Newly built Fowey River Dinghy number 53 launched

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Fowey River Class Dinghy number 53 was launched this weekend

This Saturday saw the launch of another local racing class classic at Fowey – a new Fowey River Class Dinghy made by Marcus Lewis for the local vicar and his family.

Built with a distinctive combination of spruce planking with thwarts and top planks of mahogany, the boat was launched at the Fowey Gallants Sailing Club and is number 53 in the class.

Marcus tells me that the Fowey River Dinghy is based on the Yachting World 15ft dinghy designed by Reg Freeman in the late 1940s with the aim encouraging people to build their own boats. Hunkins’ Boatyard at Polruan built one for a local dentist and they caught on, for by 1957 there were 15 boats in the fleet. Numbers continued to grow with other local boat builders betting involved, and the fleet reached 36 boats in 1965.

Interest in racing the wooden boats then dwindled, but over the last 15 years or so interest has returned with 15 new boats, several of which Marcus has built, and a number of restorations of the older craft. Five or six are seen sailing in regular Wednesday and Saturday racing, and the fleet swells to 15 or 18 in regatta week.

There are photos at http://jonbarkerpics.co.uk – the Fowey River Dinghies can be identified by their multi-coloured mainsails and jibs.

Marcus Lewis is based at Fowey and can be contacted on 07973 420 568.

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Troy number 28 Red Beryl built by Marcus Lewis is launched at Fowey

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The launch of Troy number 28 at Fowey

Red Beryl is a new Troy class yacht, built at Fowey in Cornwall by Marcus Lewis for a customer on the other side of the river in Polruan.

Marcus has been boatbuilding in Fowey since he left school 25 years ago, and has been working in his own own workshop for six years, during which time he has built four Troys – hull numbers 23, 25, 27, and now number 28 has been named  Red Beryl.

The 18ft Troys are an important part of local sailing in Fowey, and this year they celebrate their 80th anniversary as a class. There’s a nice gallery of photos by Phil Egerton at the foweyphotos.com website, and also a history of the boats. It seems the first Troys were built for racing on Fowey Harbour in the very late 1920s and that most of the early boats are still kept in racing condition. I gather also that Troys can often be seen racing on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons in the season.

The Troy name comes from Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch’s Troy Town series of novels, which are based on Fowey. Built using traditional carvel construction, they have 30ft masts supporting nearly 300sqft of sail intended to catch light winds on the estuary, which is surrounding by sheltering hills. They must to be built on the estuary in order to conform to class rules.

Marcus Lewis is based at Fowey and can be contacted on 07973 420 568.

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