August 25, 2007


It was dead calm in the morning and nobody thought that I'd be going sailing. But I know that it only takes a breath of air to propel the Magnum 21 trimaran so I made ready, fitting the genoa to help maintain the boat's performance.

Joe had a group of three youngsters and two adults lined up to sail with me and I set about teaching them the rudiments of sailing. But not before a fog had rolled in from the Bristol Channel obscuring the view of Caldy Island.

Fog in Lydstep Cove

The heat trapped in the bay was enough to keep the fog far enough away for us to have a good session and it was perfectly safe. I started with just the main sail, demonstrating the points of sail and progressed to the jib, practising tacking and gybing and eventually we got the genoa out and practised tacking and gybing with that too.

New Diax genoa, furled jib and main sail.

Everybody enjoyed themselves and the boat proved how excellent a vessel it is for teaching a small group of people and letting them experience the thrill of moving without an engine buzzing away underneath them.

Then I took a group of four adults out.

One instructor - 4 adults - no problem in a Magnum 21. Fog still.

I followed the same format but we had a one sailor amongst the crew this time so I gave him the tiller and we went up close to the precipitous shoreline where there was a group of people apparently coasteering. Actually, upon closer inspection them seemed to be climbing the cliffs.

Coasteering or climbing?

And at the end of it all the fog rose and formed a cloud over Caldy Island.

Caldy's private cloud

The ever-changing views at this idyllic setting are what draw people here. Just look at how different is each of the photos of Caldy Island that I have taken here. But the change in perspective from the Magnum 21 made my visit to Lydstep Holiday Village all the more rewarding, especially sailing round it and seeing Tenby from the sea.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 11:57 PM

August 24, 2007

Picturesque Pembrokeshire

On my way to Tenby I stopped overnight at the Harmourmaster Hotel in the exquisite seaside village of Aberaeron in Ceredigion on Cardigan Bay.

Harbourmaster Hotel, Aberaeron

I recommend it.

I was on my way to the Holiday Village of Lydstep where Joe Owen, who is in charge of the water activities there, had requested a demo of the Magnum 21. The fixed caravans all have a view of this beautiful cove. Joe supervises the launching of all the customers boats by tractor.

Magnum 21 being launched by tractor with Caldy Island in the distance

So clearly the first objective was to sail around Caldy Island. Joe and one of his cutsomers came along. He liked the new Diax sails.

Joe on the left casts his trained eye over the new sail set. Tenby in the background. The brand new Diax main sail looks a treat.

Astern is the holiday village of Lystep:

The buoy astern marks the channel between Tenby and Caldy Island.  In the distance is the Holiday Village of Lystep.

To port is the picturesque walled town of Tenby:

Tenby to port.

We turned south and rounded Caldy Island with its lighthouse in view the whole time.

Caldy Island lighthouse from the east.

On the way back the sun shone through the sails! Brilliant.

Returning to Lydstep This is the life Wind vane at masthead.

And we sailed in different directions to see what speed we could manage with this light wind. 8.2 knots was the maximum we achieved. When we got back a tractor was waiting for us. Very efficient.

Back ashore the tractor tows the Magnum 21 up the slipway.

And the evening was perfect.

Caldy Island from Lydstep. End of a perfect day.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 09:52 PM

August 21, 2007

Magnum 21 assembly on water

I am sometimes asked if it is possible to assemble the Magnum 21 trimaran on the water because at some launch sites the boat may have to pass through a narrow gateway or down a narrow slipway with a wall on one side.

This is something I have never had to do. I have always assembled the boat fully on land. But that is only because I have always been able to.

Recently, however, I had occasion to launch the boat down a very narrow slipway into a canal and I obtained the answer to a question I have always wondered about. How stable is the principle hull without the floats out?

It turns out that the Magnum 21 is perfectly stable. In fact with the floats on the side of the boat, as they are for trailing with the new, post 2006 quick assembly system, I was able to stand on the very edge of the boat on a float. Yes the boat was a little wobbly but it was safe and stable and I would have been quite happy to motor away in it without putting the floats out to their full width of 4m (in the classic boat) or 5m (in the Magnum 21.S).

So what about assembly on the water? The key to this is being able to stand up in the water. If you cannot do this then assembly would be difficult, though, I dare say, not impossible. But provided you can take the boat to a beach and can stand in the water next to it then assembly is no more difficult than on land. The only thing you would have to guard against is the tide going out and leaving your boat high and dry till it came in again, oh and the possibility of dropping a vital part in the water!

Posted by Stephen Walker at 08:57 AM

August 17, 2007

New Diax Sails

Today I received the sails that I had originally ordered for my demonstrator. They had not yet been made when I was in France to collect the boat.

New Diax sails for the classic Magnum 21 Jib and Genoa furl nicely.

They give this modern boat slightly improved performance and a more up-to-date look than the white dacron sails, excellent though they were. They keep their shape better but are said to require looking after more carefully. I like them.

This is the first time that I have tried a genoa. It is smaller than the gennaker but enables one to point better upwind. We managed 8 knots with it where we were only doing 5 to 6 knots with the jib in a force 2-3 in the sheltered water of Colwyn Bay. Unlike the gennaker, the genoa comes with barber haulers so that you can play with the position of the clew in order to trim the sail to achieve maximum performance. You can certainly feel the difference of just small alterations.

Of course if you want more performance still you could opt for a Magnum 21.S which has always been fitted with sails like this but with a taller mast to accommodate bigger sails and a broader beam to cope with the extra power. This extra power enables you to achieve greater speeds in light winds but the top speed is likely to be unaltered.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 08:11 PM

August 01, 2007

Maud's Reward

It was a lovely day on my birthday but nobody was available to go sailing with me, it being a Tuesday. However, today Maud and Ray joined me for a short but enjoyable sail from Rhos on Sea to Llandudno and back.

Approaching Llandudno with the Great Orme in the distance.

It was calm and quiet when we set off and yet around the corner in Penrhyn Bay the wind was dramatically different. On went the foulies and soon we found ourselves sailing upwind at 7 knots on the 1kn outgoing spring tide.

We had a little play around Llandudno Bay before anchoring for lunch within earshot of a Punch and Judy show. The traditional English summer seaside holiday is alive and well.

A windswept Maud in the bottom right hand corner of the picture. She'd kill me if I published the other photo I took of her.

On the downwind return trip we touched 10.3 knots, against the tide. We could have gone faster but I was being cautious as Maud had never ever been sailing before and I didn't want to frighten her or put her off coming again.

Passing by the Little Orme.

I took another little video clip but we were only doing about 6 knots as at this time as we had come close to the Little Orme and were in its lee.

Ray on the left and me on the right with the tiny Rhos-on-Sea harbour in between.

When we returned to Rhos on Sea it was still calm.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 08:46 PM