It’s almost time for Faversham’s big nautical weekend once again! I’ll be there with my camera and from time to time will be wandering around the Front Brents singing and playing… and then on the Saturday night there will be a jolly public sea song sing and tunes session at the excellent Phoenix in Abbey Street. (Outside if fine, indoors if wet, naturally… )
I’ve been asked also to point out that the wonderful mediaeval TS Hasard building will be home to an art exhibition featuring students at a local school, and the town’s art society and camera club. See the poster below! (PS – If you want to know what Boatcamp is, see this earlier post.)
The boats turned out, the sun shone, the tide rose (until it lapped over the top of the sound engineer’s feet – terrifying!) folks played in the water. There was a good crowd and there were more boats than last year. Well done the Kentish Sail Association.
The event was only marred by the sense of struggle people are having with the aims of local developers and planners I heard someone say there are folks who wish to replace one of the black sheds near the spot where these photos were taken with an eight-storey block of flats. The fight to save the Creek will have to go on and on – and yet in any reasonable world it should be regarded as so precious, it should not require this block-by-block protection.
All in all, the festival was probably exactly as you might expect. Or it was until a chap who sailed up the creek in a little standing-lug rigged flat-bottomed homebuilt dink with lapped ply sides.
‘What is it,’ I asked him.
‘It’s my own,’ he said. ‘I designed it and made it.’
‘Is it based on anything?’
‘No. It just came out of my mind. You should see what it happens when I put out the bowsprit and fly the spinnaker,’ he said.
‘How does it go?’ I asked. ’18 knots, easy,’ he said…
So it’s a flat-bottomed boat of 13-14 feet with a standing lug that sounds like it could outrun a Laser (or a Torch, now Bruce Kirby has renamed his famous design). In a country where few people even consider making their own boat let alone designing it for themselves, and an even tinier number would consider a standing lug, still fewer combining that an asymmetric spinnaker, I think that boat was today’s big surprise. And a challenge to home designers and builders everywhere…
The Faversham Nautical Festival organised by the Kentish Sail Association seems to have been a great success, with glorious weather, an interesting collection of boats and musical entertainment.
But perhaps the best thing about it will have been the healthy level of interest that local people showed in the event itself and in Faversham’s historic Creek, which I’m sure local councillors and others cannot fail to have noticed. See the Faversham Creek Trust’swrite-up of the event.
Among the boats present were the steam tug Barking, the gunpowder sailing barge Lady of the Lea, the 1898 Dutch barge Hoop van Zegen, the schooner Elinor, the Phil Bolger-designed Crow, the smack Pioneer, that 1923 Hillyard sailing yacht Dorma, the modern-built clinker Suffolk beach punt Moonlight and the Maurice Griffiths-designed bawley-derived Picotee.
My thanks go to Steve Taylor for the photos above.