So that was the condition I found Tally Ho in with this cover over her but before we get into that I’m gonna go a little bit into my past and how I ended up taking on this boat, ‘cos probably a lot of the other stuff about the project and about Tally Ho you guys know from the videos, so this stuff, you may not know This whole journey started really when I went travelling at 18 and at that period of my life I was – I wanted to be a musician that was my passion and I travelled through Asia and Australia with a Guitar singing on the street, essentially and living footloose, camping on the beach hitch-hiking on the beach there are actually cars driving up this beach because this is Australia, where that’s fine, apparently While I was away travelling I sort of re-assessed what I wanted to do a little bit I knew I wanted to do something with my hands, something physical I had a bit of woodworking experience through my Dad, who is a Carpenter and the idea of sailing really appealed as a means of travelling, essentially I hadn’t actually done any sailing before this age but the idea of being able to travel without being on buses and trains and planes and cars just seemed like a wonderful freedom and the idea of combining that with a craft with woodwork, it seemed like an obvious, and very sort of romantic thing to do so I went back home to the UK and, of course built a Treehouse my first solo woodworking project I grew up in Glastonbury, that’s where my Dad lives and um theres no there’s no ocean there, so gotta go up the trees But I wanted to do a boatbuilding course I wasn’t quite able to afford the course I wanted to do, but I ended up wandering around Bristol one day, and I came across The Underfall Boatyard which some of you may know wandered into a shed, got talking to a few guys, and one of them, John Raymond-Barker offered me not a job, but a chance to work for nothing *laughter* and there I entered the wooden-boat world I worked for John for about a year and a half and I joke about not getting paid I lie – I did get paid He paid me £20 per week and after I’d been working for him for about 8 months he upped it to £50 per week but actually I joke about that, but it was I mean – I’m so grateful for him taking me on, because I learnt so much from him, and the way he works, and the way all the guys around that yard work totally steered my course really, I think yeah, he’s a great guy, I helped build this boat, Edith Grey, which is a – it’s John’s own take on a Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter quite streamlined for a Pilot Cutter, very fast very traditionally built very fun to work on entering a trade like that, I think it might seem hard because, not getting paid, and having to figure it out financially seems difficult, but when you compare it to going to a college to learn boatbuilding where it’s ten thousand pounds for a year – or more – this was nearly 10 years ago now it’s actually quite a financially sensible way to do it, and you come out of it with real knowledge of how working boatyards actually work to some boatbuilders that’s more important than theoretical knowlegde Y’know – there’s some things that you get from Boatbuilding School, I’m sure, that you don’t get from working in boatyards and I think there’s a lot of theoretical stuff which I still don’t know because I never did that part and as I’m going through this project there’s a lot of things that I’m finding I’ve never done before I don’t even understand half of them! but you’re able to work it out, and I think just as important, or maybe more important than that, is the the skill of being able to essentially, get on with it work fast and solve problems that you haven’t encountered before and that’s what John and the guys in the Underfall yard, and my subsequent bosses, really excel at, themselves. so while I was in Bristol, I lived on this boat she looks like a bit of a wreck because it is but it’s actually a Dunkirk little ship a gentleman’s river launch you can see, the hair problem isn’t a recent thing but I exchanged some work on the boat for accommodation on it I learnt to sail on the Bristol Docks, on a laser while I was working in that boatyard, and living in that boat I just showed you and sailed from the boat into the Underfall yard so this was the first big boat sailing I did which was through a guy I met at the Underfall yard – another shipwright who was working in the shed next door and he owned Peel Castle, which is a three-masted Cornish Lugger there she is and he keeps her in Ireland but he had her in Spain when I met him, and he asked if I’d like to go and sail with him for a month I ended up going down there and sailing for a month, and then we ended up going up the river Guadiana in the South of Spain That’s really, I guess, what gave me a taste for ocean sailing astro navigation as well, I was only just learning to sail, but Grayham was doing some astro, and I got into the theory of it, just out of interest so I bought my first boat it’s a Manta 19 I bought it for 600 quid [pounds] when I was hung over at a bus stop on ebay, on my phone and, erm it was great! the great thing about this boat was that it didn’t matter what you did to it and so I sailed it around Bristol docks ramming anything and everything walls, swans, tourists it had a big metal bit on the bow which was great because you couldn’t damage it so I sort of learnt to sail on that and I did quite a bit of work on it readying it for what I hoped would be a grand voyage I was sort of planning to take this boat on an adventure across the channel and down through the French canals. I didn’t quite get that far because I came across a beautiful picture of a Folkboat for sale and, working with wood already the romance of a wooden boat just… got me So, I didn’t get very far on this, but I did get down to Falmouth This is on the way to Falmouth from Bristol in, I think, Appledore on the North Devon coast she’s just dried-out against a fishing boat, in a drying harbour You can see the self-steering gear that I built for that boat which was a wooden servo-pendulum gear, out of a book by a guy called Bill Belcher and there’s a lot of self-steering designs in that book that you can build yourself they’re really good so I actually ended up taking that self-steering gear onto my next boat There we are sailing down towards Falmouth – that was probably going around Land’s End, and there’s a broomstick spinnaker pole, which you guys will appreciate and there, moored up to my new boat this Folkboat which is a 1947 Swedish clinker Folkboat I had spent all the money which I had saved up to go travelling in France but I was over the moon with this beautiful boat I managed to sell the this Manta 19 and went out sailing and the mast fell off! *laughter* it turned out I wasn’t as good a surveyor as I thought This boat that looked to be in a pretty good condition was actually not in a very good condition basically, her topsides were all rotten and the chainplates – for some reason, the chainplates were only fastened through the planks which is.. crazy but the chainplates pulled out, because all the planks were rotten, so I ended up in Gweek boatyard which is up the river helford in Cornwall, near Falmouth digging away, and finding more and more rot so I ended up replacing the Transom on this boat, as you can see and.. I’ve got a few photos quite a few planks and half the mast, of course when I got her, she was called well… I’m not gonna say it, because it was a terrible name, and there might be someone here who’s got a boat named the same thing *laughter* but probably not I’m sure you’ve all got more taste than that but anyway, it wasn’t her original name so I felt no problem with re-naming her actually I couldn’t find out her original name, I did try So I named her Lorema, which was my Grandmother’s name and there she is, going into the water That was a little bit later on, in Gweek again I’ve got the woodburner going there In Gweek I was working for a guy called Ashley Butler who was building really beautiful boats and still is down in Cornwall and he was another guy that really inspired me, and I think helped, sort of shape what I would do afterwards he’s also sailed small boats across the Atlantic and built his own boats and done a lot of good stuff, so he helped me a lot when while I was rebuilding Lorema I was working for him at the same time, and he would give me offcuts he would let me work whatever hours I wanted, so I would work with him in the mornings and then afternoons on my boat While I was there I did a bit of work on a few different boats this is replacing the deck on Kelpie she’s a Schooner that we rebuilt this is actually much later on I was working for Ashley again this was from one of the videos, so you guys might have seen this building a Ferry in Ash’s new boatyard sort of typical of the construction style that I’ve come to really like there’s a mixture of sawn and steamed Oak frames in this boat Carvel planked very strong ferry, these are designed to be landed on the beach to get people on and off and actually, interestingly the company that runs them, that buys them from Ash they’ve used fibreglass boats, they’ve used s teel boats, they’ve used all sorts of different boats and they’ve come back to wood because it’s the only material which has the the give, to take that pounding, as it goes onto the beaches with surf, often to pick up and drop off passengers of course, steel can be very stong, but what happens with Steel is that it’s a shingle beach, and it just rips the paint off, so you get exposed Steel that rusts so it’s really nice to to have wooden boats that are used because that is the best material not just because there’s some old romantic who wants to own a wooden boat That’s up the mast of my Folkboat which I hope never to do again They’re really really – they’re about that thin at the top On the way to Ireland, on my first voyage on that folkboat that was one of my favourite anchorages, in Ireland I was getting to know the boat, and also developing my sailing skills I still hadn’t done that much sailing really, at this point sailing to Ireland was my first long-distance solo trip and there I really got to grips with the self-steering gear So after Ireland, I came back, I did a little bit more work in Cornwall, and then I decided to head South and so I crossed over to Brittany and then across Biscay this is some small port on the French coast this would have been Galicia, I think in North West Spain, having crossed Biscay got a bit of varnish-work to do there audience; am I right in thinking you’re doing this, without an engine in the Folkboat Leo; yeah the Folkboat had no engine they’re such manoeuvrable boats they’re really like dinghies you really don’t need an engine on a Folkboat and they’re so light , you can scull it so I had this big 16 foot oar and there’s a little notch at the back of the boat there and you can just paddle it along you can manoeuvre, you can go backwards three-point turns in some ways a lot more manoeuvrable than an engine, but of course, you can only go 1 or 2 knots and in any sort of wind it’s not much good but of course you’ve got these big white things for that This was around the time when my GPS broke as well going around Finisterre on the the aptly named “Costa del Morte” – or something like that – anyone speak Spanish? anyway, it means Coast of Death *laughter* and so my GPS failed the one I had on my phone had already broken a few weeks ago so I had a little one that finally bit the bullet and I was just leaving a leaving this port, actually leaving a bay on my way around Finisterre and I nearly turned around and went back, and then I just thought I’m supposed to be a sailor, I should be able to at least do some coastal navigation so I carried on got around Finisterre it was actually quite a hairy trip for a first non-GPS trip thick fog, and I had to kind of hear my way into where I was going but the feeling I got on arrival in the next port, was just so good that I decided not to replace the GPS and it turned out to be one of the most satisfying decisions I ever made because navigation after that was just such a joy even if it was more challenging sometimes the feeling of having got yourself somewhere by your own means was just a really wonderful one so I carried on down the coast This is in Porto and then this was down in the Guadiana, where where I visited on the first boat Peel Castle I went back up there again improved my selection of unusual spinnaker poles, here you can see, we have a bespoke bamboo pole This is up the same river, it’s a tidal river so I was able to dry out the boat and do the antifouling and I actually spent about a month varnihing in the river I think this is my favourite photo of that boat topsides looking good, and repainted, and all the varnishwork looking really nice and this is actually in one of the Canaries so I sailed from the Guadiana to Morocco and then to the Canaries and then from there I sailed down to the Cape Verde Islands so there, leaving Gran Canaria Sculling out of the marina there full of provisions for the crossing so you can’t see the waterline at all Audience; how much of this did you do by yourself? Leo; so, I picked someone up in Porto and they were sailing with me until the Canaries the rest of it was all on my own so the Canaries to the Cape Verdes and then Cape Verdes across to Martinique and this is actually picking up the anchor off the Cape Verdes, just about to cross so crossing the Atlantic was fun had to fry my washing somehow I never really know what to say about that crossing, it was y’know, so many things and yet very hard to put into words it was inspiring, it was at times it was really boring it was really scary at other times it was a wonderful experience just to be on your own for 20 days is a pretty interesting thing to do, anyway and to be out there in the middle of nowhere, with no land for a thousand miles in any direction it’s pretty awe-inspiring seeing the stars out there and using them to navigate, as well that was good, and then I got to Martinique as I was approaching the land after that crossing and I found myself after I’d anchored in a bay in Martinique by myself in a MacDonalds because it was the only place with WiFi and I had to tell my parents that I was alive so I was in MacDonalds, and it was air-conditioned and I was cold and the whole thing was – I just wanted to go back to sea to be honest it can be quite anti-climactic coming into land after a long period at sea I suppose it depends on if you’ve got people waiting for you or maybe a party planned or something it might be quite good, but no-one knew I was there, and I didn’t really feel like talking to people, so I wasn’t in the mood to go around telling people that that I’d just come from Falmouth so yeah, it took me a while to readjust to being on land While I was doing my crossing, my self-steering gear, which had worked so well all the way down to the Cape Verdes it actually stopped working – bit the bullet just a couple of days into my Transatlantic and the reason was that it was a servo-pendulum, so it has a blade offset from the centreline in this case, going down into the water which acts as a mechanical leverage, essentially, to steer the tiller there’s a wind vane and some transfer gears but essentially you’ve got this blade coming down into the water, and in the Atlantic in that particular place, at that time of year there was a huge amount of Sargasso grass so this seaweed that floats on the surface I hadn’t even suspected this would be a problem but it just caught the servo-pendulum blade it just continuously caught under it, and the drag from all the seaweed was just bending all the – the entire gear so for about a day I was leaning over the back with a boat-hook, getting this stuff off every 20 minutes or 30 minutes but it would catch and then it would send the boat off course, and you would crash-gybe it wasn’t good so I was only a day-and-a-half into the crossing, so I was trying to figure out what to do I ended up coming up with a – well, I didn’t come up with it, I’m sure hundreds of people have done it before, but I ended up using the jib to steer the boat so I was running on a very broad reach, and I used the jib-sheet attached to the tiller so this is what this photo’s showing the jib-sheet comes up here around this winch, through a block to the tiller, and there’s a bungee here so what happens is the main pretty much blanks the jib, because you’re running so deep and then as the boat come up to windward, which it naturally wants to do the jib fills it pulls the sheet the sheet pulls the tiller back and the boat bears away again and you just keep on doing that for two thousand miles and that’s the infamous bucket you don’t want to know about that! This is in Antigua, after the crossing we competed in the Antigua Classics and that was a really fun event, and we won our class, there was only two or three other boats in it and I think the Folkboat has quite a good handicap, so I won’t take too much credit for that, but it did get it got me a little bit of attention in the in that world and from that I I got my next job this is a boat called Sincerity which was my next well, it was really my first job in sailing having crossed the Atlantic and sailed in the Classics I met the owner of this boat, and he was looking for a new Captain I was looking for a job at the time and luckily he couldn’t afford anyone who was properly qualified so he got me he gave me chance, anyway which was great and I think he saved a bit of money as well but it was great for me to get the experience running a boat like this that was really exciting – we took that boat through some thunderstorms and up to Greenland did some charters in Greenland I found it quite stressful, it was the first time I’d done anything on that sort of scale, we had up to 10 crew at one point but really really rewarding, challenging, interesting job and I ran that boat for about 10 months, we went to Greenland, spent a month or so sailing around Greenland found some nice Icebergs and then sailed down to Gibraltar and then to Italy Next job – I left Sincerity and got a job as Bosun on Adix a very large 3-masted Schooner built in the 80s, made of Steel another really interesting job on a very different scale of course, to the last one and in a different world – really in the superyacht world Y’know – this guy had a Picasso on board it’s next level but it was really interesting to see that world to be involved in it and really nice to be responsible for the rig Y’know, I was responsible for the deck and the rig and the deck crew we sailed in the RORC 600 around the Caribbean, which was obviously organised by these guys Racing in Antigua Classics again against Columbia, which is a replica Grand Banks Fishing Schooner and Mariette which is the original 1915 Herreshoff Schooner That’s what she looked like, when I first saw her I’d heard about the boat being for sale and I was looking for a project, I guess My life on Adix was by -I guess- conventional standards pretty great sailing around, getting well paid couldn’t spend the money we were in Mexico, Caribbean, Cuba but it wasn’t what I wanted to do I felt actually very trapped in that sort of situation without the freedom to do what I wanted I wanted to start a project of some kind I was thinking about a new-build actually Ashley Butler put me onto this boat he first told me that it was around, I think it was advertised as well, in a few places so I got in touch with the ASA [Albert Strange Association] and I wrote them a very long letter about my ideas of what I might be able to do with the boat One of the guys involved in the USA came and met me and we went down to see the boat prior to me signing anything – prior to handing anything over there I am – wondering what I’m doing, I think I don’t know why I look so happy there probably making some very optimistic notes about the condition of the boat but you can see how bad she was, really and I spent a long time in there, I actually asked everyone to leave, so I could just stand in there on my own and think about it and look at the space I think I was aware if not quite the extent of the job that had to be done, I was aware that it was an incomprehensible amount at that point I thought I’d probably save the centre-line but beyond that I kinda knew I’d have to replace everything if I took it on Audience; When you’re thinking “I’ve got to replace everything” isn’t part of you going “couldn’t I just build a new boat” There is something, for me Because I get this question a lot as you may imagine why not just build a new boat and it’s a very good question and and there’s no real sensible answer because building a new boat is gonna be cheaper it’s gonna be easier you’re going to be able to build it in exactly the way you want it’s all the sensible things but there’s just something, I’m sure most of you will agree, about an old boat, and about keeping that history alive that is just, such a romantic and inspiring idea and that made me want to do it, I suppose if you want to be sensible about it don’t think about wooden boats at all in the first place the sensible way to go sailing is either on a fibreglass boat which is perfectly good, or a steel boat, or even better, on someone else’s boat the other thing which I learnt about wooden boats over the years is that they’re designed in a different way to modern production boats A wooden boat is designed, essentially particularly with a Carvel construction, like this, The planks are almost sacrificial They’re designed to have parts replaced, and the great things about this sort of construction is, there’s no glue there’s nothing to stop you taking a piece out and putting another piece in and at that point it’s no worse-off that it was before that piece had rotted. I kinda see a wooden boat like a LEGO boat you can take a piece off, put a piece on and in that way, you you replace parts of the boat over time whenever they get bad and depending on the original construction of the boat – the quality of that after a certain amount of time with any boat, you’re gonna have essentially a new boat, with none of the bits of the original boat and that might be 30 years on a working boat or it could be 130 years on a really well-constructed yacht and so they way I see this project this restoration, and I guess any full rebuild like this is you’re catching up on however many dozens of years of no maintenance so that’s how I feel about this project and if anyone mentions the Ship of Theseus I’m gonna jump out that window because there is the question of “is it the same boat or not” and honestly – I don’t think it really matters it’s about the process for me, at least, it’s about doing something which I feel is important and which I enjoy and which I think other people enjoy being a part of, or observing and hopefully will enjoy sailing and knowing that history In Tally Ho’s case she will have a few pieces left of the original She’ll have the ballast keel the windlass hopefully, various bits of hardware, and then in terms of wood, hopefully I’ll be able to save quite a few of the planks But, I’m not 100% on how many, yet I’d just like to say thank you to everyone, and I didn’t really get a chance while I was speaking, to properly express my amazement, and gratitude, at all the support I’ve got, from – you know – all corners of the globe in all different ways and I suspect that many of you here tonight are among those people that have supported the project and it couldn’t happen without that it really couldn’t, I probably thought it could when I started, but it couldn’t so yeah, thank all you guys, it wouldn’t be nearly the same project without you lot Alright, well that’s it for now, so thanks for watching and a massive thank-you to everyone who’s donated or otherwise supported the project It makes a huge difference and it means I’m able to take the time to make and edit these videos, so I really appreciate it I’ll see you next time – cheers!