Home Built Boat Regatta at Barton Broad 2008

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Home Built Boat Regatta, Barton Broad 2008

Home Built Boat Regatta, Barton Broad 2008

Home Built Boat Regatta, Barton Broad 2008

Home Built Boat Regatta, Barton Broad 2008

Photos thanks to Ian Ruston

Chris Perkins has kindly sent a short report on the UK’s Home Built Boat Regatta group’s successful meeting at Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads the weekend before last.

A whacking total of 19 boats attended – a splendid result given that at least some of us feared American-style messabouts like the HBBR were unlikely to be successful in the UK, not least because so few people take the trouble to build their own boats here.

The success of the HHBR makes an important point: whatever skill level we work to, amateur boatbuilders are not alone, even in the UK!

If Chris’s name seems familiar it’s because he won last year’s Watercraft prize prize for his Iain Oughtred-designed Macgregor canoe, Scotch Mist.

Any way, here’s his report, and some splendid photos from both him and Ian.

Before you read any further, I should explain that in our changeable climate, HBBR meetings have traditionally been dogged by bad weather – there are also one of two items of detail that Chris didn’t have to hand, so please email me or use the comment link below to fill me in on anything that seems to be missing.

‘Barton Turf 24-26th May 2008

‘The usual adverse weather forecast failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the ranks of the HBBRers who made treks from all parts of the country to assemble at Barton Turf for a weekend of sailing and boatbuilding talk.

Saturday dawned bright and breezy – just how breezy we would find out later – and everybody who came managed a spell on the water, some more successfully than others. Nobody landed in the water.

A good range of designers were represented, but fittingly, 25 per cent of the attendance were from the board of designer Conrad Natzio, which was fitting as these are his home waters.

‘Canoes were well represented, but some eagerly anticipated sailing trials unfortunately had to be curtailed due to strong winds.

‘One new build made an appearance, Dave Wallwork’s Oughtred Puffin ‘Lucia’ appeared on the Sunday, a beautiful piece of work, although the incessant rain would have meant that any launching party would have smacked of masochism!

‘An excellent barbecue was provided by Barton Turf Adventure Centre, thanks Simon and Sheila Fishwick, and a variety of beverages brought by the attendees ensured a great evening was had by all – even if one gentleman did become a little lost later in the evening.

‘Sunday was an unpleasantly wet and windy day and the planned group cruise to the pub in Neatishead dwindled to the intrepid crews of two vessels. Conrad in his Spoonbill and Tony Waller rowed his Oughtred Shearwater, Isabella III, the length of Barton Broad in borrowed waterproofs.

‘The rest of us chickened out – and took to the road. After a pleasant lunch we returned to the centre and watched the rain come down for a while longer until a small party gave up on the weather and went off in search of the Museum of the Broads at Stalham.

‘Monday was not as wet as Sunday, but by then most had had enough and started to make for home. In all, despite the weather, the meet was a success and the group is now looking forward to the next rallies in September at the Cotswolds Water Park, and at Ullswater.’

Boats and crews at Barton Turf May 2008
Mermaid 137, Steve Blackman; Sandpiper ‘Nessy’, Chris Partridge; Oystercatcher ‘Everhopeful’, Wayne Oliver and Marcus Davies; Tit Willow, Chris and Ruthie Waite; Isabella III, Tony Waller; Tonawanda, Phil Oxborrow; Deux Chevaux, Ian & Janet Ruston; Ranger canoe ‘B&Q’, Graham Neil; Inwe, Richard Rooth; Serafina, Peter Nobes; Ranger 8, Lata Nobes; Puffin Lucia, Dave and Carol Wallwork; Polly’s Folly and Scotch Mist, Chris and Viv Perkins; strip-built kayak, SamB (SOTP member); Tigerella, Simon Fishwick.

In addition, Conrad Natzio brough three examples of boats built to his own designs.

Home Built Boat Regatta, Barton Broad 2008

Home Built Boat Regatta, Barton Broad 2008

Home Built Boat Regatta, Barton Broad 2008

Home Built Boat Regatta, Barton Broad 2008

Home Built Boat Regatta, Barton Broad 2008

Home Built Boat Regatta, Barton Broad 2008

Home Built Boat Regatta, Barton Broad 2008

Home Built Boat Regatta, Barton Broad 2008

Photos thanks to Chris Perkins

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Ben Crawshaw’s beach at Tarragona in winter

The Invisible Workshop’s Ben Crawshaw has been taking striking photographs of the beach outside his Tarragona apartment

You may have noticed the Blogroll to the right of this post. It’s meant to be a list of friendly weblogs and websites relevant to intheboatshed.net readers. And that’s exactly what it is – some of them are very old friends indeed (aren’t they Chris?), and I find they’re well worth a look whenever I feel I’m missing the water.

So tonight I’d like to draw attention to some particular gems on the intheboatshed.net Blogroll .

Ben Crawshaw of The Invisible Workshop has been taking a series of strikingly beautiful photos of his local beach in winter. Even in Spain, it’s now too cold to use the water with any pleasure, so he’s now walking, watching the sea, photographing it and, no doubt, dreaming about the spring.

Albert Strange Association webmaster Dick Wynne has been busy putting up news items, drawings and photos relating to their hero and his very attractive designs. And some of the news has been very good indeed – it seems Blue Jay has new owners, who have become members of the ASA.

Chris Perkin’s weblog Bumble of Loch Dubh currently has just one very interesting post describing how he built his first two clinker ply dinghies. It’s long and interesting, particularly because his next boat, an award-winning Iain Oughtred Macgregor sailing canoe has become something of a legend. (For more on the Macgregor, follow this link.)

Rowing for Pleasure is Chris Partridge’s wide-ranging weblog. Check out his illuminating posts about the boats of Venice, his trip round the backside of Portsea Island, the important place of the name Snarley(y)ow, and a rather sweet photo of the young Chris at the oars of a Thames Skiff long ago.

He says ‘I’ve been looking through family photo albums and discovered this pic of me rowing stroke on the Upper Thames in 1960 with Dad at bow. The boat was a beautiful mahogany double skiff called Snarleyow. Somehow, I can’t remember a single day when it rained.’

Funny that – I too can confirm that it never rained when my dad took us out on the Thames. Dads were much cleverer in those days and I sometimes think it’s a shame my kids have to deal with someone much more Pooterish.

And now for something completely different. George in Michigan is building one of Matt Layden’s distinctive little sharpies and tells us all about it at Building an Enigma 460. Many of home boat builders are intrigued by Matt’s simple and inexpensive solo and two-person micro sailing cruisers, and by his amazing sailing feats, and I’m no exception. There are still precious few designs for boats of this kind.

A good read for a winter’s night

If you don’t already know it, Moray McPhail’s Classic Marine website is an excellent resource. There’s an extensive catalogue for all the nice bronze and gunmetal bits and pieces that traditional boats require, including a wide range of fittings for rigging, as well as navigation lights, portholes and lamps, rowlocks and the rest, and there are also boat plans from Iain Oughtred.

Classic Marine homepage:


With Christmas coming up, I’d say the navigation and cabin lighting sections are well worth a look for possible presents.

Moray’s site offers more than a fascinating catalogue, however, for he has written a series of essential articles on every detail of a traditional boat’s running and standing rigging hardware. Perhaps the most useful to many will be his article Using Wykeham-Martin Furling gears – an Unofficial Guide.