Thursday, 1 December 2016

Shamrock Post-Restoration Sailing Trials Conclusions

Along with his "Second Sailing Trials of Shamrock" letter/report J.F. Joint also included his conclusions of the trial and what steps needed to be taken to operate Shamrock safely. It is not known who added the bracketed comments.


1. The period chosen for the trials was bad as the tides were falling back from springs which produced strong currents and limited the daylight high tides to once only.  I was not consulted about the date and was only informed at a late stage. (We were informed by the NT of the date they intended to sail. Capt. Joint was contacted by me as soon as I had formal approval for the voyage.)

2. Shamrock is well able to drift in the river using the tide, but this may result in accidental stranding on mud banks, no danger, but most importantly the river is now highly congested in some reaches and here Shamrock could be a danger to herself and to others.

3. The dinghy with an outboard motor is only adequate in slack stream conditions.

4. The naval tug is, if anything, too powerful and needs very careful handling.

5. Shamrocks anchors are more than adequate for the job. A special warp will have to be designated for the kedge aft.

6. Ballast was well stowed and produced trim by the stern. To further reduce leeway perhaps three times the amount should be used.

7. The sails set well but were very heavy to handle, some cringles will need to be inspected.

8. Cordage presented one of the major problems. The jib sheets are too short. (right length on first voyage).  The main and mizzen sheets are too big for the size of blocks and deadeyes. Particularly when wet. The ropes and blocks are all of the correct ratio – i.e. block size is 3 times the circumference of rope.

9. Natural fibre ropes are subject to rot if left wet. This is bound to happen with Shamrock as a static exhibit. (not with proper maintenance).

10. Stowage of spare gear presents a problem. The hatch is available, but when she is sailing this should be secured and made watertight.

11. The hatch boards should not have hand holes cut in them.

12. There should possible be three hatch tarpaulins, a little larger than at present, which should be secured when at sea.

13. Her stability is excellent; she stood up to a force 8 with only slight heel.

14. The rig is fine, it needs to be balanced to reduce weather helm, but it provides plenty of power.

15. Leeway is a major problem. At no time during each of the sailing trials has Shamrock made any ground to windward. This represents severe constraints on her potential and poses questions of her seaworthiness.

16. She is perfectly capable of being sailed anywhere around the coast as long as the wind is in the
right direction. Handling in congested waters requires experience, skill and luck. This is not
really good enough and may eventually result in an expensive and well advertised incident.

17. A suitable tug will be required to stand by her at all stages of any voyage. For a passage to Falmouth this would require a deep sea tug.

18. It is my belief that there is no way that the Department of Trade will allow her to be certificated as a sea going vessel without an engine.

19. Insurance cover for use in the open sea and in congested waterways will be very expensive.

20. According to your publicity, Shamrock in her present state, is a hybrid which never actually existed. She either had drop keels to reduce leeway as a sailing vessel or had a motor which would improve her potential and her safety.

21. The aims of conservation are contradictory to the aims of the operation.  The world has changed, conditions and attitudes have changed, if Shamrock is expected to operate on any basis in this modern world she will require to be fitted to meet the requirements of today. Any of the restored vessels throughout the world that are used operationally are fitted with modern equipment which compliments the traditional and antique gear aboard. If Shamrock was fitted with an inboard engine, as per 1920 she would still be able to lie in her mud berth, but she would be able to operate safely within the Tamar. In this condition I could visualize her being used virtually every weekend by boat conservation, bird watchers, historical organisations, industrial archaeologists and the general public. Her potential for advertising and publicity would be immense.

No comments:

Post a Comment