Crowd-funded John Welsford Joansa launched at Faversham

Alan Thorne’s crowd-funded project to give as many local people as possible an experience of boat building culminated in the launch of a John Welsford-designed Joansa rowing skiff a couple of weeks ago.

Quite a crowd turned out, I’m glad to say! The name Bridget refers to the local plan to build a new lifting bridge over Faversham Creek, which would allow barges, smacks and other traditional boats to be moored at the top end of the creek once more.

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Interesting Seasalter wreck to be studied by archaeologists

This news story in today’s Observer newspaper is great. Read it here.

For hundreds of years, the wreck of a ship known as Old Brig has lain buried in the mud of the Thames estuary.  Historians believe the vessel may have been linked to the smuggling trade that once thrived along the creeks and inlets of north Kent.

Now, after an initial exploration showed that the wreck was unusually well preserved, archaeologists are to embark on a major excavation that they hope will finally yield the ship’s well-hidden secrets.

“The potential is huge,” said Mark Dunkley, Historic England’s maritime archaeologist. “The wreck appears to be pretty complete. We’ve excavated just down to a deck level. To have a deck in situ is rare. Normally they disappear, eaten away by the weather and tides. This shows that the preservation is exceptionally good.”

Long buried in the silt of the estuary, Old Brig has in recent years been exposed by shifting sands and tides on the beach at Seasalter to the point where it now stands up to half a metre high at low water. Historians now hope to discover how it was used and what led to its beaching. A 1770 sea chart pinpoints Old Brig’s final resting-place.’

Faversham Boatcamp leader Alan Thorne available for talks

Our friend Faversham boat builder Alan Thorne is available to give talks to clubs and campaign groups about the boatbuilding aspect of the Faversham Creek Trust’s annual Boatcamp programme, in which local school children experience building boats and sailing, and spend time rowing on the Creek.

The Boatcamp programme includes building small plywood boats, which is the part of the programme Alan is most involved in. He has already given several talks, which have included the long version of Richard Fleury’s excellent film about the Boatcamp project (a short version is linked below).

The film clearly shows how much the children enjoy and learn from this smashing initiative.

We saw Alan give a talk to the Hollowshore Cruising Club, and it’s fair to say a good crowd turned up and were fascinated by what he had to say.

Alan says he’s happy to travel throughout London and the South East, and area that will include a lot of sailing and rowing clubs, and of course towns and villages where campaign groups may be looking for ways of encouraging the local community to engage with their own creeks and rivers.

Contact Alan by email at ajthorne3@hotmail.com or phone 07865 091155.