Tag Archives: Ben Crawshaw

Ben Crawshaw’s book Catalan Castaway gets a splendid review from the Dinghy Cruising Association newsletter

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Light Trow sailor Ben Crawshaw’s book Catalan Castaway published by the excellent Lodestar Books has just received splendid reviews from not one but two writers in the latest edition of the Dinghy Cruising Association’s quarterly journal.

I must say I’m delighted – recognition for Ben and his book has been slow, so it’s great to see this glowing endorsement of his book.

Paul Constantine sums up Ben’s story like this:

‘Ben, with no previous building experience, builds the first 15ft 4ins Light Trow, Onawind Blue, from free online plans drawn by Gavin Atkin.

‘He sails it from an open beach on the Costa Brava and learns from experience. His love of his boat, the sea and solitude is dripping from every page… there are few dinghy cruisers more deserving of recognition than Ben.’

I don’t know Paul that I can remember, but I have had dealings with Keith Muscott over the years, and he’s a knowledgeable, experienced chap, who is unlikely to be won over without reason. Here, then, is a quotation from his review:

‘… I am sure that this book will find its way into the sailing canon eventually, where this young man’s love of life and his enthusiasm for recording his ideas, his experience and his practical achievements will always mark him out as a true individual – whether they be photographs of his beautifully presented meals, or well crafted boat parts, or written records of wonderful days spend at sea.’

See the review here. Read a sample of Ben’s book here.

PS – This may be the right moment to link to a charming illustrated article published by Duckworks Magazine about another of my designs, the easy and simple MicroMouse paddler. It was written by Mouseboat enthusiast Josh Withe, and, fittingly for a little paddler designed for small people, it’s in the style of a children’s story: Seagull the Mouseboat.

 

Ben Crawshaw sails the Ella skiff

Ben Crawshaw sailing Ella skiff

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Theinvisibleworkshop weblogger, writer and small boat sailor Ben Crawshaw has been sailing the sailing version of the Ella skiff off the coast of Catalonia – and I am delighted by the review he has posted.

The boat’s builders call the boat El•la – a point that won’t be lost on my own daughter, who is named Ella.

Read Ben’s piece at Theinvisibleworkshop here.

I’m delighted that he was able enjoy such a nice day of sailing with his daughter Yoeh, and I’m thrilled that my simple little boat designed lived up to his expectations.  Yes, here’s a set of boat plans that are free and which produce a little boat that works as I’d planned and hoped.

Here’s the gist of what he had to say about my little sailing skiff design:

‘… I turned to wave to a small send-off party then re-trimmed the sail to go broad and tootle along just 200 metres off the shore… Ella was already well into her stride as we were still sorting out our seating arrangements.

‘The GPS registered a healthy 3 knots… the wind came up and white caps began to appear. The breeze settled at a solid 10 knots, causing us no great problem but raising our speed a knot…

‘The boat had already shown herself to be well balanced, with a light tiller and a touch of weather helm but I was impressed at how high she pointed to windward. She was wet, though, with the moderate breeze and chop and would have liked a reef. I tacked carefully and she came round well… Sailing dead down wind with the daggerboard raised Ella became unstable and ached to gybe but by lowering the board a tad and turning slightly to windward she regained posture.

‘Ella was not designed for these open sea conditions but like Onawind Blue [Ben’s Light Trow] she behaved well with the decent breeze and short sea… ‘

Many thanks for the report Ben!

Plans for the Ella skiff – both the rowing and the sailing version with a snug standing lug rig – are available from the plans page here at intheboatshed.net.

PS – Since this post first went up, Ben has put up two more posts about the Catalonian Ella skiff, one showing details of the boat as built (I very much like the scheme for stowing spars by the way), and another about a day when the El•la and Ben’s Light Trow Onawind Blue were unexpectedly able to sail in company. This one includes some wonderful photos, including the two shots I’ve pasted below. Please take a moment to see Ben’s posts, and leave a comment: Ella details and Goodbye to Ella.

Ella skiff off the coast of Catalonia Ella skiff and Light Trow Onwind Blue

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A sailing Ella skiff in Catalonia

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Catalonia-based writer and sailor Ben Crawshaw (of Light Trow fame and theinvisibleworkshop) has got in touch to say that together with friends a chap called Bosco has built this example of the sailing version of the my 12ft flat bottomed Ella skiff design in his area – so far, Ben has only managed to photograph the boat but plans to sail it soon.

I had no idea – and my jaw dropped when I heard about it, and then sagged even more when I looked at the shots. (Click on them to see a much larger image, by the way.)

Folks are telling Ben that the little boat sails well, but I will of course be very interested in his verdict.

The photo shows that she has been built pretty robustly in the local style, but I can’t say I’m complaining! She looks great to me. Plans for the Ella skiff are here.