The British Gallery

Page updated: 3 February 2006

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Rodney McIlraith was a novice sailor when, in November 2004, he bought the boat he named "Isolde". The first owners had called her "Hilda May" when they bought her. The original receipt for the boat dated 13 May 2002 reads

One ex display Sea Hawk Sailing boat including sails and rigging - £6500.
One new Indesuspension braked trailer with lightboard - £1200.
One new Mercury 3.3hp Long shaft outboard - £500.

Total - £8200. Special price - £8000.

Isolde on South Walsham Broad

Rod found his SeaHawk, which had been laid up for a year, at a farm in Roughton. The receipt shows that the owners bought it new from Downtide Marine at Alby on 13th May 2002. Rod supposed that Downtide Marine had had it in stock since 1998, but the sail emblem makes it clear that this is one of those built by Mistral Craft. (See more information on the History page).

The boat had had only a couple of seasons in the water and was in good condition but, Rod says, "Very, very basic - no extras. It came with a mainsail, jib and genoa, a trailer and the outboard."

Isolde in Fleet Dyke

Rod and a friend added jib furling, fixed up some lazyjacks, did one or two other little repairs, anti-fouled her and registered her with the Broads Authority as 'Isolde', "the Wagnerian influence!" She was craned into the water at Upton on 18th November 2004 and we motored to a winter mooring at Mrs Bondon's site at South Walsham."

When asked about the cabin doorway Rod reported, "The cabin door is white and solid and stowage is a problem. What you see in the picture is a canvas cover which I had made (cost c£50) which fits round the lip of the hatch-opening with elastic and press studs, and a zip going nearly all the way round, which opens and closes the cover. This keeps the inside of the cabin fairly dry when sailing in the rain while giving easy access if necessary. The solid door usually stands on its side on one of the side berths."

Since then, Rod's sailing ambitions have grown and he sold the boat in 2005, replacing it with something a little bigger, which he feels will suit his coastal ambitions better.

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