Tag Archives: boatbuilders

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!

 

Stirling & Son refurbish a Norwegian rescue vessel

JMJ80ft Norwegian search and rescue vessel, JMJ, is on the Stirling & Son slip for a two-year restoration in readiness for cruising and expeditions in the Arctic.

She was the first fully motorised rescue vessel operated by the Norwegian rescue service (Det Norske Redningselskapet) and worked from 1949 to 1978, during which time she saved more than 100 lives.  1949 seems very late for the Norwegians to launch their first motor-only rescue craft, but I guess that may reflect a deep affection for the Colin Archer type…

Oh, and Will Stirling has just qualified as a marine surveyor through the Lloyd’s Maritime Academy, with an average mark of 92 per cent! Congratulations Will!

Stirling and Son is at Devonport and Tavistock – see the company’s website here.

The year at HJ Mears of Seaton, Devon

Alex and Paul Mears of the long established Seaton, Devon boatyard HJ Mears have written to tell us about their year. Follow the link for some history, boats for sale (including a nice small yacht… ) and some nice photos among other things.

‘We’ve been fortunate to have had a rather hectic year; so I thought I’d update you and your readers on some of our projects.

‘The first one to be completed earlier in the year was our 25ft clinker launch Tarka.

Her owner has had a cracking season exploring the river Dart and going further afield. She is certainly distinctive among the GRP of modern day marinas – and is ven distinctive when set among other wooden boats. Mears builds traditional clinker boats that are strong enough for beach launching day after day, and also very seaworthy. Beamy, strong and very capable, they can provide a versatile platform for a lifetime of boating.

The next completion was, dare I say it here, a Cygnus 21ft GRP fishing boat for a local single-handed fishermen in Axmouth Harbour- in the photo she is in the background, while in the foreground is one of our 16ft Beer lugger launches from the 1980s.

We had a lovely surprise when one of our 10ft clinker dinghies from the 1940s turned up for restoration.

She needed several planks (the elm was difficult to source!) and ribs, then a full strip down and finish. The owner was delighted how she was brought back to life at a approximate age of 70 years!

We then had a full restoration on a local 19ft GRP fishing boat. She arrived in an awful state but is now back out fishing safely with many more years service to clock up.

One of our current jobs is to pop a tidy little Beta engine in a boat we built in the 1960s. This will give her a new lease of life and offer the owner peace of mind.

We have a variety of jobs in the pipeline including one of our 16ft clinker launches suitable for use as a Beer lugger. She is at her most beautiful stage where the planking and ribs are all visible, the next stage is the strengthening structure.

Wishing all your readers a great Christmas and a prosperous 2016!

Alex and Paul’