I became the new keep­er of the Albert Strange canoe yawl Emer­ald in Octo­ber 2017. Although she was func­tion­ally in very good order, her extern­al bright­work (var­nish) had suffered lately, as her owner of the pre­vi­ous twenty-five years had been unable, through poor health, to keep ‘on top of it’. I spent a week ashore with her on the Isle of Bute that autumn remov­ing the old var­nish, which entailed remov­ing the name boards on either side of the coa­chroof; unfor­tu­nately they would not come quietly and one of them broke in two. Nice though the old boards were, the let­ter­ing was a little obvi­ously mech­an­ic­al and this acci­dent gave me some thin jus­ti­fic­a­tion to get some new boards carved by hand. Steve Horsfall at Ding­wall, near Inverness, did a superb job from art­work I sent him. The typeface is Amer­ic­an Uncial (uncial being a style with only one ‘case’) and seemed in keep­ing with Emer­ald’s Celt­ic ori­gins (she was built in north Wales) and cruis­ing grounds. I showed the new boards proudly to my daugh­ter Siân, whose reac­tion was: ‘A bit Fath­er Ted’.

(That’s Emer­ald below at the top-right, in the Albert Strange book.)