Charles Stock and Shoal Waters are synonymous with small boat cruising. Join us aboard to discover her special modifications.
Shoal waters is a boat apart, and her owner, Charles Stock, is similarly a one off. Together they make a partnership that has lasted since the 1960s and has seen them cruising together, year after year, to and fro across the Thames Estuary, covering thousands of miles each season. To date, the total is close to 60,000 miles.
Their numerous voyages have reached the headwaters of the Thames, taken them into the Broads and seen them lying to an anchor in the old barge refuges among the East Coast sandbanks. And it’s all been done without an engine; just patience and working the tides in, around and across the banks and swatchways.
Based on a hot moulded Fairey Falcon 16ft hull, Shoal Waters, with her gaff cutter rig and centreplate, has proved an ideal boat for both singlehanded and family cruising with Charles wife and children, and more recently, grandchildren.
She is an object lesson to us all, and proof that you don’t need high finances or a fancy new boat to get some real fun out of cruising in a simple way.
“Compared with the backpacker, the mountaineer and those who pitch a tent from canoes or cycles, the chap with the pocket cruiser has riches galore; almost unlimited food, spare clothing, books and other comforts. It’s all in the mind.”
That’s the opinion of Charles Stock and he is absolutely right. Charles’ wife, Joy, takes a pragmatic view of small boat cruising and declares that she approves of it if only for the very simple reason that “there’s much less housework, you know.”
Cooking in the kettle.
“It’s the ideal place for cooking steak-and-kidney puddings while underway. Honestly! It makes a terrific warm and filling meal. I bring them to the boil, let them stand for 10 minutes, bring them back to the boil again, leave for five minutes and then open them carefully. It works a treat. The empty tin fits the hand perfectly for reaching under the boat and scraping off barnacles. I haven’t used any antifouling for years.”
Under the canopy.
“The boom tent fits over the Broad-style slats and provides extra space –like a second cabin – when setting down for the night. It is tapered forward to minimise windage when anchored in gale conditions. For hot sunshine, I have another flat awning that gives good shelter.”
“I fitted rope grommets on either side of the companion way to act as grab handles for the helmsman in rough conditions.”
“my fisherman anchor stows with the shank and stock flat on the deck and the flukes almost follow the line of the stem, so it’s virtually out of all ahrms way and yet ready for instant use.”
Ready to launch.
Shoal Waters sits on her trailer, looking splendid in her new paint and varnish. “The scissors boom crutch works very well, but you do have to mind your fingers!”
“It’s all open for access, but everything stays in place and is ready to hand. In this area I can fit the cockpit covers, fenders and warps.”