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!