Yachting World

Big cat concerns

- Steve James

Reading the article about big cats (September 2020) I was both impressed and concerned by such huge yachts. Who wouldn’t want the space, comfort and speed offered by a large multihull?

However, my concern is that such large craft are much more difficult and more expensive to moor. Will these craft have a limited life as their future owners realise they are just too expensive to store?

Given the huge quantity of nonrecycla­ble material consumed in their constructi­on and their potential limited life, our sport’s already questionab­le approach to sustainabi­lity is surely further impacted.

In search of Hip Joint

In a blog dated 24 November, 2007, you wrote of a boat called HSA Hip Joint, subsequent­ly renamed Per Mere, built by my son Alexander Ransby. In it he sailed single-handed to Newfoundla­nd, in atrocious weather, and subsequent­ly, despite his severe disability, sailed her back to England in just 12 days.

After the disposal of Hip Joint, sold to Gerry Goodwin, Alexander returned to St John’s where he establishe­d a successful boat repair business before being forced to return to England by failing health.

Alexander, who first went to sea with me in Hong Kong aged two, is a graduate of the Lowestoft Boat Building College. He is now hugely crippled with arthritis and tragically is totally blind through complicati­ons from the extreme drug regime that was used in an attempt to combat his disease. But astonishin­gly he still remains totally positive.

He is very proud of his achievemen­t in building Hip Joint, which he did almost single-handed, using 40 volunteer soldiers from the barracks at Thorney Island to turn the hull over after he had finished her strip wood/epoxy constructi­on. When Hip Joint was built funds were almost nil. What money there was went on the basic materials and there was little over. Sails were all second-hand, there was no engine, and few, if any, spares.

Somehow Mike Golding learned of Alexander’s project and most generously gave him an old generator that he had used in a previous voyage. It was enough to charge batteries, power some very basic instrument­s, and a second-hand sat phone. More importantl­y he spent time with Alexander, together with two clever engineers, showing him exactly how it all worked. This was just as well because during the voyage, mid-atlantic, the generator failed to start. It was night, with Force 10 winds. Somehow we organised a five-way call linking Golding and others, who all pooled their knowledge to find the short circuit and get the thing going again.

But the real gift from Golding was advice on how to survive massive storms. ‘Lash everything down, go to bed and rope yourself in the bunk! Then wait until it gets better and move on again.’ In the many storms that hit Hip Joint Alexander did just that.

I have tried to track down Hip Joint, used at one time as a charter yacht in the Caribbean, but to no avail. Can [the ‘Yachting World’] networks shed any light on her whereabout­s, or even if she still exists? It would be a boost to Alexander if his boatbuildi­ng skills has led to her continued existence. She was super fast and survived huge storms on her westward Atlantic crossing.

Geoffrey Ransby

See you out there

Following Elaine Bunting’s announceme­nt that she was stepping down as editor of ‘Yachting World’ last issue, after some 30 years writing for the title, readers got in touch to wish her fair winds:

Having retired from my childhood dream job early – at the peak, before the downslope – I never looked back with regret. Opting for a cruising life it has been nearly 20 years of real living. Congratula­tions on your right move.

Your marvellous exit note in this issue prompts my contact. ‘Striking my flag’ is such a fitting expression, but ‘white smoke is soon to emerge’ makes me crack up in laughter. I do hope to ‘see you out there’.

 ??  ?? Big catamarans might also come with bigger problems in future, thinks reader Andrew Blee
Big catamarans might also come with bigger problems in future, thinks reader Andrew Blee
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Andrew Blee
Alexander Ransby and his self-built yacht HSA Hip Joint. Does anyone know where the boat is now?
Andrew Blee Alexander Ransby and his self-built yacht HSA Hip Joint. Does anyone know where the boat is now?

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