Up until now I had only sailed one boat with any kind of pedigree: Brigand the catamaran. That was to change when Jon called me up and invited me to join Jon as first mate aboard Barnacle Bill.
You can tell from the crew photos that this trip was a bit of a giggle. In fact it was a complete scream, but the emphasis, for me at least, was to learn much about navigation. This was due to Jon’s methodical and considered approach to passage planning and sailing, but when you own a boat like Barnacle Bill then you’re going to be a proper sailor, aren’t you? This boat is a real head-turner!
BB is an S+S designed wooden hull racer cruiser (yes, that IS a wooden hull but it has a GRP skin) built in New Zealand to compete in the Admiral’s Cup in 1975. Although she didn’t win it’s a rare thing for BB to be overtaken by your average modern yacht. Even in light winds she can shift, despite weighing 20-odd tonnes.
This is an excerpt from the previous ownner’s website, who went on to start up Norbaelt Yachts:
His last and most cherished boat, Barnacle Bill, a New Zealand built S&S designed one off Admirals Cup yacht was sold to finance the start up of Nordbaelt yachts. Built from the few remaining Kauri trees the Royal Navy hadn’t cut down in the 19th century. Barnacle Bill competed in the 1975 Admirals Cup representing the RNZYS and subsequently cruised the Pacific for 6 years.
In terms of the other crew members, well, you already know Liz and Tim (above). Liz joined us for a weekend in Guernsey then on down to the Brittany coast, whilst Tim and Sharine sailed with us from Guernsey to Sark. Credit to Sharine, she claims to dislike the water but she put on a brave face if this were true. Linda also flew out to join us in Guernsey and stayed with Jon and myself until the end of the trip. There was a bit of competition in the galley between Linda’s and my Thai green curries because Linda knows how to cook and I’m just competitive!