The Albert Strange Association offers a grand day out, sailing by barge from Maldon

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wyvenhoe-1-sailing

Wyvenhoe

The Albert Strange Association folks have had a brilliant idea for their annual meet – offering those who are interested the grandest of grand days out.

They’re offering up to 12 interested souls a day’s sailing aboard their own Albert Strange-designed boats, together with sailing and accommodation for a couple of nights aboard the the Thames barge Wyvenhoe – and all for the very reasonable price of £120 a head to cover the barge hire.

It all takes place on the 4-6th September, and for guests it all begins with boarding the Wyvenhoe at Maldon.

Get the information from the Albert Strange Association website.

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Gadfly II – coin evidence could make her older than originally thought

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48-470Gadfly II under restoration – she may be considerably
older than originally thought

Simon Papendick, who is working on Gadfly II (see earlier posts here and here), has written to say that he has found a 1908 Edward VII penny under a grown frame below the mast, which strongly suggests the boat is rather older than previously thought.

She was previously understood to have been built in Kent along the lines of the Blackwater sloops, which I believe were built in Maldon by boatbuilder Dan Webb from the 1920s. (See an example for sale here.)

Simon says: ‘It was the custom to put a coin under the mast step on the top of the keel in a sailing boat or under the base of the stem on a motor boat, so that if the the boat should ever be rebuild of destroyed it will be possible to find out the year it was built.

‘I have always kept this up in all the wooden boats I have been involved in building since the custom was explained to me by my first boss, who was himself told that this was a long standing custom when he was an apprentice. He always did this to continue the custom handed down to him.’

So it seems Gadfly II may well be considerably older than was first thought and, if so, she predates the Blackwater sloops build by Dan Webb at Maldon in Essex. Could it be that Webb saw this boat, liked her and copied and then modified her lines to create his famous Blackwater sloop?

Certainly this story is becoming more and more interesting – can anyone out there shed any further light on Gadfly II’s mysterious background and her obvious connection with Webb’s series of Essex-built boats?

Simon Papendick, who runs J-Star Tuition & Boat Services, can be reached at 07799401650 and info@jstartuition-boatservices.co.uk.

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Some thoughts on barge and smack boats

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Mike Feather’s smack boat Lettuce on the bar at Brancaster

Mike Feather sailing smack boat Lettuce over the bar at Brancaster, Norfolk. Mike comments that with a reef in she was under good control and rode the waves without shipping any water.

Alf Last’s boat Smack boats racing at Walton on the Naze 2002 Smack boat on its side

Above left. Maldon boat builder Alf Last built his best and last barge boat and a mould was taken off it. Here is a cast ready for fitting out. Many barges now carry these – they are stable and sail well. They do not dry out if left in the davits. Above centre.smacks’ boats racing at Walton on the Naze 2002. Above right. A smack boat on its side shows the shallow draft and centre board slot. Click here for more: Continue reading “Some thoughts on barge and smack boats”