Tag Archives: beach boat

Yard news from HJ Mears: a new Beer lugger completed and a 16ft launch started

 

Alex Mears writes to say that November saw the completion of a new Beer lugger by Seaton company HJ Mears Boatbuilders.

She’s built in larch on oak, and has over 7ft beam on her 16ft length – so she’s very broad.

Alex says: ‘All of our boats are beamy because they are beach boats. To make the task of beach launching easier you want fairly flat bottomed, beamy boats with substantial bilge keels. Hence all of our boats fit this spec for the beaches around here – namely Beer, Seaton, Sidmouth, Branscombe and further afield.’

He reckons The red top strake on the new boat will help distinguish her during the close racing at Beer.

 

I asked whether she will win in the racing… ‘Well there are carvel boats, with larger sail sizes that in addition have a longer waterline length – so she could win, but only in handicap races. The Beer luggers are actually quite a wide ranging collection of boats and people, and Hannah will fit in happily somewhere amongt the fleet.’

‘It’s great to be adding to the fleet of Beer luggers and continuing the traditional boatbuilding in a traditional craft. We are lucky to have appreciative customers who ultimately keep the tradition going by paying our wages!

‘She will be moored at Lyme Regis and compete with the Beer Luggers on Monday nights during the summer.

‘The owner is someone who has followed our work for many years and previously owned a Ron Lavis built clinker boat. Ronb was an Exmouth boatbuilder who trained with my grandfather.

‘The appeal of the Beer lugger for this particular owner is the flexibility- he can sail her, he can fish from her, he can go potting for lobsters with her, or go for picnics on the beach, etc. She is multi purpose and the history of these boats has proved that strongly.’

The third boat is of the latest mahogany on oak Mears 16ft launch after ribbing. As Alex remarks, she’ll need a lot of riveting, but the ribbing was fun, as it always is.

PS – HJ Mears recently had a visit from local photographer Matt Austin, who took some stunning shots. If you’re on Facebook, check them out!

 

Sussex luggers ‘for all the world like so many glow-worms’

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South Coast lugger

South Coast lugger, from HC Folkard’s The Sailing Boat published in 1870

I’ve been wanting to share a quote from Keble Chatterton’s entertaining history Fore & Aft Craft that I find rings in my head.

I’m hoping that you’ll find a similar appeal in it.

‘We spoke just now of the Sussex luggers. They are still to be seen in the English Channel. One meets them at work in Dungeness Bay, or off Fairlight, or between Newhaven and Selsey Bill, and at night the sea is dotted with a pattern of small yellow lights, as they pursue their calling, looking at a distance for all the world like so many glow-worms.’

The Science Museum has a splendid model of one of these craft from 1860.

Photos of the traditional wooden clinker-built fleet of fishing boats at Hastings

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Quite a few of the traditional wooden clinker built boats survive among the beach-based fishing fleet at Hastings

These photos are part of a collection of shots I took of the beach boat fishing fleet at Hastings in the Easter Bank Holiday sunshine earlier this week. I’ll put up some more in the coming days.

Looking back, this is the first time I’ve photographed the boats in just over three years and I’m impressed that there seem to be almost as many of the traditional wooden clinker built beach boats as there were on my last visit. It’s particulary pleasing to see how many of the smaller boats are now being cared for and used by the local sea angling society, which seems to include some seriously hard working enthusiasts. Long may they prosper!

For more intheboatshed.net posts relating to Hastings and its fishing fleet, click here. I think you’ll find some interesting material.

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