This email arrived from the Granddaughter of the helmsman who sailed and raced Coral in the King’s cup in the early nineteen thirties.

“My grandfather served as the helmsman during the 30’s and sailed many places. We are following her story with great interest. She (Coral) was built in 1902 and her original owner was Dr. J. MacMahon of Cork, Ireland. He apparently named her Bamba III. Then, in 1923 she was purchased by a Sir Hugh Drummond, who I believe was the Chairman of the South Western Railway in England. He renamed her Coral. She was sold again (I don’t know when) to a Mr. Frank Chaplin.
My mother does have some interesting stories: she tells the one of Coral sailing into a harbour in Germany just prior to the start of World War II. Upon arriving in port, the captain was asked to remove the Union Jack. He refused to do so, so they raised the anchor and set off again to a friendlier port!”

She also sent us this lovely photo, of Coral the yawl, photographed by Beken at Cowes.

Published in: on January 16, 2012 at 7:43 am  Comments (1)  
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Over to you…

It would be wonderful to see your memories of sailing on Coral as we head into 2012.

Please send your pictures to me so that we can all enjoy them!

On the right is a link to another few sites, take a look to see how Coral has progressed over the years!

I look forward to sharing your memories…

Published in: on December 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm  Comments (2)  
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Where is Coral now?

Here she is! Anchored in the Caribbean and looking all shiny.

There are a few small changes that we have heard about – the Main sheet has been reduced in size. She has also had new scuppers cut into her topsides…(not in this pic)…

Coral is now a charter yacht, and for a mere US$24 200, you can enjoy a holiday on board this Christmas…above is a pic of the cockpit table set for two…must be breakfast because there’s no wine…

It is an ongoing task to keep Coral looking smart by varnishing her bits and polishing her brightwork… but it is nice that the new owners keep up the work that was done over twenty years before she was finally sold on…

A renovation and refit project like what was undertaken on Coral prior to her voyage to the Caribbean is a huge task. Robin was a very brave man to have had the vision to get a muddy hull with no keel transformed to become this awesome beauty during the years he owned her.

Many people have been involved in this project, brothers Gerhard and Karl Strempel -masters at their craft, Ernst Van Der Laan – the eccentric and fun as well as brilliant naval architect (and skipper for a time)… Sam Rice (now passed away), the machinist who could make anything and everything, and who gave a good twenty years of his life to the project, Herb Phillips, who did much of the wooden interior fitting and Brian Stevens who did the second interior refit…Colin B and his team from Hout Bay that planked below the waterline in new kerouing on iroka frames, and Malcolm Mitchell…who can be seen in this site along with Desmond Boso…were Coral’s Knight and Page respectively…

And we all remember these sailing days…Robin at the helm…

This site is to thank Robin for being so generous with his lovely lady – now called “Coral of Cowes”, and to all who made it a pleasure to sail her…


Published in: on November 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Picture perfect

Check out that unbelievably blue ocean! This is the view from above the Main gaff, so somewhere pretty high up…

Wayne giving the mast a good folks, those are not suspenders, it's a bosun's chair...(I think 😉 )

And here we see how life at sea makes some boys so lonely they have to give everything a hug 😉 …Sorting out the Mast hoops…

Helming Homies

Desmond and Ringo on watch…and contemplating starting a band, (just need a Paul and a John…)

Land on the horizon...

And after a very long six weeks looking at the big blue ocean…

Cold Beers on Deck, at last!

Well done guys, looking forward to the next update…


Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 6:51 pm  Comments (5)  


AS most of you know Coral reached Antigua last week after six long weeks at sea. But the men have been so busy that they haven’t had a moment to mail me any photo’s to load. I will complete the post, as soon as we get some visuals.

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 11:07 am  Comments (1)  


Coral is around a week away from arriving at Antigua.

Her crew are very excited to finally be closer to relieving the boredom of the endless blue ocean and salty spray.

I am sure that the beckoning temptations of Terra Firma are looming largely in their minds. With tobacco having run out and the ship’s grog supply at an all time low (if there’s any left at all…) the island life will be just what the doctor ordered!

And once the work is done, the luxury of stepping off the deck and into an island pub for an ice cold brew is something one can’t take for granted when one has participated in an ocean crossing.

The guys are also looking forward to Skype dates and schmoozy phone calls with their loved ones.

And they’d probably kill me if they knew that I put that in the blog post. Hahahaha, the hardened sailors of today…No letters left under tree-stumps for the next ship to carry, no long waits of months and months before any contact can be made…Aaah the joys of modern technology! And boy, are we landlubbers that are left behind grateful for the privilege!


Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 7:15 am  Comments (2)  

Across the Equator and into the Trades

It’s been a few days of fair winds and following seas for Coral. After crossing the Equator about four days ago, she had only a day or two of solid motoring, and thanks to the Captain’s keen reckoning, has very quickly picked up the North East Trades. She is now making good speed towards the Caribbean. The destination has changed, and it looks like the guys are going to Antigua after all. Perhaps Coral feels she has travelled so far, it would be sad to miss the ball…And she will be in good company as all the beauties from a bygone era will be flocking to Antigua to attend the Antigua Classic Week. All very exciting for dear Coral who is now positively skipping across the Atlantic to meet her new destiny…rather like a pretty girl who can’t wait to show off her new gown…

Published in: on March 23, 2011 at 1:06 pm  Comments (3)  
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Between a Rock and a Hard Place…

Greetings to all of you from the men at sea…heading for the gap between the island of Fernando De Noronha and the archipelago of  St. Peter and St.Paul. If you check that out on Google Earth, you will see that they have made much West, and this is for the good reason that they intend crossing the Doldrums at its narrowest point. Fernando is a very beautiful island off Brazil, and Peter ‘n Paul rocks,

as they are known, is a rocky archipelago that is home to a couple of Noddy’s, Booby’s and a spider or two. Just because you are most likely thinking WTF?… Noddy’s and Booby’s are birds (not the human variety) and spiders are, well, spiders.

Noddy Bird

Darwin had a visit here many years back, as did Shackleton. Both moved on quickly as there really is not much to see. Fernando on the other hand is a really beautiful island that is now a World Heritage site. Sadly it now has a runway and daily flights from Brazil, destroying it’s status as a secret tropical paradise visited only by sailors. However it is still incredibly beautiful and a really worthwhile place to visit – if you have plenty of dinheiros (cash) as it is ridiculously expensive.

Fernando De Noronha

But the men are NOT stopping there, they are moving on swiftly to the Caribbean. Luckily the wind has picked up a bit, and our lads are making better time. At last report they were around 2800 miles from their destination. They say the weather is warming up nicely and they are managing well.

Lets hope they are catching fish and not still feeding them… Safely onward to the Caribbean seas!

The long haul….

The show must go on, and dear Coral left St. Helena a couple of days ago with her dedicated crew on board. There is still not much fishing to be had (but still plenty of baked beans 😉 ).

Hi Everyone!

The progress is slower with the shortened boom, as now they can only sail with a second and third reef in the Main. Soon they will be heading into the calm waters of the equator and will no doubt be motoring until the wind gets up again.   Everyone is well and happy and resigned to spending a few weeks at sea in their routine of watches, cooking, cleaning and enjoying the fascinating ocean life. The balmy Caribbean and copious quantities of ice-cold Carlsberg is something to look forward to at the end of a long trip spanning over 3600 NM on the rhumb line. Some goals are simple, but they sure are worth having!

Erich at the Helm

Time to Haul Anchor…

The one that got away was MUUUUUCh bigger!

Well, the fishing ain’t been up to much, so here’s hoping a few choice tuna land on the lines soon. The men are ready to be off on the next leg to St. Lucia in the Caribbean, and with the boom mended, although almost two metres shorter than before…

Wow! That was some nasty break!

Match wood

Luckily there are some skilled folk on board who can make good with what is on offer and macGyver a new one from bubblegum and some bits of old takkies…

Laminating the new boom

The sparky on board had a few things to repair too…

Aaaah, the lazarette life…

And Tim’s toe was grabbed under way by the famous “toe munching thingie”


But luckily Wayne “Dogmatix’ Raath was able to fix that too…And the offending “toe munching thingie” got a wrap of it’s own too…

Toe Munching Thingie

And judging from this happy pic, Tim is on top form again


But it hasn’t been all fun and games…there has been some serious bonding over champagne and brownies…

Some serious discussions over cakes and ale

And it turns out that some people learned how to bake bread – and are rather proud of themselves…Des and Erich - Jamie Oliver here we come!

Robin stepped off and has headed off to Ascension Island today…

Taking a stroll

And the men have said their farewells to the island – and Napoleon too…

old Boney

And now it looks like they’ll be sailing off into the sunset and arriving safely in St. Lucia in around six weeks time….

Sunset under way