Category Archives: Working boats

More on Blue Moon

Blue Moon

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The original Blue Moon, Thomas Gillmer’s own boat to the design, is now in the collection of the Seattle Center for Wooden Boats.

However, for many years she belonged to my friend Mike Goodwin. Whenever he writes about her, there’s always a hint of regret that lets you know he misses her still. When you see his pictures, you may begin to see why.

Blue Moon was designed by naval architect and author Tom Gillmer for his own use in about 1950, and was built in Norway in 1954.
She’s 23ft on deck, and displaces 9000lbs.

Gillmer based her design on the Falmouth quay punt of the 1880s. These boats, which were 20 to 30 feet long, with a long keel, a low mast, and a long gaff, were built for use as a kind of water taxi, carrying people and goods to and from ships off the port of Falmouth, and were reckoned to be fast and seaworthy.

Center for Wooden Boats (check their boats for sale page, btw, if you like Bill Garden’s more nostalgic-looking boats):

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Will Stirling at Morewellham

Cutters & Smuggling Luggers Cutters & Smuggling Luggers Cutters & Smuggling Luggers

Cutters & Smuggling Luggers Cutters & Smuggling Luggers Cutters & Smuggling Luggers
Stirling & Son

Will Stirling is fascinated by the boats of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Small boats of this era have no equal in beauty, he says: the bluff shapes of the 18th century had become finer for speed, while the deep sections, firm beam and strong forefoot speak of a good grip in the water and lots of stability to stand up to a large rig.

Since early September Will has been building the lugger Alert at Morewellham in Cornwall, with reference to plans he has studied at the Science Museum, the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich and at Exeter University, where he is also doing a part-time MA in Maritime History.

Alert has clinker planking, a lute stern, and typically bold curves that make the transition from buoyant hull above water to a fine entry, long keel and smooth run aft below. With 80 square foot of canvas per ton displacement, Will says she’ll be a powerful little vessel.

Will’s site includes some excellent reading, and his photo gallery is a treat. I’ll be coming back time and again over the next few months to follow his progress with this project.

Will also makes and sells clinker rowing dinghies at a cost of £220 per foot, including leathered sweeps, a choice between thole pins or rowlocks, a ring-bolt through stem and stern post and removable sole boards.


Details of the Beale Park Thames Boat Show 2007

Beale Park Boat Show

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Details of the Beale Park Thames Boat Show 2007 are now on-line here:

We’re promised boats ranging from dinghies and dayboats to cruisers and narrowboats, traditional boatbuilding crafts, free river trips and and opportunities to try out a range of boats.

In fact it sounds just like previous Beale Park Boat Shows – and if it is like them, it’ll be an interesting, busy and entertaining day out. The picture tells you what to expect, I’m quite sure!

Just to give you a foretaste, here is a handful of links to exhibitors that might interest readers of

Churchhouse Boats:
Henwood & Dean:

International Boatbuilding Training College:

James Wharram:

Kittiwake Boats:

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