Fogo Island Regatta – a ten-mile rowing race on the open sea

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Fogo Islanders hold an annual ten-mile rowing race in traditional carvel-built rowing boats. I recommend you take a moment to enjoy the videos, and the deteminedly traditional rules. This isn’t a race that just anyone with a boat can enter:

‘A punt may be disqualified from The Great Fogo Island Punt Race to There and Back if it contains fiberglass, particularly if the hull has a fiberglass coating.’

‘The seam between each plank can be spunyarn, marlin or oakum. Petroleum-based sealants are not permitted.’


‘For a punt to be eligible to enter The Great Fogo Island Punt Race to There and Back it must be built by a local boat builder on Fogo Island or Change Islands.’

Fogo Island Regatta

PS – I’ve just discovered this very nice if slightly tricky website about traditional boatbuilding in neighbouring Winterton. Read the story explaining boatbuilding, or use the line of little white boxes to navigate the collection of photographs. There’s even a little song to learn…

Uffa Fox’s airborne lifeboat at the Museum of the Broads

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Uffa Fox\'s airborne lifeboat at the Museum of the Broads

Airborne lifeboat at the Museum of the Broads. Notice
the unusual Saildrive engine it used on a stand in front,
and also the
Norfolk punt on display beneath. Click on
the photo for a larger image

This airborne lifeboat is one of the Museum of the Broads’ great treasures.  Note the Saildrive engine on a stand just in front of the boat – I gather many of these were volunteered by yachtsmen for use in the the airborne lifeboats, which couldn’t use anything else.

These boats were designed to save the lives of bomber aircraft crew – if a crew ditched in the sea and could be found, a bomber aircraft would drop one of these in the hope that the men below would be able to climb into the boat and sail or motor it home. In practice they saved many lives and made something of a hero out of the the inventor.

After the war, along with many other bits of war surplus equipment they were often bought for small sums and and converted into something more conventional – in this case they often became fully rigged sailing boats, and were frequently used for racing. You can’t keep a good Uffa Fox hull down, can you?

For more posts on topics relating to Uffa Fox, click here.

Uffa Fox airborne lifeboat poster at the Museum of the Broads

Poster showing lifeboat equipment. Click on the photo
for a larger image

The Wikipedia on punts and punting

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Punt builder\'s workshop, photo from the Wikimedia Commons, taken by Thruston

Punt in boatbuilder’s workshop, photo from the
Wikimedia Commons, taken by Thruston

I really can’t add anything to this excellent Wikipedia entry on the punt – one day all its entries will be like this.

Do you know there are still people out there, particularly in publishing, who think the Wikipedia is useless? I once had a rancourous argument with a senior director for a magazine and events company when I dared to suggest that the model was a good and useful one. No doubt sour grapes can grow almost anywhere…

The names of a punt\'s various parts

The names of a punt’s component parts, image from the
Wikimedia, drawn by Thruston

See also:

Henry Taunt’s 19th Century photos of the Thames

Punts galore at Oxford

Free online boatbuilding plans for a racing punt