Bosun

an area to discuss dinghy developments
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ent228
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Bosun

Post by ent228 » Sun Oct 11, 2009 4:26 pm

Hi all,

I've been thinking of getting a Bosun and even though it was designed by Ian Prictor it looks similar in shape to many of Uffa's designs. Does anyone have any comments on this?

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jon711
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Re: Bosun

Post by jon711 » Sun Oct 11, 2009 4:39 pm

I haven't sailed a Bosun for over twenty years, but still have a soft spot for them as I learnt a lot of my sailing skills in one. The Bosun is a heavy boat, apparently, when the Royal Navy were looking at a training boat they dropped various boats off the flight deck of HMS Invincible into the water, and the Bosun was the only class boat that survived. (Interestingly, they didn't try the same test with the ASC)

The Bosun is a great boat to sail, very stable, and if equipped properly, can sail well to it's handicap. It is also a good cruising boat. A general good allrounder....

davidh
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Re: Bosun

Post by davidh » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:26 pm

Ent 228,

everything that Jon said of the bosun is true! But there is more.......

In typical MoD fashion, they had 'trials' to select a new two man (this was before the days of rampant PC) boat. I think the Beaufort was another that went up for it and, if my memory is not still playing tricks - Jack Holt's Lazy E.

We used to have a big fleet of Bosuns at Netley as it was classed as a Services Saiing Club.

Although with good gear they can be quite a handicap bandit, I think it would take a stretch of the imagination to describe them as offering a 'good' sailng experience.

These days there are just so many other really good boats, even those from the pre Smod classic era, that would offer you a far more enjoyable time afloat.

Which then poses the $64,000 question - why a Bosun? Personal preference of course BUT....uless there is a huge over riding consideration that shouts 'Bosun' to you, it may still be worth while casting your eye about a tad more. Elsewhere on this site is a string on the Fairey Swordfish. Not that dissimilar from a Bosun, but in a different league when it comes to sheeting in the sails

D
David H

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PeterV
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Re: Bosun

Post by PeterV » Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:26 pm

There was an article in the RNSA magazine a while ago about the RN's selection criteria. It wasn't dropped into the water (it pre-dated HMS Invincible any way) but was required to survive being dropped from a height of 6' onto a deck ring bolt. I cannot remeber which other boats were considered but I do believe a shortened Albacore was one option, the LazyE may have been another.
The Bosun is an ideal services boat, but it isn't very ideal otherwise for several reasons:
1. It's very heavy
2. It's quite undercanvassed. This means you can sail it in a gale when every one else has gone in but otherwise it just means it's slow.
3. It's got no stowage for use as a cruising dinghy
PeterV
Finn K197 & GBR564
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jpa_wfsc
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Re: Bosun

Post by jpa_wfsc » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:01 pm

very good fleet / match / team racing though as the premium is on where you sail and the rules / tactical decisions you make rather than just being faster than everyone else. Mind you they still have a class tuning guide and a well set up bosun is quite a nice sail.

They are also good training boats - particularly for advanced sailing as they do rudderles sailing, etc. etc. simply and are generally vice free.

Graham Forshaw (RNSA coach and contributor to DSM) sails them a lot and it would be good to hear what he has to say - does he read this forum??
j./

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davidh
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Re: Bosun

Post by davidh » Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:45 am

J,

Again, good points - or at least, they weregood training boats and had fair racing but actually, that was quite a long time ago. It is worthy of note that Netley, as the Army SA training base, had a fleet of 15-20 Bosuns. Back in the 1980s these were changed out to Kestrels, now I think think they have a right mish mash of boats, L2000, Rs 'various'.... Topper Omegas....

But equally right is the other comment that they are hugely overweight and under canvassed, a combination that does not foster a great sailing experience.

Speaking as one who did a lot of Bosun sailing when they were here....both fleet and team racing, I guess it matters not if you're going slowly as long as everyone else is too - but fun was not an adjective that springs readily to mind.

D
David H

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Ancient Geek
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Re: Bosun

Post by Ancient Geek » Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:38 am

There is fleet of Bosuns that race on the River Blackwater in Essex out of Goldhanger Creek, they seem to have good close racing and a lot of fun, or did a few years back anyway.
Did any one have the dubious pleasure of being acquainted with the alpha the Bosuns smaller cousin? For the University market at the behest of The OUYC it sailed well enough when we team raced against them, seemed industractable in the hull department but frankly nowhere as good as the Firefly which in the long term it did not replace! Prety enough it was I think Ian Proctor designed.
Simples.

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jpa_wfsc
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Re: Bosun

Post by jpa_wfsc » Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:58 pm

We have discussed the Alpha elsewhere in these fora - nice boat but the foam in th e sandwich was not closed cell, so when the skin crazed, leaked or was damaged, the hull soaked up TONS of water. We had one in our junior fleet 90 years ago when I was a junior myself. Someone was rescuing one in Canada last year?

j./

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Brookesy
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Re: Bosun

Post by Brookesy » Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:11 pm

The Bosun was a boat as you have pointed out designed for a purpose for which it fulfilled marvellously, a recreational sailing dinghy for the forces, which would be robust enough to take the rough handiling it would get when being carried aboard HM Ships and the rough usage it got from teaching thousands of enthusiastic users to sail.
To be honest as a general racing dinghy it was and remains a 'dog', the build quality varied as do most M.O.D. contracted builds which last as long as they did in service.As a fleet raced boat however it did offer close competitive racing as long as the boats were alternated between races to allow equal use of the quicker and slower examples.
As an ex marine who regularly sailed Bosuns I have fond memories of Bosun sailing, but I think that was mainly due to the venues the RN took us to with them, its dificult not to enjoy your sailing when it in the Carribean sun for example.
I can assure you that Grahame Forshaw was no real fan of the boat as we team raced together in them many times, but he was unfortunately stuck with them until he left the service due to their numbers and resilliance.
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alan williams
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Re: Bosun

Post by alan williams » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:59 pm

Hi Graham
Agree Graham a Dogs a Dog no matter what you call it. Every year we would team race bosuns against the other clubs in the Plymouth area plus Manadon (Royal Naval Engineering College) and RNSA. Gear failure was very common. Recall racing against RWYC with a bosun rigged by the Camber staff in a five, that had so much weather helm ( regardless of want you did to it less plate, moved mast forward by tighting forestay etc. ), that the tiller snapped off in the rudder stock. Very spectacular broach resulted and we cannoned into two other boats chausing chaos. Apart from the tiller there was no other damage. Really hated the bosun and was glad that we only had to sail them once a year. Needless to say the RNSA or Manadon always used to win.
Cheers Al
We also used to team race the Hornets against the other Hornet fleets in the SW and against Manadon a very enjoyable experience. Mayflower/Plymouth Hornet Fleet nearly always won.

LarFinn
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Re: Bosun

Post by LarFinn » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:56 pm

I took a school team to race against Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth many years ago...thrashed them...always had a soft spot for Bosuns since then!!! Several years teaching cadets to sail in them did nothing to lessen my opinion of them. They are solid and slow, good simple boats for training people in. Apart from their weight their other main drawback was how difficult they were to right from turning turtle.
Andi

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jon711
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Re: Bosun

Post by jon711 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:13 pm

LarFinn wrote:I took a school team to race against Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth many years ago...thrashed them...always had a soft spot for Bosuns since then!!! Several years teaching cadets to sail in them did nothing to lessen my opinion of them. They are solid and slow, good simple boats for training people in. Apart from their weight their other main drawback was how difficult they were to right from turning turtle.
The Sea Cadet boats I learnt in did have the habit of loosing the plate in the case when inverted, - and that's a b****y heavy plate to bring back to upright from inside the boat!!!

Stephen Hawkins
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Re: Bosun

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:46 pm

Having learned to sail as youngsters and having spent some time in the RAF my brother and I have come across Bosuns on various occasions.

1. As a youngster my brother and I did several sailing courses at Calshot. The training boats we used were Bosuns. We learned a great deal on these boats about 'proper' sailing. Things like anchoring and reefing in high winds, and making a short sea passage - across to the Isle of White - Quite an eye opener for the average 14 to 15 year old crew, mixing with the ferries/hovercraft/hydrofoils, etc. We also saw how strong they were as they were generally knocked about by inexperienced crews. I always remember when we were doing a relay race off the pebble beach with two bosuns and 2 teams of crews. Launch boat, sail out to the mark, come back, safely handover boat to next crew close to beach, etc. Two girls absolutely frightened to death (the wind was now blowing!) coming back to the beach on a fast reach - all on shore realising that the helm had frozen and she was not going to put the boat into wind at the last minute. Anyway, she kept her wide-eye course and sailed the Bosun right up the steep pebble beach. After her hands were prized from the tiller, the boat was turned around and the next crew sailed her back out to the mark - there was quite a furrow ploughed up the beach! The phrase we heard from the instructors was "The only thing that will damage a Bosun is another Bosun!".

2. My brother (the lucky git) managed to get 2 tours in Cyprus, each of 3 years in length, at Episcopi (I got 8 months in the Falklands !). On his first tour all was well, a fleet of sturdy Bosuns for all to use, for racing, training and cruising up the coast. Yes they weren't the fastest thing around, but they stood the mistreatment given to them by visiting Squadies and anyone else who was sailing a boat that they did not own. And the parts could still be ordered through 'Stores'. At the time my brother picked up a battered old fireball (called Spyke) and although he was always first across the line, and had often put his boat away and supping his first beer by the time the Bosuns came in, but he never actually won a race!

On his second tour (with a 3 or 4 year gap in between), someone had got rid on most of the Bosuns and replaced them with more modern boats, some Laser 2000s, a couple of plastic catermarans and some pico's, etc. With the exception of the pico's, which were fairely robust, the other boats just could not stand the abuse. The Catamarans barely lasted a year before they where making one boat out of two, and then finally abandoning them when the last two hulls fatigued out. The Lazer 2000's, faired little better, but their problem was more of them being a bit to lairy for your average Forces Sailor. Being damaged in spectacular accidents etc. My brother manage to save the last two Bosuns and I believe he managed to buy back one or two others (as they were sold locally) to replace the replacements.

We regard them as very capable 'sea boats', with the added advantage that they were generally up to being abused by people who really did not care one way or the other what happened to them. And that is their strength. Nobody loved them, but you got to respect them!

Steve Hawkins
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MartinH
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Re: Bosun

Post by MartinH » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:28 pm

I was first introduced to Bosuns at Calshot where we used them for the Hampshire Schools' Regatta. Compared to the Scout Coypus (which were all I had raced in before) they were competative and they behaved as the manuals said they should.

LarFinn wrote:Apart from their weight their other main drawback was how difficult they were to right from turning turtle.
I met them again as a mid at Dartmouth. Where the problem was not how to right them from an inversion, which I never saw happen, but how to capsize the beasts in the first place so as to demonstrate a recovery. Raising the centreboard and swinging on the lee shroud was the recognised method!
Stephen Hawkins wrote:My brother (the lucky git) managed to get 2 tours in Cyprus, each of 3 years in length, at Episcopi (I got 8 months in the Falklands !). On his first tour all was well, a fleet of sturdy Bosuns for all to use, for racing, training and cruising up the coast. Yes they weren't the fastest thing around, but they stood the mistreatment given to them by visiting Squadies and anyone else who was sailing a boat that they did not own. And the parts could still be ordered through 'Stores'. At the time my brother picked up a battered old fireball (called Spyke) and although he was always first across the line, and had often put his boat away and supping his first beer by the time the Bosuns came in, but he never actually won a race!
...My brother manage to save the last two Bosuns and I believe he managed to buy back one or two others (as they were sold locally) to replace the replacements.
I remember those boats. When I was there we acquired one of the club's old Bosuns for the Episkopi Scout Troop. I don't know if anything the squaddies did was as bad as the way the Scouts treated her! Rocks, other boats, anything seemed to be a fair target. I wonder if she is still about. At the time (1996) she was the only red Bosun at Tunnel Beach.
Martin
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