Pembrookshire based Bill Dowell is clearly a devoted chap: he’s a man who enjoys restoring and maintaining clinker-built boats, and has a particular interest in Redwing sailing dinghies, designed by Uffa Fox for racing on the open sea.
The latest object of his attentions is Nanw, a strongly built 15ft rowing and outboard dinghy built at Penarth some decades ago, and which remained in the Pembrokeshire area.
Bill believes she was used in the making of the Robin Hood movie starring Russell Crowe, which included scenes shot at Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire during the summer of 2009.
He runs a weblog about his exploits with the small clinker hulls (which I intend to follow), and another about cruising his Finesse 24.
Pilot cutter exponent Luke Powell is getting together a project to rescue and rebuild the 1868 109ft merchant schooner Rhoda Mary, which has lain on mud at Hoo on the Medway for many decades.
She was financed by the old 64-share system in which communities shared in the profits of building a ship, and built near Falmouth in Cornwall by a shipyard owned by John Stephens of Devoran, and designed by William Foreman Ferris.
The plan is to salvage the vessel this spring and move her to Cornwall, where the work will begin.
Author, researchwer and director of the National Maritime Museum Basil Greenhill said that: ‘This vessel, a relatively large schooner of 130 tons gross, was to be famous for her speed along all the west coast of England as long as she remained afloat. Her speed came from her narrow beam, for she was less than twenty-two feet wide, from her fine run and her raked and flaring clipper bow. She had a rake on her stem of over twenty degrees. The Rhoda Mary was a work of some genius.’
I think it sounds like a great idea. Read more here, here and here.
The hoveller fishing boat used by Cromer’s legendary lifeboat coxswain Henry Blogg this week arrived at Stalham for restoration by volunteers working with the Museum of the Broads, Stalham.
Old Henry was heavily decorated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and like all RNLI lifeboatman was a volunteer – he made his living catching the famous Cromer crabs.
The hoveller fishing boat differs from other fishing boats as it had a small deck at the bows enabling the fishermen to carry a small stove to boil water and make tea – which is of course essential for any boat belonging to Englishman, particularly if they’re working on the cold North Sea.
The boat is named the QJ&J – Queenie, Jack and Jim – and was named after Henry’s family members.
There have been a number of attempts over the years to save the historically important boat made from ash, larch and oak. Sadly, by the time it reached the museum, the stern was too bad to restore.
The plan is to restore the bow and return her to her Cromer home for exhibition next year.