Is it a Humber yawl? A Thames canoe yawl? Restoration begins with detective work

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The mystery canoe yawl. Does anyone have any clues as to what this
particular boat would have looked like when launched? And what’s the
meaning of the enamel plate showing a paddle?

One of the interesting items that turned up at the Turk’s Boatyard sale wasn’t actually in the on-line auction – an old canoe yawl spotted by our good friend Steve Taylor.

The Turk’s yard folks quickly accepted his offer, and so last week he trailered the old boat home to begin the first stage of any restoration: trying to work out what the boat must have been like before age and botched modifications and repairs brought it to its current condition. This boat has certainly had it’s share of odd, badly executed changes, though the original workmanship seems to be quite fine and the materials certainly seem to have been expensive.

The boat’s 18ft in length, and came with some stories attached to it. These had it that the boat was originally made by Turk’s, that it was made for William Baden Powell, that it was depicted in Dixon Kemp and that it had been brought to the yard many years ago by a pair of elderly ladies who intended that it should be restored by the yard, though the project never went ahead.

Having looked at my copy of the book, I don’t think we’re convinced by the Dixon Kemp link, but I suppose she could have been built by Turk’s to a set of plans that might have been associated with the Humber. Does anyone have any information that would help Steve towards working out the details of his restoration please? If you do, please email me at gmatkin@gmail.com and I’ll pass it on.

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Arthur Ransome fans work to buy Swallow replica at Turk’s film prop boat auction

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Arthur Ransome film boat Swallow for sale

Swallow is included in the Turk’s sale

Swallow, one of two dinghies made for a 1974 film of Arthur Ransome’s popular children’s novel Swallows & Amazons, is up for auction in a few days and Ransome enthusiasts are looking for supporters to help raise cash to buy her.

The idea behind the campaign is to get Swallow on the water so Ransome fans can have an experience just like in the books; anyone will be allowed to sail in her for a small fee, and those who have donated to the original appeal will be given credits towards an appropriate number of sailing visits.

Volunteers who skipper Swallow for the benefit of a non-sailing crew, drive her from place to place as needed, or undertake maintenance will not be required need to contribute. However, as the organisers of the bid say, the boat is not likely to be cheap, and they will need a lot of pledges to get their attempt to buy the boat off the ground. See the group’s website here: http://sites.google.com/site/swallowbid.

A separate bid to acquire the important 1906 steam launch Cygnet in the same sale has also been put together by the Heritage Steamboat Trust, the Thames Boats Trust and The Consuta Trust, which plan to bid for the important old craft and to exhibit and store her at Beale Park. The organisers believe they can access matching funds for 50 per cent of the purchase, but are also looking to enthusiasts for funds – as they say, if she was sold abroad or modified by a private buyer part of the UK’s marine heritage would be damaged or lost forever. For more information on the Cygnet project, see www.steamboattrust.org.uk/cygnet.htm.

The boats are part of an auction of boats used as film props currently to be held at Chatham by the long-established Thames boatyard Turk’sclick here for more on the sale.

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An extraordinary auction of amazing old boats at Turk’s, Chatham

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This motor launch is on sale at Turk’s

An astonishing sale of boats, many of the interesting and old, is going on at Turk’s of Chatham, Kent, apparently due to a relocation. See the lots here: Turk’s auction.

The story here is that this collection was part of a business providing boating film props that are no longer need – there’s more on this at Rowing for Pleasure. I do hope the important boats all go to good homes!

My thanks to the good folks of the Openboat Yahoogroup for bringing this to public attention.