Category Archives: Boatbuilders and restorers

Professional and amateur boat builders and restorers

Schoolchildren build two Julie skiffs at Faversham

A group of lucky schoolchildren have built two 16ft Julie skiffs at a Faversham Creek Trust boatcamp led by local boatbuilder Alan Thorne and assistant Malcolm Hazleton at the trust’s Purifier building.

The skiffs are to be launched at the town’s nautical festival around mid-day on the 23rd July. Naturally, Julie and I plan to be there!

See the free boat plans page in the tabs above to download the drawings etc to build this lightweight plywood flat bottomed skiff and two shorter versions at 14 and 12ft.

When I called by on Friday afternoon I met a small crowd of enthusiastic, engaged kids and a clutch of happy parents – and two cool looking boats, Santa Crews and Stormy.  Alan and Malcolm had done a good job, and the FCT’s boatcamp had been a success.

‘Have you had a good time?’ I asked.

‘Yes,’ the kids called back.

‘Would you do it again?’

‘Yes,’ they chorused.

A mother turned to me and said ‘My son’s always been a maker and now he’s decided he wants to be a boatbuilder.’

I think she must have been reasonably happy with the idea, as she did not add ‘but I think he should have a proper job as well’.

The following shots are Malcolm’s. Thanks fella!

Anthony Mace fixes up an old Merlin Rocket

Anthony Mace runs a small Bristol-based business called Shipshape Boatbuilding & Woodwork from a workshop at Underfall Yard, Bristol, and also does mobile repairs and restoration work, and takes on bespoke commissions.

He set up in business around a year or so ago, after graduating from the Boatbuilding Academy at Lyme Regis in 2015, and prior to that worked as a designer and occasionally taught product design at the University of the West of England.

Anthony chose to retrain at the BBA after over a decade of sitting in front of the computer – he’d got into design because of a love of making things and decided it was time to get back in the workshop and work with his hands again.

I’ve had some interesting projects since I graduated including fixing a Maltese dysa, but I wanted to let you know about a recent project I’ve just finished:

‘The job was a restoration of a Merlin Rocket (no. 2480). I believe this boat was started sometime in the 70s (so the owner told me) and had never been completed. The owner had bought the boat as just a hull with some framing and the centreboard case, as well as a really interesting curved thwart.

‘I stripped the old varnish off, repaired the cracked transom (which had split) and buoyancy tank, before fitting new curved side and fore and aft deck framing in marine ply.

‘I also steamed and fitted a sapele cockpit combing, spinnaker chute and gunnels, as well as finished it in a mix of paint (outside), oil (to make maintenance of the hull interior more practical) and varnish (decks and combing).

‘The boat has now gone back to the south coast where the owner plans to rig it himself before getting it on the water this summer.

‘I’m always looking for similar projects and commissions.

 

‘All the best, Anthony Mace’

I’ve attached a couple of images of the boat before and after the work, but there are lots more of the work in progress on my Facebook page and Instagram.

Restoration of an early Merlin Rocket (no. 2480). This boat was started sometime in the 70's and had never been…

Posted by Shipshape Woodwork & Boatbuilding on Thursday, 26 January 2017

 

Boat designer John Owles has a new website and digital plans

Boat designer John Owles has written to say that he has set up a new website, Summer Boat Design.

John has had a lifetime with boats: he learned to sail at the age of six years and spent childhood summers exploring the creeks of North Norfolk, and has since had a working life as a professional seaman and boat builder working with many kinds of vessels.

He’s done a lot of traditional wooden boat building, including designing and producing small traditional dinghies, designing sailing rigs, and repairing classic yachts, smacks, bawleys and a German WW2 schnellboot (E-boat).

He’s been going through his old plans and re-working them digitally – which meand they can be cut using  form. Being digitised, many of the components can be CNC cut, which makes construction much easier and quicker. He says:

‘After consuming considerable quantities of midnight oil, I have re-drawn, in digital form, a number of my archive of previously hand drawn traditional ‘sail & oar’ boat designs.

‘We will be building two of these designs, Owlet and Windchime, commencing in a couple of weeks’ time.’

He’s promised to send pictures when the two boats are completed.