Pssst… How about an 18ft Thames Estuary One Design for the summer?
At this time of year, many people will be thinking about what to sail in the coming season – and for someone this could be the ideal boat.
Fiona, fomerly Mercury, was built in Burnham on Crouch in 1936, and is for sale by the International Boatbuilding Training College following a major restoration. The college folks say a few minor touches would be needed to finish her off.
The story goes that in 1911 Southend’s Alexandra Yacht Club asked designers to draw up a one-design boat that would be able to sit on the estuary mud at low tide. Both Morgan Giles and May of Hammersmith submitted plans for an 18ft sailing dinghy with a lifting keel and optional rig of up to 220 sq ft. The Morgan Giles boat was adopted, but with the sail area reduced to 210 sq ft.
A number of members agreed to purchase new boats at a meeting in December 1911. Drake Brothers of Tollesbury won a tender and built ten boats, and the first race took place in May 1912. Read more history here.
More detail about the boat is available at Sailboatdata.com.
Simon Papendick, otherwise known as the mobile boat maintenance and repair service J-Star Boat Services, is in Yorkshire and getting down to work on a coble in need of some TLC, and is weblogging the job.
Apart from anything else, it provides some interesting views of the structure of these fascinating craft.
The hoveller fishing boat used by Cromer’s legendary lifeboat coxswain Henry Blogg this week arrived at Stalham for restoration by volunteers working with the Museum of the Broads, Stalham.
Old Henry was heavily decorated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and like all RNLI lifeboatman was a volunteer – he made his living catching the famous Cromer crabs.
The hoveller fishing boat differs from other fishing boats as it had a small deck at the bows enabling the fishermen to carry a small stove to boil water and make tea – which is of course essential for any boat belonging to Englishman, particularly if they’re working on the cold North Sea.
The boat is named the QJ&J – Queenie, Jack and Jim – and was named after Henry’s family members.
There have been a number of attempts over the years to save the historically important boat made from ash, larch and oak. Sadly, by the time it reached the museum, the stern was too bad to restore.
The plan is to restore the bow and return her to her Cromer home for exhibition next year.