Newson’s boatyard stands by Oulton Broad in Lowestoft, Suffolk – that is, right on the East Coast of England and at the gateway to the Norfolk Broads.
Restoration is only one part of the company’s business, for it is also a boatbuilder in wood, steel and fibreglass, makes masts, and undertakes surveys and engine installations. Nevertheless, Newson’s has surely done some terrific boat and yacht restoration projects of various sizes, and the company has kindly promised to let us publish some of their photos over time.
Just for a start, though take a look at the William & Kate Johnston (pictured below), and then take a look around for a taste of what’s to come from this yard:
This is where it is:
Launched in 1923, William & Kate Johnston was designed as a prototype lifeboat by James R. Barnett, Consulting Naval Architect to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and at the time of her launch she was the largest lifeboat in the world at 60ft in length. She was built with a double diagonal teak hull by J. Samuel White and Co at Cowes. For more on her:
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Here’s a link I’ve been looking forward to putting up about another Maurice Griffiths favourite, Idle Duck, which by chance spent much of the summer sitting on a barge bottom a few feet from our own little boat.
When she arrived we experienced one of those amazing coincidences that sometimes arise, for it turned out that one of the crew was a musician and boating pal of ours. Anyway, through him we met Bob Telford, Idle Duck’s new owner.
The pictures tell the first part of the story, from when Bob found her through to her arrival at Alan Staley’s yard at Faversham for restoration and refitting work. Idle Duck, I should explain, is an astonishing boat, big and comfortable in every way, as the shots at the EOG site clearly show. She’s a 34ft long Bermudian cutter rigged cruising yacht, with a long keel and centreboard.
For the pictures of Idle Duck’s rescue:
Working Sail’s designs are based on the lines of 19th century pilot cutters from the Isles of Scilly, a group of islands in Cornish waters lying at the entrance to the English and Bristol channel. They are said to make excellent yachts due to their excellent seaworthiness and sailing performance. In a way, the fact that pilot boats evolved these qualities should not be surprising: as pilot boats need to be very capable, weatherly and fast in order to make sure their pilot reaches the incoming ship before its rivals.
I’d just like to add that while Lulworth (next post down) makes my jaw drop, the boats of Working Sail below quicken my pulse much more. The boat below is Ezra.
For more from Working Sail: