Category Archives: Boating, boats, ships and the sea

News from the West Wales Maritime Heritage Society

West Wales Maritime Heritage Society member Brian King has been in touch to tell us about the society’s latest activities. Here’s what he says:

‘The society has been a bit quiet, our museum is open six days a week until the end of September, and behind the scenes we have been hard at work.

‘Our priority is to finish building our replica Tenby Lugger, Heritage, which was started by MITEC college in Milford Haven. We acquired the unfinished hull in July 2017, after the college ceased operations, and are currently working on the spars and auxiliary engine and are hoping to finish her in time for a naming event in Tenby in July.

‘We will use the lugger to take primary school children afloat as part of an education programme.

‘There were nearly 100 luggers in Tenby and ports all around, but after the steam trawlers came they were only used for tourist fishing and holidaymakers’ trips round the bay.

‘We are also building a copy of a local smaller fishing boat in the museum to demonstrate traditional tools and materials.

‘As well as maritime material, our museum also has displays of steam engines, models and local history.

‘The local scouts are building coracles in our shed. Each group will build their own and then combine for trips and competitions, and there is a programme for unemployed people to volunteer with us with the aim of improving their job prospects.

‘The Royal Naval Air Service armoured car was one of only 12 built on a Ford Model T chassis, and fought in Russia in 1916 and 17. It had a Maxim or a Vickers machine gun on the back.

‘It is not ours, but we show it because the owner does not have a display space. He bought in packing crates three years ago. The wheels and tyres are modern replacements, but most of the armour plates, engine etc is original. It is now roadworthy and will appear at Tankfest this summer.

‘We have 25 regular members, and always happy to welcome new recruits: specialist skills are not required, as there’s a lot to do painting boats and manning the museum.

‘Our Facebook page is West Wales Maritime Museum.’

Thanks Brian! Good luck with your great projects this year!

Regular readers may remember that Brian built a Barton skiff some years ago.

 

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Welcome Two at Conyer: can anyone provide information for a book about her illustrious owner?

East Coast Pilot author Dick Holness has been in touch with a question about these two photos taken at Conyer, just off the Swale off the North Kent coast – and I’m hoping that readers can help.

Here’s what he says:

Hi Gav:

An old contact of mine in the IT industry got in touch recently, she sails a modern boat down on the South Coast, and had found some photos of her uncle, Professor Alan Bishop.

He had a boat, Welcome II based at Conyer in the 1960s. Currently a book is being written about him to which she will be contributing, and one chapter is to reflect his sailing, which was also quite key to his work as he had monitoring equipment in the Thames estuary in preparation for the enginering work on the Thames Barrier.

She would really like to know if the boat still exists somewhere.

Her understanding is that her uncle bought the clinker hull after it had been used during WW2. He then got a cabin, new engine, centre board drop keel, ballast and rigging done at a boatyard.

She thinks the boat would have been in use by her uncle from around 1956 or earlier. It was painted light blue hull with cream cabin and deck, and had a gunter or gaff rig with sails the same red colour as a Thames sailing barge. She also remembers it was very heavy to raise the mainsail.

Kind regards, Dick

Dick suggests the boat looks like a cross between a harbour workboat and a Dauntless, and that the Dauntless yard might have done the conversion all those years ago.

If you have any information, please email me at gmatkin@gmail.com and I’ll pass the message on to Dick and his friend.

 

Kent boatbuilders construct replica 1940s class C hydroplane

 

North Kent based marine carpenter Kyle Abingdon reports that he and his parter have built this very striking 15ft6in 1940s class C  hydroplane from designer Bruce Crandall’s plans, and that she’s up for sale.

Here’s what he says:

‘She’s made out of Robbins Elite marine ply sheathed in biaxle cloth and epoxy and has Douglas fir for stringers, stem and keel with plywood web frames. 

‘We’ve given her a sapele deck, although the racing boats would not have had this. I couldn’t resist given the lovely barrel shape of the deck. Also she has a teak rubbing strakes. 

‘The stainless steel fin will help her turn when she’s up on the plane. 

‘She’s sitting on a new galvanised trailer.’

Drop me a line at gmatkin at gmail dot com and I’ll pass your enquiry on to him.

Looking at  this page about hydroplane classes in 1951 seems to suggest the maximum permitted engine capacity for this kind of hydroplane would have been about 2.9 litres – though the very thought of that big a lump makes a lump in my throat. Take care, Kyle – I think engines may be more powerful for their size these days!