Mobile boat restorer, repairman and sailing instructor Simon Papendick’s weblog shows him restoring a Fox & Son of Ipswich motor launch originally built around the 1960s. See the photos here. To see earlier posts relating to Simon’s projects, go here and click through the ‘earlier posts’ links.
Mark Harvey has pointed out this great weblog about The Norfolk Broads by Steve Silk, the author of a guide to the Wherryman’s Way long distance footpath.
It’s not exclusively a boating weblog, but it is about a favourite sailing area, and it is beautifully done. Try these posts for a sample: Thurne Dyke: Albion by accident; Burgh St Peter: a new ferry for the Burgh Bulge; Bixley: the unloved St Wandregesilius.
Claudia Myatt is a talented and highly effective maritime artist who knows how to conjure up a form in a few sweet lines – see some samples of her work here.
Her site also has a nice download of traditional boat drawings for kids to colour-in, which might provide some entertainment for children shut in due to all the bad weather we’ve been having.
Claudia has drawn up her six top tips for drawing and painting boats and ships. They sound like they could make all the difference to those of you draw well enough to find the experience rewarding – and if you do I can’t tell you how envious I am!
My thanks to regular intheboatshed.net reader and contributor Paul Mullings for leading me to this one.
Gavin and Stacey at the Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club
Round Britain sailing canoeist Gavin Millar has reached Amble in Northumberland – progress that amounts to something like a third of the distance he hoped to cover in about half the time the time he has available.
In the worst summer weather I can recall, his progress seems to me to be nothing short of wonderful, and I’m quite sure that he’s succeeding in one of his key aims, to demonstrate the abilities of the sailing canoe.
For one thing, I know he’ll be giving quite a few dinghy and small yacht sailors cause to stop and think about whether their boating approach is the right one for the location, available time and budget.
Readers who would like to know a little more about the fascinating 150-year history of cruising by sailing canoe in the UK, a good place to start is Gavin’s website, which includes a page on just this topic.
But the weather conditions must be wildly frustrating for the man himself. He must so wish he’d done it last year or next.
But talking with him, you quickly get an impression of a man with a very considered approach to life. I imagine his daily routine must involved a certain amount of something close to meditation, and his weblog post of yesterday has exactly that quality as he considers his options as the time available to complete his voyage runs a little short:
‘I’ve decided to press on and to get as far as I can. And if I don’t complete the entire route then I’ll return to finish it at a later date. I’ve also been reminding myself of some of the reasons why I have chosen to make this voyage in a sailing canoe. These include not only the challenge itself but also the opportunity to explore the very varied and often stunningly beautiful British coastline in a way that’s often not possible in a yacht and sometimes not possible by sailing dinghy. The closeness to the physical experience, the ability to land on a wide variety of beaches and to get up close to headlands, cliffs and to some isolated and little visited parts of our coast are some of the attractions.
‘So, next I head on past the delights of the Northumbrian Coast before reaching a Scotland. And I’ll continue to try to communicate the excitement and enjoyment of travelling by sailing canoe as best I can.’
Go Gavin! For me, you can stuff most of the Olympics. Gavin and Stacey’s circumnavigation of Great Britain is the best sporting reason to pray for better weather.
PS Gavin has a Facebook page featuring brief details of his progress – if Fb’s your thing, I’m sure he’d appreciate as many ‘likes’ as he can get.
A recent shot of Ben Crawshaw sailing his Light Trow Onawind Blue, photo by Toni Clapés
Light Trow sailor Ben Crawshaw has reported on a windy race in which he took part in Onawind Blue – and received a prize for going around twice in cracking time.
In all the time Ben has spent with OB, he has clearly developed tremendous skills, and his report has what you might call a swashbuckling tone.
(I should say that the photo above was taken a little while ago – not at the race reported on here.)
Here’s a quote from what he has to say.
I felt confident about driving OB hard. The wind was solid and, away from the land, the gusts came on more gently. I had my legs hooked under an oar lashed across the thwarts and my bum hanging over the rail. My boat was making good progress to windward compared to others further to leeward, some of whom appeared to be over canvassed and spilling wind.
Coming up to the next mark — OB throwing up a deal of spray and riding on a wave of foam — the race boat approached. The organiser, now wearing the hat of a race official shouted across. He might have been imparting important information or quoting Cervantes, whatever, the words were lost to the wind. I watched the Zodiac whizz off towards other boats.
I tacked OB round the windward mark and she hared off on the second downwind leg.
Looking around I saw that we were alone. I had almost certainly missed some vital information. Reflecting, I reckoned there was nothing for it but to crack on regardless — even if I had messed up it had been an enormously enjoyable sail.
In the end, Ben received a hero’s welcome for going round the course twice in conditions where the other racers turned for the shore after one circuit.
His post (link above) is well worth reading – as is his weblog as a whole.
Here at Atkin Towers, we think that if it were fiction Ben’s progress would make a great film – the very public backyard building project, the early sails where he got things sorted out, the extraordinary adventures that followed, how he dealt with adversity and then came back for more sailing, including this victorious episode.
But it’s not fiction – it’s all true… perhaps someone would commission him to write the book that’s obviously waiting to be written!
Follow Ben’s weblog here.
Wood-carving weblogger Robin Wood and colleagues led by archaelologist and ancient timber expert Richard Darrah are constructing a half-scale replica of a Bronze Age stitched-plank boat discovered during the building of an underpass at Dover in 1992.
The first three photos above are of the replica in build; the last one is of the original at the museum. Dating back to 1575-1520BC, it’s one the oldest surviving sea-going vessel in the world, which is quite a thought.
Reading Robin’s weblog posts about the project, one aspect I found particularly striking is the sheer weight of the timbers, despite the fact that this is a reduced-size replica. Before carving and shaping, some of them weighed as much as half a ton.
Another interesting point is the evident pleasure Robin takes from making and using replica bronze-age tools made on site – tools that have proven to be surprisingly effective.
And, finally, I’d just like to point out that while this boat may be ancient, with its lovely carved, steamed and stitched form it’s a highly sophisticated piece of work. Far more elaborate than a dugout, it’s clearly a relatively late object in the history of boat building – and that too is quite a thought.
Ben Crawshaw Onawind Blue in the Golf de Morbihan. Photos by Mónica Sitjes
Ben Crawshaw’s been having a lovely time sailing his Light Trow Onawind Blue in the Semaine du Golfe du Morbihan – as the pictures above show. He’s been writing about it on his weblog - the three posts so far are here, here and here.
Ben’s done some amazing sailing in his boat built from my drawings but hasn’t really sailed with comparable boats, so he and I have both been fascinated to find out how she stands up to competition. Here’s what he says:
‘Having never really seen her sailing alongside comparable boats I’d no way of judging her performance except that it seemed perfectly adequate for my use, which as you know has included offshore passages. Now I’ve seen that she goes very well indeed.
‘I say comparable boats though I doubt any were as light as OB and this really showed when sailing off the wind, she flew along. I find her very comfortable on this point of sail—wind over the stern quarter—I spoke to other crews who were worried about capsizing on squally downwind legs but this wasn’t an issue with OB as she simply accelerated as the gust came on. Hull trim is critical on all points of sail.
‘Morbihan is crowded, you’re rarely more than a couple of boat lengths from somebody else. I always tried to sail away from the pack but all the same a constant look out was necessary and I found myself wishing (for the first time) for a crew member. And if I do that sort of event again I will raise the boom beforehand.
‘I saw quite a few boats capsize, we did have some strong winds and stronger squalls but OB was fine. Sometimes I could stay sheeted in and ride out the gusts hanging my arse over the rail but at other times I had to let her luff. Just once I had to really throw my weight to windward. I think she’s good like this because the boom and sail are low, because she is trim-critical and responds to your weight being in the right place, and because I try not to sail overpowered.
‘There were a couple of four-hour upwind sails which were hard work. It’s not her favourite point of sail but she can do it without losing face.
‘I feel I know the boat very well now but can’t really judge how she would treat a novice. But certainly for me she’s a cracker and is perfectly suited to my purpose of simple, singled handed sailing and cruising.
‘Other boaters were interested and very welcoming, I didn’t feel apart for having a flat bottomed ply and epoxy boat amongst so many boats of traditional construction. I received compliments for her lines and speed.’
Read more about Ben boat here.