Tag Archives: motor boat

Thunderbird – frighteningly expensive but a 2200hp twin-engined Art Deco beauty

Here are some more photos from my brother Matthew Atkin’s recent trip to Nevada and California.

Designed by John L Hacker, M/V Thunderbird was built by the Husking Boat and Motor Works and launched in July 1940.

She is 55ft long, and powered by twin WWII Allison V1710 aircraft engines that were previously fitted to a P-38 Lightning – and that adds up to 2200hp. Fuel consumption is 4US gallons per mile.

There’s nothing about this Art Deco-era vessel that doesn’t make me want to sit down and gawp. Keeping her in this wonderful condition must be a tremendous enterprise – she’s said to cost $5000 for every hour under way, all supported by public donations, so there seems little doubt that Hacker’s amazing Thunderbird is a deeply loved boat.

Read about Hacker-Craft here, and see a video of Thunderbird being launched for her 71st season here.

Beale Park Boat Show this weekend

Beale Park Boat Show 2 Beale Park Boat Show 1

The Beale Park Boat Show runs from this Friday to Sunday (7th – 9th June, 2013) at Lower Basildon in Berkshire.

The organisers say that this year’s event is looking good – exhibitor bookings are strong, there new attractions and visitor numbers are expected to be increased as children are now admitted free when accompanied by a full-paying adult.

The show is well known for its traditionally built craft, the Watercraft magazine competition for amateur boatbuilders and its race small boats powered by various cordless tools. There are also displays and demonstrations, free boat trips (subject to availability), and a ‘try a boat’ scheme operated by exhibitors and children’s activities.

The Historical Maritime Society will this year take to the show’s seven acre lake in a 23ft full-size replica of a frigate’s launch to perform evolutions under oars and sail.

On dry land, the re-enactors will return to their marquee to explain aspects of life at sea for the officers and men, and for the ladies at home; who will also be present at the show telling historical tales of what life was like back then.Visitors will have the chance to learn how crews were fed, what they drank, how ship to ship signalling worked and much more.

The Society also plans to show a WWII four-man commando canoe.

I hoping to make it along on the Friday – if I make it, I will certainly call on Lodestar Books publishers of new and neglected nautical writing, the Boat Building Academy, and the International Boatbuilding Training College.

Broadland Holiday 1954

I picked this up from the wonderful Broadland Memories – a site that’s well worth visiting for its wonderful collection of photos of the Norfolk Broads.

Does anyone know the story of Interlude?



Eighty-year-old Interlude built by Hornby in 1938 to a design by A H Comben is now the property of Steve Whittle, who saved her from destruction two years ago and now plans to get her back as close to her original condition as possible, and to take her up to Lake Windermere.

Once she’s there he intends to take groups on trips round the lake and its beauty s pots, stopping at hotels for lunch – and all in a 1930s style.

It sounds like a good wheeze to me! Steve hopes that this work will fund Interlude’s upkeep and make sure she’s around for at least another 80 years.

From a comment by a G Newstead on this post, it seems Interlude was the subject of a write up in the boating magazines when she was built, due to her design and speed. There also this tantalising entry on the National Archives website.

In the meantime she’s at Taylor’s Boatyard in Chester (the final photo above shows her being craned into the Shropshire Union Canal), and Steve would very much like to gather some more information, as up to now he has had little success in learning about Interlude’s story.

If you have anything to add, please send it to me at gmatkin@gmail.com, and I’ll forward it to Steve.

BBA students build a Wolstenholme-designed motor launch

Wolstenholme motor launch 3 photo A Blundy

Wolstenholme motor launch 4 photo A Blundy Wolstenholme motor launch 2 photo A Blundy Wolstenholme motor launch 1 photo A Blundy

Boat Building Academy students Phil Ambler and Mark Ashman built a cold-moulded Andrew Wolstenholme-designed open motor launch, which first went into the water at the December student launch day.

The original design was altered only slightly by fitting a 10hp Nanni diesel engine rather than electric motor specified by the designer, and this meant the design of the boat had to be changed slightly. However, the photos show the boat’s interior still has an open, spacey sort of feel.

Phil came to the academy as a student following a lifetime of sailing and a career as a GP in Oxfordshire. He first visited the academy in 2006 when his son was thinking of joining the long course, but after his son decided instead to go to university and retirement came close, Phil came to feeling that he would himself enjoy the BBA’s 38-week course.

Phil and his wife are now trying to decide where they will settle down, but his requirements for a new house now include a big workshop…

Mark, who was Phil’s main partner during the build of the motor launch, worked in the pub industry for 13 years before attending at the BBA. In his case, Mark found out about the academy when his partner, a teacher, visited a student who was on work experience at Lyme. Mark then decided on a dramatic change in lifestyle: he sold the pub at Sherborne and relocate to the Dorset coast to start a new career.

Matthew Atkin photographs the boats of Hong Kong

Boats of Hong Kong  Boats of Hong Kong

 Boats of Hong Kong  Boats of Hong Kong

Boats of Hong Kong  Boats of Hong Kong  Boats of Hong Kong

Boats of Hong Kong  Boats of Hong Kong Boats of Hong Kong

My photography enthusiast brother Matthew Atkin has been excelling himself lately – so here’s a new batch of his excellent shots of boats, this time from around Hong Kong.

It’s an amazing place. I have difficulty getting my head around the contrast between the anarchic and often ramshackle air of the fishing boats, traders and sampans on one hand, and the mind-numbing uniformity of the high rise blocks – to me it’s as if there are two completely different cultures, or even countries here. Thanks Matt!

Boats of Hong Kong Boats of Hong Kong


Matt Atkin’s photographs of the long-tailed working boats of Phuket, Thailand

Matt Atkin photograph of the boats of Phuket for intheboatshed.net

Matt Atkin photograph of the boats of Phuket for intheboatshed.net Matt Atkin photograph of the boats of Phuket for intheboatshed.net

Brother Matt Atkin has been on his travels again, this time to Thailand, and sent back this small collection of elegant long-tailed working boats on the island of Phuket.

Reua hang yao, as they are properly called, are powered by a road vehicle engine balanced over the stern; I’m curious that they appear to be overpowered with those big engines married to efficient displacement hulls. Still, those Thais will know what they are doing after using these craft for generations.

The bows of the boats are decorated with coloured scarves and other items that are believed to provide good luck and protection.

Thanks for the shots Matt! For more photos from my brother Matt, click here and follow the link to ‘older posts’.