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BBA students build a Don Kurlyko Alaska beach cruiser

These photos are of an 18ft Alaska beach cruiser designed by Don Kurlyko and built by students – now graduates – of the Boat Building Academy’s 38-week long course, Reuben Thompson and Tony Corke.

The photos were taken by Jenny Steer, Becky Joseph and Liz Griffiths.

Reuben first saw this design at the Beale Park Boat Show where he entered a small sailing boat he’d designed in the Amateur Boat Building Competition.

He fell in love with the Alaska beach cruiser’s shape and efficient sail design, and when asked if he’d like to build a boat at the Academy, he jumped at the opportunity to build one for himself.

It is strip-planked in western red cedar, and has two masts and a yawl rig. Just two adjustments were made to the original design, which is based on the American Whitehall skiff: instead of building internal frames the boat was fibre-glassed inside and out to provide more internal space (the fibreglass providing the strength the frames would have), and extra water-tight compartments were added to prevent the boat from sinking should it capsize.

A week’s work experience with Thames boatbuilders Henwood and Dean convinced Reuben that boat building was the career for him, and he decided to join the Academy for ‘some advice on how to get there’.

A keen sailor, he taught sailing at Frampton Sailing Club and became involved in teaching at the Lyme Regis Club while on the course.

Tony worked as an activity instructor and group leader at PGL Travel in Wiltshire before attending the Academy.

With a passion for kayaking and working towards a two star canoe and kayak qualification with the British Canoe Union, he also built a modern skin on frame kayak while on the course. Tony found the design for kayak on the website Yostwerks.

Its frames were made of marine ply and western red cedar was used for the stringers.

The kayak’s coating was made of Dacron, a layer of glass fibre and epoxy.

Reuben is now working at Cockwells in Falmouth and Tony at  Mussett Engineering  in Norfolk where he’ll use his new composite skills working with F1 racing cars rather than boats.

Reuben looks forward to exploring the creeks in his beach cruiser and once it is complete, Tony plans to paddle his kayak on the Norfolk Broads.

Howard Chappelle 23ft 8in Tabloid cruising boat from the book Boat Building

These photos are of an example of the 23ft 8in Tabloid cruiser designed by Howard Irving Chappelle and included in his classic Boat Building: A Complete Handbook of Wooden Boat Construction.

They were sent over by Ronald Glen, who with his brother Peter built the boat at Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, in 2004 . He reports that the Sydney Museum has shown interest in her, as well as an American museum looking for Chappelle-designed boats for a planned centenary exhibition.

If you’ve read Chappelle’s book, you’ll know this design, which I would think owes something to New England lobster boats and Hampton boats of the past.

Thanks for the photos Ronald!

To see an earlier post of photographs sent by Randal Cooper of Goolwa Masts, Australia, of another boat built to these plans, click here.

Are any examples of these boats to be found in the USA? Or of the intriguing ketch Southwind?

Bantry Bay yoles and the Atlantic Challenge

ATLANTIC CHALLENGE TEASER from Betel Studio on Vimeo.

Thanks to legendary boat designer François Vivier for spotting this one!

Every two year Atlantic Challenge International sponsors a friendly contest of seamanship in Bantry Bay gigs. They are held in a different host country each time. The events began in 1986, when gigs from France and the USA competed under the Statue of Liberty – now 12 nations and involved and 55 Bantry Bay gigs have been built worldwide.

The gigs are wooden replicas of late 18th century longboats, and are modelled after an existing original gig left behind in Bantry Bay Ireland by the invading French fleet of 1796,. The boats are said to have exhilarating performance.

Read more here: Atlanticchallenge.org.

Uffa Fox designed Flying 30 Huff of Arklow relaunch in September

Huff of Arklow

The latest Shipshape Network newsletter brings happy news that the restoration of the Uffa Fox designed Flying 30, Huff of Arklow, is progressing rapidly and is to be relaunched on the 7th September.

An enlarged version of Fox’s wonderfully elegant Flying 15 design, Huff was was built in 1951 in Arklow by John Tyrrell & Sons (see list of Tyrell-built craft) for the well known yachtsman Douglas Heard. She’s an important boat in several ways – she was the first masthead rigged sloop designed to plane and the first ocean-going yacht designed to plane. And she is fast, certainly – she recorded a speed of 23 knots on a trip to Iceland in 1960.

Read about Huff of Arklow and her restoration here and here. Oh, and there are a Facebook page and a Twitter account to follow too!

PS – Martha’s Vineyard sailor and boat surveyor Ginny Jones wrote to tell me about this YouTube video about Huff, complete with Uffa Fox singing a stage sea song, some modern pop stuff with photos of kid’s and their models of Huff, and finally photos of her pre-restoration interior, with someone (I don’t know who) singing a proper sea song, the Sailor’s ABC.

Sorry to be so quiet at present – we’re waiting for BT to fix our telephone line, which stopped working around the time of the thunderstorms of the 20th July.

Sorry to be so quiet at present – we’re waiting for BT to fix our telephone line, which stopped working around the time of the thunderstorms of the 20th July. I’ve no idea whether the problem is connected with the weather, but it’s making us pretty cross!

Will Stirling sails a Stirling 14ft dinghy to Godrevy Lighthouse

Multiple award winning boatbuilder and all-round interesting bloke Will Stirling recently sailed a traditionally built 14ft dinghy of his own design and building out to Godrevy Lighthouse.

As usual with Will, he found some photogenic scenes to capture along the way as the gallery above shows… Here’s what he says about the trip:

‘Having woken up at 3am on Saturday morning, driven for two hours to Hartland Quay and then aborted an attempt on Lundy Island’s two lighthouses due to bad weather, I was keen to salvage time by circumnavgating at least one lighthouse before the weekend was out.

‘For the rest of Saturday I planned a trip around Godrevy Lighthouse near St Ives, Cornwall.

‘Surprisingly it was very hard to find anywhere to launch on the North Western coast of Cornwall. During an afternoon of phone calls and refusals of permission to launch I was directed to the Carbis Bay Hotel, five miles to the West of Godrevy, who very kindly let me launch on their private beach near St Ives, and also waived their car park fee.

‘I planned to either return to Carbis Bay or land at Portreath five miles to the East of Godrevy.

‘Following another early start I was afloat by 0800 on a beautiful beach with crystal clear water. The course was NE to Godrevy; the wind NW F2. I set off across St Ives Bay. One particular surprise during this part of the trip was being able to stand on the foredeck for over 5 minutes whilst the dinghy maintained her NE course. (The sail shaded me from the sun when I was seated at the tiller and I had got wet launching the dinghy, so a few moments in the warm sun were very appealing.)

‘In order to go around the lighthouse I rowed between the two large rocks to the North of Godrevy and then dropped anchor on the South side of the bigger island. With my dry suit on I got myself ashore, strectched my legs and took some photos.

‘Having regained the dinghy I sailed along the cliff-bound Cornish coast to Portreath. The scenery was magnificent.

‘Portreath beach has a wonderful little harbour tucked into the cliffs which used to be full of sailing ships unlaoding Welsh coal for the mining engines and loading copper ore from the mines. It was too awkward to recover the dinghy from the harbour so I anchored beyond the surf and swam ashore to meet Sara and the kids for a day on the beach.

‘At the end of the day Sara gave me a lift to Carbis Bay to get the trailer. Having driven back to Portreath, I backed the dinghy through the surf and floated her onto the trailer. The RNLI had a 4×4 on the beach and they kindly towed the dinghy up to the roadside.’

There. See what a chap can do with the right boat! Many thanks Will!

Old boats, traditional boats, boat building, restoration, the sea and the North Kent Coast – Gavin Atkin's weblog