Category Archives: wooden boat

Stand by for the May/June issue of Water Craft magazine due in a few days

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water craft, magazine, pete greenfield, boatbuilding, methods, techniques, wooden boats, plywood boats, boat plans, articles, photos

The May/June issue of Water Craft magazine is about to come out, and editor Peter Greenfield has sent us his customary preview. Here’s what he says:

‘April, moaned Mr Eliot, is the cruellest month. Obviously, he also had suffered the seemingly interminable wait for the weather to warm up enough for varnishing the gunwale. What to do while you’re waiting? Well, the new Water Craft is out on the 22nd, with…

Two French connections: last year, Tim O’Connor loaded his elegant Oughtred Acorn on the car roofrack, hitched up the caravan and went sailing the lakes of Limousin. And much more recently, in March in fact, Kathy Mansfield caught the Eurostar for a long-planned visit to the amateur boatbuilders of Nautique Sevres, near Paris.

Back in Dorset, professional wooden boatbuilder Gail McGarva builds Cornish pilot gigs and in the first of a two-part series, she explains not only how but why. However, If a 32ft (9.8m) clinker rowing skiff is a tad too ambitious for you, see Paul Gartside’s complete plans for a 12’ (3.7m) outboard skiff. Clinker too challenging? Build the hard-chine flat-bottom pocket cruiser called the Stevenson Weekender, like Jeremy White. Or you could go to boatbuilding college, like Lars Herfeldt from Berlin who learned to build a Petersson Runabout at Lyme Regis.

Still too wintry? Time to read designer Andrew Wolstenholme’s report from Dusseldorf on the latest in electric propulsion… And designer Paul Fisher’s description of his new Felix electric launch… And designer Matt Newland’s introduction to the Bayraider 17, which he hopes to exhibit at the Beale Park Boat Show, 4-6 June. Where you’ll also find Water Craft, together with a St Ayles Skiff – see W79 – and one of Gail’s gigs.

Finally, it must be warm enough now! Time for a varnishing workshop with master boatbuilder Colin Henwood

It’s particularly good to see the Home Built Boat Rally group’s Tim O’Connor getting a mention, and also Lars Herfeldt – see photos of the the launch of his handsome gentleman’s runabout here.

You will be able to find the May/June 2010 issue in good UK newsagents from the 22nd April – this website will find you a newsagent stocking the magazine. Alternatively, buy a subscription here and support both Water Craft and at the same time.


The effort to take Victorian racing cutter Leila back to sea needs money and help

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great yarmouth, leila, racing, repair, restoration, smack, southwold, victorian yacht, wooden boat, yacht

great yarmouth, leila, racing, repair, restoration, smack, southwold, victorian yacht, wooden boat, yacht great yarmouth, leila, racing, repair, restoration, smack, southwold, victorian yacht, wooden boat, yacht

Leila needs more repair work than expected

A group caring for a rare National Historic Ships Register-listed 42ft Victorian racing cutter at Southwold are urgently appealing for more manpower and financial help.

Leila was built at Charlton, London in 1892. She’s a striking and unusual yacht: above the waterline she looks very much like a smack, but below the waterline she’s clearly a racing yacht with an impressive 8ft deep keel.

In her early years sailed with the Royal Temple Yacht Club at Ramsgate, and won the Round Britain Race in 1904. From 1961 until a few years ago she was kept at Fisher’s Quay, Great Yarmouth.

When restored and brought up to the relevant Coastguard standards, she will be used for sail training local youngsters, and will again operate from Fisher’s Quay. I hope to visit this weekend and take some more photos.

The Leila Trust has so far raised £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £2000 from the National Maritime Museum and £40,000 from private donations – but are now having to appeal for an extra £30,000 after finding unexpected areas of rot in the hull that have been caused by leaks around iron fittings around the forward beam shelves.

To find out more, and to offer help etc, contact the Leila Trust via their website:

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‘Dreg songs’ of the Firth of Forth oyster fishery – an appeal for information

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Song collector James Madison Carpenter shanties, sea songs

Song collector Carpenter recorded songs from the Firth of Forth oyster fishery

Folklorist and shanty expert Bob Walser has put out an appeal for information about the old Firth of Forth oyster fishing – can anyone help him please?

Bob is engaged in what must be one of the most enviable jobs I can imagine – research the material collected by the USA collector James Madison Carpenter, who recorded a large amount of material in the UK.

‘I wonder if you could help me locate imagesor descriptions of the boats, dredges, methods etc of the Firth of Forth oyster fishery – woodcuts, paintings, photos of reproduction boats – etc. Anything at all!

‘I’m trying to get an idea of how the fishing was done in the 18th and 19th centuries: how many men per boat, dredging under sail or oars, single dredge or more, what shape were the dredges, how were the oysters etc?

‘The oyster dredgers in the Firth of Forth in years gone by sang what are called ‘dreg songs’, which seem to have been particular – perhaps unique – to that fishery. There are several recordings of these songs in the James Madison Carpenter Collection and I am trying to better understand how they functioned: how was the work done and how were the songs used?

‘I hope to use this information in the notes to the songs in the critical edition of the collection when it is published and perhaps in presentations or academic papers exploring this song tradition. I’d also like at some time to ‘bring the songs home’ to Fisherrow and Cockenzie where Carpenter recorded them – but for now that’s a dream… ‘

Thanks Bob – I’ve looked and found nothing on this particular fishery in any of the standard works I possess – the Chatham Directory, The Working Boats of Britain, Beach Boats of Britain or Traditional Fishing Boats of Britain and Ireland – but I wonder whether the boats used were like the small creel boats that used to be employed in the area?

Can anyone help please?

For an earlier post on Carpenter’s work, click here.

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