Tag Archives: boat designer

Bicentenary of Napoleon’s arrival at Elba – restaged using Peter Radclyffe boat

Napoleon arrives at Elba 2014

Yesterday the folks of Elba marked the day two centuries ago when Napoleon landed on the island to live in exile – and used boatbuilder and designer Peter Radclyffe’s newly built 6m gozzo La Grace for the purpose.

She’s a little high on her lines as she’s waiting for an engine and other things to be installed.

The local newspaper has stories and great photos here and here, and put up the YouTube video above. The pomp and style seems entirely in keeping, and I love the hats…

Peter’s Facebook page has photos of the boat, including these:

La Grace Gozzo La Grace 3  Gozzo La Grace 4

Percy Blandford – a nice obituary in a national newspaper

Percy Blandford obituary

The Daily Telegraph has this nice obituary for boat and canoe designer and DIY hero Percy Blandford.

‘Percy Blandford, who has died aged 101, was at the heart of the British do-it-yourself boom in the period of austerity that followed the Second World War… his blueprints for home-built craft allowed thousands of enthusiasts, who would otherwise have been unable to afford the experience, to get out on the water.’

My thanks to Blandford fan Chuck Leinweber of Duckworks Magazine for finding this one.

2013 Finesse meet scheduled for Stangate Creek, 24th May

Ivy May, a gaff rigged Finesse 21 - Swale 2012 - Nick Ardley Mariette, a gaff rigged Finesse 24 in Benfleet Creek - Nick Ardley.

The mate tickles Whimbrel's bottom... Nick's Finesse 24 on the hard. Nick's Whimbrel heeling well, sailing near Southend Pier - picture, Ian Kemp

Author and Thames Estuary sailor Nick Ardley tells me that Finesse yacht owners are planning a gathering for all sizes of the timber-built craft in the Medway area during the late May Bank Holiday weekend.

Finesse builder Alan Platt also built a few one-offs, and these are also welcome too.

The plan is to gather at Stangate Creek on the Friday, and then head up river on the Saturday morning to berth at Chatham Marina, where the events pontoon and marquee have been booked. An evening BBQ is planned.

Sunday is to be a dock day, with dispersal on the Monday 27th May. For details, contact
Nick using the email form at his website: www.nickardley.com.

Tides for the River Medway are a little after noon on the Friday, and the hope is that this will give East Coast boats an opportunity to attend – there is currently a growing fleet of Finesses in the Leigh and Canvey Island area, and another around the Swale and Medway’s creeks.

Some 12-13 owners are already expected, and one South Coast-based Finesse 21 owner has also indicated his intention to sail up and use the meet as an opportunity to explore the swatchways of the Thames Estuary.

Nick’s latest book Jottings of a Thames estuary Ditch-crawler contains a chapter about the Finesse yachts based on an interview with Alan Platt, that includes the story of Platt got his business started in a yard in Hadleigh Woods, by the side of the Thames Estuary.

I gather from Nick that the original Finesse 21 hull was designed by Laurie Harbottell, with a deck structure and fit out by Platt. The F21s were either gaff or bermuda rigged, sloops and cutters. All had centre plates and a shallow long keel.

The F24 was stretched out from the F21, and that there were no official drawings – it was all done by eye, Nick says the design works well.  [There's a boat designer's saying that almost all existing hull designs can be improved by simply making them 10 per cent longer, so this seems to make sense - Ed.]

The F24s were also gaff-rigged, but most were Bermudan sloops and cutters. They have a fairly deep long keel that makes them great ditch-crawlers, and many also had centre plates that take their draft to around 7ft when right down; however, some had plates and bilge keels or no plate and bilge keels…

Platt then built a F27, the Tugela. She was a one-off: following further demand for the larger boat, Alan asked another well designer, Maurice Griffiths, to re-design his F27 – and she came out as the F28. All of these were long keeled with no centre plate.

Nick tells me he’s had Whimbrel, F24 number 64, from her build in 1983/4 (she was launched in April 84) and has enjoyed her ever since – he believes his boat is the longest in same ownership, though there is apparently an F21 that has been in the same hands for even longer.

Many of the boats have been owned for lengthy periods: for example F24 number 1 has been in the same family since her build in 1969, and passed from father to son some years ago.

For more information about Finesses, see the Google Finesse forum and the brand new Finesse Owners Association website.

Pierhead painter Dominique Perotin’s portrait of newly built Victorian racing yacht Integrity

Integrity Painting

French pierhead painter Dominique Perotin has produced this portrait of the newly-built Victorian gentleman’s racing yacht Integrity – and it seems to me that she has joined the wonderful yacht’s growing legion of admirers. (Click on the link to see her website.)

Integrity was designed and built by traditional yacht builders and wooden boat repairers Stirling and Son of Tavistock, Devon and is listed for sale via the company website. There are also quite a few posts about her here at intheboatshed.netclick on this link and follow the trail of ‘older posts’ links to find them.

Integrity sailing 6

Integrity in flight

On the subject of Stirlings, boat builders sometimes get some funny commissions. Will Stirling and his colleagues have recently been building a pair of dinghy seats for a pub. I guess if a drinker feels wobbly some time, they can put it down to sitting in a boat, rather than blame the beer and wine…

Stirling & Son dinghy seat

A regatta to celebrate 100 years of the International 12 Foot Dinghy Class

World Cup Venice_2

Sylvia - built 1920 hanneke gilissen big

Main photo: the 2011 International 12 Foot World Cup racing at Venice, attracted over 100 entries from 10 (photo: James Robinson Taylor); Sylvia, built in Switzerland in the 1920s; recent Dutch championships (photo: Hanneke Gilissen)

West Kirby Sailing Club and the International 12 Foot Dinghy Class are expecting 30 or so boats to take part in a special regatta this summer to celebrate the centenary of the class’s first regatta in 1913.

There is information about the event here.

The first recorded regatta took place on the Marine Lake at West Kirby, Merseyside, on the 4th October 1913. The club had just taken delivery of a fleet of six 12 Foot Dinghies, and decided to publicise the class by inviting representatives of twelve sailing clubs from the north west of England to take part in an inaugural regatta.

The winner was Thunderer, which represented 12 Foot Dinghy designer George Cockshott’s own sailing club, the Southport Corinthians.

Cockshott himself was present and crewed in the boat representing Rhyl Sailing Club. One of the original 12 Footers, the recently restored Royal Oak, is still at West Kirby.

Elsewhere in the UK, a number of old boats are being restored for the event and several new boats are under construction.

This summer’s regatta takes place on on the 28th-30th June 2013. Most boats will be travelling from the Netherlands, but there will also be competitor boats from Germany, Switzerland, France and Ireland. Racing will take place on the Dee Estuary and on the Marine Lake – the scene of the 1913 event.

Several members of the Cockshott family will be present as guests.

The Merseyside club is also home to another of George Cockshott’s designs, the West Kirby Star class.

Voile-aviron sailing explained by Francois Vivier

Voile-aviron sailing explained by Francois Vivier

French boating guru and gifted designer Francois Vivier explains the history and principles of voile-aviron sailing. Even if you can’t follow the French too well, it looks like the best fun! There’s an English explanation here: Francois Vivier website.

My thanks to Brian Pearson for spotting this.

Photos from the Iain Oughtred boat weekend in Holland

Iain Oughtred Clan weekend Holland 2011 - photo by Gemma Toussaint

Iain Oughtred Clan weekend Holland 2011 - photo by Gemma Toussaint Iain Oughtred Clan weekend Holland 2011 - photo by Gemma Toussaint Iain Oughtred Clan weekend Holland 2011 - photo by Gemma Toussaint


These dreamy shots taken by Gemma Toussaint come from the Iain’s Clan Weekend, a meeting for builders and users of Iain Oughtred’s boats that organised earlier this month by Bert Van Baar of the De Bootbouwschool at Uitgeest, Holland.

Readers may be entertained by this short video by Frank VergeerHome Built Boat Rally members might even identify one ot personalities…

That black double-ender is a aluminium Tirrik built by Jachtwerf de Zeeg.

PS – While we’re on the subject of Oughtred boats, a few days ago Man on the River Giacomo de Stefano and pals made it across the Channel in their Oughtred Ness Yawl and made a nice short film about it.