Category Archives: Rowing,paddling and sculling

A small boat adventure

Actually, these photographs come from a small trip down Faversham Creek in just about the smallest imaginable boat that could be used by an adult with a pocket camera – a Mouseboat.

I think it also shows clearly why the Creek must be defended, and how much is has been affected by housing development. Surely, it’s time for the town to take a new, maritime activity-friendly approach. I so hope it does…

Mouseboats built and launched at Faversham

Folks on a training course at the Faversham Creek Trust’s Purifier Building led by local boatbuilder and repairman Alan Thorne have been building Mouseboats to my free plans – and yesterday they launched four of them on a pond at the head of the Creek.

A good crowd turned out to cheer and witness the event, and even the local press arrived with their cameras!

A fifth Mouseboat also turned up to be launched – this one was built by Terry Croucher, who has been working as an assistant to Alan.

Plans for the Mouseboats are available free from the Yahoogroup Mouseboats. To obtain them you have to sign up to join the  Yahoo (and the  Yahoogroup). Alternatively, some folks prefer to buy my book published some years ago – it is available from Amazon, but be warned that the new prices is a lot less than some folks are charging for second-hand copies!

The 8ft Mouseboats cost very little to make and are typically very light – they can be carried in one hand, yet can allow folks to go on the water very conveniently. Hundreds have been built around the world.

The boats built by Alan’s group are the Minimouse model with an easy to build flat bottom, but other similarly easy to build types for different purposes are available from the Yahoogroup.

BBA students build a small faering

The traditionally built faering named Pingvin, was built by Boat Building Academy students Max Stembridge and Ben Walker-Riley, and was designed by Max’s naval architect father Peter Stembridge, whose company, Seawing Europe, works with Sunseeker and similar.  The photos above are by Paul Dyer, Becky Brown and Jenny Steer.

The double-ended boat has laminated iroko stems and solid iroko hog and keel. She is planked in larch with rose.

Max joined the course from Hampshire just after completing his A levels. A practical person, before joining the Academy, he finished restoring a Triumph Tiger Cub motorbike, and for his design technology A level he enjoyed building a pop-up roof tent for his VW.

Taking a gap-year and wanting to do something meaningful in this time, Max came to the BBA to develop his practical skills.

Ben has worked as a photographer’s assistant in Brighton, and also has a degree in marine biology from Portsmouth University. For part of his course he joined the Atlantic Whale Foundation conservation programme in Honduras, where he focused on whale shark and coral reef conservation.  He has PADI Diving certificates and is also a qualified Ski Instructor.  Looking for a career that would combine his love for the water and enable him to work creatively, Ben decided to join the 38-week course.

Max has now been offered a place to study architecture at Greenwich, which he says his time at the Academy greatly helped him to receive, while Ben plans to use his new skills and level 3 diploma to begin a career in the marine industry.

See Pingvin’s build diary.