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Here’s a set of free plans for an instant classic that’s just the thing to be seen in next summer. Yes, I know it’s made of that terrible ‘laminated wood’ that traditional boat enthusiasts profess to hate (even if they do use it for decking), and I know it isn’t a boat type that’s native to the UK, but if you’ve read Captain’s Courageous by Rudyard Kipling you might well see something good in it.
Paul Vandenbosch’s South Haven Dory is a great boat with elegant looks, goes like a train under oars and builds in almost no time. And I swear it’ll turn heads in any harbour or river around the UK. Cheap, but a classic for the connoisseur nevertheless…
South Haven Dory building instructions
Hard to believe but I guess it’s just Salcombe being Salcombe…
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The Watchet Boat Museum is one of my favourites. Just like Watchet itself, it goes its own way and hasn’t a hint of pretension, and I try to visit whenever I stay with my parents a few miles down the coast.
When I say WBM goes its own way, it really does – its exhibits include the wonderfully strange restored sailing flatner, turf boats and withy boats from the Somerset levels, and an astonishing mud horse used for collecting shellfish on the mudflats.
The site’s well worth a visit and includes no less than two potential Christmas presents: for the brave and for those who like to frame such things there are drawings for building a full-sized flatner, and for the more timid a set of plans for a model!
The old postcard shows a flatner off the coast at Burnham in 1905.
boat restoration; wooden boats; sail boats; turf boats; traditional boats