Beale Park Boat Show preview: Stanley & Thomas, Thames boat builders and oar makers

Stanley & Thomas stand Beale 2010

The Stanley & Thomas stand at the Beale Park Boat Show will represent four different business lines based at a boatyard on the River Thames at Windsor: Stanley & Thomas Boat Builders, Stanley & Thomas Brokerage, and oar manufacturers J Sutton and Xcell.

Established in 1983, the boatbuilding arm began as racing sailing boat builders, but soon gained a reputation for restoration and repairs to classic Thames vessels, and has won many prizes at the Thames Traditional Boat Rally. Following good sales last year the brokerage is now looking to take on new listings.

J Sutton has a long record in producing handcrafted manufacture wooden oars and sculls; its products have won Olympic and world championship gold, silver and bronze medals, and wins at all levels of the Henley Royal Regatta.

The Oxford and Cambridge crews have also used Suttons, but the company has made oars of just about every kind, including 30ft barge oars.

Xcell is also based at the yard and supply a complete range of oars and sculls for competition and leisure, and is the only supplier currently producing looms combining GRP, carbon fibre and Kevlar.

The company has not failed to notice that Dorney Lake, venue for the 2012 Olympic rowing competition, is only two miles from its yard and is looking forward to some good business next year.

Nick Smith at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show


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A few more photos from this year’s Beale Park Thames Boat Show this year – this time showing some more photos of traditional boatbuilder Nick Smith’s motor launch build from earlier this year, Lisa, and a favourite I’ve seen him show several times, the small launch Bumble.

For more posts relating to the show click here; for more relating to the traditional West Country style boats that Nick builds including many shots of the building process with comments from the master himself, click here.


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Nick comes from Devon, learned boatbuilding the traditional way and specialises in new builds in clinker and carvel for sail, motor and rowing power from 8ft to 28ft with a special emphasis on West Country style and design, and also takes on repairs and refits from 25ft to 50ft. These days he’s based in Hampshire, and can be contacted by email at and by phone on phone on 07786 693370.

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Classic Motor Boat Association boats at the Beale Park Show

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A seriously cute Italian speedboat in the rain at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show. As usual, click on the thumbnails (including the big one) for much larger photos

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This Avenger 21 made from carbon fibre belonged to offshore powerboat racer Tommy Sopwith, and was a tender to his yacht Philante V

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Thunderbolt III belonged to hydroplane racing legend Len Melly

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Two Broom speedboats. The upper example is for sale: see the third image above

1964 Tremlett 14 Zulu originally built for inshore racing

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