Winter work continues apace at Birdham with the mast now in the Shed and being refurbished by Tim and his team. A key moment was last week’s welcome arrival of the new Fischer Panda generator – here seen being struck below through the main hatch. Installation and trials will follow over the next few weeks. We are very grateful to the Hedley Foundation for their recent grant and to all our generous donors who together have made this good progress possible.
Congratulations to our neighbouring charity Oarsome Chance on being selected by the Times newspaper for their Christmas Charity Appeal. We too are in awe of what they achieve for troubled young people in the local area and proud of our association. Boleh sailed Luke and Laura when the charity was first set up and we have since hosted Oarsome founder Paul O’Grady and instructor Jon Carver for a Boleh ‘induction’ day. We wish Principal John Gillard and all at Oarsome Chance continuing good fortune with their amazing work and offer our support for the future.
Work on Boleh is well under way at Birdham Pool despite weather and pandemic. Tim Gilmore and his team have just completed a major milestone – removal of the old BetaMarine generator to make way for the new Fischer Panda unit. Boleh’s volunteer Skippers will not be sorry to wave goodbye to the Beta, seen here being lifted out of the main hatch. Refit plans schedule mid-March for installation of the new generator.
Boleh is back at Birdham Pool for her first major upgrade and deep maintenance since her total restoration and re-commissioning over 5 years ago. Thanks to the generosity of our major donor, the Nuffield Trust for the Armed Forces of the Crown, Boleh is being fitted with a state of the art Fischer Panda generator to power her twin electric motors. We are also very grateful to other donors – the Foyle Foundation, The Army Central Fund, the Whirlwind Charitable Trust, and the Garfield Weston Charitable Trust – who have enabled us to undertake a full package of work this Winter.
Picture shows Boleh’s unique quadruped mast on the jetty at Birdham awaiting transfer to Tim Gilmore’s shed for refurbishment. Construction of this complex mast structure at Birdham in 2014 was one of the triumphs of Boleh’s restoration. Tim and his team worked with Naval Architect Graham Westbrook to replicate Robin Kilroy’s original 1949 design – for which there were no detailed drawings – with complete success. This Winter’s enhancements will ensure Boleh is ready in all respects for the charitable sailing programme we long to deliver once conditions allow.
We end this difficult and extraordinary year on a positive note with another papercut from Carole Westbrook Designs wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. Despite Covid-19, we are proud the past year saw Boleh commissioned for a limited and worthwhile sailing programme. She now lies in Birdham Pool for winter maintenance during which, thanks to generous donors, Tim Gilmore Ltd will refurbish the quadruped mast and install a new generator.
We look forward with hope to a far better 2021 which will allow our wonderful Volunteers and partner, Halcyon Yachts, to deliver the Trust’s charitable sailing programme. Thank you all very much for your support in 2020 and keep safe.
We are sad to say goodbye to one of our longest serving Trustees, David Knight, who steps down after playing a key role as Chairman of Boleh’s restoration Design Group. David has always wanted Boleh to have the full suite of sails depicted in this extract from Robin Kilroy’s 1951 lecture portfolio but other funding priorities have stood in the way. Now, as a farewell to Boleh, he has taken it upon himself to gift a new full size Genoa to the Trust. We are extremely grateful for this generosity and for David’s time as a Trustee.
As David steps down, we are delighted to welcome a new Trustee, Simon Springett, to the Boleh team. Simon, a Commando trained Naval Chaplain, is an Ocean Yachtmaster and one of Boleh’s first volunteer Skippers. He will be closely involved in helping us fulfil one of our important charitable obligations: providing opportunities for members of the Armed Services and their families to sail in Boleh. We look forward to achieving this in our 2021 sailing programme and to benefitting from a full set of headsails!
The clocks have gone back, the sailing season’s nearly over. Boleh’s 2020 programme, so exciting at the start, has been darkened and disrupted by COVID-19. But, despite this, the ‘can-do’ spirit has helped our volunteers and Halcyon partners make something of the year. Boleh passed her major 5-year MCA survey, was commissioned for a limited Covid-compliant sailing programme, trained new Skippers and crews, gained new volunteers and made important contacts with ‘client’ organisations for 2021.
Now we are looking ahead. Firstly, to Boleh’s winter maintenance where some upgrades are planned, and then to a sailing programme next year free from restrictions. Boleh, with her ‘can-do’ history of challenges confronted and overcome, is standing by to provide an antidote to people’s 2020 experiences of isolation and deprivation. So our hope is that 2021 will see plenty of young people enjoying sunshine and sea breezes onboard Boleh – as in this picture of pupils from All Saints School, Weymouth in happier times.
In 1985 Roger and Wendy Angel set off in Boleh on their ‘big adventure’. Before leaving England Lesley Brown – widow of ‘Buster’ Brown, one time shareholder in Robin Kilroy’s Boleh – gave a farewell party for them in Falmouth. Among the guests were Roger’s friends John and Liz Cynddylan who had witnessed Roger’s restoration of Boleh in Rye harbour.
John was an adventurer himself and, on hearing reports of Boleh’s passage South, including loss of the topmast, penned this Poem of encouragement to Boleh and her crew. After many adventures, recorded by friend and helper Dave Sully in ‘Arising from the Ashes’, the Angels and Boleh finally settled in their Majorca base. Picture shows Roger and Wendy in the sunny Med, enjoying the fruits of their considerable labours!
We are grateful to Andrew Hill for these 2 photos, taken by his father shortly after Boleh’s arrival from Singapore in September 1950. Andrew read the article about Boleh in May’s edition of PBO, (see our 6 April news item) and recalled seeing her in Salcombe as a child. Later, reviewing the family photo albums, he chanced upon these pictures of Boleh resting up the Bag in Salcombe.
Thinking they might interest the current owners and also add to the records of this unique vessel, Andrew kindly passed them to PBO’s editor who forwarded them on to us. Thank you all round.
There hasn’t been much weather to cheer about recently but here’s a Boleh crew enjoying summer sun in a previous Season. Picture shows Soldiers from the Army Inshore Sailing Centre at Thorney Island testing the set of a spinnaker inherited from Roger Angel’s time as Boleh’s owner. Their conclusion – a few alterations would better match the rig of the restored Boleh. We are hoping Boleh will be able to team up with our friends at the AISC next Season to support their training programme.