Newbridge Venturer Hajra | Early Days

Newbridge Venturer Junk rig

This posting details the life so far with my Junk rigged Newbridge Venturer Hajra. It starts in the year 2005 and is still on going.

Image of Newbridge Venturer Hajra at launch from Brighton Marina

Newbridge Venturer Hajra at launch from Brighton Marina

This is one of two Newbridge Venturer’s we currently own. See the other pages on Storrs for our thoughts on the Bermudan rigged version. This particular boat, Hajra, is rigged as a Chinese Junk.


Image of Newbridge Venturer Hajra abandond at Brighton Marina

Newbridge Venturer Hajra abandond at Brighton Marina

When I first met Hajra she was long abandoned in the back corner of Brighton Marina.

The vessel interested me, or in real words, spoke to me, and she struck me as a well thought out small vessel that was worth saving.

The buying was a little more complicated in as much as being long term abandoned she came under the sealed bid process through the Marina. So I had to submit my sealed bid via the post and await some future date when I may or may not be told I was the successful bidder and hence new owner.

Image of Newbridge Venturer Interior

Newbridge Venturer Interior its a mess

The pictures of the interior tell their own story about her state. What is not so clear is the hatches had been left open in her abandoned state and thus rain water had collected in her bilges that had filled and risen around three inches over the floor. As there was numerous bottles of pills, it was something and Codeine, together with the mirrors, sleeping bag and general feeling that ‘someone was dosing here once’ appearance that lead me to the following decision –

That is, who knew what lay in that black murky water? It was quite possible if it had been used as a druggies den that syringes and needles may lurk down therein that dark and dirty bilge water and the last thing I fancied was some old rusty needle puncturing the soles on my shoes or stabbing into my hands as I explored. Simply put I was not going inside this boat unless I owned her as at that point I would have to deal with the situation as it was found, as I would ‘own it’. If I was not successful in owning her then I had mitigated any risk of being stabbed by some old needles and that would now be someone else s look out.

Image of Newbridge Venturer Interior mess over floor

Newbridge Venturer mess over floor after the water had drained

The story would end there except I was successful in my bid, but only just. My cunning plan at this point, still founded on the fear of those needles, was to drill a pilot hole in the hull’s lowest point and allow the water to drain out over a few days.

Now able to see what I was working in, one Saturday evening, donned with large heavy duty industrial arm length gloves I worked liked a demon and stripped everything removable into bin bags and dumped it.

It smelled in there too. All of the foam backed vinyl interior was hanging in various stages of falling off the walls or ceiling, just waiting to drop off wrapping itself around your head.

The most disgusting part of the job was the gas locker on the stern. The drain here had blocked, leaving the locker half full of the blackest dirtiest water. The remains of the tiller lay rotting in it too. Had someone urinated in there? How about finding a dead decomposing rat? It was horrible.

Image Newbridge Venturer Television...who would watch it in here?

Newbridge Venturer Television...who would watch it in here?

With everything dumped which took all 10 heavy duty rubble bags full to bursting, the hole I drilled was cleaned up and sealed up using Chemical Metal as it is an Epoxy based material.

This gave us what was essentially a bare hull, but I still had plans for that.

Hajra was launched without problems where upon she was towed using my other boat at the time, Copeina, over to where she came out of the water into yard. Here all the interior lining material and anything else remaining was removed. This included all the windows too.

image of Newbridge Venturer Jetwashing interior and clean up

Newbridge Venturer Jetwashing interior and clean up

Thinking it would be quick job with a Jetwash inside, about an hours work, it actually turned out to be about four hours work to completely jet wash the interior. It was incredible to see the Jet Wash cut through the dirt inside revealing the golden colour of the fiberglass laminate underneath the cooker area and within the lockers in particular.

Image of Newbridge Venturer Cleaning up interior

Newbridge Venturer Cleaning up interior

Also the amount of general crap that came out of the darkest corners of the interior moldings, all the stuff that would  block up your bilge pump at a time of need was simply impressive. I highly recommend this treatment to your boat if you can. I used a battery charger straight onto movable bilge pump that I left running all the time I was jet washing. This pump was moved to where ever the water was collecting as the cleaning progressed.

Image of Newbridge Venturer Cleaning up interior

Newbridge Venturer Cleaning up interior

This satisfied me that this boat was as clean and virginal as I could expect.

With the boat left to dry out it was now at a position we could build up on.

The sailing instruments were removed after photographing and disconnecting the wiring. They are somewhat old by today’s standards however its likely I will replace them with something newer although these are stored away at the moment.

The windows were well past their best being cracked and crazed when she was purchased. As I write the replacements have been been made and fitted for a number of years now, although I was never really happy with them from new. The window over the bow is particularly nasty with a tight curvature for thick perspex. The new one cracked within days of fitting while using a thicker piece of perspex will probably pull the screws out.

What has persistently irritated me was the thief that stole the main halyard as I have no way of raising a sail until this is renewed and this will entail removal of the mast now to thread a new halyard.

Several fittings were stolen too. The locker catches for the seat tops in the cockpit were gone. However in my Caribbean sailing days I picked up a replacement set of 5 quality stainless ones paying something like $12.99 each at a $2 to the £1 exchange rate compared to paying £12.99 for each in the UK.

To be continued….

Links for more on Newbridge Venturer boats

3 comments to “Newbridge Venturer Hajra | Early Days”
  1. Hello,
    I am considering of buying a junk-rigged Venturer. I’m not new to junk rig, but Venturer is a stranger to me and there are none of them close by.

    What would you say about the performance of a bilge-keeled Venturer – and especially the seaworthiness in rough weather?

    What are the most important things to check before buying?

    Thanks i andvance!

    • Hi Jami,
      Thanks for dropping by to my site.

      In answer to your questions :

      Firstly I have to admit that I’ve never, since buying this Junk rigged Newbridge Venturer ever actually sailed her. The rig was in dubious condition when purchased and someone had stolen the topping lift making raising the sail impossible until the mast has come down and a new halyard run in. Life over took sailing this boat although I still own her. Thats now 10 years !

      But – we did purchase a bermudan version while we had the junk and we sailed the bermudan rigged vessel. Two separate boats, same hulls, different rigs.

      Before commenting on the sailing, I was told, probably by Sunbird [?] Marine, if I got the name right, that the Junk Newbridge is one of the better junk rigged boats. It was to do with the underwater profile of the Navigator boats.
      When this boat was launched and towed to her home port the tapering mast whipped back and forth as we motored over the chop in the English Channel. This alarmed me until I realised the boat was already over 20 years old, this would have happened again and again in all her years sailing, and still the mast was there standing upright unsupported. Thus it was nothing to worry about and I quieted my mind over this concern.

      The boats themselves aren’t thoroughbred race winners and will never be. They are comfortable arm chair sailors with ‘seriously’ human comfortable usable interior space for their size.

      I suspect Blondie Hassler had some input into the interior, not just the sailing rig, as a professionally fitted out boat as this one was, has a surprising array of cleverly thought out details that I think would have been absent had someone like Hassler with his extensive small boat sailing experience not been consulted.

      Except the Junks have the mast keel stepped which occupies the space between the two bow berths. I’ve wrapped a neoprene yoga mat around the mast here that saves the cold mast finding parts of your body in the night.

      Sailing the Bermudan I’ve found the boat quick to get up to what ever speed she can attain in the given wind, where 5.5knots is probably all your likely to get.

      The Engine compartment in the stern quater locker starves the engine of air so the lid needs to be raised when motoring. It might be Ok for a 4 horse engine to breath in here which would be light and underpowered for the boat, but an 8 we had was suffocating under lack of air and/ or exhaust gases being trapped. Opening the lid solved all this but now it was noisy. The hull when clean is very easily driven.

      In rougher weather, meaning a 3 or 4 foot chop the apparently high coamings of the cockpit can seem alarmingly close to the water when down in the dips between waves. This has caused me concern for the outboard engine being lower down in the hull where passing waves invade the engine space from below past the engine leg gaiter. This really had me thinking it would soon drown. Except it never did. It never even gave up, even for a while. The enclosure of the engine top kept out the water and any that found its way in if it did, I am sure it would have,left the way it got in through small holes in the engine casing on the underside. Eventually I learned to trust the set up and it was actually Ok. We had a Mariner 8.8 long shaft.

      An 8 horse is a big engine while the engine locker will take a 10 horse outboard, they are beasts of a weight to haul in and out with any frequency. Remote Controls just add to the complexity. Just look for a man in the bar with no skin on his knuckles and he probably does this. The downside of the bigger engine is this lack of motivation to take it out, but to leave it permanently in position where sadly with neglected maintenance it will soon succumb to corrosion, non existent anodes and probably mud and crap jammed in behind the propeller.

      With the engine offset from the centre line maneuvering can be a total joke especially when going astern. But for the smallest outboard in the well, there simply isnt the space to rotate the engine head in the direction you’d like to go. So its all down to the rudder and the rudder has minimal flow over it.

      An inboard Diesel Engine on the Centre Line solves all these problems and would be a definite plus to sellers proposition.

      Of the two Newbridge Venturers I had they both had differing keel attachments to the hull. I can’t tell you which was later, only that the Junk had a molded profile in the hull for the keel attachments that was absent on the Bermudan rigged boat.
      Inside the keel bolts may or may not be visible depending on their being glassed in during the production while getting access with a spanner to get them out may involve some surgery to the inner lining making up the furniture.

      Also the Bermudan rigged boat was clearly a home finished effort where any cut that needed to be straight was done with a Jigsaw, presumably because the builder had no idea what a Circular Saw was for, other than perhaps cutting round holes in wood. Hence its name.
      The fit out was a disaster and caused a good deal of reflection to the quality of fit out to this Junk version and the belief it had been factory fitted. Everything fit together properly and all the little details were there where they needed to be.

      The headlinings are a major issue as the foam backing becomes brittle and gives way allowing the lining to sag.
      This becomes a game of Whack a Mole, as you attend to one area, another area will soon let go. For me I’ve ripped it all out, lining the interior with Celotex half inch foam insulation finished in Aluminum making the accommodation usable during the winter with minimal heating. The finish over this, another project waiting to be given the breath of life, is to refinish it in Birch Plywood with Mahogany trimmings. I’ve even bought most of the wood, but time and life continue to get in the way with other pressing needs. Its not a trivial task this, taking me a month to do the Celotex alone, properly trimmed to shape. Other methods maybe to replace the existing vinyl with new stuff using the old as a template [I tried this myself and gave up simply because it will just repeat the same problems in time], or carpet the interior. It will still all cost you time and a surprising amount of money.

      The real plus for this size of boat, excepting I am sure there are others – don’t flame me readers, is they have a separate enclosed heads area. This is a real plus with the females you may sail with.

      All boats have their problems, lets be honest. Great sailors but crappy accommodation. Great accommodation, crappy sailors. We are talking about 22 foot and day sailing. Nothing is perfect. The Newbridge design was popular with many examples coming up for sale. In the hard core sailing community they are hardly ever considered. For the average man with a family, mortgage and job with little spare time they sold well. If getting to windward is a priority, I still hold to the belief that nothing goes to windward like a Boeing 747. Take their tip, bang the engine on and motor home when you need to.

      I think for what they are, the Newbridge Venturer are a great compromise. The motto I seem to live by is that I buy and hold, aiming to make right what I have and keep it. Everything is a compromise where chopping and changing your car, bike or boat simply begins the whole process of getting it right all over again now with something else and a new set of problems. It all costs time and money and eventually your spending more time chopping and changing than getting out in it.Wow! I can talk! Everything excels in certain different directions. No one size fits everything. No one boat will be everything to everyone.

      Kind regards


  2. Hi Alex
    I now own Storrs since I purchased her in August 2019. I note you mention her at the beginning of your post. When did you own her and can you tell about any of her history. Her interior is a bit shabby but I intend returning her to her original fitting. Currently she has a DIY carpet finish on her deck heads and bulkheads. I have been researching old photos etc to get ideas when I came across your post and was surprised to see you mention Storrs. Thank you in advance

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