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Friday, 18 March 2011

Hearts of Oak

Round about Christmas we were wandering round our local market when we bumped into an acquaintance, a woman who as part of our towns heritage association who had been instrumental in raising funds to restore the last boat to be built in Ulverston. Long ago in the 1800s Ulverston used to build ships, at workshops on  the Canal. The boat above was called the Hearts of Oak, she had been abandoned and was in disrepair, in fact an almost wreck. The owner heard about the heritage trust and offered her for free to them, which they accepted and set about applying for funds to have her restored. The task took about 5 years and eventually Hearts of oak returned to Ulverston, almost as good as new, or maybe better than new. 

Our conversation in the market turned to ask about the progress with Hearts of Oak. Jennifer told us that she was berthed in Barrow docks but they hadn't been able to sail her as much as they would like because of a lack of people who knew how to sail amongst their trustees.

Well we said how about us, we've just passed our yacht master certificates. "I didn't know  you could sail" said Jennifer. "Well we've only been sailing for a year, but we would love to join your crew". And so we asked where we could find the boat and a few days later we went to take a look at her lying in the Barrow dock.

What a lovely sight she was, and very different to anything we had been learning to sail over the past year, but here was a boat we could perhaps get some more sailing experience on. We got back in touch with Jennifer and arranged to join the trustees on one of their working days getting the boat ready to sail to various boat shows throughout 2011, the first would be sailing to Liverpool to take part in a classic show in April.

We met with about half a dozen others on a bright Sunday a couple of weeks ago, they seem like a nice bunch of people, but there is still much work to do before Hearts of Oak can set sail. Number one is to install a new engine as the old one is too much of a liability, as well as a few cosmetic repairs below.

I don't know if she'll be ready for the trip in April, but it's a very interesting development in our sailing adventure, if we get to sea, something very different to what we had in mind, but watch this space.