The boatbuilding bug bites another victim

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Ed’s 10ft Maine Skiff, built from plans and instructions
supplied by Duck Trap Woodworking

Ed Engarto in New York State is one of the many people who build a boat, only to discover that it can be a life-changing experience.

This seems to happen a lot. I know there’s a lot of satisfaction to be gained from building even the smallest boat and then using your creation on the water, but I think there’s more to this phenomenon: perhaps it’s the fact of slowly over time creating a tangible object, the quality of which the maker can judge and come to terms with as they proceed, perhaps it’s the discovery that, after all, one can learn new skills and complete a new category of projects, or maybe it’s the result of all those quiet hours the boatbuilder spends working alone in quiet contemplation.

Ed seems to me to be a typical convert to amatuer boatbuilding. I hope he enjoys his second project as much as he did his first.

He writes:

‘I built this little ten foot, lapstrake row boat over a period of three plus years, ending in July of 2008. The design comes from Duck Trap Woodworking and is known to those fine folks as their Maine Skiff. I started out journaling every working session and before the molds were even finished, the entries began to touch on life experiences, the trials of a large project, the virtue of commitment, and some thoughts about events that took place during the skiff’s construction. It actually became a mechanism through which I shared the most influential events in my life and therefore is much more than a sequence of construction steps explained. I learned so many boatbuilding skills and enjoyed the project so much, that I have become a lover of wood and water and am already looking towards my next boat.’

See the Duck Trap Woodworking website.

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Home Built Boat Regatta Cotswold 2008 meeting report

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From the top left: John Lockwood with his new dinghy,
various canoes, and a maiden voyage for Chris Perkins’
new small canoe

I was hoping one of the Home Built Boat Regatta folks would be kind enough to send me a report of their annual Cotswold Water Park event – and Chris Perkins has kindly done so.

Here’s what he says:

‘Some 14 boats of varying sizes, shapes and propulsion braved the floods and atrocious weather to attend our annual Cotswolds Rally.

‘Although the rally site turned out to be an island of relative calm and dryness in an otherwise soggy country, tranquil it was not however – a free concert raised the roof until the wee small hours at the other end of the lake, wasn’t much fun either for us or the triathletes either who had to take to the water at 8 on Sunday morning.

‘Sunday was a dry day – so your intercession in your post announcing the meeting obviously had some effect!

‘Two maiden launches took place – an intriguing build by John Lockwood of Swindon, who launched what he called a Moby variant based on a set of Motor Boat & Yachting plans from the late 1970s. He scrounged and used Ebay to obtain his materials, so the boat turned out to be a pretty economical way of getting on the water.

‘My Iain Oughtred-designed Stickleback, Stangarra, took to the water for the first time in the capable hands of our friend Chris Partridge. All that rowing has certainly built his arm power – she flew under his ‘oarsmanship’.

‘I think the general feeling was that it was well worth risking the usual HBBR soaking for the pleasure we had playing with each others boats and general chat. As we are not organised, no planned group business was achieved or even attempted during the meet.’

Thanks Chris! It sounds very much like a classic American-style messabout, all except for the ritual of serving and eating hominy grits. And isn’t it a relief that there doesn’t seem to have been any need for a race? For more details and lots more photos, see the report at the HBBR website.

This site will be quiet for a few days now as we’re going to be busy – in the meantime, don’t forget it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day on Friday, even if like me you never manage to keep it up beyond breakfast time.

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