A Burgee and a Jackstaff

Don’t worry, I had to Google them too. And I live here. 

Today’s the day!  I’ve got through the last week by trying to do a new thing every day. Yesterday I made a new burgee. 

To quote our lovely new skipper: 

“A small jackstaff (goes) at the bow with a small burgee, flag or anything that flutters – it shows the helmsman what the wind is doing to the bow. Ideally the jackstaff should be a fraction taller than the highest point of the ship. It allows you to approach a bridge with caution and shows whether you will get through. A broomstick will suffice.”

Don’t you worry Edward. We own both these items. We just didn’t know what they were called.  Also the burgee (or “burger” as predictive text would have it) was in a terrible state having been whipped to shreds by the wind over the last two years.  Anyone remember the punishing gales of winter 2013/14? You didn’t want to be our jackstaff in them, let me tell you. 


Our boat in profile, where you may or may not be able to see that the jackstaff is taller than the wheelhouse.

The Owl suggested a tea towel. I don’t want to sound petty but I am not motoring past the Houses of Parliament with a frigging tea towel flapping in the wind.  I may not know one end of an alternator from another, but I can sew a straight line on a sewing machine like you wouldn’t believe, so off I went. 
  Our embarrassingly tatty burgee

Do flags warrant dedicating? They feel like semi-official type things, so with that spurious link established, this one is dedicated to our friend Kacey who had never been on a boat before ours, and who got married two weeks ago to the equally marvellous Amy. 
Turns out that despite having fallen to shreds at one end, the other end of our old burgee was really well made. The fabric itself was 100% pure class plastic. I own a lot of fabric, but none as plastic as that. The first thing that came to hand was this 100% cotton Dutch batik I bought for Kacey and Amy’s wedding two weeks ago, so I traced out the flag with chalk, gave it an extra 2cm depth for the hem, and set to with the pinking shears. 
  I love this fabric

Here is the original burgee, mid-dissection. 

The fabric is sewn onto the string, and then the binding is sewn up and down it twice, with a neat little arrow formation at one end for luck. (I’m making that up. Presumably to stop it from tearing – in which case it was v effective, so I copied it.) 
 The string having been sewn onto the flag,  I sewed the flag into the binding

 My trusty Janome at approx 11pm last night
  Here it is finished (the sewing part)


Here it is being waxed.

Being 100% cotton, I’m not expecting it to last long – but obviously the longer the better, and waxing will help.  

And here it is up on its jackstaff.
And with that, with any luck, we’re off at 11.30am today, riding against the top of the tide down to the Thames and hanging left to overnight at Gravesend, practicing some manoeuvres on the way.  
If anyone is in central London around lunchtime tomorrow, come and give us a wave!  I’ll post our estimated timings tonight or first thing tomorrow, once the skipper has a feel for the boat and has revised his original guess.  

Today is our third wedding anniversary, and the Bun was 5 months old yesterday. The times, they are a’changin…


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