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Jeff Avery on the Web

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Hi Jeff,

I was amused to see that Goblins still exist! I built one in about 1964, I think, from plans published in a magazine called “Light Craft”. A chap at work tried to sell a colleague and me a fibreglass rowing dinghy for £50 and we said, without thinking, that we could build a sailing dinghy for less. At that point neither of us had ever been near a sailing boat!

I'm not sure how we came across the Goblin, presumably plans were in the first copy of Light Craft that we picked up. I built the boat in my garage and my colleague built the rudder, hardly a fair division of labour, but there it was... I can remember the construction method involved a sheet of 8’ x 4’ ply with “V” notches each end. It was placed on an inverted table and then braced down from the ceiling to make the shape. When I finished it was a bit hogged in the middle.

I guess I made the sail but I don't remember much about the rest of the construction, although I'm pretty sure it didn't involve “stitch and glue” as it was much too early - that came with the Mirror Dingy and Barry Bucknell somewhat later, I believe.

I do remember sailing the Goblin on the River Ouse at Upware, which involved a lot of tacking. My recollection is that she was a bit of a pig, and if sailed anything other than dead upright a trickle of water would come over the gunwale and she would sail gracefully deeper and deeper until she was more or less sailing underwater. This would usually mean getting out and standing in the mud while one got the water out. I had two small kids at the time and it's submarining proclivity wasn't ideal so we moved on. But it had given us the bug and I never stopped sailing, and built several more boats and bought more.

I built a lovely little 20 ft sailing cruiser that I sold to a work colleague who left it to rot in his garden. After about 20 years I reclaimed it and had to take a chainsaw to the trees growing through the rotted trailer.

We have been cruising the West Coast of Scotland in chartered 40 ft boats on our holidays over the last few years. We now own a 16 ft Cornish Coble, but I owe a great debt of gratitude to the Goblin for introducing me to sailing, even if I do regard it as a bit of a joke boat!

I enjoyed your site....


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August 2017 - Tim Owen