A Mouseboat in a bottle

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Julie and I were very pleased and moved this week to receive a genuinely unique gift – this beautifully made Mouseboat in a bottle made and presented by Mouseboat builder and regular Mouseboat Yahoogroup contributor Les Brown.

He’s certainly made the smallest and cutest Mouseboat I’ve seen, and in the best traditions of these things, I’m utterly baffled about how he got the thing inside the bottle.

Many thanks Les – you can be sure we’ll treasure it!

Mouseboats are a series of small and simple homemade boats constructed to free plans available from the Mouseboat Yahoogroup. More than 200 of the boats have been built and registered.

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The River Thames in 1935, and oyster fishing at Whitstable

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Colour on the Thames – footage from the Thames dating back to 1935

Here’s a sweet piece of film of the River Thames years ago spotted by ‘Carl’, who belongs to the Dinghy Cruising Association’s splendid Openboat YahooGroup. If you’re a small boat sailor I recommend it for all sorts of practical reasons, and this kind of thing is a real bonus.

But back to the film, which has been put up by the British Film Institute. Check it out for steam ships and tugs, busy bridges, some nice old footage of sailing barges motoring and under canvas in the Pool of London, and some very coolly-dressed up-stream watermen in suits and hats working some small steam boats.

PS – Do have a look this splendid footage of oyster fishing at Whitstable in 1920 that I’ve just found: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=v8pFfqfL4D8 Isn’t YouTube fun? It’s certainly better than the telly is most evenngs.

Two excellent free boat calculators

Sailcalc in operation

Boating enthusiasts love to fiddle with things – for many of us it’s part of the joy of owning and using boats. Some, like me, go further and start to create actual new boat designs, even if we do keep our creations on the small and simple side of the street.

If you’ve tried designing or re-designing a rig, you’ll know that the arithmetic can be tiresome and if you have you’ll be interested in these two calculators developed by one of my friends from the Yahoogroup Boatdesign, Peter Vanderwaart.

The first is Boatcalc, a handy calculator for use with boat hulls modelled using Gregg Carlson’s very useful Chine Hull Developer. See the Boatcalc_documentation. Even if you’re not working on a boat designed using this software, it may be worth reverse-modelling an existing hull in order to make your calculations, and to study its hydrostatics, wetted area and so on.

The second is Sailcalc, a fabulously useful rig calculator that works out centres of effort, sizes and dimensions – from experience, I can tell you that it’s a boon when you’re trying to balanace up the hull of a boat, its skeg and centreboard, and a mast that can only be in one place and a variety of sail options.