BBA student launch, December 2012


This is photographic evidence that this year’s winter student launch at the Boat Building Academy really did manage to take place in decent bright, if chilly, weather despite the variable autumn we’ve had.

Apart from the students and staff, the shots show the launch of an Iain Oughtred-designed Fulmar named Florence after the builder’s daughter born a week ago and also a Humble Bee pram dinghy also designed by Oughtred.

Eight boats built by the class of March 2012 hit the water, and details of the boats and the students who built them are here, and there are more photos here.

The BBC and ITV were in attendance, and their reports are here (the launch report starts about 21 minutes in) and here.

Beale Park 2012 – in the rain (it got better after I left!)

There’s no question about it. I went to the Beale Park Thames Boat Show on the wrong day – the Friday during which the show had to be cancelled because of the rain – and it meant I only managed to bag a few photos, and that quite a few people I would have enjoyed meeting weren’t around.

I’ve heard from several sources that the Saturday and Sunday were much better – well attended and with very much kinder weather.

Still, I did manage to take some shots between downpours, and chat with some of the regular stallholders who were on-site and who, thanks to the lack of general public, had more time than usual to talk.

One person I didn’t manage to meet – yet again – was the elusive Andy Wyke, boat collections manager of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

So it was good to chat with Kipperman, author and traditional boat authority Mike Smylie, Peter Greenfield of Watercraft magazine, Dick Wynne of Lodestar Books, Nat and Gill Wilson of the International Boatbuilding Training College, traditional West Country motor launch specialist boat builder Nick Smith, and Moray McPhail of gunmetal and bronze hardware supplier Classic Marine.

If you poke around, you’ll find posts from or about all of them.

I also ran into the Home Built Boat Rally, who had just arrived after travelling for three days along the River Thames into headwinds, and were exhausted. Several of them then went on to win prizes in the Watercraft Amateur Boat Building Awards.

HBBR member and weblogger Graham Neil has some photos and a few comments.

What does the attached gallery show? Well, there are a couple of craft built by students of the Boat Building Academy, a fascinating Stirling engine-powered rowing boat,  a ceremonial rowing craft complete with a gilt lion on the bows originally made for a film, the huddled crowd of HBBR boats, and the the Dinghy Cruising Association’s collection of very practical small boats moored on their jetty – including two built to Matt Layden’s famoux Paradox design, of which I only know of a couple in the UK.

I’ve included a couple of shots of two somewhat whacky Watercraft Cordless Canoe Challenge entries, and an entertaining adaptation of a Mirror dinghy that I’m sure its designers never thought of.

Finally, there’s also a shot from the show’s organisers taken in sunshine on the Saturday – it isn’t mine but I’ve included it because it shows a much more typical Beale Park Boat Show scene!