Category Archives: Sailing boat

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.

The Fishing and Heritage Museum, Folkestone

We dropped into the Fishing and Heritage Museum at Folkestone at the weekend – it’s crammed with interesting objects such as boat models – but the best things the little museum has is a fine set of old photographs, and helpful volunteers ready to answer questions.

I was intrigued that so many models of fishing vessels were of boats that had been built in Cornwall. The answer, it turns out, is that Folkestone’s boats used to be beach boats launched off the beach and designed to land and be hauled up at the end of a trip – like many of those elsewhere along the South Coast. However, once the harbour was built in the early 19th Century a different type of boat was needed. Such vessels were not built locally and so Cornish boats were brought in.

Here are some favourites… Some brave lifeboatmen and fishermen, a grand old boy with his melodeon and dog, some models and a priceless bit of local weather lore.

Photos of cobles under sail from the Bridlington folks

These photos of cobles sailing shared by members of the Bridlington Sailing Coble Preservation Society are a delight. Cobles under sail have been a pretty rare sight for many decades and require particular skills – and I’ve seen only a fairly small number of photographs depicting them taken in the modern era.

Coble enthusiasts are looking forward to the town’s second Sailing Coble Festival on the 1st and 2nd July.

Facebookers might like to know that the society also has a Facebook page that has some very good photos.