Marcus Lewis launches Fowey River Dinghy number 58 – Penguin

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Marcus Lewis launches Fowey River Dinghy

Marcus Lewis launches Fowey River Dinghy Marcus Lewis launches Fowey River Dinghy Marcus Lewis launches Fowey River Dinghy

Marcus Lewis launches Fowey River Dinghy

Penguin is number 58 in the Fowey River Dinghy Class, and was built by Marcus Lewis for a local customer.

There’s much more about the class at Marcus’s website, but the class developed from 15ft knockabout dinghy designed in the late 1940s by Reg Freeman, and the plans were published in Yachting Monthly to encourage readers to go out and build a boat.

Marcus points out that Fowey River Dinghy number 1 was built in 1950, so in 60 years there have been nearly 60 boats.

Penguin is built of FSC mahogany, copper riveted, with steam bent oak ribs, finished with Hempel Woodseal and International Varnish. Her sails and cover were made by Mitchell Sails of Fowey.

A mystery carvel-built sailing dinghy – who made it and did it belong to a racing class?

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kyle abingdon, marine carpentry, carvel, dinghy, sailing boat

kyle abingdon, marine carpentry, carvel, dinghy, sailing boat

Can anyone help identify this boat bought recently by boatbuilder Kyle Abingdon?

Here’s what he says about her:


‘Please can you and your readers help to identify this mystery boat I have bought with mind to restoring her this winter? She’s a beautiful 14ft 7in x 5ft 2in carvel wooden sailing dinghy. She needs a lot of work but I couldn’t help myself.

‘She is quite heavily built. She has an elm transom, keel and stem pine planks and a mahogany sheer strake. She is a Bermudan sloop with a bowspirit and has a heavy galvanised centre board.

‘She looks a bit like an old Torbay J Class or West Lancashire Seabird but is a lot smaller than either of these. Please can you an your readers give me your ideas?

‘Regards, Kyle Abingdon

‘Abingdon Marine, tel 07737868421′

Thanks Kyle!

See an earlier query from Kyle about the AH Comben’s-designed Nosila here.

Two other recent requests for information concern Firth of Forth dreg songs used in the oyster fishery and a canoe yawl built by the Thames. If any boat boffins can help with any of these questions, I would be most grateful!

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A 1930s precursor to the Classic Day Boat or Chichester Harbour 18?

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Bosham, CH18, chichester harbour 18, classic day boat, edward beaumont, George Weeks, sailing dinghy, racing dinghy, 1930s

Edward Beaumont has found a home for his Western Skiff – and has sent me this photo in return for putting out his appeal for a home for it.

The photo is of his aunt Betty and grandfather George Weeks sailing Witch at Bosham in the 1930s.

George was honorary secretary of the sailing club there, and from the photo seems to have won a lot of prizes. Edward says that as a youngster he was told the boat was a West Country One Design, and says he thinks the boat in the photo is clearly about 18 feet overall, and likely to have had a heavy centreboard similar to Thames Estuary One Design and of course, the early National Eighteens.

Edward’s grandfather became ill and died before he was born and the family does not know what happened to the boat – there were several similar boats in Chichester Harbour at the time and a local class of Chichester Harbour 18-footers emerged.

One of the older survivors is a boat called Scandal, but more recently the class has been re-established, with what Edward says is a GRP boat built by Flight Marine (see them here – they’re nice boats, even if they are GRP). He also says there are good photos of some of the older boats on the Bosham Sailing Club’s gallery.

If anyone would like to add to this story, please do – using either the comment link below or by writing to me at