An entertaining article about sailing canoe pioneer John MacGregor

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A Thousand Miles in the Rob Roy Canoe

‘After taking on supplies at Gravesend, I shoved off into the tide, and lit a cigar, and now I felt we had fairly started,’ wrote philanthropist, barrister and pioneer of the Victorian canoeing craze, John MacGregor in his classic A thousand miles in the Rob Roy canoe.

He seems to have been a highly entertaining if largely bonkers character, from what we learn from this article published in Sea Kayaker Magazine.

I really must get around to reading Macgregor’s book myself!

See this post for construction information and ‘plans’ for Rob Roy-style canoe described by Neison in his book Practical boatbuilding for amateurs.

A new edition of Practical Boat Building for Amateurs from Ken Hanson

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The Rob Roy canoe, from Practical Boat Building for Amateurs

‘To be able to build a boat well, and to his own ideas and plans, requires that the amateur should be both a designer and builder, which, in their turn require that he should be an efficient draughtsman and carpenter. No one can hope to succeed in building a boat to his own plan, unless he is fully able to design and lay down the lines and body plan of the proposed craft, and added to this in many kinds of boats, such as a small sailing boat, or a steam launch, it is necessary that he should be able to calculate the displacement and the position of the centre of buoyancy. With this knowledge at his command, an unlimited field is opened to the amateur boat-builder, as he will be able to build after his own ideas.’

Ken Hanson is about to publish a new edition of Adrian Neison’s famous book Practical Boat Building for Amateurs – as he says,  he has scanned the book, cleaned up the illustrations and then did some editing to catch the odd mistake and to re-paragraph some of the overly-Victorian sections to make them easier to read. The new layout has larger type for the same reason.

I’m delighted to say that he’s also made a pdf file of the new edition available for download from click here to receive it.

I should warn you that this is about 10megs in size, and even with a broadband connection it’s likely to take some moments to arrive safely on your computer!

The new PBBA will be available at Amazon or through special order at any booksellers (distribution from Ingram and Blackwells) at the most attractive, Christmas stocking-filler price of $9.99 (US) and  £5.37 (UK). Click here for the book details.

For earlier posts including a full set of scans of my personal copy of Practical Boat Building for Amateurs, click here.