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post #18 of Old 07-21-2009
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Bluebird of Thorne a bit of history

Hi to all
I would like to clarify a few points also make a few points of possible interest.

Sailingfool your comments:-
“You got your answer...the purpose of a twin keel is beachability...but the resulting sailboat is slow, doesn't point well and is tender (tippy...). So wether it will work for you depends on what tradeoffs you want in your next boat....”
I don’t agree with the “sailboat is slow, doesn’t point well and is tender”, this depends a lot on the design, as I have explained in post #14 we are not that much slower than a traditional fin keeled boat, we probably don’t point quite as well see post #12 but we certainly are not tender,not by a long way.
My uncle has a westerly bilge keel boat as mentioned above and he does admit it being a bit slower than a traditional keeled boat but not by much, I have sailed with him on several occasions but not in really bad weather…... I still prefer our boat

Mitiempo thanks for your comments you obviously have experience of sailing a bilge keel boat, how did you find it? The photo looks very similar to the “third Bluebird” what size was your bilge keeler. For the record the third Bluebird is afloat and sailing, not a million miles from you (I think) in Lopez Island (I have been in touch with the owner).

For the record there was three Bluebirds built, the first two were built by Lord Robin Riverdale, the first in the 1920’s was of wooden construction was 20ish ft long and is still afloat in a museum on the south coast of the UK.
The second one which we own is very much afloat and we sailed her a lot (when work allows) was built in 1939 and is 48ft long of steel construction, this had a slightly different keel design, the keels ran back to support the bottom rudder bearing. She also has a small centre keel where the bulk of the ballast is and why I think our boat is not tender. Also spreading some of the ballast weight out to the outer keels helps with the stability, lack of rolling and tenderness.
The final Bluebird was built in the 1960’s was 50ft long also of steel construction, again had a slightly different keel design, this one Robin Riverdale consulted Arthur Robb regarding the keel design, as above she is on the west coast of America. I don’t know a huge amount about the first and the third ones as I have only read about them and not seen them although I do have some photos of last one.
At this point I must add that a second one of the third design was built by an Australian in the 1980’s and is currently in Adelaide somewhere.
One thing I do know is she was caught out in a gale on the south eastern corner of Australia knocked down but promptly came back up with very little damage and carried on the journey. I have met the current owner of this boat and he has sailed on our Bluebird and his words were, the two boats are very similar in lots of ways, the looks, the motion and the speed. (I have to add they had just spent three weeks in the Med sailing a friend’s boat and found our boat motion much more comfortable).
Robin did tank testing for the last two boats, I am not sure for the first one before he built the boats, I also have copies of the launching of our Bluebird and a log of the maiden trip, I also met Robin on several occasions when he was alive, he was a very interesting man full of stories. I also have a signed copy of a book he wrote about his sailing life.
I have some photos but have never managed to include them in the posts, I will try again.

This was a picture of our 1939 bluebird "Inversanda"

This is a picture of her being launched including keels
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