Worried that last year’s severely restricted sailing programme left volunteers with rusty Boleh skills, lead Skipper, Richard Metcalfe, ran a refresher programme for them last week. Despite boisterous weather in the Solent, we’re delighted to say there was an excellent turn-out of Skippers and Mates who were also introduced to Boleh’s updated systems. Picture shows volunteer Skipper Chris O’Connell at the helm in the calmer conditions of Portsmouth Harbour, with volunteer Mates David Critchley and Bruce Snelling in the cockpit. Now, we hope, for the Season ahead . . . . !
We’re delighted to say Boleh is back alongside in Haslar Marina after her winter refit at Birdham Pool in the skilled hands of Tim Gilmore and team. Key elements of the work programme were a brand new Fischer Panda generator and complete refurbishment of Boleh’s unique quadruped masts. Thanks to generous donors and amazing volunteers, Boleh is now once again ‘fit for purpose’.
Picture shows Boleh and volunteer crew putting out the bunting on return to her Haslar berth.
The sun shines, Lockdown is beginning to ease, and we’re delighted to report Boleh back in the water with new generator aboard and refurbished mast re-stepped. Thanks to Tim Gilmore and team, and to volunteers Mark Minshull and Graham Westbrook, Boleh will be all set for the sailing Season ahead. This starts, Covid restrictions allowing, with day sails for Army trainees, followed by Boleh’s long-awaited return to Portland for the Dorset Schools programme with the Chesil Trust.
We are grateful to all our donors who have made this winter’s progress possible. In particular, our Trustees acknowledge the contribution of the Nuffield Trust for the Armed Forces of the Crown. Their generosity has given Boleh both a new generator and support for the 2021 sailing programme.
Picture shows Boleh shortly after lift-in at Birdham with final adjustments being made to securing her quadruped mast.
In the 1960’s Boleh was loaned to the Island Cruising Club (ICC), joining their illustrious fleet of classic boats Hoshi, Provident and Nicholette. The ICC, based in Island Street, Salcombe (now the home of Salcombe Gin), was founded in 1951 and by the 1960’s had become a major sail training organisation for young people. Boleh remained with the ICC until moving to Dover in 1963 to become Sail Training Vessel for the Junior Leaders’s Regiment, Royal Engineers.
Picture shows Boleh in 1961 – signature Dragon Pennant at the peak – setting out from Salcombe with a crew of Naval cadets for a fortnight’s sail training. With ICC Skipper John Norris in charge, Boleh’s itinerary included visits to Plymouth, Dartmouth, Lezardrieux , St Peter Port and Alderney before returning to Salcombe.
Find out more about The Island Cruising Club: www.islandcruisingclub.com/our-island-story
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!