo hold cover). Nancy Belle was moved from its river mooring and moored alongside the main quay ready for towing duties. Meanwhile, conflicting weather forecasts were coming in and about the only thing they seemed to agree on was the fact it was going to be windy on Thursday. Then the news came that the Met Office had issued a yellow alert for wind on Thursday with coastal gusts of up to 60 mph (100 kph) and so reluctantly the decision was made to cancel the trip. More frantic activity followed as all the trip gear was returned to the boat shed and Shamrock's mooring ropes checked and adjusted.

Why cancel?
One of Shamrock's problems is that she has no engine and needs to be towed everywhere. She is also flat bottomed, only drawing about two and a half feet of water (76 cm), so in a wind when you combine that with the large exposed area of hull, masts and rigging you have a barge that is easily blown off course and is difficult to tow.   

Why not sail as that is what she was originally designed for?
Shamrock is described as 'sailing like a supermarket trolly' as she has no leeboards or drop keels (originally fitted) and needs about 12 tons of ballast in the bow before she will sail through the wind. Also the Tamer river of today is a lot more crowded than it was in the early twentieth century with lots of boats permanently moored in the deep water channel. Even when she was working the Tamar she was still dependant on wind and tide which is why the river cargo traffic was killed off with the arrival of the more reliable railways.

Could Shamrock have stayed at Mayflower Marina and returned at a later date?
Yes, but we were due to be berthed on the outer pontoon and this is exposed to westerly winds and Shamrock could have easily been damaged. Shamrock is also one of the National Trust's visitor attractions at Cotehele so any time away from the quay needs to be kept to a minimum.

Sea trials.

Missed from last week's blog was the launching of Shamrock's workboat that had spent the last 18 months being restored. Hat's off to Shaune as no leaks where found and it rows well.


No comments:

Post a Comment