Our HUFFLER – Comments by George & Pat Gooden in 2005. They are still enjoying the boat. They are pictured here:
|Although we have owned our Huffler for about 9 years and have used her extensively including trips to Holland, Belgium and the French coast we were, at least, to begin with, a little unsure as to how she would handle in rough weather.
As we are in our late sixties and sailing as a couple we do not present the strongest of crews, particularly since my wife is only a little over 5ft in height and to be honest our doubts regarding the boat were in reality doubts as to our ability to handle her in rough weather. However, this year on a relatively simple passage from Woodbridge to St. Katherines Dock in London we were caught in an NE Force 8 in the Thames estuary.
The wave height was, so far as we were concerned from our poop deck, daunting, with very steep short seas which seemed determined to turn us broadside on. Despite the rolling and pitching the Huffler shrugged off the waves and after a most uncomfortable 2 hours ploughed on into the comparative calm of the River Thames.
This little experience proved to us that the boat certainly looked after us in bad weather. Apart from this, we have enjoyed many happy hours sailing both alone and on club cruises.
Having altered the rig by the addition of a self-tacking jib, giving us a cutter type rig we have a sail configuration we can adapt for most wind conditions.
I suppose the most significant addition we have made to the boat was a bow thruster. Our East Coast marinas are always crowded with very tight turning areas and the addition of the bow thruster makes berthing and turning in Marinas almost a pleasure. The boat is so docile we almost renamed her Cuddles. We often sail in company with up to 15 club boats and find it amazing at the antics of our friends in trying to get out of awkward berths when they are pinned in by wind who, often expect us to help them get off, leaving us to extricate ourselves after they are all out, since they have come to expect the Huffler to be able to extricate herself from almost any tight situation. I would, without doubt, say the fitting of a bow thruster gives such peace of mind that it should be considered as a priority addition to the boat’s spec.
George & Pat Gooden.- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -Since the Goodens’ wrote the above , we have since received the following in 2009;
Many thanks for sending Roger & Nick down, without their help it would have been impossible to get the tank repaired, our yard wanted to cut it up in situ. I must say that a number of boat owners in the Marina and the Club were most impressed at the help you gave, bearing in mind that we have had the boat for some ten years.
I am now starting to revarnish the interior of the wheelhouse and hope to have this completed in time to join the club cruise to Holland on the 9th June. Once again many thanks for your help.
Click here see what George has done to personalise their boat Gelderloos
Neil and Dorothy Hounam wrote:
Our HUFFLER Motor Sailer – Comments by Dorothy & Neil Hounam in 2007
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, near Ipswich. 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! It’s 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 Lowestoft.
Our Huffler is sturdy and heavy so is kind to us in heavy seas but not particularly manoeuvrable in close quarters in marinas as we have no bow thruster 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 Stettin in Poland and take the Rivers Oder and Havel into Berlin.
This was just a wonderful experience as we had to negotiate the Niederfinow ship lift which was built in the 1930’s and lifted us over 100 feet from one seaway to the next.
By Dorothy & Neil Hounam