Tag Archives: Rowing boat

Pathé film of the Thames postman, 1933

In 1933, Mr Evans the River Thames postman delivers letters to the boats and ships moored on the Thames near Tower Bridge, London.

My thanks to Griselda Mussett for alerting me to this gem.

Row St Kilda to Skye – 100 miles of very hard work

Row St Kilda to Skye

These folks’ project is to row the 100 mile distance from St Kilda – a remote island that was abandoned in 1930 – to the Isle of Skye in a boat that was built in around 1890, and which hasn’t been used since 1913.

The legend says that on that occasion a visiting lady had missed the scheduled steamer, and the boat was used to row her to meet the same steamer at a later stop at Stromeferry – and ever since that day, it has hung in the rafters of a boathouse.

Before she makes her first big outing for more than a century, however, she is being restored to her former glory.

The trip itself will be very weather-dependant: it will need a big high to calm the Atlantic seas to make it possible to row to Portree via the sound of Harris, around the top of Rhuba Hunish, down the sound of Raasay, past the Black Rock and into Portree harbour. There will be four crew members rowing at any time, each with one wooden hollow sculled oar and a fixed wooden seat, and a coxswain whose jobs will be keeping time, navigating, and bailing – out water! Another four rowers will be on a support vessel, and the two teams will change over at intervals.

The group is training – it has no previous rowing experience – and expects to be rowing for anything between 38 and 48 hours. Apparently, they expect blisters, back pain, sleep deprivation, exhaustion and a certain amount of chafing from the wooden seats… I guess long-distance rowers with some experience might well be able to offer them some useful advice.

There’s a charity dimension to the project also; money raised is to go to the RNLI and Skye & Lochalsh Young Carers.

Read all about Row St Kilda to Skye here.

PS Canoe and lute builder, Phil Bolger boat builder and astronomer and Bill Samson suggests has pointed out that some time ago the BBC Alba screened a TV programme about two women from the Stornoway Canoe Club on the Isle of Lewis, Dolina Swanson and Christine Stewart, recreating a 1965 canoe journey by Hamish and Anne Gow.

The Gows became the first kayakers to make the treacherous 40-plus mile sea journey from the Western Isles to the mystical islands of St Kilda.

Lewis boat builder Angus Smith re-create the original plywood and canvas Clyde double kayak – for the trip… See the BBC’s page of information, a clip and photos here. Thanks Bill!

News about the Julie skiff design

A Julie skiff has been built in Russia from the free plans available on this website. It’s pretty close the the plans, though the builder left off the corner pieces at the stern and decided against the neat draining foredeck I’d intended as a good place to put a small anchor and line, or a painter. Oh well…

I know nothing of the language, but the chap seems pretty positive about it all! See the boat in action here:

Also, Mick Webb in Queensland, Australia, has started building a Julie using a more traditional strongback-and–frames approach. Photos of his frames are below.

I think the result will be rather appealing – I have a set of frame heights, if anyone wants to build a Julie skiff in the same way.

Free plans for building a stitch and glue Julie skiff are available from the Plans page of this website.

BBA student constructs clinker-built Lawton tender

Boat Building Academy long course student George McKimm built a 10ft clinker rowing boat using the plans for the Lawton tender in John Gardner’s book Building Small Classic Craft: Complete Plans and Instructions for 47 Boats, and launched her at the BBA’s December student launch.

The trip from the shed to the water was not the first journey this little rowing boat had made – back in October she travelled by motorway to the Marylebone Road in Central London, where she stood in the gateway of the John Soane church One Marylebone as part of the design and craft fair MADE London.

She was admired by hundreds of people who visited the fair and was said by some to be one of the best exhibits there.

The little boat is named Murron, which is Gaelic for ‘from the sea’ or ‘white sea’, depending on your source, and is planked in khaya mahogany on oak ribs.

Before enrolling on the Academy’s 38 week course, George from Renfrewshire worked as a self employed builder, mainly renovating homes. He has also worked in New Zealand re-fitting boats and as a fabricator for Princess Yachts.

George chose the plans for the tender developed by US boat builder Charles Lawton and recorded by Gardner because it was a small, useable boat that he could build in a traditional way, and which would enable him to develop his woodworking skills. Read about Gardner and Lawton here.

With just a few minor changes – George added extra knees and two rubbing strips – Murron was built in 12 weeks.

George, who has now returned to Scotland, looks forward to starting a new career in the marine industry, and says that: ‘Homes are too square – boats are rounded and much more interesting!’

Martin Lammers helped George with parts of the build as well as helping other students with their build projects.

Martin has been involved in the marine industry since he left school, when he started out as delivery and deck crew on luxury yachts in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

He has also sailed and raced on a range of racing and classic yachts and before joining the Academy completed a BEng in Yacht Powercraft Design at Southampton Solent University.

Martin joined the BBA course with the aim of gaining practical boat building skills to combine with his knowledge of design; his dream being to work in a yard where he would be involved in the both designing and building of boats.

He plans to start his boat building career shortly with a job at Rustler Yachts in Falmouth.

(I’d add that his little boat makes an interesting comparison with the strip-built tenders built to the Lawton lines that you see around the Internet – and that Gardner’s book Building Classic Small Craft is well worth picking up, especially at it’s current price of about £11 from some sources. His other books of boat building plans and history are well worth having too.)

Adam Newton completes and sells his elegant little rower

Adam Newton of the Boatyard at Beer tells me that elegant new rowing boat he’s been working on is now complete and has been sold to a happy customer from Plymouth.

I gather the new owner plans to take her to the Beale Park Boat Show next year to demonstrate some adjustable rowlocks he’s designing. Now that sounds interesting…

 

 

St Ayles skiffs in rough sea

Skiffies in rough sea

It’s likely an illusion, but it seems that there’s always seems to be someone having more fun than I am. A day or two ago it was that Chris Partridge going rowing when he should have been working, and today, as I munch my calorie-controlled lunch, its the Scottish Coastal Rowing types at Portobello launching their community built St Ayles skiffs into as much surf as they dare.

Do take a look at their gallery for some more superb shots.

Now I’d better break off to get back to half-heartedly chewing my microwaved carrots.