The migrations of an American boat type

Sharpie drawing

Sharpies have rather gone out of fashion since they were the talk of the boating forums a decade ago, but I still think it’s worth reminding ourselves about these strikingly elegant North American craft.

This drawing of a typical New Haven sharpie comes from a Project Gutenberg eBook of Howard Chappelle’s classic study of the sharpie, The Migrations of an American Boat Type, which I first read on paper long ago.

I vividly remember the excited anticipation of waiting for it to arrive in an exotic foreign – but thanks to the Gutenberg Project  folks you, dear reader, can obtain access to this stuff in a moment, and completely free of charge.

PS – I picked this up through reading the excellent US website


Lessons from America


Lithograph of the original 1851 America’s Cup champion yacht
America. Click here for a site about the America – it’s written
in German but has some small-ish drawings and photos

Paul Austin of Dallas, Texas, has written an essay for Duckworksmagazine shooting down British theories about way America won, and draws two conclusions from her career. The first concerns her lines and the second the way her subsequent owners failed to care for it.

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Our first half-million hits

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Thames Barges

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

It feels a little funny when I think of it, but some time in the next two or three days in the 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 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 project.

Reach me either at or by using the contact page, which you can get to using the page tab above the title line.

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