Chris Butler

NormanKlipspringer 1:02pm, 5 October 2012
I shall be spending the afternoon next Wednesday (10/10/12) with Chris and shall take the opportunity to discuss Achilles issues. Two of the main issues I wish to discuss are the current rudder problems and the filling of holes in the hull below the water line (redundant skin fittings). If anyone wants me to raise any other issues please let me know.
Chris' health is worse - he struggles with stairs and gets about in a mobility scooter but he still loves talking boats.
Red Marlin 6 years ago
Chris is just one of my heroes. We do have a list of Achilles 24's but not a list of 9 metres and 840's. Does a list of numbers built exist - it would be nice to create a record. Particularly like to know the whereabouts of Achille Neuf, Achillea, Swansea Bay. The boats Chris sailed. Maybe we cannot but Chris and these boats are an important part of sailing history. I would be more than happy to do some of the legwork.
Andrew Curry 6 years ago
Rudders would be my only question.
Skykomish E29 6 years ago
I would imagine Chris will be mortified to hear that rudders are falling off his boats.
NormanKlipspringer Posted 6 years ago. Edited by NormanKlipspringer (admin) 6 years ago
I have a list of 9m,840,Sparta from the 70's and 80's. It is on my list of todo (when I get the time) to put this on the net and get owners to update. Swansea Bay or Achilea as it first was is still owned by Chris, but it is in a poor state. Have a look at this link:
Laskinner 6 years ago
Just one question from me, did he ever make an A24 with an offset engine well?
Red Marlin 6 years ago
Thanks Norman. At least we have a start point. İf İ can be of any help let me know.
Daddsie 6 years ago
I heard Achilles Nuef is in New Zealand
Red Marlin 6 years ago
If Achille Neuf is in New Zealand what a wonderful life story that boat must have had - I for one would love to hear of it.
Red Marlin 6 years ago Just read an interesting report of the 1976 race. I see Songuer was also in the race.
NormanKlipspringer Posted 6 years ago. Edited by NormanKlipspringer (admin) 6 years ago
FEEDBACK from meeting with Chris 10 Oct 2012
Spent an enjoyable afternoon and evening with Chris - talking boats, putting the world to rights, eating and drinking.
Answer to Laskinner - No Chris never built an A24 with a well in the Lazerette
Email from Michael Luciano in Mass, US trying to identify a 13ft sailing dingy he had aquired for restoration. Chris identified it as an 'OK' which was introduced as an introduction to the' Finn' class. Butler Moulding produced very few of these dinghies. With this information Michael should have no trouble tracking down all the details of the class (which is still very active).
A24 Rudders
The rudder used tube since that was what Oliver Lee had used in the original design and could not see any reason to change. Probably better to have been bar and replacement would be well advised to use bar. Agrees that failure is due to fatigue of the tube and possibly impact of the skeg. Boats losing the rudder have skeg failure first followed by tube. He liked the idea of using straps instead of tangs for strength, but pointed out that for pure racing this would slightly increase drag. Interestingly in some of the early boats including Songeur the tube did not reach down all the way to the pintle . Look at the pictures of Songeur on this site and
(I have not decided what to do with my rudder and will wait until the boat is out of the water to make decisions. All ideas are welcome.)
He agreed that it was probably better to use bungy to tie of the tiller.
Filling in redundant skin fittings
Chris pretty much agreed with the PBO (Oct 2012 page 56) method, but would also taper the inside. Certainly agrees that Epoxy GRP should be used.
Discussed his 840 boat Swansea Bay previously Achillea. Whereas Chris had always said that he would retain the boat in the hope of sailing it 'around the world' he has now realised that this will not happen and is prepared to let it go. I hope that someone can come up with a good solution, museum, sail training, corporate advertising etc. Any ideas out there? (See separate topic for your ideas)
Chris loved some of the comments etc that people have made about him and his boats that I drew his attention to.
blueachilles 6 years ago
Interesting what CB says about impact on the skeg causing rudder failure - if I understand correctly.

I wonder if the folk who have lost rudders keep their boats on drying moorings? or have grounded?
pjbharrison 6 years ago
My Mooring has 6/7m of water at low tide, so not a factor. Saw another A24 in Skerries on Sunday. Rudder has a 6" split at top between shaft and skeg at front of shaft. Will post photos at the w/e.
Red Marlin 6 years ago
When my Achilles lost its rudder in Hoo marina I had tried to get in the previous night and missed the tide. I dried out in the mud and when the tide came back made my way into the marina. There was no indication of any problem with the steering. When I returned the next weekend the rudder was gone - no chance of finding it in the Medway mud.
Red Marlin 6 years ago
Maybe a separate thread under Achillea or Swansea Bay. (Which name should it be called ?)
Skykomish E29 6 years ago
Paul, the impact could have happened any time in the past if the skin is broken and water allowed to ingress this will cause eventual failure, the same could apply to the top end of the rudder too
NormanKlipspringer 6 years ago
I agree. I have started a new topic on 'Swansea Bay'. Boat should surely be called Swansea Bay. As with all boats its the last name that they go by and it is of course what is painted on her.
pjbharrison 6 years ago
Hi Malcolm,
Rudder was in perfect condition on the outside before launch. It didn't suffer any damage or require any repairs during my ownership but may have in the past.
Laskinner 6 years ago
Thanks for that Norman, great to have the info from the horses mouth :-)
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