Black Rose is a 52’3” wooden gaff-rigged ketch built in 1999 at Maylandsea in Essex, UK. She was designed by her owner Michael Emmett (assisted by many good sailors) and is based on the traditional oyster fishing smacks which were to be found around the southern North and Baltic Seas three or four centuries ago.
Michael will be visiting the Baltic again during 2015. In addition to tending to the flax sails, cast-iron windlass and varnish work, Nuno Navigator will be on board to provide continuous GPS plotting of positions on a standard laptop PC alongside some sat comms wizardry from Navidatum. The Splice M2M terminal gives Michael satellite messaging, weather forecasting and lots of other features while he is out of cell phone coverage. It also provides a GPS NMEA feed.
Tim Scott-Douglas went on a test trip down the river Deben in darkest December (0°C, 32°F) to prove the system and enjoy a weekend’s sailing.
Michael has been sailing around the Thames Estuary all his life in all weathers and knows it like the back of his hand. He has also been to Holland, Germany, Belgium and France many times over the years but this time there will be new places to visit and changes such as colossal windfarms offshore to plan for. Easy access to the charts is essential as is communication between navigator and helm.
The WW1 compass box is just the right height!
We started off by putting a laptop running Nuno above the chart table. Paper charts below. The paper charts are staying for now.
Though cold it was a bright crisp December day in Suffolk and after sailing under canvas all the way down the river to Felixstowe Ferry we turned back up river with the young flood tide.
Having passed straight by two pubs on the way down, third time lucky on the way back we managed to persuade Michael to anchor at the Ramsholt Arms for the night.
The Ramsholt is remembered fondly by generations of sailing families spread all over the world, many of whom will never have seen it in mid-winter with a log fire blazing. A memorable evening and then back aboard for one of the skipper’s (nearly as) famous suppers.