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Kipling’s The Bell Buoy

I adore bell buoys. There’s several somethings about slinking past a bell buoy in a sailing boat… something cheering, something timeless, and something that reminds me of all the people living and dead who have passed that way before, including those who perished nearby.

Here Tom Cunliffe reveals that Kipling has a completely different and rather original take on them.

Bell buoy 2

Arthur Beale’s talk: the history of Whitstable block and yacht fittings maker Barton Marine

RSJ Barton Ltd of Whitstable

The history of East Coast block makers Barton Marine of Whitstable is the subject of next month’s talk at Arthur Beale Yacht Chandlers in Shaftsbury Avenue, London, from 6:45pm on Thursday the 5th March 2015.

The talk is to be presented by  Barton Marine sales manager Christian Brewer.

Barton Marine is well known for making blocks. The company was established as RSJ Barton in 1948 by Whitstable shipwright and boat builder Ron Barton, who was was one of the first to use the fabric-based laminated plastic known as Tufnol, and also one of the first to use stainless steel to make blocks for yachting that were much lighter and stronger than previously achievable.

In the 1960s the introduction of glass reinforced plastic boats brought sailing to a larger audience, and demand for Barton’s lightweight and cost effective products continued to grow.

Ron realised that Tufnol was labour-intensive and therefore costly – so set about re-designing the entire Barton product range to become the first marine company to use a new plastic injection moulding process using revolutionary fibre glass-reinforced plastic materials.

It should prove to be a fascinating tale, and there are rumours that there may be some interesting East Coast marine engineers in the audience.

Book a place by emailing: talks@arthurbeale.co.uk

The entry fee is £5.00 – but you’ll get their money back if you make a shop purchase to the value of £15.00 or more. Attendees will also get a special discount voucher to use when purchasing Barton Products from Arthur Beale’s.


Down the Wild Owyhee, with Prince Helfrich

This is Prince Helfrich, a pioneering river runner, leading an expedition down the Owyhee River in the mid-sixties.

My thanks to reader John Ost of Portland, Oregon, for the tip-off. John tells me he has made the same trip with his wife and friends in his drift boat several times – he does it as the river is dropping and is clearer than it was when this film was made.

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