Free plans for making a handy dinghy trestle

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Dinghy trestle built to Steve Blackman’s instructions

The Home Built Boat Regatta group includes some pretty handy folks, among them Steve Blackman, who enjoys refurbishing old plywood dinghies. Just now I gather he’s working on a Heron that I gather may be ready for the Lechlade Raid and the Beale Park Thames Boat Show.

A few days ago his instructions for building a trestle appeared online on the HBBR website, and I thought they were so useful I should share them. Trestles like this are useful in boat parks, when painting and also when building in stitch and glue, or traditional American flat-bottomed skiff style.

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John Welsford’s new Pilgrim 16ft open cruising boat design

It’s entirely a matter of coincidence, but John Welsford has also been weblogging the design of boat¬† – though his could hardly be different from my little skiff.

Pilgrim is a small seaworthy open cruising boat light enough to be managed by one person on the beach, but fitted with removable ballast. It has a rounded and balanced hull form that allows it to heel without wanting to turn – in that way, it’s more like a yacht than modern dinghy, even if it is dinghy-sized.

(For those who don’t immediately understand this last point, I should explain that the now conventional sailing dinghy form that encourages planing when sailing usually also makes a boat that pulls round into the wind when heeled. Yachts however are generally designed to remain easy to steer as they heel, because there’s usually no way of ensuring they can be sailed flat – some obvious exceptions are high-tech boats with moveable ballast and heavy keels that swing sideways such as Mini-Transats and Open 60s.)

John’s project is interesting not least because I can’t recall anything recent that’s quite like it, but also, I think, because its rounded hull bears at least a little resemblance to the beach fishing boats that have been used on the South Coast of England for generations, and I’d guess that at least some of John’s design criteria have something in common with the needs of the crews of those little boats – which one might say was a matter of convergent evolution.¬† Notice the cute bowsprit designed to maximise the rig area to match the powerful hull, and the long shallow keel that becomes deeper the further aft you go. The rather misleading name for this feature is ‘drag’, by the way, but don’t let that confuse you.

I do hope John himself doesn’t think I’m talking complete nonsense!

I wonder what the members of the Uk’s dinghy cruising movement will think about it? My only concern is that I think rowing it will be hard work – but with a big rig, perhaps that won’t be necessary very often in John’s sailing area.

Click here to follow the Pilgrim project’s progress.

Vintage Wooden Boat Association

The Association has over 900 registered boats ranging from classic racing dinghies to wooden ships. Membership extends world wide and there are a number of Regional Sections holding regular meetings; members meet at a national rally and at boat shows.

One of the VWBA’s current projects is compiling a pictorial and historical archive of registered craft that will provide a lasting record for the future.

For more on the VWBA:
http://www.vwba.org

Each month the site features a different boat, and at the time of writing it was Cordon Rouge, a 28ft 1930s Broads sailing yacht built by Applegates of Potter Heigham:

Cordon Rouge, VWBA featured boat