Sunday, 1 December 2013

Yum yum its cold on the boat

Jumbo chips and burger for the winter sailers a warm dinner with band in the pub brilliant. Fergus eat a man size portion climbing into his sleeping bag he said "that burger and chips is on fire in my tummy". we put fairy lights on chuckle which have been admired and described as very pritty.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Making knot work mat

This mat was made wight the help of this great knot project book: Des Pawsons Knot-Craft-Ropework-projects

Sunday, 27 October 2013

One week on hired sigma 33 on the great glen Caledonian canel

All done

Remaining cracks in wood filled with red lead putty and then painted with anti fouling ready for the rising tide.

Stern tube sealing

Mixing the red lead putty and then pushing the wooden plug ended stern tube through the keel and dead wood. Fergus on the outside is holding the red lead putty in place with a wooden plug as dad pushes the tube through. Making a great seal of putty round the tube. Fergus loved coming to sleep aboard while we worked together on the job.

3am on slip.

Preped before fitting

Painted the propellor for longer life. New dead wood block in oak painted. Turned wooden plug to squeeze through red lead putty in keel to make a seal between stern tube and wood.

Prop, stern tube and bearings cleaned

Ready for sending to engineer for him to turn new prop shaft end, remove cutless bearing and reduce length of stern tube.

Clean polish propeler

Remove the dead wood block and plug to hole

Squaring off

Using the stern tube and cutless bearing flang to mark the high spots i squared the wood.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Stern tube out.

After removing the stern tube this morning, the split and not so sound wood I chiseled away down 20 mm.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Almost done

At 330 am moved the boat down a bit on the slip so I could get away early next tide.
730 am blue on top sides.
830 to lunch second coat of anti foil and boot top.
My arms are dropping off.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Chuckle on the slip

With much trepidation I put chuckle on the slip last night at 2 am. What would I find? Was she alright below? She was fine. After a hard 3 hours of scrubbing and sponging down her under side was found to be all in good order. @ 630 am I got two hours more sleep. Followed by scraping out and sanding and whipping clean and drying any cracks in the paint. Massive cooked breakfast at 10. Quick application of under coat in the rain not the best. Toilet shower and bed 330 pm, high water. 7 pm the anti foil will go on until 930 probably. Bed and when does it end, two top coats above the water line and home. How will I feel tomorrow night I wonder?

Friday, 13 September 2013

Freyja inspecting the wind vane

My 6 year old daughter goes up the 10m mast to inspect and straighten out the wind vane, no fear in this wee lass.

Dr. Thomas Hawson
Hundalee Mill Farm
Tel: 01835 869931
Mob: 07801653830

sailing blog:

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

First cod ever

I have to say it was a great pleasure to catch cod for the first time this Monday. Eating it was even better, here is a big one cooked whole.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Summer fun

Anchored at Coldingham bay swimming off chuckle and using our new ladder. Little did they know that this was also rescue and reboarding practice. Our children don't like being told they might fall in and we must practice rescues there imagination being so powerful fills them with very scary thoughts, but making it fun is fine. This summer so far we have had a lovely 4 day live aboard in the hottest weather we have had in years. On the boat was the perfect place to be. Giggle has been much sailed and lots learnt by the children but fine conditions are not frequent.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Leaving harbour for first sailing lessons

Freyja in command of giggle, at 5 yrs

Progress is slow

Building confidence in small children, my non sailing wife and my new to skippering self is a slow and complex business. After a long period of slow solid progress sailing last summer and over the winter some of my patients slipped. After last years commitment to assist on every level, coming in when ever anyone wanted too and giving little responsibility to anyone regarding the handling of chuckle, I upped the anti with unreasonable expectations. Bad dad, bad skipper. A few months ago I left jenny on the helm in force 4-6 big clouds coming over to reef the main sail while underway with jib alone. Jenny did not have the experience to understand my request to keep the jib filled and kept turning into wind. Jenny panicked with the noise of the flogging sails the dark clouds and the impressive power of the wind and waves tossing us about uncontrollably and in a confused state screamed in front of the children. With out loosing my temper which was tempting at the time but recognising my own gross error I resumed control of the vessel and put chuckle in her usual and stable heaved too position, while I reefer the main. This incident has set back the children's confidence in there skipper and sailing, it has had the effect of making the wind the enemy to be feared so for the last two beautiful weekends we have had to come in early or hug the cliffs with strong offshore wind to prevent fits of fear of the wind. I have not written a blog for a while because it has taken me this long to come to terms with my failure as an impatient and inexperienced skipper. Yesterday we came in after ten minutes when Fergus decided he did not like the wind and our guest felt queasy. This was a great success, after a trip to the beach for a swim and dinner onboard, Fergus and Freyja were keen to tackle the challenge of sailing giggle in the now gentle off shore wind. After tacking back and forth across the beach in water you could stand in and see the few rocks sticking out the sand at the bottom, Fergus and Freyja took the tiller and called the orders and grow confidence in what to do. Basically they got it, tacking back and forth under there own command with dad sitting forward in the tiny dingy quietly trimming the boat, call me handy mobile ballast. The tricky bit for me now is not to expect to much from them, they have just got it, but have still got a long way to go, finding the right conditions so as not to put them off is going to be a trial of patients for us all. Giggle has saved the day and helped the wee ones find an achievable challenge for them to focus on.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

chuckle happy in her berth

Chuckle has had a lot of attention over the weekend fixing all those little things before the summer season. friday afternoon i went crazy busy cleaning scrubbing sanding and painting all those areas needing attention. saturday more painting and making of rope ladder.sunday the family came out and we had a breezy sail.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

My first boat affair

Fergus with his dads old toy boat.
So my first love of boats or at least a specific boat (because I was already in the habit at around 7 yrs old to spend as long as was allowed in any news agents to goggle at the classic boat magazine) began when on holiday some place I can not remember, where I spotted this toy and by some mirical got my hands on it. Picture above is of my son Fergus who on Sunday discovered the forgotten toy in the house of my parents while on a short holiday catching up with relatives and friends. Fergus it appears is suffering very similar symptoms I had with said boat, practically cuddling it for extended lengths of time and wanting to exhibit it to anyone interested or not. Poor boy, just like his dad. After nagotiating with granny to take possession of the wee vessel he has been proud as punch at the prospects of this tiny floating dream, imagining its floatings and telling us from the back of the car how good a boat it is, such conviction of its success afloat without ever having seen it on water. The imagination is a powerful thing. Having been reminded by my dad just how he witnessed the hitmatising effects this toy had on me it is funny to see my own son fixed on it with so much admiration. A mans lot, wee or not is his world and no one can take it away. For me it appears that comparing this wee boat to chuckle is like seeing dreams come true. Wow, it is true if you can dream it and hold on long enough (in my case 30 years) dreams do come true.

Friday, 15 March 2013


Well this was an interesting change to my normal crew. James Wyness is an artist in sound and composer, living in jedburgh. He requested the opportunity to take a trip on chuckle to record the sounds she makes on the seaway. James' plan was to try and pick out sounds with his selection of special microphones, sounds that i and the crew hear as feedback as to chuckle's progress through the water and general health, like a doctor listens to your hart or an engineer listens to an engine. It was very funny watching him and relaxing in a funny way, slowly moving his microphones round the boat almost hunting out sounds. I was pleased to find he recorded the sounds he had hoped for from the creeky wooden hull and spares of wood and will use these to compose/create a piece of sound art. For more information and where to find his art when it is made public in Eyemouth i think, visit his website:

Monday, 18 February 2013


Well this is new to me and lots of fun painting with my ipad, it's so
reversible and a different way of doing it, how do you like my memory of
Saturday morning? Only missing the crew, but we were all there having
breakfast cooked for us as we sailed out the harbour in the dark to be
greeted by the sunrise  half an hour later. Fergus and Freyja very excited
to see the lighthouses and take some bearings and make a fix on the
chart, wooow!

On Friday 15 Feb 2013, jenny and I planned over lunch while the kids were still at school to take the afternoon off our work and chores and prepare kit and food for an overnight stay on the boat. The weather was going to be perfect for gentle sailing, but we were not sure how we would fair in such cold temperatures, forecast 2-3 deg. C that night.
On picking the children up from school they were happy and excited at the announcement that we were going straight to the boat with change of cloths for them on the back seats.  This is not always the case, in the past Fergus has kicked up a storm with such surprises, but we had not spent a night on the boat for months and over the last few weeks we had talked about it a lot, and generated much excitement for the prospect.
All went well loading and preparing chuckle, with so many little hand eager to help we were all ready in under an hour. chuckle is left empty in the winter to minimize dampness inside and staining of cushions, so an hour seemed quite good with all the other stuff we had to load and the dog.
So why not we started cooking lunch and in such calm and well ordered conditions we took chuckle out to enjoy dinner on the seaway heaved too and enjoying the sun set. This was great practice for all, as i cooked, jenny managed the helm and Fergus and Freyja got used to the idea of being out as it got dark and looked out for lighthouses. Fergus and Freyja, became very excited after dinner when we got the compass out to take bearings of light houses and mark a fix on the chart. They were not so enthusiastic when i teased, that we would stay out all night heaved too drifting and asleep, very wise.
Coming in we sneaked a birth for the night on the posh pontoon the other side of Eyemouth harbor for the night. It was like being on holiday easily jumping on and off the boat to walk the dog and exercise the children, quite different to our usual birth along side the quay and big fishing trawlers. Perhaps the extra money in birthing fees might be seen more favorable by the finance director (Jenny) also considering the damage incurred rising and falling with the tide next to bigger boats and heavy mooring lines ripping gear of the rails.
Having got the children to sleep early with all the excitement the returned the favor by getting up at 5.30 am, I did plan to rouse them at 6 on our way out the harbor or even on the seaway, so i could tease them again that they had been out all night after all. Jenny having found her sea legs cooked porridge as we tried and failed in sailing out the harbor (not to be repeated). After starting the engine and clearing the rocks out the bay we heaved too in time to eat our porridge on deck in the twilight and watch the sunrise up over the sea, Fergus especially was mesmerised.  We then tried and gave up plotting a course to a wreck mark, using the GPS instead. we tried some fishing over the wreck and came in, Freyja was showing signs of discomfort, which turned out to be early signs of getting cold. Gentle words were briefly said about the responsibility of wearing appropriate clothing over a well deserved round of beans on toast bacon rolls and mugs of tea in the fabulous 'Harbor Cafe'. I must remember to check the wee ones apparel more frequently.
What a great night we all had, it was a genuine adventure holiday, perhaps the harbor onlooker used the correct term in naming us the 'outward bound family', when we told him our plans while loading chuckle on friday night, why do people find our adventures such a surprise?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


Dr Thomas Hawson
Hundalee Mill Farm
01835 869931
07801 653830


Off school

Jen and I thought we would sneak in a few hours sailing together on this rare and fine day in January. Being a school day we could have had 3 hrs under sail by ourselves but Fergus decides to throw up 5 time through the night forfittimg his privilege of going to school. So he came alone, we all loved the sunshine and a very gentle sea. Finally did some man over board practice, also a relaxing hove too lunch and a spot of fishing.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Is it luffing Jen?

Jenny on the helm

Learning to keep just off a luff. Jenny is gaining new found confidence on the helm and even tacked and jibbed (intentionally) and went between different points of sail. Wow wee. Next time Freyja has promised to show mum and big brother how to retrieve a fender over board as a MOB drill. Up until now it's only Freyja who has wanted to do this exercise and I live paranoid that I must stay on board at all cost wearing my lazy jack security line out of the cock pit or moving a lot. They say they know the drill but I want to see it done by them asap.

Bt the dog explored the fore deck today

For a winter sail it felt perfect. Having not been out for three weeks it was fantastic and the whole family loved it.