Photos from the Beale Park Boat Show 2011

Pierette at the Beale Park Boat Show 2011

1894 Desvignes-built steam launch Pierette, photographed by Pete Williamson

Cordless Challenge entrant Beale Park Boat Show 2011 Water Craft amateur boatbuilding competition Beale Park 2011

Unknown dinghy


Reader Pete Williamson has sent in some snaps of this year’s Beale Park Boat Show, including this shot of the wonderful steam launch Pierrette, and some entries for the kit section of the Water Craft amateur boatbuilding competition (Pete’s boat is the dark blue Selway-Fisher coble made from an Alec Jordan kit).

Also there’s something very unusual here: an entrant for the cordless challenge, in which entrants were asked to race each other around a course on the water using motor power derived from by battery driven cordless power tools. There are a couple of jolly pieces of video showing some of the entrants craft’ at Graham Neil’s weblog and at the Water Craft website. It makes you think, doesn’t it? At least some folks found a use for some old tools…

Finally, I’m not quite sure what the boat in this collection may be or who made it, but I remember being told that it contains a lot of old timber from somewhere, and thinking that the builder had done a nice job when I dropped in at the Barton Home Built Boat Rally meet at Barton Turf at Whitsun. I’ve posted some of my own photos of this craft taken at Barton below.

Thanks Pete!

Youjay dinghy at Barton Youjay dinghy at Barton Youjay dinghy at Barton

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Water Craft’s whacky Cordless Canoe Challenge races at the Beale Park Boat Show

Water Craft Cordless Canoe Challenge

A potential entry for the Water Craft CCC – very much in the spirit of the event, but the drag of that parasol may not help

Water Craft magazine has fired the starting gun on what promises to be a highly entertaining new competition for the Beale Park Boat Show, which in 2011 takes place from the 10-12th June.

The journal’s annual Amateur Boatbuilding Awards contest is well established and one of the highlights of the Beale Park show each year – but the new competition promises to be completely daft.

Inspired by a suggestion from Beale Park marketing manager Donna Hatchett, Water Craft editor Pete Greenfield has announced the Cordless Canoe Challenge, in which entrants have to use a cordless power tool to power a canoe around a short course on the lake at Beale. He has the support of power tool manufacturers Makita and the Electric Boat Association.

The boats do not have to be home-built, but can be of course, and they may be made of any material and can be modified any way entrants choose.

The only rules are that they mustn’t be longer than 16ft 3in (5m) including steering and stern gear, and have to be propelled solely by one or more cordless electric tools. A drill driving a prop shaft is one possibility, or perhaps a Thai-style long-tail rig sort-of, kind-of arrangement?

Pete suggests a jigsaw could be used to drive waggling flippers, or that an angle grinder might be fitted with a fan.

I’d suggest one of my Cinderella canoes powered by a steerable rack of, say, four cordless drills fitted with shafts attached to model aircraft propellers handing over the stern and controlled via a long tiller. But that might not be in keeping with Water Craft’s rather more sportsmanlike idea, which is that the power tools used should be things entrants already have in their workshops…

The racing will be in the form of a knockout tournament between pairs of boats drawn by lot, and will take place over the course of the Saturday and Sunday of the show. The course will likely be an out-and-back dogleg around two buoys, with some hopefully exciting action around the turning mark right in front of the beer tent (I’ll be watching, at least some of the time).

Entrants will need to slow their boat for this (if they reach any speed at all) and will likely need some kind of proper steering system.

Curiously, editor Pete also suggests the draft of entering craft should be modest, which presumably means judges will disqualify submarines. So, dear readers thinking of entering this malarkey, I’m afraid you can’t go underwater and will be stuck with wave-making resistance.

Boats invited to enter the cordless challenge will be checked for safety (you’ll doubtless need a bouyancy aid) – and crews for sanity – by Electric Boat Association stewards before being allowed to compete.

I should mention the prize to be awarded to the winning boat – a bag of Makita’s cordless power tools including a jigsaw, sander, planer, two drills and a site radio valued at over £1200!

Entrants should take a photo of their entry boat, preferably under way, and send it to Water Craft by the 1st May. More information about the comp will appear in the January/February issue of the magazine, which should appear in shops and fall through letterboxes on the 16th December.

I think it’s all going to be very amusing and, for the winner, rather profitable…

beale park cordless canoe challenge course

The Cordless Canoe Challenge course. If you know Beale Park, you’ll realise how short this is – turning ability will be as important as raw speed

Ian Baird’s replica of a Dorset crab and lobster boat in the workshop

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Ian Baird's Dorset crab and lobster boat at the Boat Building Academy

Boat Building Academy student Ian Baird’s project to build a replica of the rare Dorset crab and lobster boat known as Witch of Worbarrow during his course is continuing apace, as it must to be be ready for the big launch on the 9th December.

For more posts relating to Witch and Worbarrow, click here.

Ian, who was a novice woodworker at the beginning of his nine month course at the BBA, has been commissioned to write three articles on his experiences for Watercraft Magazine. The first of his articles will be published in January 2011.

“The centreline structure went together reasonably simply, but the first three planks on either side were really difficult for a fledgling boat builder,’ he reports. ‘The garboard and plank above both return onto the keel and the stern post at an awkward angle and there was a good deal of steaming, rabbet altering and scratching of heads, but we got it right in the end. The third plank was a bit of trouble too, with a tight curve onto the transom, but we are now banging on a plank a day.’

Ian says there has been a lot of interest in Ian’s project: ‘We originally put out a press release to try and winkle out any information we could about the original boat’s life and times, but the response has been more than I could have hoped for.

‘Interest from Intheboatshed.net, local television news and local papers has reached an extraordinarily wide audience and many people have come forward with information and pictures for which I am extremely grateful.’

A pictorial diary of Ian’s project is available at the BBA website.

The launch of the BBA’s March 2010 project boats will take place in the harbour at Lyme Regis, Dorset, at 9am on Wednesday 9th December 2010.

Want to learn more about boatbuilding using the clinker technique? Try John  Leather’s book Clinker boatbuilding at the revived intheboatshed.net A-store.