Early hydroplane Defender II, foy boat Ethel, Enterprise 2
Three new ‘flying boats’ at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in the past week are Enterprise no 2, a Tyne foy boat and an early hydroplane.
Named Speedwell, the Enterprise was built in 1956. It was designed by the prolific Jack Holt using what was then an exciting new material – waterproof plywood.
Ethel is a River Tyne foy boat built in 1907. Foy boats have been associated with the rivers of Britain’s north east coast for at least three hundred years. Their main task was to tow sailing vessels in and out of the river estuaries during periods of calm or contrary winds.
Under sail the performance of the Foy boat was not exceptional, but under oar it was a different matter – they were excellent rowing boats.
Defender II was built in 1908 for Fred May and was one of the first of a new breed of power boat now classified as an unstepped hydroplane. The boat’s hull is fairly conventional at the bow, but almost immediately flattens out, becoming virtually hollow at the stern. This allows the boat to sit on top of the water when under power, reducing drag and increasing speed. When first built Defender II reached a top speed of 14 knots, an impressive speed at the time.
The Hudson River was known for ice yachting. The old river freezes less often these days, but the ice yacht sailers still go out on the thin ice to travel at speeds that would make most water-borne sailers blink.
The Hudson River has been in the news across lately due to the cool-nerved heroism of a pilot who saved lives in the air and on land by successfully crash-landing a stricken airliner on its chilly surface.
In times past, however, it was also known for ice yachting. The old river freezes less often these days, but the ice yacht sailers still go out on the thin ice to travel at speeds that would make most water-borne sailers blink.
See some instructions and plans on building ice yachts from Charles H Farnham and published by Cornell University Library, this article from the New York Times and – probably best of all – these wonderful photos of old-style ice-yachting.
PS – I won’t put up a post on Saturday the 14th, as Julie and I are getting married.
Dig these groovin’ photos taken by Julie at the Isle of Wight’s Classic Boat Museum! She’s an experimental speed boat built by Morgan Giles & May in 1912, and powered by the original Vauxhall 4-litre, four-cylinder engine.