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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HJ Mears restores a 1920s river launch

Ales Mears of Axmouth boat builders HJ Mears & Son has written to tell us about a recent job, that he has clearly greatly enjoyed.

Gavin:

We’ve had lots of work since we last spoke and many boats have been through our barn doors, but I thought this recent restoration may be of particular interest to you and your readers. 

She is an 18ft LOA river launch, double-diagonal spruce construction with laid mahogany decks. She is believed to have been built in the 1920’s.

Her beautiful shape evident for all to see despite her poor condition.

She’s now had the thorough Mears Boatyard treatment. She needed lots of extra strength added due to her lack of ribs and longitudinals. It would’ve been quicker to build from scratch but we were faithful to her and her original builder and reused as much of her original timberwork as feasible during her restoration.

Her original means of propulsion isn’t known but she is now 100 per cent electric and a joy to use; peaceful, powerful, smooth, simple and very responsive. I think o0f her as a a 1920’s Tesla of the Waterways!

Her owner is chuffed and looking forward to showing her off on the Thames soon. Hopefully your readers will enjoy the photos and seeing the 21st century Mears treatment being faithfully applied to something from the early twentieth century!

Merry Christmas, Alex

Thanks Alex. I think she’ll be something a little different and will surely cut a fine dash along the river this summer!

Faversham Boat Camp youngsters build two more of my skiffs

Kids and their skiffs: these Julie skiffs were built in a week from cut-out components by local youngsters under the leadership of local boatbuilder Alan Thorne (see the ad in the left hand column) and his son Mark. (For free downloadable plans, see the free plans page)

The launch photos were taken at the Faversham Nautical Festival by kind Faversham Creek Trust member Griselda Mussett.

There are more photos taken by a professional on the Trust’s website