143-year old Solomon Islands canoe is restored for Maidstone Museum

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Solomon Islands canoe at Maidstone Museum

Solomon Islands canoe at Maidstone Museum

Solomon Islands canoe at Maidstone Museum

19th century Solomon Islands canoe arrives at
Maidstone Barracks for restoration

A mid-19th Century canoe brought to the UK by explorer Julius Brenchley is being restored before going on public show at Maidstone Museum, close to where we live in Kent, England. I hope to be able to let you all know when it goes on show. Curiously, the work’s being done at Maidstone Barracks.

Here’s the museum’s press release:

Canoe leaves museum for a year to undergo a revamp

A canoe has now left Maidstone Museum for a year’s worth of restoration work.

The 143-year-old Soloman Island fishing canoe left the St Faith’s Street museum yesterday (Thursday) to go to Maidstone’ s army barracks.

The 25-foot vessel would have been crewed by eight people and was collected by Julius Brenchley in 1865 when he travelled through the South Pacific.

While at the 36 Royal Engineer Regiment in Royal Engineers’ Road the wooden canoe will be housed in one of the hangers, where it will be worked on.

Eight people helped get it onto the removal lorry and once it had made its short journey down the road, Maidstone’s Royal Engineers helped get it into the hanger.

Conservator Justin McMorrow will be repairing and restoring the piece to bring it up to display standards. This will include cleaning; strengthening it to ensure it will stay together for the next few years and consolidating it meaning repairing parts which have previously broken. It will eventually end up as one of the key exhibits in the new East Wing of the museum.

Keeper at Maidstone Museum, Giles Guthrie said this canoe is going to be one of the ‘wow’ objects of the museum and was pleased the canoe made it in one piece. He said: ‘This piece has to be conserved because it’s an unusual item. The fact Julius Brenchley managed to get it back is a test of his ability’.

For much more on boats from cultures around the globe, go to Bob Holtzman’s great weblog Indigenous Boats.

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.

The Beale Park Thames Boat Show is this weekend – so try not to miss it!

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Beale Park Thames Boat Show

Photo courtesy of the Beale Park Thames Boat Show organisers

Motor cruiser and Wharram catamaran at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

Contrasting boats on the water at the Beale Park Thames Boat
Show – an elderly motor cruiser and a Wharram catamaran.
Thanks to boatbuilder Fabian Bush for the photo

Falmouth quay punt drawn by Percy Dalton

A newly discovered Percy Dalton drawing of a Falmouth quay punt
found by the folks at boating booksellers Dalton Young

Earlier today I found myself reflecting that quite a few of the people who contribute to intheboatshed.net are likely to be at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show this weekend. Naturally we’re planning to be there on Saturday and looking forward to meeting as many of them as possible.

I’d encourage any reader who can get there to make the trip as well. For boat building and boat restoration enthusiasts, part of the success of Beale Park is that it’s a show that works on many levels.

Those who admire exquisite craftsmanship will find it, while those who need to be encouraged to build their first simple plywood boat will find that as well.

There are also stalls selling recycled bits of boats and old books, cut-price chandlery, smart bronze bits and pieces, top-quality hardwoods and plywood, sophisticated glues and resins. And then there are the sociable membership organisations. The Eventide Owners, the Dinghy Cruising Association and the rest, are all there to talk with show visitors, and they’re easily interesting enough to make for an interesting conversation.

But on second thoughts perhaps I won’t be able to stand and talk for too long – after all, I’ll be making sure my camera is full of photographs to keep this weblog going through the winter months!