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Mouseboats at Port Aransas

Boats and boating are such a blessed relief from the woes and divisions of the world. So an email from Gerard Mittelstaedt about a bunch of kids building Mouseboats at Farley Boat Works at Port Aransas, Texas (it’s not far from Corpus Christi) had me grinning from ear to ear, as emails like this /always/ do. Thanks Gerard!

The Mouseboat design they used was the flat-bottomed Mini-mouse, which may now be the most popular version. Here’s what Gerard says about the project:

‘It was great fun. My wife, Mona, and I assisted… It was a 180 mile drive from our home in McAllen, Texas to do this… and well worth it. I’ve put a web page up celebrating the event.

‘A good time was had by all and the launching was very celebratory.

‘Mona, a retired teacher of the very young, noted that the children participating were amazingly well behavedand managed to finish and enjoy the project and the launch. It was amazing how well the children took to water… like little ducklings paddling along with great joy.’

If you’re in the area or can be, two youth boat building sessions at Farley Boat Works are scheduled for Summer 2017.

For Mouseboat plans, see the plans page here on Intheboatshed.net.

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.

Sheerness Dockyard Church wins lottery funding

Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust (SDPT) officials have won a £4.75m Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant to rescue and re-purpose the Grade II* listed former Dockyard Church at Sheerness, on the Isle of Sheppey. (Photos © Matthew Andrews)

To be specific, the trust has received a round 1 pass from HLF for a heritage enterprise grant, which unlocks £500,000 of development funding, with a further £4.2m becoming available on the successful completion of the development phase. Over the coming months the Trust will be appointing a professional team and embarking on
£200,000 of urgent works (joint-funded by Historic England and Heritage Lottery Fund) to secure the fabric of the building.

The aim is to repurpose the Dockyard Church to include a new enterprise centre (including facilities and support for young people starting businesses) and a permanent display space for one of the great wonders of British naval history, a vast model of Sheerness Dockyard created in the early 19th century and measuring 40ft square when fully assembled.

SDPT chair William Palin said the grant represented a great moment for the Dockyard Church. ‘This is a building which just a few years ago appeared to be on the brink of collapse, with no future and no hope, standing as a melancholy reminder of the changing fortunes of this once proud naval Dockyard and community. Now it will become the focus of major investment to restore its dignity and give it a new future at the heart of the life in the region. At the end of the project, its monumental classical portico will once
again give entry to a building bustling with life.’

Old boats, traditional boats, boat building, restoration, the sea and the North Kent Coast – Gavin Atkin's weblog