National Historic Ships help Boleh

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We’re delighted to report a welcome grant from National Historic Ships (NHS) towards the repair of Boleh’s unique quadruped mast.  Designer Robin Kilroy had the original masts built of solid timber in Singapore before sailing Boleh to Salcombe in 1950.  When, 60 years later, Boleh was restored in Portsmouth as a Historic Ship, the distinctive quadruped mast clearly had to be retained. Modern operating conditions, however, rely on electronic equipment at the mast head – a feature not required before.

During Boleh’s restoration the solid spars were declared not fit for purpose and new spars, constructed with hollow channels, replaced the old. These reduced topweight and also provided a conduit for electric cables. Tim Gilmore and his team constructed the new mast (pictured) at Birdham Pool and have since unstepped and refurbished these spars.  Now a problem has arisen – water penetration into the mast channels – and we are very grateful to NHS for the funds which will allow Tim to tackle this during Winter Maintenance.

History Mystery Of Boleh Nameboard

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In the early 1980’s Boleh was restored in Rye Harbour by her new owner, Roger Angel, after arson destroyed much of her upper works. As part of the restoration a new nameboard was made for the vessel as shown in the picture.  We are now trying to identify the carver responsible for this work of art, created from a slab of Iroko timber provided by Roger.  We know he lived in River village near Dover and was reputed to have carved figures for Winston Churchill at nearby Chartwell.

The nameboard was exhibited alongside the Boleh model at HRH The Princess Royal’s visit to Boleh last year.  Dave Sully, who worked with Roger on the restoration and is now the proud custodian of this piece of Boleh’s history, has some information which may help our search.  His son Alan, then a tree surgeon, supplied the carver with various hardwoods; this led to Roger obtaining the nameboard for a nominal sum.

Now, given that history, can anybody help us solve the mystery of who carved this splendid nameboard?? Answers please to .

Boleh’s Indefatigable Shipmates

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Boleh has a habit of bringing people together, across Continents and across the years.  This time the connection is very close: our Operations Director, Craig  Coupe and Boleh Trustees, George and Henry Middleton have a family link, forged in 1945.  That link is the Aircraft Carrier, HMS INDEFATIGABLE, where Craig’s grandfather, Douglas Craig and Robin Kilroy, Boleh’s designer and George and Henry’s uncle, were shipmates during the allied invasion of Japan.

We’re proud to post this story on the 78th anniversary of the Kamikaze (suicidal) attack on HMS INDEFATIGABLE by a Japanese fighter aircraft.  This set fire to the ship killing 14 and wounding many others but, thanks to the bravery of the crew and the armoured flight deck, flying operations were restored within an hour.  Later, in 1949, Robin Kilroy designed Boleh with 2 captured Japanese fighter windscreens as deck lights for the for’d cabin!

Marine Coupe is pictured above, shortly after joining the Navy, and we’re delighted to report that his grandson, Craig, has very recently qualified as a Yachtmaster Instructor.  This very demanding test of seamanship, leadership, experience and instructional ability leads to the highest RYA award achievable.  Congratulations Craig, we now look forward to you using Boleh to prepare aspiring sailors, young and old, for their RYA qualifications!

Pre Season Buff- Up For Boleh

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Not long till the start of Boleh’s sailing programme and final preparations are under way.  This week saw Boleh briefly taken out of the water for a final buff-up in the Sealift3 facility at Haslar Marina.  With hull jet washed, antifouling touched up and anti corrosion anodes renewed, the parts of Boleh you don’t see are now ready for the new Season!

Picture shows the stern aspect of Boleh on the lift displaying her propellers and stern arrangement from a different perspective not always seen!

Boleh Thanks Creek Restaurant And Haslar Marina Staff

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When HRH The Princess Royal visited us last November to re-commission Boleh, Haslar Marina’s new Creek Restaurant was the venue for the first part of her visit.  This was dedicated to HRH meeting groups of adults and young people who had been involved with this unique vessel.  HRH also met Creek staff, providing an ‘unofficial opening’ for their impressive Restaurant, and thanked Ben Lippiett and the Marina team for facilitating her visit.

We are therefore delighted to report that the Boleh Trust has now given The Creek a framed picture of Boleh, both to mark the occasion and to thank Marina and Restaurant staff for their sterling support on that special day.  Picture shows Vice Chairman, Chris Austin and the Boleh team presenting Creek  Assistant Manager, David Hill with a copy of a watercolour by Robin Kilroy.  The painting depicts Boleh at rest in Salcombe, where she arrived on 1 September 1950 after her 15,000 mile voyage from Singapore, skippered by the artist!

Boleh’s ‘Can Do’ Story Preserved In Words And Pictures

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We’re proud of Boleh’s unique design and inspirational story.  A catalogue of her history – from Boleh’s conception in 1947 to her 2013 restoration – was compiled and archived 10 years ago by Hampshire Museum Services with Heritage Lottery funding.  However, the digital platform for the website hosting this Archive has recently deteriorated, threatening the future of this wonderful record.

It is therefore a relief to report that, with the generous support of Blackburn Chemicals (who also funded last year’s repair of Boleh’s damaged battery chargers) and the skills of ‘Communitysites’, we have been able to revitalise and preserve the Archive.  A picture of Boleh racing off Majorca with Roger Angel at the helm, taken from the Archive, is shown here – more drawings and photos can be seen


Boleh Supports The Forces Of The Crown

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Our invaluable volunteers who are members of the Royal Naval Sailing Association will be pleased to see that the RNSA 2022 Journal features Boleh’s recommissioning last year by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.  Page 47 has photos from this memorable event, including this picture of HRH’s Standard at Boleh’s masthead during her time onboard.

Boleh’s strong ties with the Senior Service continue this Season with 3 separate weeks supporting the Royal Navy’s Recovery Programme for sick, injured and wounded Service personnel.  The first of these weeks in April kicks off the year’s Sailing Programme.  This will be followed by day sails for Service schoolchildren, and then a weekend with the Royal Engineers at Lymington after His Majesty’s Coronation.  And finally, thank you volunteer Mate and Trustee David Critchley for the RNSA article!

Good News For Boleh’s Portland Programme

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We’re delighted to report Boleh’s forthcoming sailing Season is off to a great start.  The Pineapple Youth Trust, originally founded to promote youth work in London’s Paddington district, has spread its net more widely with a generous donation to the Boleh Trust.  These very welcome funds are designed to cover core costs and particularly  those involved in running this year’s Portland Schools programme.

Boleh is programmed to leave her Haslar Marina base for Portland on 5 June and will again deliver 3 weeks of day sails for Dorset schools, working out of Portland Marina.  We are very grateful to the Pineapple Youth Trust for enabling us to continue our support for the Chesil Sailing Trust’s very successful ‘Sail for a Fiver’ initiative.  Picture shows local schoolchildren under Skipper’s instruction on a sunny Boleh foredeck, with Portland Harbour breakwater in the distance, on a previous deployment.

Local Artist Captivated By Boleh At Birdham

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Last year Boleh was up on the Causeway at Birdham for winter maintenance when local amateur artist, Jerrold Alexander, spotted her and was captivated by her appearance.  Described by him as ‘a very interesting and much travelled boat’ she became the catalyst for Jerrold’s painting of 5 yachts in a row on the Causeway.

When sending us the photo of his work, Jerrold said “Thanks for parking Boleh so close to my home” and we say “Thank you Jerrold for sharing your painting with us and for brightening up the January gloom”.

Well Earned Pint For Boleh Team!

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We couldn’t resist showing off Boleh’s local support team enjoying a well earned end-of-year pint in the new Creek Restaurant at Boleh’s Haslar Marina base.  Pictured from left to right are: Chris Austin, Trustee, stepping down from Vice Chair this year; Craig Coupe, Operations Director; Dave Hadfield, Technical Adviser; Graham Westbrook, Naval Architect; Nigel Craine, new Trustee and volunteer Skipper; and Mark Minshull, Trustee and Technical Director.

Missing from the picture is Boleh’s Lead Skipper and Vice Chair for 2023, Richard Metcalfe.  All have made a major contribution to the success of Boleh’s 2022 Season and to the memorable presentation of our beautiful and historic Junk Yacht Boleh to HRH The Princess Royal.  Thank you Team and well done!