Oare Creek to the Colne – a gallery

The following links might be helpful if your interest is piqued by these photos:

  • the impressive deep sea smack Pioneer is managed by the Pioneer Sailing Trust
  • the cute racing dinghies with the tall rigs and the letter ‘C’ on their sails that look such fun to sail are Brightlingsea One Designs
  • the sweet little sailing dinghy is a Heron
  • the workshop belongs to boat builder Fabian Bush, and the boat is a Morgan Giles designed Royal Dart One Design
  • the big cat is coming back from one of the wind farms in the Thames Estuary – which include the enormous London Array
  • the small sailing boat with the balanced lug rig and brown sail seems to have local sailmaker, raconteur and ex-barge skipper Jimmy Lawrence at the helm
If anyone’s wondering whether to make the same trip, I say don’t hesitate – we had a great time, despite the occasional jetski or speedboat hauling a donut.

Harbour strolls at St Osyth and Brightlingsea

I took this gallery of photos in mixed weather at the small Essex ports of St Osyth and Brightlingsea, where we have just enjoyed the English Country Music Weekend.

(I should explain that ‘country’ means ‘rural’ in this case, not Country and Western).

The port of St Osyth isn’t much more than a staithe and a boatyard at the end of an attractive creek, and looks like a great destination to me. If the photos have an atmospheric look, it’s because the first  few were taken just before a squall struck, and several were taken during the course of the downpour itself.

Piles of oak on the quayside must have been a very common sight in the heyday of the sailing barges.

Power dories are unusual in the UK, so I’m intrigued to know how this one came to be at St Osyth.

And I was struck by how strange to our eyes Dutch craft really are – it’s amazing really, given that our boating heritages have so much in common.

The fishing boats with the wonderful tall rigs are bawleys moored along Brightlingsea’s new  bawley pontoon. Bawleys are generally relatively shallow-draft prawners fitted with boilers to cook the prawns ahead of landing. For more posts mentioning these craft on this weblog, click here.

And what’s that photo of a developer’s concrete monstrosity doing in this collection? It’s an example of the way developers and planners are destroying the maritime landscape. I hope their dreams are haunted by the crimes they have committed in the name of making money.

This kind of thing will go on until we band together and stop them – or the waterfront runs out. Which will be first?

Beale Park 2012 – in the rain (it got better after I left!)

There’s no question about it. I went to the Beale Park Thames Boat Show on the wrong day – the Friday during which the show had to be cancelled because of the rain – and it meant I only managed to bag a few photos, and that quite a few people I would have enjoyed meeting weren’t around.

I’ve heard from several sources that the Saturday and Sunday were much better – well attended and with very much kinder weather.

Still, I did manage to take some shots between downpours, and chat with some of the regular stallholders who were on-site and who, thanks to the lack of general public, had more time than usual to talk.

One person I didn’t manage to meet – yet again – was the elusive Andy Wyke, boat collections manager of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

So it was good to chat with Kipperman, author and traditional boat authority Mike Smylie, Peter Greenfield of Watercraft magazine, Dick Wynne of Lodestar Books, Nat and Gill Wilson of the International Boatbuilding Training College, traditional West Country motor launch specialist boat builder Nick Smith, and Moray McPhail of gunmetal and bronze hardware supplier Classic Marine.

If you poke around, you’ll find posts from or about all of them.

I also ran into the Home Built Boat Rally, who had just arrived after travelling for three days along the River Thames into headwinds, and were exhausted. Several of them then went on to win prizes in the Watercraft Amateur Boat Building Awards.

HBBR member and weblogger Graham Neil has some photos and a few comments.

What does the attached gallery show? Well, there are a couple of craft built by students of the Boat Building Academy, a fascinating Stirling engine-powered rowing boat,  a ceremonial rowing craft complete with a gilt lion on the bows originally made for a film, the huddled crowd of HBBR boats, and the the Dinghy Cruising Association’s collection of very practical small boats moored on their jetty – including two built to Matt Layden’s famoux Paradox design, of which I only know of a couple in the UK.

I’ve included a couple of shots of two somewhat whacky Watercraft Cordless Canoe Challenge entries, and an entertaining adaptation of a Mirror dinghy that I’m sure its designers never thought of.

Finally, there’s also a shot from the show’s organisers taken in sunshine on the Saturday – it isn’t mine but I’ve included it because it shows a much more typical Beale Park Boat Show scene!