Seaworthy yacht tender
I knew the voice on the phone, Twenty five years ago that
voice had tried to convince me that A+B=C! And not only that,
but he’d also informed me that if I were to flick another
rubber band in class he’d give me a tender behind!
Now here was Bill Lomas, the maths teacher of my delinquent
youth asking me for a tender behind! After explaining the
reason for my merriment and sharing a good laugh, we got down
The requirement was for a tender for his small motor sailer.
Big enough for Elsie and me, plus some gear and maybe two
others at times. Short enough to go up on deck, light enough
to be easily lifted up there and easy for an old amateur to
build. Oh yes, we don’t have a life raft on the yacht so it
has to be our lifeboat as well!”
No longer young, and bothered by severe arthritis in his
knees Bill also needed a boat unusually stable for something
so small. Reflecting that life is rarely easy, I told Bill
I’d be back to him in a few days.
He liked my preliminary drawings, and we went ahead with
what became known to us as “Tender Behind”, a
little boat that has become very popular with the many others
who have built her. Bill worked away steadily at the new boat,
thoroughly enjoying the building and seeing T.B. taking shape.
I visited regularly, at first to keep tabs on the new design
as it went together, then to visit the man who was rapidly
becoming a friend. I found out that he was in fact a qualified
Naval Architect, a fact that he had been loth to mention before
as few people appreciate that the design of small craft is
not something that a man taught to calculate the internal
structure of ships is familiar with.
invariable good humour and enthusiasm for life made visiting
the Lomas home an occasion to look forward to, but sadly he
did not live to see T.B. in the water. Bill Lomas died on
Christmas day 1989.
I bought the nearly completed boat from Elsie, and still
have her. She’s done a lot of miles, carried enormous
loads and done some goodly voyages on her own. I used her
at Traditional Small Craft Society meetings one season when
I was between “real” boats, and often took three
or four adults exploring several miles up an estuary.
In trials we found that she rowed well for something so short,
carried eight people for a few strokes of the oars without
swamping and has stability that has to be experienced to be
believed. This is one of the few small boats in which one
can safely stand up and heave a carton of stores over the
rail of the mothership.
the rig was intended as one that would never get small children
into trouble while sailing around an anchorage, at least two
very grown-up lady children have built their “T.B.s”
at 1O% longer (just multiply the fore and aft measurements
by that amount, I don’t think it would go well if any
longer though) with a larger balance lug rig and are using
their wee boats for quite adventurous trips. One in fact takes
her sleeping bag and puptent. Cruising comes in many guises
and this might just be the smallest practical cruiser yet.
She sails really well, in fact the wife of one owner tells
me that once their forty footer is secure in its anchorage
the main debate is who is first to sail the tender and for
how long! She tows straight and very dry, motors safely with
my 2hp Honda outboard and is still light enough to be easily
roof racked on our little car.
It’s a favourite with the family, and with many others
as well. I’ve still got mine and have owned her for
longer than any other boat I’ve ever had.
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