Many serious round the world cruising yachts have a stern
arch/frame (usually made out of stainless steel or aluminium). These
affairs are largely utilitarian, in so much as owners can use an arch to fix
ariels, antennas, wind generators, sun panels, fishing rods, lights, fenders,
ropes, davits, etc. etc. We were reluctant to have an arch/frame on Nimue,
as we wanted to keep her lines as ‘clean as possible’. However, it
was becoming obvious during our travels that one would become necessary,
especially as we had bought a new wind generator in the Caribbean, which needed
to be fixed somewhere on Nimue’s stern! We already had a stainless steel
‘hat stand’ which held all our ariels and antennas and rather than just fixing
another pole on Nimue’s stern to hold the wind generator, we eventually
succumbed to the idea of an arch/frame. Michael had come up with the idea
of keeping it very simple and had already drawn up the design, which included
moving the sun panels from on top of the bimini to form part of the frame.
We approached a couple of stainless steel fabricators in Annapolis for quotes,
but whilst we were travelling up the coast with Sarah and Kenny on Loon, Sarah
had mentioned a name of a guy who had sailed as crew on her boat, Joe. Joe
built bespoke aluminium guitars but also was a ‘dab’ hand at stainless steel
welding. He sounded ideal, so we invited Joe down to see if he was
interested in doing the work. We seemed to hit it off with Joe in an
instant and it was not long before he agreed to undertake the task.
Within a few weeks, Joe had the basics of the frame built and
we were able to offer it up to Nimue.
Nimue’s ‘simple’ arch design with the
sun panels on top.
Joe is a very interesting chap and a Vietnam war
veteran. However, his passion for building aluminium guitars was something
else, which I often quizzed him about and one day as he drove up in his large
truck he brought along one for us to see. It was a marvellous piece of
work and Joe was keen to play and sing a few songs to us in the boat yard; quite
bizarre, but very, very enjoyable.
Joe with his ‘hand made’
singing a few songs.
We made preparations for leaving Nimue, whilst
we returned to the UK for a few months and this also gave Joe plenty of time to
finish off the frame. Joe also kindly offered to drive us to
Washington, Dulles airport and despite getting lost once or twice, we were
dropped off with plenty of time to spare.
At the Gate waiting to board the Virgin
Atlantic flight to Heathrow