Category Archives: Medway, Swale and the Kent coast

Medway, Swale and the Kent coast

Does anyone know about /another/ Fiddle of Faversham?

Reader Julian Distin has been in touch to ask for information about another boat named Fiddle of Faversham – he noticed the recent post about a square-sterned Fiddle of Faversham, but the boat of the same name he wants to find out about has – or had – a counter stern.

Julian last saw her in Brixham harbour. She was getting a bit tatty but she was a pretty clinker-built boat of 22-26ft with low freeboard aft – possibly accentuated by water in the bilge – and had the all round appearance of a working boat pedigree. She looked like she could have been used for oyster dredging.

Julian’s hoping to find out whether this other Fiddle was built at or near Faversham, whether there are any surviving vessels of similar type in the area, and who the builder is likely to have been.

If you can help, please drop a line to me at gmatkin@gmail.com .

Arthur Beale’s talk: the history of Whitstable block and yacht fittings maker Barton Marine

RSJ Barton Ltd of Whitstable

The history of East Coast block makers Barton Marine of Whitstable is the subject of next month’s talk at Arthur Beale Yacht Chandlers in Shaftsbury Avenue, London, from 6:45pm on Thursday the 5th March 2015.

The talk is to be presented by  Barton Marine sales manager Christian Brewer.

Barton Marine is well known for making blocks. The company was established as RSJ Barton in 1948 by Whitstable shipwright and boat builder Ron Barton, who was was one of the first to use the fabric-based laminated plastic known as Tufnol, and also one of the first to use stainless steel to make blocks for yachting that were much lighter and stronger than previously achievable.

In the 1960s the introduction of glass reinforced plastic boats brought sailing to a larger audience, and demand for Barton’s lightweight and cost effective products continued to grow.

Ron realised that Tufnol was labour-intensive and therefore costly – so set about re-designing the entire Barton product range to become the first marine company to use a new plastic injection moulding process using revolutionary fibre glass-reinforced plastic materials.

It should prove to be a fascinating tale, and there are rumours that there may be some interesting East Coast marine engineers in the audience.

Book a place by emailing: talks@arthurbeale.co.uk

The entry fee is £5.00 – but you’ll get their money back if you make a shop purchase to the value of £15.00 or more. Attendees will also get a special discount voucher to use when purchasing Barton Products from Arthur Beale’s.

 

Punt built in the Faversham Creek Trust building launched

The folks of Faversham held a launching ceremony for a 14-foot punt named Kingfisher on the town’s Stonebridge pond on Sunday.

The punt was built by local long-term unemployed people under the direction of local boatbuilder Alan Thorne under a Department of Work and Pensions-funded educational scheme, and is to be used by a local organisation, the Friends of Westbrook and Stonebridge Pond for clearing ancient waterways between the pond and the tidal head of Faversham Creek.

Alan’s workshop is in the Faversham Creek Trust’s building, which is housed in an old gasworks by the head of the Creek.

The waterways are remnants of an old gunpowder works that used leather-bound boats to transport gunpowder (rather than iron-bound wheeled carts) in order to avoid striking sparks.

The boatbuilding project was managed by The Creek Learning Project in partnership with the Brents Community Association, and aims to help local unemployed people gain the confidence to get into work or volunteering.

Friends of Westbrook and Stonebridge Pond chair Fern Alder (wearing a yellow jacket in the photos above) said ‘I would like to say a big thank you, on behalf of the whole group, for the truly beautiful and very useful punt that has been made for us.’

My thanks go to the FCT’s Griselda Mussett for the photos.

Alan Thorne can help with boatbuilding projects – constructing to plans in very tidy stitch-and-glue or more traditional techniques. Contact him by email at ajthorne3@hotmail.com or phone 07865 091155.