The launch of the John Nash skiff

The launch of the John Nash skiff

The launch of the John Nash skiff The launch of the John Nash skiff

The John Nash

It’s a small world, they say, and I constantly find that the people in it are connected in unexpected ways. So I really shouldn’t have been surprised when my not-especially-boaty musician buddy Richard Goodwin reported that his jazz-tinged Welsh country dance music Twm Twp had just played a gig to celebrate the launch of a new boat he thought might interest me…

As it turned out, the project had been designed and built by two people whom readers who have used the links page may well have come across: Andrew Wolstenholme and Fabian Bush.

The boat in question, the John Nash is Andrew Wolstenholme’s design for Lies and Francis Frost. The brief was in some ways very open, and in others rather full and challenging – while the clients had few preconceptions of what the boat would be like, they wanted a boat that would be big enough to take an expanding family picnicking and on camping expeditions. She had to be a good swimming platform, comfortable and satisfying to row, and capable of being poled from a standing position, and able to accept using an outboard engine.

Andrew studied some of the great references on working boats of the British Isles, including the Chatham Directory of Inshore Craft and Working Boats of Britain, and some of the designs of the American designer, builder and writer R D Culler and thought hard about the possibilities before proposing to his clients that the need for low freeboard meant that the emphasis of the design would be on rowing and outboard power rather than sail power.

With the client’s agreement on this point, Andrew then developed a sprit-rigged 23 by 5ft flat-bottomed skiff with the rounded sides of a Swampscott dory forward but a fuller stern to provide stability for poling and for re-entering the boat after swimming. Built from half-inch ply, she has lowered decks over buoyancy chambers fore and aft for poling and swimming, a centreboard case that doubles as a table for picknicing, and a forward storage area for a 2.5hp outboard.

Andrew tells me that Fabian made a very good job of building her, and that the Frost’s other sailing boat, Poppy, is one of one of his Blackwater sailing canoes. There’s a small picture of a similar boat at Fabian’s website (see below).

And how was the launch party? I gather it was a great do, and an example of ‘the joys of wooden boats and the type of people they attract’. I bet the music was good too…

PS – We’re attracting a lot of hits at the moment – can anyone tell me if we’ve been featured in a magazine lately please? Thanks, Gav

•Fabian Bush

•Wolstenholme Yacht Designs Ltd
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2 thoughts on “The launch of the John Nash skiff”

  1. The John Nash skiff heh?

    I really am a John Nash and am naturally curious about the name – more so as I have just finished and launched (beat you by one day – 25 May 07) my own flatner, John Short.

    Very handsome boat – yours I mean!

    Cheers, John

  2. The John Nash and your site were put up on The Wooden Boat Forum. Always produces loads of hits.


    Really nice boat.

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