Praams for hire at Dunorlan Park boating pond, Tunbridge Wells

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Praam dinghies on the boating lake at Dunorlan Park

The old wooden praams at Dunorlan Park, in Tunbridge Wells may all be gone now, but here are some photos I took with my mobile phone a couple of years ago.

It’s intriguing that a collection of classic little Norwegian-style dinghies like this should end up on a pleasure boating lake in South-Eastern England, but they did a good job for several generations – not least, I suppose, because they had the capacity to carry four adults in comfort an a short hull.

I have a hazy recollection that I was told they were built in the North-East by McNulty.

The Wikipedia doesn’t say much about praams, but there is this nice photo of a praam on the Wikimedia.

PS – There’s a comment below from the gentleman who hires them out. I’m pleased to be able to say that after 40 years, these boats are still available for hire at Dunorlan Park.

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Jordan Boats supplies Iain Oughtred boatbuilding kits to the USA

Iain Oughtred’s Arctic Tern

Cut-out ply component parts and MDF frames and full-sized patterns for Iain Oughtred’s legendary catalogue of boat plans are now available in the USA from Jordan Boats.

Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats based in Fife, Scotland rang this week to say that the kits are being supplied in the USA by a company in Maine. Apparently, the same outfit also supplies for Woodenboat magazine.

The boat components are made from Bruynzeel and Shelmarine BS1088 marine plywood, which are not Lloyds Type Approved, but have an excellent reputation – Lloyds Type Approved ply kits are also available at an added cost of about 30 per cent.

Jordan Boats’ bank will not yet allow payment in US Dollars through its website, so the only way to order is by getting in touch through Jordan’s contact page and asking for a confirmed kit and shipping quotation. For shipping please remember to include your Zip Code, so please remember to include this together with your phone number and Skype name, if you have one.

Alec says it will take a day or two for his contractors to obtain the shipping quote, but when he has it he will will email it to you together with payment details.

Typical kit prices at the time of writing are: Ness Yawl, $2,208; Fulmar, $3,029; Feather Pram, $744; Badger, $1,254; Auk, $1,076; Acorn, $1,076; 13ft 6in Tammie Norrie, $1,346.

Kits are also available for Acorn 12, Acorn 15, Elf, Granny Pram, Guillemot, Humble Bee, Mole, Puffin, Skerrieskiff 15, 15ft Tammie Norrie, Tirrik, Wee Rob and Wee Seal. At the time of writing, Alec was working on adding the Shearwater and had plans to offer the Caledonia Yawl.

New designs can be added to order.

Jordan Boats

For more on Iain Oughtred’s boat designs, including photos of Chris Perkins’ award winning Macgregor canoe and his new Stickleback canoe, click here.

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The boat that didn’t quite win the boatbuilding competition at Beale Park this year

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Francis Rayns’ handsome 10ft pram dinghy built to plans by John Gardner.

(Click on the images for a larger view)

Francis Rayns clinker-built dinghy at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

Francis Rayns\' clinker-built dinghy at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

It says a lot for the standards of the Watercraft magazine Amateur Boatbuilding Awards that this very nicely made little boat only came second this year.

True, one might complain that the material of the clinker strakes is perhaps a little slender, and tradititionalists might suggest that the  knees could have been grown rather than laminated – but these seem to be small issues when set alongside the near-flawlessness of the work.

What’s also notable about this particular boat is that builder Francis Rayns reports that the materials cost came out at just £250 – I think that’s an appealingly low figure for such a handsome 10ft boat. She’s built in larch on oak with copper fastenings, by the way, and Francis built her to plans drawn after Nathaniel Herreshoff by John Gardner and published in his book Building Classic Small Craft.

If you haven’t got Building Classic Small Craft, I strongly recommend it – in addition to this little classic, the book contains plans for 46 other boats for a price less than £13, and a long section on boatbuilding techniques. You can’t buy much for that little money these days, but this book is a real bargain.

Francis Rayns\' clinker-built dinghy at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

Francis Rayns\' clinker-built dinghy at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

Francis Rayns\' clinker-built dinghy at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

Francis Rayns\' clinker-built dinghy at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show