Our HUFFLER Motor Sailer - Comments by Dorothy & Neil Hounam
Our Huffler is a motor sailer, gaff rigged and
great fun to sail.
We bought her 9 years ago and have spent many hours fitting
her out internally.
Our first year saw us negotiating the Grand Union canal from
Braunston to Brentford
and then down the River Thames and up the East Coast to Levisham,
By now, early December, the days had grown very short and with
icy decks we took the
decision to have her transported by road to York, our destination
for the winter.
The following year, not having finished the
fit out (is a boat ever truly complete?) we decided
to sail for the south coast, destination Poole harbour. We had
many experiences en route to
and from Poole the worst being a nasty gybe just outside Dover
harbour in a force 6 gusting 7.
The weather deteriorated and we were stuck in Dover for 3 weeks!
Its an interesting place
and had some stunning thunderstorms but we were glad to leave
as the seas calmed down.
The best was being accompanied by a pod of dolphins whilst near
Our Huffler is sturdy and heavy so is kind to
us in heavy seas but not particularly manoeuvrable
in close quarters. We spent a long while getting to know her
foibles and finally, having fitted a
bow thruster which has helped tremendously, really enjoy taking
her to all sorts of places that a
typical yacht cannot reach. She has a lifting keel, which enables
us to creep into shallow creeks,
her rounded hull allows us to take the bottom with comfort too
and the ability to drop her mast
ourselves has proven very helpful.
We have taken her through the Stand Mast Route
in the Netherlands on several occasions.
It is amazing to have bridges, even motorway bridges lifted
just for us! Due to her lifting keel
and shallow draught, we have been able to visit many of the
Dutch and German Islands in
the North Sea where the sands shoal frequently. Helgoland and
Sylt, off the German coast
were both very interesting. We have sailed to Norway twice,
once via the West Coast
of Denmark and the Limfjord, which was beautiful, and once via
the Kiel Canal, the Baltic Sea
and the west coast of Sweden. Our return route from our first
trip to Norway saw us lower
the mast at Stetin in Poland and take the Rivers Oder and Havel
This was just a wonderful experience as we had
to negotiate the Niederfinow ship
lift which was built in the 1930s and lifted us over 100
feet from one seaway to the next.
From Berlin we took the Mittelland Canal and Dortmond Ems Canal
to Cuxhaven and
back through the Netherlands. Our plan for this year is to sail
to Scotland, perhaps the
western isles or maybe the Orkneys, we shall just have to see
where the wind and
waves take us. We are very much looking forward to our next
10,000 sea miles.