Small motor launch Louise built by Nick Smith complete but for her varnish

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Hampshire-based boatbuilder Nick Smith wrote this week with photos of his current motor launch building project Louise. Here’s what he has to say:

Louise will be launched in the spring, as the owner will be doing the varnishing over the coming months. Normally I would be a bit reticent about this, but having seen my customer David Eschbaeschers’ varnish work and woodwork on his steam launch I was confident she would be finished to a high standard that would be as good as I would do it.

Louise to my eye has a more ‘motor dinghy’ look than the last project, Lisa, which is more ‘motor launch’ – the one foot difference in overall length has seen to that, together with the fact that Louise is narrower and has a flatter sheer.

‘I’m very pleased how she has come out and so are the owners, they will be dry sailing the boat and go all over the country’s rivers and estuaries through the season.

‘Thats it for now. After a break I will be starting a restoration job on a 15ft clinker launch my oppo found under an oak tree at Beaulieu. So will keep you posted on that one.


Nick wrote again a couple of days later with a photo of Moiety, a boat he built 17 years ago.

Moiety’s owner has sent me these pictures of the boat at The Thames Traditional Boat Rally at Henley this year. I originally built and planked Moiety in 1992 and fitted her out six years later, so she was completed in 1996, so the hull is 17 years old but the completed boat only 13 years old. She is 16 foot 4 overall with a beam of six foot four, and a lot of boat for her length.’
Moiety at this year’s Thames Traditional Boat Rally
Thanks Nick – I’m looking forward to hearing about the restoration job.

For more photos of Louise during her build click here.

For photos of the previous build Lisa click here.

Nick comes from Devon, learned boatbuilding the traditional way and specialises in new builds in clinker and carvel for sail, motor and rowing power from 8ft to 28ft with a special emphasis on West Country style and design, and also takes on repairs and refits from 25ft to 50ft. These days he’s based in Hampshire, and can be contacted by email at and by phone on phone on 07786 693370.

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Restored slipper launch Wishbone at the 2008 Earl’s Court Sail, Power & Watersports Show

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Thames Traditional Boat Rally Prize-winning slipper launch Wishbone.
Click on the photo for a larger image

Many readers will be interested in Wishbone, a Thames slipper launch due to appear at the Sail, Power & Watersports Show due to take place at Earl’s Court from the 26th to the 30th November.

Wishbone is in fact a Baby Greyhound model built by Andrews in 1931, and was restored in 2004 by Stewart Marine of Harts Boatyard, which is on the river near Kingston upon Thames. She has won the Top Boat Award at the Thames Traditional Boat Rally on three occasions, and I’m told she’ll probably be the oldest boat at the show.

See the Stewart Marine website at By the way, if the name Stewart is familiar, it may be because he won a Bronze Medal sailing keelboats in the 1992 Olympics.

Stewart Marine’s brokerage list currently includes Willow, a 1920s Messums rowing and sailing skiff complete with all sailing and rowing equipment, and Swift, a 20ft rowing rowing gig built by Turks’ in 1911, complete with a sliding seat, outriggers and two sets of blades said to be all in in fantastic condition. Now that’s two real objects of desire, I’d say!

There’s a short and rather incomplete entry on slipper launches at the Wikipedia, but I don’t know enough to sort it out. Is there anyone around with the knowledge, time and energy to fix it?

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