Christmas at Rye Harbour – and a handsome old motor launch hull for sale

Small gaffer Petrel makes for home

The small gaff-rigged cruiser Petrel makes her way back through Rye Harbour. As usual, double-click on the images for a larger picture

Small gaffer Petrel makes for sea Small gaffer Petrel at sea Small gaffer Petrel makes for home

Small gaffer Petrel makes for home

Four images of Petrel making for sea, out on Rye Bay, and making her way back to the harbour

A few photos taken at Rye Harbour today, Boxing Day 2007. There were a lot of people out and about, all trying to make up for the previous day’s blowout, no doubt.

I was entertained by Petrel’s brief trip out to sea (above). The little boat’s crew had a great day for a sail, but they stayed out for just minutes: could they have been rushing back for turkey tikka massala followed by Christmas pudding sauteed in butter?
Wooden motor boat hull for sale at Rye Wooden motor boat hull for sale at Rye Wooden motor boat hull for sale at Rye

A handsome carvel-built wooden motor boat hull for sale – click on the central image for the phone number to call

Rye Harbour My kids, Ella and Ewan on the beach Rye Harbour red shed

A view out to sea from the harbour; my kids Ella and Ewan on the beach (note Petrel at sea, and WWII pill box gun emplacement to right); Rye’s brightly painted landmark red-roofed shed

Rye Harbour entrance derelict dolphin Rye Harbour’s heroic lifeboatmen and their boats Cottage at Rye Harbour Camber Sands busy with people

Disused dolphin at the entrance of Rye Harbour with Dungeness Power Station in the background; Rye’s heroic lifeboatmen’s rescues included a rowed rescue of an aeroplane in the 1920s, and the subsequent loss of all 17 crew in another rescue some time later; a cottage at Rye Harbour; Camber Sands full of people having a Boxing Day walk

The Francis Frith Collection has some fine photos of Rye from long ago.

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A busy yard with some great projects to its name – and many more to come

Newson’s boatyard stands by Oulton Broad in Lowestoft, Suffolk – that is, right on the East Coast of England and at the gateway to the Norfolk Broads.

Restoration is only one part of the company’s business, for it is also a boatbuilder in wood, steel and fibreglass, makes masts, and undertakes surveys and engine installations. Nevertheless, Newson’s has surely done some terrific boat and yacht restoration projects of various sizes, and the company has kindly promised to let us publish some of their photos over time.

Just for a start, though take a look at the William & Kate Johnston (pictured below), and then take a look around for a taste of what’s to come from this yard:
http://www.newson.co.uk

This is where it is:
www.multimap.com

Launched in 1923, William & Kate Johnston was designed as a prototype lifeboat by James R. Barnett, Consulting Naval Architect to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and at the time of her launch she was the largest lifeboat in the world at 60ft in length. She was built with a double diagonal teak hull by J. Samuel White and Co at Cowes. For more on her:
http://www.william-kate-johnston.co.uk

If you would like to see your yard, project or boat listed here, please email us at gmatkin@gmail.com . There’s no charge, and no catch.

William & Kate Johnston

1890 Arbroath fishing yawl Isabella Fortuna

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Built by James Weir of Arbroath, the Isabella was launched on the 15th September 1890. With an overall length of 45ft, 13ft 9in beam and a draught of 6ft, the vessel was built for line and drift-net fishing, and powered by two big lug sails, a jib and five oars.

In 1919 a 15hp Kelvin engine was fitted but by 1928 greater power was needed for seine-netting and a Kelvin K2 44hp engine was installed. This was upgraded again in 1932 when a Kelvin K3 66hp engine was fitted, and this engine continues to power the boat today. At that same time the name was changed to Fortuna.

In 1997 the Wick Society bought the boat, which by this time had been renamed Isabella Fortuna. A pictorial record of the vessel and the restoration is available from The Wick Society link below.

The Isabella Fortuna is normally berthed in Wick Harbour but during the winter she is housed in the old Lifeboat Shed on the South shore of Wick Bay. With a voluntary crew the vessel visits ports for festivals and other sea-based events. By the way, there really are coracles (tiny skin boats) in the photo below…
Wick Heritage Museum site:

http://www.wickheritage.org/boat.asp

Isabella Fortuna at the Caithness Community website:

http://www.caithness.org/history/wickheritagecentre

If you can add to this story – perhaps links to more photos, details of the restoration or the boat’s history – please email us at gmatkin@gmail.com .

Isabella Fortuna