Croeso i Gemaes Welcome to Cemaes
… the most northerly village in Wales
… y pentref mwyaf gogleddol yng Nghymru
The village of Cemaes is proud to be the caretaker of the Charles Henry Ashley, a 38ft Watson designed lifeboat built in 1907 and stationed at the nearby ‘Porth yr Ogof’ lifeboat station by Wylfa Head until she was taken out of service in 1932. After several years in private ownership, she was re-launched after total renovation in April 2009. She is now a major attraction to visitors at her mooring in the harbour during the summer months.
A team of dedicated local enthusiasts now maintain and sail the vessel. Membership of the Cemaes Boat Club is open to those who wish to share the enjoyment of this historic lifeboat. For further information, contact the Club Membership Secretary (Mike Thompson) on 01407 710552. On designated sailing days, visitors can, by taking up temporary membership, qualify to join the crew for a sail or row in Cemaes Bay. She is also available for sail/rowing training and as a film and advertising set. Contact the Boat Club Secretary (Keith Downs) on 01407 710333 for details. (Please be aware that availability is totally weather dependent and the Coxswain of the day makes the final decisions)
The boat is not fitted with an engine, so faithfully reproduces the authentic practice of the early 20th century being propelled from the harbour under oars and then hoisting her sails in open water. She is rigged with a jib, a dipping lug mainsail, and a dipping lugsail on the mizzen mast. These days, this is an unusual rig which can prove to be difficult to master. However, she may be old, but in a breeze of wind she slips along at a very respectable speed and provides a rewarding sailing experience. There is always a core crew of trained sailors, with safety as their prime consideration, so novices are welcome.
Want to know more?
There is a club website at www.cemaesclassiclifeboat.co.uk, currently being re-built as a general information site.
A second website, www.charleshenryashley.co.uk is about to be built and will eventually become the place where a comprehensive history of the boat can be accessed. Until that is fully operational, we have an extensive physical library of historical and contemporary documents and photographs.*
Also, there is a short but interesting video of the Charles Henry Ashley under sail on You Tube. Just place a search for ‘Cemaes lifeboat’.
Copyright conditions will apply, so please contact the club secretary for permission to use material for anything other than personal research.