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.

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The boats of Sri Lanka with Stephanie Boucher and Alex Bienfiat

My friends Stephanie Boucher and her husband Alex Bienfait recently took a sabbatical of a few months in Sri Lanka. I gather the trip was both stunning and an education.

Anyway, they and came back with these photos, for which many thanks!

Stephanie works with websites for a living, and so naturally kept an excellent weblog of the trip. I should also explain that Alex is a Church of England parish priest, and I think took many if not all of the shots.

I’ve paraphrased some of Stephanie’s notes:

The cross on the fishing boat is interesting. It seems that when Christian missionaries came to Sri Lanka with the colonial powers one group that was particularly receptive was the fishing communities. This was particularly the case on the West coast of Sri Lanka: ideally Buddhists do not kill any living creature, but in this otherwise largely Buddhist culture fish is extremely popular, nevertheless. Fishermen often felt they were outcasts from the general community, and found a new sense of identity and self worth as Christians.

The fishing boats at Trincomalee were mostly of these boats were of fibreglass construction, much like those they to others photographed in the west and south of the island. But at Trincomalee they also saw a number of log canoes hewn from of a single tree. Stephanie, who has attempted to carve wooden spoons and other tools, greatly appreciated the skills required to get the thickness and shape correct for these boats. Some had subsequently been patched with a fibre glass lining, and also on the outside in various ways.

The final shots of outrigger canoes are from the former Dutch colonial capital of Galle. The stall with fish for sale, shows the is also picture with fish for sale, showing the boats are still very much in use.