All posts by Gavin Atkin

The delights of classic racing dinghies

The Classic and Vintage Racing Dinghy Association races and cares for old racing dingies, organises meetings, encourages dinghy racing classes to run vintage wings and generally does what it can to enable people to see the old boats out on the water.

Essentially an Internet organisation, it also provides support and advice through a forum and meetings.

Membership is very relaxed, says the secretary: join the on-line forum and when you turn up at a meeting somebody will eventually extract five quid towards running the website.

The photograph below is from their latest event at Baltic Wharf, Bristol just a few days ago as I write on the 25th November. The turnout included two sixty year old Merlins, number 6 and the recently restored 36 – Ian Procter’s first Merlin and the boat that inspired him to design many others and develop aluminium spars.

It was also the first outing for a just-restored Unit and there were other regulars including a fine wooden International Canoe, various designs of Finn and Merlin, and various old boats representing many of the well known current classes – and there would have been more but for forecast strong winds that put off some people with rather more delicate boats.


racing dinghy, sailboat, boat restoration


More great songs from Keith Kendrick and friends

Tonight, I think it’s time for a couple more sea songs from the great Keith Kendrick.

The Lowlands of Holland is from his latest CD on the Wildgoose label Songs from the Derbyshire Coast; it’s not a shanty, but a forebitter and designed for a much more contemplative purpose.

The second, South Australia from the album All Tied Up puts us straight back into shanty territory. Keith sings here with the singing trio Three Sheets to the Wind, a top-drawer example of how to perform maritime music for entertainment without betraying the authenticity of the genre. Their approach is raucous yet harmonious and with lashings of zany humour – and, like Keith himself, they are in demand for concerts all over the world.

Lowlands of Holland.mp3
South Australia.mp3

Songs from the Derbyshire Coast and All Tied Up are available from Keith’s CD site:

Keith Kendrick, singer of sea songs and concertina player

Photo by Andrew D C Basford (2006)

sea songs, chanties, chanteys, forebitters

Build the South Haven Dory

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Here’s a set of free plans for an instant classic that’s just the thing to be seen in next summer. Yes, I know it’s made of that terrible ‘laminated wood’ that traditional boat enthusiasts profess to hate (even if they do use it for decking), and I know it isn’t a boat type that’s native to the UK, but if you’ve read Captain’s Courageous by Rudyard Kipling you might well see something good in it.

Paul Vandenbosch’s South Haven Dory is a great boat with elegant looks, goes like a train under oars and builds in almost no time. And I swear it’ll turn heads in any harbour or river around the UK. Cheap, but a classic for the connoisseur nevertheless…
South Haven Dory building instructions