January 08, 2008

21S Video Clip

Check out this exciting video clip of the Magnum 21.S in Spain.


Posted by © Stephen Walker at 06:05 PM

November 02, 2007

New photos of Magnum 21.S

I've just posted some new and exciting photos of the Magnum 21.S. Check out the 21.S gallery.

Posted by © Stephen Walker at 11:18 AM

June 14, 2007

Mind that bridge!

Trimaran at St. Malo marina.

On the way to the VirusBoats yard in South Brittany on Tuesday morning I happened upon this beautiful racing trimaran in the marina at St. Malo as I emerged from the 'Bretagne' car ferry.

I went to pick up a new Magnum 21 trimarandemonstrator but also to sail in a Magnum 21.S with William, the works driver, as it were, and pick up some sail-trimming tips.

William with the pont L'Orois in the background.

In the process we had to sail under the Pont L'Orois on the Ria d'Étel.

I don't think we'll make it William.  It's awfully close William!  Are you sure it's OK William?!! William!!!

The nearer we got the more convinced I became that we could not possibly get underneath this bridge. But William said that he had checked everything and that we could.

I held my breath. Check this out.

5cm?  Whatever, we made it.

Then we sailed around the picturesque island of St. Cado.

St. Cado's Island

When we had almost returned from whence we came the engine conked out for lack of fuel and William displayed his mastery of the art of sailing by performing a "Marche Derriere" under sail to park the Magnum 21.S trimaran exactly where it had been berthed originally. Miraculous!

Then I picked up the new boat, a classic Magnum 21, in blue with a white deck, very smart, and headed off to Roskoff to catch the Pont Aven ferry back to Plymouth.

New Blue Magnum 21 trimaran in front of the Brittany Ferries flagship, the Pont Aven

It is typical of the French attitude to authority that behind this "No Fishing" sign you may observe a group of men fishing with a rod.

I seen no sign saying, No Fishing.

Once on board we were told that the ferry would not be departing until 0100, which meant a peaceful dinner in harbour and the possibility of getting to sleep before the engines started up. My dinner was so unusual that I took a photo of it. Note the way the coffee is served too, with sugar crystals on a stick and a miniature ice cream cornet.

My dinner. Brittany Ferries coffee.

On this trip, Laouen de Kersauson, the export manager at VirusBoats, informed me that Brittany Ferries was started in 1973 by local farmers wishing to sell their vegetables to England. I mentioned this to the crew member taking my payment for dinner and she waxed lyrical about Alexis Gouvernnec, the founder of Brittany Ferries, who died on Monday 19th February 2007, aged 71, and what an impact he had had on Brittany as a whole. Amazing what you pick up.

I am hoping to Christen the new boat with a trip from Chester to Rhos-on-Sea in Colwyn Bay this weekend. It is many years since sailing boats were able to ply their trade from Chester. The River Dee has largely silted up and the bridges, which used to open in one way or another, are now locked in a closed position for river traffic meaning that masts need to be taken down in order to pass under them. It should be quite an adventure, starting with shooting the weir that is outside my apartment when the high spring tide covers it, probably on Sunday.

Posted by © Stephen Walker at 10:57 PM

September 04, 2006

Magnum 21.S customer feedback

Hi Stephen

I have put my Magnum 21S through its paces in all conditions except sunshine and Force 1.

Excellent 40 mile trip round Tory Island, 7.5Knots close hauled into 8ft breaking swell is very exciting.

15 knots on a close reach and following swell in a force 6 a couple of nights ago; I am very glad that I got the second reefing eye put in the main. I took a Dracombe lugger sailor with me and soaked him to the skin, but he has been grinning like a cat for 48 hours.

I might even invest in a spinaker next season.

All the best

Ron Thompson

Posted by © Stephen Walker at 11:27 AM

May 01, 2005

Llandudno in a Force 6

Three customers turned up to Rhos-on-Sea today to try a Magnum 21.S. The tide was out so we walked the beach before putting the boat together and venturing onto the sand with my four wheel drive and trailer. The beach has been destabilised by recent dredging activity in the adjacent harbour.

The wind was stiff. Probably force 5 and the sun was shining. We were in for a great day sail.

We were quickly doing over 13 knots and jumping around the boat in the gusty conditions. Off Penryn there was little to stop the SW wind and all of us were out on the windward float to keep her level. The spray was staggering but this was fine when standing up, which it is easy to do because one can hang onto the outer shrouds attached to the floats of the 21.S.

Pretty soon we were doing 15 knots.

It went a little quieter as we passed the Little Orme but quickly blew up again in Llandudno bay. What a sight Llandudno is from the sea. All those fine hotels in a big crescent with the Grand Hotel at the end by the pier.

We shot across the bay and into the lee of the Great Orme where we turned round and zipped back across the bay again with the vague intention of heading inshore for a cup of tea.

Eventually we dragged ourselves away from these glorious reaches and beat inshore at some 8 knots, dropping the sail and motoring in the last bit as the wind was freshening somewhat.

Llandudno was alive with people. The traditional British seaside holiday is not dead. People were making sand castles, skimming stones and even swimming in the sea! On the promenade was a troop of Morris dancers (I thought that this was the sole remaining English tradition yet here it was in Wales), there was a fair that I could see in the background and I am reliably informed there was a steam rally going on too.

The world and his dog was at Llandudno enjoying the spring sunshine and we sailed right into it. One of the customer said, "We don't have anything like this on the Solent. My kids would love it."

After tea and sandwiches we took a reef and set off back towards Rhos-on-Sea. At one point we were keeping up with a jet skier doing about 15 knots. Then when we came past that windy area off Penryn the reefing cringle tore out of the Pentex main sail!

The factory tell me that they are not fitting this particular type of sail any more and they replaced it under warranty as there was clearly not enough reinforcement around the reef cringle.

Anyway, we sailed back on the jib alone at some 6.5 knots with four of us aboard. The jib was difficult to furl without the main up so we used the main halyard attached to the mainsheet to pull the mast backwards and tighten the luff of the jib. This worked well. If it had not then we could always have run downwind, which would have made it very easy to furl the jib.

We had the boat packed away in 3/4 hour, which is pretty good considering it is more complicated than the Classic boat.

And the conclusion was that everybody really did enjoy their day's sailing.

Posted by © Stephen Walker at 06:47 PM