Cowes Maritime Museum, A MUST!
Our trip sailing to the Isle of Wight found sitting on the top deck of a double Decker bus bouncing our way down the windy roads from Yarmouth to Newport, to visit the Maritime museum. A day out on land to get away from Westerly force 6-7 hindering our progress to Guernsey.
Whilst dodging the blustery showers we found a boat shed packed full of interesting classic boats. A very knowledgeable chap called Gill gave us a fascinating guided tour of the shed, starting with an early life boat undergoing restoration and finishing with a modern boat on loan from Shirley Robertson OBE, Olympic sailor, her laser, so small you could almost miss it. Vigia caught my eye, thought to be the oldest registered pleasure yacht still sailing in the country, built in 1872 in Cowes. The American cat boats came over from the USA and run rings round all the local racing boats. She draws 5ft with her centre-board down, 24 LOA and a beam of nearly 9ft and sported a large sail area.
This is a maritime museum not to miss, still run on a voluntary basis. Started 10 years ago and today. Everywhere you look there are fascinating pieces of history tucked away. very knowledgeable staff who have worked here since the start in developing this little gem into a superb museum. They have created such a name for them selves today that lots of the exhibits are donated or on loan so that people like us can walk round and see how our boats developed.
Sopranino, what a famous little boat. Designed by Laurent Giles & Partners and built by Wootens of Cookham Dene in 1950. I have thumbed the pages of Trekka around the world & Sopranino as those two boats were the prototype for the Audacity, of which we had number 39 and learnt how to sail on her (but that’s another story) Sopranino has been lovingly restored, her only original features left are her coach as her hull had been sheathed inside and out. Each piece of fibre glass sheathing was carefully removed to show her hull which had turned into dry dust to ensure that when she was rebuilt they replicated everything absolutely perfectly. She has travelled across the Atlantic with her fin & bulb keel and average a good speed for such a tiny boat.
Jazz: built in 1912. The 22ft hull built by Morgan Giles & May of Hammersmith under a Thorneycroft licence. She has her original 4 litre 4 cylinder from a Vauxhall car. what beautiful lines.
My favourite boats were:
Army sailing canoe
What are your favourites?