Richard Writes: I had called into the yard to collect a toilet part for Cambria – yes, this last of the sailormen has complex electric toilets and the paint store now resides in the wheel box where her loo once was – and was delighted to see Tom Cook aloft on Blue Mermaid having just fitted high tensile steel crosstrees. Meanwhile apprentice Jasmine Klimcke was aft measuring the mizzen shrouds. Nearby and barely visible was the superb sliding scuttle hatch made by Shaun White who reportedly said he would have taken more trouble if he had realised Jim Dines was going to varnish it. We were intent on a low maintenance high-build semi-gloss finish on the woodwork but Jim has insisted on making up the difference and using two-pack epoxy varnish.
Jim caught me and we looked at positions for chainplates for runners. Every attempt is being made to copy the positions on Resourceful, sister ship to the original Blue Mermaid subject only to the position of the webs strengthening the rails. Most barges have backstays further aft now to support the rig generally and for racing whereas they look to have been further forward in the past. The originals had an extra chainplate ahead of the vang for topmast backstays to go when carrying big headsails. You can still find the old rivet holes for these in Reminder and they are still there on Resourceful. It is not clear if they had a second pair of stays for these or a means of extending the one set. More thought is needed but if anyone knows how the geometry worked to extend topmast backstays aft in this way please let us know.