She’s free!

Since October 26 the brig La Grace has been laying foundered on El Cable beach in Marbella.

As the weather roughened, things were looking pretty grim for her. After taking a beating from the pounding waves, the weather layed down and help finally appeared.

Working together with divers and balloons, a dredger managed to dig a channel and dragging her free. Apparently her hull is not damaged and after pumping out all the water she is now on the right keel and afloat by herself!

Very good news, indeed! Hopefully this beautiful lady is not too much damaged from the unfortunate and sad event and can be fully restored to her previous pride.

Best of luck!

Gracias to Foro Naval for the pictures.


La Grace aground!

Oh boy. A sight like this could be a pretty one. But unfortunately this one is not a ship careened to get some hull work done. Quite the opposite. This is the beautiful lines of the Czech brig La Grace, ran aground on a beach in southern Spain, a heartbreaking sight that lingers and aches in every sailors soul.

The information on what happened to La Grace is shorthanded, but it seems like she was laying at anchor close to Puerto de la Bajadilla in Marbella, Spain on October 26 when a storm hit in the morning. She started dragging her anchor – a feeling of unease that is indeed – and on top of that had an engine failure – and ran aground stern first. Her rudder was knocked out and not maneuverable she ran aground on Playa el Cable. All of the eight crew members who was aboard the vessel were fine and managed to get ashore by themselves. La Grace is right now laying on a 1.5 m shallow shoal just a stone throw out from the beach. She is listing about 20 degree’s to port and is taking in water and sand.
It now seems like the owners have problem to scramble enough funds to get her afloat, which would be a damn shame and a big loss if they couln’t. Right now we can only hope that the damage is not too bad and that she is afloat as soon as possible.

The owners are pleading for the tall ship and sailing communities help! The Spanish authorities are saying that she need to be removed within 15 days from the wreckage, otherwise they will/can eliminate her (?!) La Grace needs to get afloat ASAP, with or without the insurance companies help (which happens to be Spanish and doesn’t seem very concerned about getting the ship afloat).

Help La Grace in this crisis situation!

Account: La Grace

Acc. No: 240290748/0300


IBAN: CZ90 0300 0000 0002 4029 0748

Variable symbol: 26102012If you have any questions, you can contact:

Dan Rosecký (

Lucie Forštová (

Jaroslav Foršt (

La Grace is a brand spanking new Brig that was launched by some sailing enthusiasts in the Czech republic in December 2010. She is a replica of a 18th century brig and is based on blueprints from the Swedish naval architect, Fredrik Henrik af Chapman, from 1768.

She is named La Grace after the Czech explorer and merchant Augustine Herman’s (1621-1686) frigate with the same name. The old La Grace sailed waters in Europe, Caribbeans and North America and is particularly known for her corsair affairs against the Spanish merchants. On a side note, Herman has alot of interesting history of his involvement in the Dutch West India Company, New Amsterdam, Chesapeake and the Delaware Bay area, worth looking into.

The new La Grace was built during only two years in Egypt where boat building is still done much in a traditional way. ”If you turned a blind eye to the T-shirts with advertising signs worn by local workers, you have the impression that you are in the 18 century.”, they state on La Grace’s homepage.

As always with these kind of projects, enormous amounts of blood, sweat, toil, tears, time and love was put in by volunteers, together with boat builders and other professionals. She was built with the purpose of preserving Czech maritime history and to teach traditional knowledge and skills.

The first year afloat she spent sailing from Africa to Europe and later set sail for her first transatlantic voyage to the Caribbeans, where she stayed until April this year. Since then she has been operating in the Med, where she now is sadly aground.

La Grace:
Homeport: Prague
126 tons
LOA 32.3m (106ft),
Height 25m (82ft)
Draught 2.8m (9.2ft)
364sqm sail area (3 918 sq ft)

The loss of a ship

Painting of HMS Nile under sail

Here’s a painting of HMS Nile under sail. Portrayed in a common way among marine artists, the ship is coming towards the viewer and we can see the sails on all her three masts. A motive that for some marine artists was quite hard to paint themselves out of – if they wanted to make a living on their painting. Customers who saw a painting with a motive like this would put in an order for a similar one. It sold. Which is understandable, it’s from an attractive angle, but we’ve seen one too many by now and me myself has no problem in finding a boat sailing away from me attractive. There are indeed sexy boat asses out there, believe me.

I stood on the jetty shooting out from the harbour of Visby (capital of Gotland – an island on the Swedish east coast) and watched the ship I arrived to the island in, sail off into the sunset. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have seen.

ship on the water
sails on the horizon
setting sun, summer breeze
far from the end,
nothing to amend

The  building of the second-rate ship of the line HMS Nile started in 1826 at the Dockyard in Plymouth. She was built out of wood, had a sparred length of 205 feet (62.64 m), depth 54 feet (16.59 ) and carried 92 guns on two decks. The costs for her building was £86,197.
She survived several adventures around the world, among them Crimean war and supposedly the American civil war. In 1876 she was retired and served as a school ship for the naval academy in Liverpool. During World War II she was towed to the Menai Strait, in North Wales. In 1953, being towed away for a refit, she ran aground and wrecked.
She was being towed by two boats, one in the bow and one in the stern. Fighting strong tidal currents, the boat in the bow couldn’t make any progress and the second boat in the stern came forward to help. This caused the stern to swing in the strong currents and the tugs couldn’t hold her. She ran up on some rocks where she “broke her back” when the tide went out. All efforts to try to tow her free was in vain and she was left to her destiny, which was not to rot away slowly. For three years she was sitting in the strait, then in 1956, she burned and was gone.

HMS Conway aground in Menai Strait
What a tragic sight that is.
After the towing incident there was, of course, some discussions concerning what happened. Some said that the pilots were ignored and other questions why she was towed through such a narrow passage with strong tidal streams and shifting banks, to start with. Anyhow, she was sitting there and was not going anywhere.

This site has an extensive source of HMS Conway information.
Lots of nice photo’s, I specially enjoyed this album.