Here are some other dinghy cruising places to sail to on the Internet that may be of interest for you in addition to
www.trail-sail.org.uk Comprehensive information about towing and launching from a large well organised group. This is a first stop website absolutely packed with information, that cannot be too highly recommended.
www.btinternet.com/~sail/cruising.htm This is the home of The Hostellers. As the name suggests they are closely linked to the Youth Hostelling Association (see the logo) and the DCA (see the similar burgee). Almost the first thing that is said is No need to own a boat. It then goes on to explain how to experience dinghy cruising from their base. There is a huge amount of information and just one page All about Dinghy Cruising covers similar ground (with additions) to Practical Dinghy Cruiser. I see a diagram of my own boat tent and recognise the work of John Perry a vastly experienced, innovative sailor who is mentioned several times in my book and also involved with AYRS (see below). South East sailing.
Innovation and Construction.
www.swallowboats.com. Here is a company with the very latest approach and ideas to cruising dinghy production. They have addressed many aspects of design, construction and performance and are probably the leaders of evolving cruising dinghy design. For the more technically minded look at 'Blogs' (on their site) where there is information about the 'resin infusion' method of boat building, a system pioneered by Derek Kelsall 20 years ago, that is now commonly used in commercial boatbuilding. They also use 'flat table' a technique I used in 1985 for another boat that I still own, which is still relevant today for amateur building.
www.hartleyboats.co.uk. They manufacture the Wayfarer, Wanderer and Gull (amongst others). They have a superbly designed, folding information 'booklet' called 'Unfold the Wanderer', packed with information about technical spec. set up, tuning, trim, cruising rig etc. Owners should ask for a copy.
www.broadlyboats.com. This is a general maritime information site but it is the route to find Conrad Natzio. Click on his name at the top of the left hand column to go to his pages. His designs are strong on simplicity of construction, step by step instructions and very affordable prices. There are example drawings. His main designs are Shoveler 9'-9", Sandpiper 13'-9", Oystercatcher 15'-3", and Spoonbill 15'-9", his Little Grebe 13'-4" is mainly for rowing. Some information still has his old address near Norwich, but his current address is actually 15, Lanyard Place, Woodbridge, Suffolk. UK. IP12 1FE which can be found on his pages.
www.microcruiser.com This and its allied sites are NOT mainstream 'general interest' dinghy cruising sites. They are for 'inventors'. Warning. They will take you to meet the Americans and if you have any liking for innovation you could spend the rest of your life following the endless fascinating links that you will find here. Two other lesser known sites in a similar vein are www.microship.com (to follow the Microship expedition) and www.yrvind.com. (to follow present project) The second of these introduces you to a famous Swedish innovating sailor.
www.ayrs.org For sailors with practical interests, especially those with 'experimental' minds who wish to innovate. A well known and long established forum for sailing ideas that possesses a mass of information (hundreds of publications) about all aspects of sailing performance that can be accessed cheaply
www.selway-fisher.com For anyone wanting to consider boat building this is an incredibly informative site. There is every style of craft and all at realistic prices with pedigree and 'backup'. The range of dinghies and dayboats is so comprehensive that it is available on CD for hardly more than the price of postage. Many useful Links.
www.tradboat2.co.uk Comprehensive list of traditional boatbuilders, but also a book Popular Sailing Dinghies £6.99 + £1.30 P&P They say (Over 100 class and family sailing dinghies illustrated with photographs, dimensions, Class Secretaries, Portsmouth Numbers and sensible descriptions. Editorial features include advice on buying for the first time, learning to sail, and safety issues. Published in 2001 this book contains several dinghies no longer in production and so is useful in the second hand market.)
Organisations setting the Trend.
www.oldgaffersassociation.org I include this association because it is mighty (its many branches occupy over two pages of Google listings). It has lots of regional groups and even 9 overseas branches. Although there are racers in it's membership the main members would probably call themselves 'cruisers' and amongst them are small boat sailors (some with lids). Probably the most famous is Charles Stock and his boat 'Shoal Waters' (see Pg 163 in Practical Dinghy Cruiser 2). It is virtually certain that anyone who wished to sail aboard one of their gaff craft (my gunter rigged Torch would just about qualify) would find a welcome, so you could sail without having a boat. The OGA is easy to find. As it says itself, 'it is everywhere'.
www.jollysailors.org.uk This group offer an opportunity to experience dinghy cruising without having to invest in tons of expensive equipment. The sociable nature of the group will also ensure that experienced people are close at hand. Midlands/Birmingham.
www.ltsc.co.uk Looks like a well organised, well structured group that actively introduces young people to dinghy cruising as opposed to racing. This is not 'camping in a dinghy' type sailing, so much as the 'journeying without racing' approach, which could well provide an example to other yacht clubs. Western Solent.
Some dinghies have class associations more readily disposed towards cruising. Class Associations usually have Forums, that is 'chatrooms', where there is much useful information about the boats concerned. Some kind of 'registration' is often required and the 'rules' are usually listed somewhere at the top of the site.
This is a selection of associations, others may be added by recommendation, especially from outside the UK.
www.wayfarer.org.uk This has to be the most successful and best known class of cruising dinghy thanks to the amazing exploits of Frank Dye in his boat 'Wanderer'. They are big with lots of accessible, interesting stuff in their forum and wide ranging activities, but you will have to join and then 'join in' to get the full information and the full benefit.
www.wanderer.org.uk Made equally as famous as the Wayfarer by the efforts of Margaret Dye that she details in her excellent dinghy cruising book (about to go to a 4th reprint). The site has a Try a Wanderer scheme with members to contact who are willing to take you afloat and a Club Index showing where fleets are based. They seem to be mainly in the south but no doubt they will be equally welcoming in the north. There is an informative Technical section. Margaret called the Wanderer image on the front cover of the Practical Dinghy Cruiser book a 'lovely photograph' (No 843 by Chris Hieke) and we have to agree. Also see Hartley Boats above.
The smaller Gull dinghy is the third boat in this 'stable' of craft all originally designed by Ian Proctor. To investigate the Gull see under 'Bloggers' below.
www.drascombe-association.org.uk This is a big, well structured and active association whose boats have probably sailed the furthest, including circumnavigations. There are many adventurous stories to be found. The site has many useful links. It is also worth visiting www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/drascombe to read some history and the specification of the many different models.
Bloggers and Cruisers.
Some sites have content that shares the dinghy cruising philosophy described in Chapter 2 of Practical Dinghy Cruiser and they are well worth a visit.
www.gulldinghysailing.blogspot.com As it's name suggests is about sailing the Gull class boat with Chris Abela.
www.bills-log.blogspot.com Bill Serjeant could be the biggest boat blogger that ever was a DCA member? Read him and tell me who has blogged bigger or better.
arwensmeanderings.blogspot.com Steve Parke learns to Dinghy Cruise down in the West Country. Very lively discussions.
www.stexboat.com/mini_voyages/PtM_Rkpt_MagBch.htm Here is a cruise from America. Typical of an individual sailing style not easily found in European waters. For better understanding of 'Ocean Breeze' see DCA 206/48 The Rise of the Microboat. Keith Muscott & 207/25-29. Gerard was the first person to buy Practical Dinghy Cruiser in the United States. Different scenes, different terminology, same comradeship, same ingenuity.
www.shoal-waters.moonfruit.com Charles Stock has probably cruised further than any other 'short distance' cruiser and without an engine. If you don't know about him and his boat you should and you can, at this site. His book Sailing just for Fun is Uk ISBN 0 953818063. Charles died in September 2012.
www.creeksailor.blogspot.com A lovely looking site concentrating on sailing in and around the River Blackwater on England's East Coast. Dinghy Cruisers heading in that direction should access this site first. Following the death of Charles Stock his boat passed into the ownership of Tony Smith who has continued to use it in a similar way to Charles and even expanded on the kinds of activities that Charles undertook. Tony has three books, Ready about on the River Balckwater, Sea Country, and Winkler's Tales. I could not recommend this site more highly. Please look at it.
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