The Waveneys of the Norfolk Broads

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Waveney One-Designs in action

Waveney One-Designs in action. Photo from Alan Davies
of the Museum of the Broads

Alan Davies of the Museum of the Broads has kindly agreed to allow us to republish a short article telling the story of the Waveney boats that he wrote for the museum’s newsletter. Many thanks Alan!

Waveney One Designs

Length 20ft, beam 6ft 2in, draft 2ft 11in, sail area 290sqft, gunter rig

Designer W S Parker

The Waveneys were designed in the early 1920s by William Parker of Oulton Broad, after the Waveney Sailing Club proposed to have a one-design boat. The first four or so boats were built along similar lines and developed into a consistent set of drawn plans in 1928.

The first seven were built before World War II and, instead of sail numbers, had the letters A-H in alphabetical order of build. This was later changed to numbers with a ‘W’, both in red. They are all named after wild marsh flowers.

The first six were built by the Evans Yard at Kirkley. Horace Jenner built Number 7 and Number 8 was built at Richards’s Shipyard. The rest were built by Tim Flower and his sons in a boat shed in their Lowestoft garden with exception of Number 24, which was built by Selwyn Watson.

WODs are occasionally mistaken for the more numerous Yare & Bure One Designs, but an easy way to tell them apart is the red sail numbers of the WODs and the fact they have two shrouds on each side as opposed to the Y&BODs’ single shroud. Another difference, only seen when the boat is out of the water, is that the keel is a ballasted metal plate rather than a ballasted wooden one.

By the early 1990s many of the 26 boats had already had to undergo major restoration and it was felt that as with the Y&BOD and the Broads One-Design the cost of building and maintaining new wooden boats would be too expensive. so local boat builder Jimmy Toplis decided to take a mould of his WOD, Penny Royal. By September 1994 the first GRP Waveney, Celandine (Number 27) was launched.

The new boat had to be assessed to make sure its performance was similar to the wooden boats, and once the weight was corrected the new boat’s performance was on a par with the older boats.

To date five more GRP boats have been built, taking the numbers to 32, with orders for two more. One of them has gone to Lake Windermere, and interest has been expressed in developing the hull as a small two-berth Broads cruiser, as has happened with the Thurne Class, which is based on the Y&BOD’s hull.

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