Our first half-million hits

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Thames Barges

Thames barges on the Blackwater – one of the first photos
to appear at intheboatshed.net

It feels a little funny when I think of it, but some time in the next two or three days in the boatshed.net will rack up its first half million hits.

Those with long memories will recall that this weblog began in a very small way at the end of 2006, and benefited early on from the support of various weblogs and online magazines, most notably Chuck Leinweber’s Duckworks Magazine and Tim Shaw’s Chineblog.

Ben Crawshaw’s wonderful The Invisible Workshop followed as did Chris Partridge’s Rowing for Pleasure, and so did a host more I won’t mention just now because if I do this post will become too huge for words.

We’re now all part of a community of interconnecting weblogs and online magazines, and I’m grateful to all of them both for their assistance in helping readers find their way here, and for the entertainment and interest they have given us in our household. If you come to this site and happen to land on this post, therefore, I’d like to suggest you take a little time to explore the sites and weblogs, as well as the rest of the intheboatshed.net blogroll.

But I have another request: please send me pictures and stories that you’d like to share! We’re particularly interested in old boats, traditionally built boats whether old or new, in boats that bear the influences of the past, in the history and culture of boating, in influential individuals and in alternative ways of enjoying boating rooted in the past. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a proud owner or not, or a boat builder or other boat related craftsman, or even if you simply have something interesting to sell. And the occasional story about a boat-related shed doesn’t go amiss either!

Finally, I’d like to pay tribute to my family and wife Julie, who has shown immense understanding and enthusiasm over a long period. I know that I’ve been very lucky to have their support and I hope they feel the result justifies the effort and time that goes into the inthboatshed.net project.

Reach me either at gmatkin@gmail.com or by using the intheboatshed.net contact page, which you can get to using the page tab above the title line.

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Charlie Hussey builds a modified peapod

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Seapod the peapod, built by Charlie Hussey

Here’s more news from Yvonne Green, principal of the Boat Building Academy at Lyme Regis – the third in a series about boats built by students while at the Academy.

Charlie Hussey built Seapod, a modified North American peapod originally based on a couple of existing peapod designs.

‘Frankly, at the beginning we tried to put him off the build,’ says Yvonne. ‘He had spent twenty five years in the IT industry, the last fifteen as founding director of a software services company. It was all a long way from working with wood and the build was not an easy one, a 15ft carvel double-ended sailing boat.

‘But we hadn’t reckoned on Charlie’s intelligence, tenacity and sheer hard work. We’re glad we were wrong. Seapod is a beautiful little boat. Charlie also found time, while on the course, to write a detailed weblog of the work he did. It’s at http://boatbuilding.wordpress.com He’s now back in Scotland, looking for a restoration job, and has started a new website and weblog, http://marinecarpentry.com

Thanks for the tipoff, Yvonne. I think it will be well worth following, and naturally I’ve added it to the intheboatshed.net blogroll, which appears to the right of this post.

Seapod was one of the best things I saw at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show this year and looking back at my files I took quite a few photos of her. As usual, click on the thumbnails below for bigger and better images. Well done Charlie!

Seapod pictured at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

For more posts relating to the Boat Building Academy and its students, click here.

There’s a nice discussion of the peapod type in John Gardner’s book Building Classic Small Craft, which may well be available via ABE Books.

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Check the intheboatshed.net blogroll

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Ben Crawshaw’s beach at Tarragona in winter

The Invisible Workshop’s Ben Crawshaw has been taking striking photographs of the beach outside his Tarragona apartment

You may have noticed the Blogroll to the right of this post. It’s meant to be a list of friendly weblogs and websites relevant to intheboatshed.net readers. And that’s exactly what it is – some of them are very old friends indeed (aren’t they Chris?), and I find they’re well worth a look whenever I feel I’m missing the water.

So tonight I’d like to draw attention to some particular gems on the intheboatshed.net Blogroll .

Ben Crawshaw of The Invisible Workshop has been taking a series of strikingly beautiful photos of his local beach in winter. Even in Spain, it’s now too cold to use the water with any pleasure, so he’s now walking, watching the sea, photographing it and, no doubt, dreaming about the spring.

Albert Strange Association webmaster Dick Wynne has been busy putting up news items, drawings and photos relating to their hero and his very attractive designs. And some of the news has been very good indeed – it seems Blue Jay has new owners, who have become members of the ASA.

Chris Perkin’s weblog Bumble of Loch Dubh currently has just one very interesting post describing how he built his first two clinker ply dinghies. It’s long and interesting, particularly because his next boat, an award-winning Iain Oughtred Macgregor sailing canoe has become something of a legend. (For more on the Macgregor, follow this link.)

Rowing for Pleasure is Chris Partridge’s wide-ranging weblog. Check out his illuminating posts about the boats of Venice, his trip round the backside of Portsea Island, the important place of the name Snarley(y)ow, and a rather sweet photo of the young Chris at the oars of a Thames Skiff long ago.

He says ‘I’ve been looking through family photo albums and discovered this pic of me rowing stroke on the Upper Thames in 1960 with Dad at bow. The boat was a beautiful mahogany double skiff called Snarleyow. Somehow, I can’t remember a single day when it rained.’

Funny that – I too can confirm that it never rained when my dad took us out on the Thames. Dads were much cleverer in those days and I sometimes think it’s a shame my kids have to deal with someone much more Pooterish.

And now for something completely different. George in Michigan is building one of Matt Layden’s distinctive little sharpies and tells us all about it at Building an Enigma 460. Many of home boat builders are intrigued by Matt’s simple and inexpensive solo and two-person micro sailing cruisers, and by his amazing sailing feats, and I’m no exception. There are still precious few designs for boats of this kind.