View Full Version : Very Willing Griffin
Anybody read this? I've been trying to find a copy, only ones for sale is in the US, but it seems the CA has it in their library so I'll borrow from them.
Good read? Can't imagine going transatlantic in a Hunter 19, just been two weeks on the East Coast in a Anderson 22 (basically same boat 3' longer) and that was enough for me!
Turns out my local library has it!
It's in my collection, but I haven't read it for a while. AFAIR it was another "small boater crosses the Atlantic" description of which there were many in the 60's. It can't have been bad tho' cos I kept it!
That takes me back. Remember articles in PBO, a longhaired (in those days most were) resting actor?
Mind you, in those days lots of folk seemed to be kitting out Corribees for such trips.
The ethos was few could afford the "dream boat" so get a boat, whatever you could afford, and stop dreaming.
Very enjoyable read, interesting stuff at the beginning re Oliver Lee the designer (of Willing Griffin, a Hunter 19, then Hunter Europa, and also the Squib & Anderson 22). The leading light in the Anderson22 mailing group posted this; I hope Andy doesn't mind me reproducing it here
I don't know if you're aware there's a sad ending...
David Blagden later presented an ITV series called 'Plain Sailing' which showed 'Willing Griffin', and also the survey of the 39' wooden yawl he was buying.
I happen to receive the Hunter 19 news ( by accident ! ) and the book is highly sought after - the boat herself is still around, though there's a bit of doubt where - could be Holland.
It was about 1979 when I saw in the yachtie magazines ' Memorial service for David Blagden at --- church '.
I happened to mention it to a singlehanded Centaur we were alongside in Weymouth. he said D.B. had gone off the rails, got into 'funny substances', dumped his wife Sandy - who he mentions so much in the book, I remember that now - bought the 39' wooden boat, and took up with some artist / hippy woman.
They set off from Alderney ( which gives me the creeps even in perfect weather, though that may be because of what the Germans did there ) in a FORCE 11 despite the harbourmaster begging them not to.
All they found was her body and bits of the boat.
Yes, now you mention it I do remember the sailing series, went out on a Sunday, and we had no video recorders in those days, so for ever re organising the wife's sundays to allow me to be in front of the screen.
Did remember laughing at the jump up in the size of boat, just thought it was the funds from the tv that let him do it.
I do not recall reading of his demise, or the background, sad way to fizzle out.
Actually i have the book and found the boat.
She was in a deplorable state, covered with green and full off osmose.
Hull is being cleaned, sanded and so on. After this she is being covered with 5 layers off epoxy coat, and 6 layers off AWL grip 2c. paint (ofcourse to original orange colour). Am in a stage to rebuild and re-rig her. Ordered a new main sail and jib.
Hope to sail her to the UK next year, were I will find her a new owner with a heart for history and sailing.
Fendersworld (firstname.lastname@example.org for a request for pictures off the re-newal)
Do you have the contact address for Toby Roberts ?
He runs the small Hunter newsgroup, and Willing Griffin is often mentioned; there would be a great deal of interest if and when you bring her to the UK.
I happen to run the Anderson 22 Owners Association, a close relative.
Please feel free to mail me and I will look up Toby's e-mail.
I have a copy of VWG: a good read, especially interesting insight into Oliver Lee and the early days of Hunter Boats.
Interestingly there is a Hunter Europa (Argus) involved in the Jester Challenge but she didn't start this year or in 2008.
The Hunter Association currently list Willing Griffin as in the Netherlands.
Is the Hunter newsgroup different to the Hunter Association? I'm a Europa owner myself so obviously interested...
There is also a user group on the forum for those who are interested in Oliver Lee boats here:
Just noticed this thread. I bought a copy of VWG earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd been watching out for a while and found a copy online for reasonable money.
I then lent it to a friend who had just sold his Hunter 19, so of course he's now missing his boat!
All we need now if for someone to realise they still have that tv series on VHS somewhere and put it on youtube.
I got a copy eventually after borrowing from the local library; can't remember the cost but not too much. If you keep looking out for it on Amazon/ABE Books etc, it does come up even now and then.
This is a truly inspiring book.
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