Nick Smith 16ft traditional West Country motor launch receives her engine

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16ft traditional West Country motor launch Lisa receives her engine

Hampshire-based boatbuilder Nick Smith has just sent me these photos of his current motor launch building project Louise as she has her engine put in place.

Here’s what he says:

Louise now has her engine fitted, her decks laid and her middle thwart in place. The next jobs are fitting coamings, gun’l cappings, bulkheads, side seats, rudder and tiller, engine controls, exhaust, fuel lines, sole boards and a list of smaller finishing off bits. Luckily for me, the customer is going to do the majority of the varnishing.

‘She may look like identical to the last build Lisa, but at 16 foot Louise is a foot shorter and less beamy at six foot, and her sheer is much flatter – you can see from the photos of Lisa on the water at Noss Mayo that she has quite a high bow for coastal tripping and fishing. [See the link below – ed]

‘So Louise is less ‘cocky’. I have built her smaller, lighter and finer, because the owners will dry sail her and need to be able to launch and recover easily.

‘The engine is a Vetus twin cylinder diesel rated at 11 hp , plenty of power for a boat of this size.

‘Thats it for now! Regards,


Thanks Nick! 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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Beyond the Quay, a CD of sea songs by Tom and Barbara Brown

Tom and Barbara Brown’s new album Beyond the Quay is
made up of sea songs

Tom and Barbara Brown are old friends, and I’m very pleased that they should should put out a CD of sea-songs. Songs connected with the sea  have been out of fashion around the folk scene’s clubs and festivals for far too long in this country.

Interestingly, even though I’ve recently heard the claim that sea shanties are the new Rock’n’Roll, there are none here. Instead, this CD is full of songs about ships, ports, sailors, and of course heroes and villains. Most are traditional and most belong to the West Country.

Tom and Barbara’s performances are marked by some very effective harmony singing, of which there are two excellent examples here: Young Susan and a version of The Death of Nelson to a tune learned by the couple from traditional source singer George Dunn of Staffordshire, with additional verses from the broadside ballad.

Another aspect of this disk that I particularly like is that it includes a very nice but less well known version of one of my favourites, The Bold Princess Royal. Tom’s version from Bristol is much harder to sing than the one I know from Sam Larner so much so that he gets extra points from me for making an excellent job of it. I gather it came originally from a singer called Albert Lightfoot.

In the interests of historical veracity I should explain that Tom’s version has the same problem as Larner’s – he has the British ship being chased to windward, which seems unlikely as the Moorish pirates’ xebecs were far better to windward than the British boats during the era being described.

And I should also add that Tom and Barbara have been lucky enough to be supported on this CD by our old friend Keith Kendrick and young musicians and singers Emily and Hazel Askew.

Copies of Beyond the Quay are available direct from Doug Bailey at WildGoose Studios and from folk music CD stockists generally. While you’re over at Doug’s emporium, do take a look at some of the other recordings he has on offer including Keith Kendrick’s recent CD Songs from the Derbyshire Coast.

Further information about Tom and Barbara Brown and a programme of their performances and general doings is available from their website .

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