Smell the Sea, Feel the Breeze exhibition of paintings at Falmouth gallery

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Charles Napier Hemy RA, painting Running for Home

Running for Home by Charles Napier Hemy, one of the paintings
at the Feel the Breeze exhibition. C
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Charles Napier Hemy RA, painting Running for Home Charles Napier Hemy RA, painting Running for Home Charles Napier Hemy RA, painting Running for Home

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Mike Haywood-Barnabas St Ives fishing boat Jamie Medlin - Pandora

Mike Haywood’s Barnabbas, St Ives fishing boat; and Jamie Medline’s Pandora, will also be on show

This impressive and exciting painting by Charles Napier Hemy RA will be a key exhibit at the Smell The Sea, Feel The Breeze show at Falmouth Art Gallery next month. Certainly I can smell the sea and feel the breeze here, but just look at that sheet – it’s hardly more than inches from gybing in water rough enough to push the little boat around. I hope they get home.

The exhibition aims to capture the variety of water, wind and waves from dramatic sailing adventures in wild waters to paddling in rock pools with Rupert Bear, and is being made possible by the generous sponsorship of TMS Financial Solutions, and Arts & Business South West which funded the additional insurance and the transporting of valuable works by distinguished Cornwall artists such as Henry Scott Tuke RA, Charles Napier Hemy RA, William Ayerst Ingram, Frank Jameson, Mike Haywood and David Hills.

Important loans from the Royal Society of Marine Artists Diploma Collection have been made available through the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Work by one of Britain’s greatest abstract painters, Sir Terry Frost, is also being made available through private collections. Sir Terry’s career spanned seven decades, starting with his introduction to art in a prisoner-of-war camp. The featured works drew inspiration in Cornwall from sailing boats bobbing on the tide.

Also showing will be original works by contemporary Falmouth artist Jamie Medlin. Jamie is one of the country’s leading marine artists and is known widely through his prints. He currently paints beautiful classic yachts, and some of the best of these paintings have been borrowed for this exhibition. His art was included in the recent Christie’s sale of Important Maritime Paintings.

Falmouth has a long and proud association with sailing. The packet ships, ocean-going clippers and the coastal trading sailing vessels have long ceased their trade, but Falmouth can still attract major sailing events, from the famous Regatta to the arrival of ‘round the world’ yachtsmen.

The exhibition is mounted to celebrate and promote the Funchal 500 Tall Ships Race, which will be held in September 2008.

A full programme of gallery events has been designed to complement the exhibition, which will include free workshops for babies, children, families, schools and community groups. A full colour brochure sponsored by TMS Financial Solutions will be available priced £4.50.

The exhibition can be seen at Falmouth Art Gallery from 1 March to 26 April 2008, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Admission is free. For more information about activities and education please contact Natalie Rigby on 01326 313863.

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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

Canoe and Boatbuilding for Amateurs

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Body plan of tandem canoe

“The number of boating men who find pleasure merely in sailing a boat is small compared with those who delight not only in handling, but as well in planning, building, improving or ‘tinkering’ generally on their pet craft, and undoubtedly the latter derive the greater amount of pleasure from the sport. They not only feel a pride in the result of their work, but their pleasure goes on, independent of the seasons. No sooner do cold and ice interfere with sport afloat than the craft is hauled up, dismantled, and for the next half year becomes a source of unlimited pleasure to her owner – and a nuisance to his family and friends. We know one eminent canoeist who keeps a fine canoe in his cellar and feeds her on varnish and brass screws for fifty weeks of every year.”

So wrote WP Stephens in the preface to his classic 1889 manual Canoe and Boatbuilding for Amateurs. It was written at a time when the word ‘amateur’ meant something slightly different to what it says to us today, but we probably all recognise the typical boat owner’s compulsion to change and adapt. Go down to anywhere boats are moored on a Saturday morning, and whatever the tide you’ll probably find half of the craft have a happy tinkerer mooching around on board, armed with nuts and bolts, some odd fittings and a tin of varnish. What could be better, apart from actually sailing?

WP Stephens’ book is a fascinating way into the world of sailing canoes in particular, and will make your next trip to a maritime museum showing old canoes much more worthwhile. Perhaps its value lies in the way canoe designers of the time shared their designs in a way that is much less frequent now – the designs laid out in WP Stephens’ book are complete with their offsets and can be built straight off the page.

So I’d encourage you to find any excuse you can to spend an idle hour with an online book that will take you, for free, back to an earlier time:

http://dragonflycanoe.com/stephens/

Sailplan of Tandem Canoe