I lead a very sheltered life now that I am well past the usual retirement age, and have been ‘booted upstairs’ to idle a few hours away in the sail loft attached to the bricks and mortar chandlery emporium of www.storrarmarine.co.uk. Sadly, with me now being consigned to the loft, I don’t get the opportunity to listen to the shop counter scandal and never ever get the chance to flick through suppliers catalogues which I used to enjoy. However, even though I am only supposed to be working part time, I have been asked on occasion to man the pumps down on the shop floor whilst boss man Andy Burgess swans off on a very rare holiday or perhaps gets his hands dirty with onsite work. Just last week saw him working down in the smoke at the world famous Henley River and Rowing Museum. His task, changing the overhead displays, which included lowering the priceless 1948 Olympic medal winning Henley Pair down and moving it to a different location, then lifting the Sydney gold medal winning four up into the clouds and once again securing it with stainless wire, numerous swaged splices, and of course, set up to the correct tension using stainless rigging screws.
So, for a second week, I once again find myself indispensable. Why? Andy B is now enjoying quality time with his two daughters as it's half term week up in the North East, and I am in the firing line, meeting, greeting and hopefully serving customers, and of course giving my opinion, for what its worth, a tackle by tackle overview of the matches that took place over the weekend. What a marvellous game we enjoyed on Saturday! Yesterday lunchtime saw me eating what we in the sail loft call a ‘train drivers’ sandwich (tomato & hard boiled egg in a brown granary bun seasoned with a sensation of ground black pepper and don’t ask why we call them that!) down in the chandlery office and idly thumbing through an old 2018 Bartoncatalogue. My eye was caught by a picture of Andy Laurence’s daughter, Ruby, relaxing in the cockpit of his beautifully restored Alan Hill designed Cutlass 27, Andy whom, when he is at work, steers www.marinechandlery.com down the high tech seas, then when it's rest and recreation time, he can be found either working on further restoration of Nellie Dean or sailing her out on the North sea. As a postscript he painted the topsides in Epifanes yacht enamel some three odd years ago and she still looks a million dollars!
The old traveller on Nellie Dean which was mounted at the aft end of the companion way was in the way, a trip hazard and a hair catcher. However, Andy ain’t got much left, bit like me, but he does often sail with his wife and daughter. Also, if in light winds he pulled the traveller slightly up to windward to keep the boom on the centreline (with minimum leech tension to aid pointing ability,) the old mainsheet traveller position made it almost impossible to go down below! By removing the old one and fitting one of Barton’s brilliant removable mainsheet track systems, apart from freeing up the cockpit when not in use by removing it completely, with it being located further aft the sheeting on the boom become more efficient!
As for the Henley 'project', well done Andy and the team, must have taught him well now let’s see if his photos of the two boats which are shown below are as good as his wire work. My verdict, yes, but don’t yet give up the day job! Not that I can talk, my headline image of the sandwich…… spot the ‘deliberate’ mistake! The catalogue under was a Schaefer one and not Barton, how many of you spotted that? My boss certainly didn’t when he proof read it!