Category Archives: wooden boat

Cambria delivers her final cargo, as told by mate Dick Durham

Dick Durham was Bob Robert’s 18-year old mate when the Cambria delivered its last cargo to the port at Felixstowe. Read his piece about it on the Classic Boat website.

‘Felixstowe was the first container port in the country when it opened half a century ago and yet, as the great cranes were being built, I was aboard the vessel delivering the port’s last freight under sail.

‘Standing on the mast-deck of the 91ft Thames Sailing Barge Cambria, as the narrow dock entrance neared, was the 18-year-old mate, myself, anxiously awaiting the order to stow sail. At the wheel was the 63-year-old skipper, Bob Roberts, carefully judging the ebb which was running across the mouth of the dock entrance.

‘Cambria was already long out of her time: other sailing barges had been converted to power, houseboats or yachts, while the majority had been hulked in lonely creeks. So a crowd of bystanders had gathered to watch us sail in. This did not help my growing nervous tension. There was even a young mother who turned her pram to face the water so baby could watch, too. “Come on, Bob,” I said under my breath, “give the order.” Read more…

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North Landing, Flamborough, 1933

Here’s some stunning footage of fishing cobles around Flamborough Head, including fishermen bringing in their daily catch, and climmers collecting birds eggs from the Bempton cliffs.

Cute old motor launch for sale

A chap called Ron has been in touch to ask if I could help advertise his sweet little motor launch, which is for sale. He believes it was built by Brooke Marine between the wars and says that it is in excellent condition.

He’s sentimental about the boat, which his father bought before he was born, so he’s keen that it should go to a suitable home, where it will be cared for. From the right buyer, he would accept a reasonable offer. If you’re interested, email me at gmatkin@gmail.com and I’ll pass your message on to him. The boat is at Chester.

Here’s what Ron says:

‘She is as sound as when she was re-built back in the 50s and though she’s not a ‘name’ make like Andrews or Riva, she’s unique. I’m getting on now, but the main reason for having to let her go is that the Council here in Chester have rendered it impossible to park the trailer/car at the launch slipway.

‘I hope you’ll agree with me in that she’s a lovely old boat and worth preserving. She is largely planked with British Honduras mahogany, with decks of African mahogany with meranti on the bottom.

‘She has a Robin Reliant 850cc with the gear box converted to give direct forward and almost direct reverse, and with original clutch. I still have the drawings.

‘I have three spare Reliant engines for parts.

‘Where the original circulating pump was a Jabsco now pumps fresh water into the the exhaust for cooling and silencing.  When on the river one can chat without having to shout and from the banks she one can only hear the wash.’