Category Archives: History

A mystery carvel-built sailing dinghy – who made it and did it belong to a racing class?

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kyle abingdon, marine carpentry, carvel, dinghy, sailing boat

kyle abingdon, marine carpentry, carvel, dinghy, sailing boat

Can anyone help identify this boat bought recently by boatbuilder Kyle Abingdon?

Here’s what he says about her:

‘Gavin.

‘Please can you and your readers help to identify this mystery boat I have bought with mind to restoring her this winter? She’s a beautiful 14ft 7in x 5ft 2in carvel wooden sailing dinghy. She needs a lot of work but I couldn’t help myself.

‘She is quite heavily built. She has an elm transom, keel and stem pine planks and a mahogany sheer strake. She is a Bermudan sloop with a bowspirit and has a heavy galvanised centre board.

‘She looks a bit like an old Torbay J Class or West Lancashire Seabird but is a lot smaller than either of these. Please can you an your readers give me your ideas?

‘Regards, Kyle Abingdon

‘Abingdon Marine Carpentrywww.marinecarpenty.co.uk, tel 07737868421′

Thanks Kyle!

See an earlier query from Kyle about the AH Comben’s-designed Nosila here.

Two other recent requests for information concern Firth of Forth dreg songs used in the oyster fishery and a canoe yawl built by the Thames. If any boat boffins can help with any of these questions, I would be most grateful!

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The Life-boat and its Work, a history from 1911 – part II

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‘It may seem strange that a cause launched with so much enthusiasm, and supported by such influential men, a cause appealing so strongly to the feelings of our countrymen, should have languished and almost died. But the nation was going through a time of deep distress and agitation, and many people thought the State itself was on the verge of shipwreck.’

How little things change! Hopefully, this time we’ll keep the lifeboats in service.

Here’s the second serving of The Life-boat and its Work, the history of the lifeboat of 1911 I started putting up a few days ago.

To see the rest of this series:

The Life-boat and its Work, a history from 1911 – part I

The Life-boat and its Work, a history from 1911 – part II

The Life-boat and its Work, a history from 1911 – part III

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Boatbuilding Academy student’s boat gets pride of place at the NMM

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Boatbuilding Academy staff and students are brimming with pride because graduate Marc Chivers’ full-size replica of an early 20th century pilot punt is now the centre-piece of an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, London. (See more photos of Marc’s boat here.)

The exhibition, The Boats That Built Britain, explores our island nation’s intimate connection to the sea through great maritime stories from the 15th to 20th centuries, and is running in conjunction with the BBC4 series Sea Fever.

The show’s being staged in partnership with National Historic Ships and is accompanied by a series of interesting-sounding lectures – read more about the show here. It runs from the 8th May until November, and I gather a podcast interview with Marc will appear on the Museum website shortly.

The TV series is well worth watching, even if Tom Cunliffe’s somewhat presentation is at times a bit to gung-ho and even and at times a mite misleading. (British sailors had struggled to deal with Barbary pirates whose ships went well to windward long before the Pickle see an earlier post on this issue, but TC chose to over-simplicate that point.) No doubt hyped-up presentation is the modern way and just what the production folks wanted.

These trifles apart, these shows are still well worth half an hour of anyone’s time. The Sea Fever programmes telling the story of HMS Pickle and the Matthew are on the BBC iPlayer as I write, if you can get them directly or via a proxy.

Marc’s boat, Defiant of Lyme Regis, was built as part of the BBA’s 38-week boatbuilding course. I gather Marc lives just a few miles away from us in Kent – so I must try to meet him some time. His website, which includes the story of how he transported Defiant to the exhibition, is at http://www.marcsboats.co.uk.

Particular thanks to Emma Brice at the BBA at Lyme for the story and photos.

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