The new Light Trow

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The Mark 2 Light Trow

ben crawshaw, gavin atkin, light trow, plywood boat, rowing, sailing, boat plans, free boat plansThe big news here is that Water Craft magazine is publishing an exciting series of articles about the Light Trow – two by the remarkable Light Trow pioneer builder and adventurer Ben Crawshaw, and one by me about the boat itself.

This has prompted me to produce a Mark 2 version designed for plywood and epoxy stitch and glue construction and with a few modifications based on Ben’s experiences. I’ll publish the plans in a few weeks, probably to coincide or shortly precede the upcoming articles.

As always with these things, it’s been fascinating and hugely time consuming, so I hope the home boatbuilding community takes the new boat to their hearts!

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Water Craft magazine for March-April 2010 will be out very soon!

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The latest Water Craft will be with us any day

It’s almost time for the next edition of Water Craft magazine to land on our doormats – so what’s in store this time around? Lots of boating goodies as usual – including the first of two big features by our friend Ben Crawshaw in which he reports on his adventures sailing his Light Trow named Onawind Blue. That feels like a real privilege, I must say, even though I’d prefer to seem my design used for rather less extreme adventures…

Here’s what Water Craft editor Pete Greenfield has to say about the upcoming issue:

So – how has boat craftsmanship, amateur and professional, fared through the long hard winter and the much longer and harder recession? In W80, we seem to have some of the answers.

Interestingly, for many professional wooden boat builders, the answer seems to be they are managing rather nicely thank you… though mostly with repairs rather than new builds.

At Peter Freebody & Co, for example, spiritual home of so many traditional Thames craft, Melanie Freebody tells Kathy Mansfield there may be snow on the roof but the boatshops beneath have rarely been busier.

Giving up the well-paid but stressful job in IT to learn to build wooden boats is a good idea for some. Certainly, on a dark dank morning in December when the students of 2009 launched the fascinating variety of craft they’d built at the Boat Building Academy at Lyme Regis, our Dick Phillips detected little stress… though maybe the champagne helped.

No nerves on the part of our tame amateur boatbuilder Peter Goad either, when Messrs Phillips and Chesworth turned up to sail the Cape Henry 21. Perhaps, as Peter explains in his final fit-out article, a five-year project encourages a relaxed and patient frame of mind.

Watch, on, Ben Crawshaw’s reports on sailing a small boat in the Med and you’ll see rather more evident anxiety. And reading about how he built his first boat, a slender lugger called a Light Trow intended for more sedate waters, in a public garden in Spain, you’ll encounter few manyana moments.

More sail than oar but definitely a craft to cope with exhilarating sea sailing, we think Paul Gartside’s free plans, complete with lines and offsets, for his 20ft (6m) lugger will persuade many a putative backyard boatbuilder to stop saying manyana and take the plunge.

As may the editor’s outdoor boat….

But outdoors, as Colin Henwood of Henwood & Dean Boatbuilders explains in his masterclass on painting and varnishing is not the ideal place to give your boat the finest finish for the new season. You need a big tent, kind-of like Water Craft itself.

Buy a subscription now (see the link in our right-hand column here at and pay with your credit card via PayPal) or find the March-April Water Craft in your local newsagents – to find a stockist in the UK see

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Water Craft magazine for January-February includes more boat plans

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Water Craft January

Water Craft editor Pete Greenfield has written to say that the January-February issue of his magazine will be in the newsagents from the 17th December. Here’s what he has to say:

Well, if you’ll permit the conceit that a boating magazine can have a sub-plot, this issue’s can be summed up as: What a difference a wooden boat specialist can make.

Wooden boat specialists like…

Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats who joined forces with the Scottish Fisheries Museum to launch the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project, commissioning Iain Oughtred to design the 20ft (6m) St Ayles Skiff, which local groups can build from a modestly priced pre-cut plywood kit. Amateur wooden boat builder Chris Perkins describes how they built the prototype.

Wooden boat builder and designer Matt Newland of Swallow Boats combines ply-epoxy hull construction with water ballast and carbon spars to produce the 20’ (6m) Baycruiser, the most innovative and exciting small cruising yacht in years.

Wooden boat designer Francois Vivier whose p-ractical pocket gaffer Meaban is now also available as a pre-cut plywood kit for home completion.

Wooden boat builder and designer Paul Gartside of Nova Scotia gives us full plans + offsets for a traditional round-sterned workboat with so much character you’ll want to get a craftsman to build her for you. But who? Perhaps one of the members of the…

Wooden Boatbuilders Trade Association. Wherever you live in the UK and whether you want a wooden boat built or restored, using traditional or modern methods, there’s a WBTA member not too far away with all the skills to do the job.

And one wooden boat builder who will be long remembered around Cornwall and beyond…

Ralph Bird, the great Cornish pilot gig enthusiast who sadly passed away in November, having built no less than 29 gigs and enthused a whole new generation of rowers.

It sounds like another great issue packed with material to me. It’s nice to see the old practice of magazines publishing plans coming back, and good also to see the WBTA getting itself some publicity, by the way.

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