Monday, 18 June 2018

Bimble on Roadford Lake

Bimble on Roadford Lake by John Walpole

I Have just returned after two lovely days sailing my Mk6 Gull, Bimbleon Roadford Lake. For anyone unfamiliar with Roadford Lake, it’s the largest expanse of open fresh water in South West England covering 730 acres and is sited a short distance off the A30 on the Devon/Cornwall border, approximately 45 mins further on from Exeter.
My Wife Tracey and I set off on Thursday after a last minute adjustment to my road base trailer. Although I am used to towing my Supernova around all over the Country behind my van, I had forgotten that the Gull is 3ft shorter, but has a mast roughly the same length as the Supernova! Hasty temporary modifications needed to be made to the mast crook on the trailer to extend the additional length of mast overhang over the top of the van.

On our arrival we were surprised to find that we were the only visitors staying on site. There are three camping area’s with a mixture of grass, hardstanding and electric hook up pitches available. The shower and toilet block was perfectly adequate, clean, and with lovely hot showers.
If you’re planning on staying on site, the nearest village with a shop and pub is 4 miles away. However, there is a nice cafĂ© on the edge of the reservoir which is about a 20min walk from the boat launch/camping area.

Getting Bimble ready to go out on the lake.

Dogs are welcome but not allowed in the lake, which meant our Schnauzer Alfie wasn't able to join Trace on her paddle board as he likes to leap off!

A few pics from my camera whilst out sailing (video to follow when I’ve got time to edit).

After two days of being on our own it was lovely to be joined by the juniors from my neighbouring Club on the Exe, Starcross Yacht Club. One of the oldest clubs in the UK, Starcross has an a strong racing fleet as well as an active cruising section (of which there are a number of Gull sailors) and a vibrant Junior section.

Time for us to go home after our short first visit to Roadford, but we shall return again in the autumn.

In my view, this would make an ideal venue for a SW based Gull owners meet at some point should there be sufficient interest? We also have the advantage of having an active Gull sailor, Andrew Starkey, who is a member of Roadford SC, who Im sure would be happy to assist with organising.

‘Bimble’ packed away and ready to leave. 

Saturday, 24 February 2018

2018 Dinghy Show.

Don't forget the Dinghy Show at Alexander Palace on the 3rd and 4th of March. You will be able to cast your eyes open the latest Gull at the Hartleys stand.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Masthead Cam

Neil Lawrence has sent us the lovely picture taken using his mast mounted camera. If you have any shots of your boat in action please send them to us for posting so we can all enjoy them. Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017


Amarillo is a city in Texas where I once stocked up with Budweiser to fill the cool box in the back of a Buick, that was one hell of a road trip......but it's also the name of this lovely Mark 3a Gull belonging to Steve Cattle. Seen here ready for the Autumn series racing at his home club of Crawley.

Monday, 21 August 2017

After a Fine Day's Sailing

I very much enjoy racing my Streaker dinghy against Andrew and Marion who also sail at West Oxfordshire SC in their very fast Albacore. Just like myself they are lucky enough to have a small fleet of boats but I'm sure they would agree with me in saying the Gull will always be their most cherished. Marion sent me this picture at the end of a perfect day spent sailing their lovely wooden Mark 1.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Gull Sailor's Weekend in 2018

Hello Gull sailors,
following a conversation with Chris Abela it is proposed that we hold a weekend meet in 2018. The venue and date to be confirmed in due course, but I'm hoping to use Bowmoor SC which is close to the Cotswold Water Park, and so in a central location, has plenty of space for camping/ camping vans, and great facilities which includes a bar!

I'm new to the Class, but like all of you who own a Gull (or thinking of buying one) I have a vested interest in promoting the Class and helping to ensure the Gull becomes the boat of choice for those looking for a small dinghy which ticks a lot of boxes.

As well as providing us an opportunity to sail together and discuss all things Gull, it will also allow for discussion as to what we would wish to see happen in the longer term. Things such as, is it desirable for us to establish a more formal Class Association? Is there sufficient interest in establishing a small number of race meets? How about those who just wish to cruise in company of other Gull sailors?

So, for now what would be great would be to hear back from as many Gull sailors as possible in order to gauge whether we have sufficient interest in proceeding with this. At the same time if you have views which differ somewhat from what I have proposed, PLEASE, let's hear them, as all views are valid.

I can put this together, but let's be clear, if there is desire expressed for us to establish a more formal footing such as an Association, it will be necessary to establish a Committee with various posts, so please also give this some thought.

If you would rather drop me an email that's fine, johnantrace(at)btinternet(dot)com

Over to you all!

John Walpole

Folks, lets give John our full support. It's great to have new Gull owners who are keen to help organise events. I'm totally behind this event and I will help in any way if people are keen to establish a new "official" class association.

Read more:

Friday, 14 July 2017

Blustery Weekend

Visit the document library to read Neil's latest excellent report from Norfolk -

Friday, 5 May 2017

Gull Sailing in the South of France


Hello Chris.

The new blog looks great.

I've attached some pictures of me sailng last weekend (Easter) on the Etang de Bages, just south of Narbonne  in Aude, southern France. The Med is "just over there" in some of the shots.This was the second attempt at getting some pictures of me sailing the Gull down here as last time my friend Kate fell on some rocks whilst attempting to snap some shots. She literally smashed her face in and had to undergo an op but is now none the worst for it all. Cannot speak too highly of Pepignan general hospital!.
It was generally thought on the forum some time ago that this may be the most southerly Gull.
It lives in the garage but is regularly taken the 12 kms down to the lake behind the camper van, hence the gunter rig set up.
For the record, there was  a good F4 south easterly and around 20/22c in the sun, although the wind chill on the water was sharp so I popped on a spray top over a sleeveless shortie and tee shirt.

Best wishes to all in Gull land.

PS when are you going to move up from a Streaker to an OK Chris?
Alan Price makes us all a little bit jealous when he tells us where he's been sailing, I'm sure you will agree. OKs however, nope....."no more boats!" I can hear Joanne saying.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Easter Holiday Gull sailing at Aldeburgh


Dear Chris,
Richard took his friend Josh, who had never sailed before, out in our battered old Mk 1 gull on a fresh day in the Easter holidays, at Slaughden Sailing Club, Aldeburgh. Richard is in the red wetsuit. Josh admitted to being terrified first time he had the helm! After lunch they played in Richard’s Topper, practicing capsizes as well as taking turns to helm. Josh was a lot more confident after.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Saturday, 4 March 2017

RYA Dinghy Show 2017

It's that time of year again, the RYA Dinghy Show at Ally Pally London

Rory inspects the Gull......

....and likes what he sees.

The new Hartley's Mark 6.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Neil's January Blues

Back to work and a bulging inbox after the Christmas break and freezing fog out the window to dampen the dreams of sailing…. but… We had a weekend booked in Norfolk and were hopeful of an outing if possible.  Saturday was more fog, followed by a biting North east wind - DIY tasks for mum and  a “bracing” walk on the beach.  Forecast for Sunday looked good, with bright sun and a gentle North Westerly once the fog cleared.  I woke early and decided to rig before breakfast for a quick getaway. 
To view Neil's excellent video of this trip follow this link -

Monday, 31 October 2016

Autumn at Loch Lomond


By Steven Paul.
I decided to take advantage of unusually benign October weather and a free weekend, and trail my Gull (a GRP mark 1 / mark 2?) [mark 2] which is 1969 vintage, to Balloch on the southern shore of Loch Lomond. Launching in at the national park's public slipway, beside the old railway pier to which the paddle steamer "Maid of the Loch" is berthed. The paddle steamer is undergoing a refit by volunteers who hope to have her sailing again in a couple of years time. I recall family trips on her during my childhood, and visits to the engine room.
Duncan Mills Memorial Slipway has good car & trailer parking facilities, toilets and showers, and a ranger station where you register to launch. As I was launching in by hand using a trolley, there was no fee to pay, but if you're launching with a car there would be. Also, since my Gull (Stroppie) has no engine, there is no need to register her for use on the loch. I was carrying oars as well as sails....
As can be seen, the loch was like glass at 10.30am, as I ghosted away from the pontoon and out into the southern end of Loch Lomond and past the paddle steamer.
Progress was slow going for the first mile or so, but I was in no rush, enjoying the October sunshine, so unusual in this part of the world. A breeze began to fill in, and the sky clouded over, so it was time for a jacket and a decision as to where to head for. I had initially considered Balmaha as a destination, but decided against this once out into the open water, as the wind would have been right on the nose and a beat the whole way, so instead I decided to make for the village of Luss, on the western shore, around 8 miles away from Balloch.
I sailed on northward, past the marina at Cameron House Hotel, then Duck Bay Marina (a strange name, as no boats are moored there), and aimed for the western end of the island of Inchmurrin (apparently the largest island on fresh water in Great Britain). There is a pub on Inchmurrin, but it was a bit early in the day for a pint! The breeze was steady now, around F2, and progress was steady but not that quick. My next decision was which way to get to Luss, as there were a group of islands ahead of me. To my left, I was passing the golf course and Rossdhu House. I made the decision to go west, and sail through the narrow channel between the mainland shore at Aldochlay and the island of Inchtavannach. I skirted round the eastern shore of Inchgalbraith (a man made crannog, with remains of the Galbraith's castle), and swund round west towards the channel. The wind died.... It was time for the oars to be deployed and to head between the 2 sets of port and starboard can buoys into the narrow, glassy channel. Boats on swinging moorings ahead of me, though it seemed lots had already been hauled out for the end of the season.
About halfway through the channel, some of the breeze was managing to filter through and sailing was possible again, though progress was slow. I was getting hungry now, and sandwiches were waiting to be eaten at Luss village.
As I sailed past Aldochlay Boat Club to my left, the channel opened out again into open water, a man fishing from the shoreline, but not much sign of activity. I skirted the land, and came in a bit too close to the shore and felt the centreboard grounding on the sandy bottom, so I sailed eastwards and further out into deeper water. There were a couple of small motor boats about now, and a small passenger ferry boat. Not long now until Luss would be in sight.
Steady light breeze once more, and now Luss pier was in sight, with the village behind. I sailed to the north of the pier, although I could probably have tied up to the pier itself, as it wasn't particularly busy, but I decided on the beach instead. The wind had swung northerly now, and there was a bit of a nip in the air as I turned for shore, furled the jib, raised the centreboard and the rudder and swung Stroppie head to wind, and stepped out on to the coarse sandy beach. I dropped the main and pulled her up the beach. Time for sandwiches!
The video camera attached to the boom had run out of battery by this stage, so it was on to the phone for photos now....
Luss is a pretty wee village with shops, cafe, toilets, petrol station etc.... A couple of Japanese tourists were having their photos taken next to my beached Gull on my return from the village. Kayaking and stand up paddle boarding was taking place off the beach, with some other hardy folk enjoying the autumn day on the water.
Time to head back for Balloch.... An enjoyable day cruise in beautiful scenery and uncrowded water.
Thanks Steven for a superb post. It's just what we need to keep the blog active and encourage Gull sailing. I may be relying on other Gull sailors more now for content as our baby is due at Christmas and I may have less time to post! So please send pictures and text for the blog. It's always appreciated.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Mk6 Storage Shelf

John has designed an excellent solution for securely holding heavy items in a Mark 6 Gull....
The Mk6 has quite a bit of space under the foredeck, but the shelf moulding slopes, is too small and pretty much useless for the purpose. I wanted to be able to store securely an anchor (plus chain and warp) and also fuel for the outboard as a minimum. Preferably at the front because it will help to balance the boat, especially with the outboard fitted. I have been working on extending the shelf backwards towards the mast to provide a more useful, flat area. By using existing fittings; mast foot and mooring cleat, I believe I have been able to make a very strong shelf.
Reluctantly I had to screw a couple of nylon locking shelf supports to the hull but these are pretty much invisible. Its made from 8mm polyethylene sheet, braced with L section and tubular aluminium, and stainless fixings. The raised profile on left is to hold a 1.5Kg anchor and the one on the right to retain a plastic fuel container. There are a couple of tubular braces between the mast foot and the central web.