by Gavin Atkin
Went to Beale Park today for what is now called the Beale Park Thames Boat Show. There were some great old boats and some terrific new boats, and one or two smiles along the way. Sadly, though, the wind was just about useless and so I can't offer any exciting sailing shots... unless you like near misses ;-)
Brought along by the Thames Vintage Boat Club, Gena is an electric canoe built in 1903. A lot of this boat is genuinely original, although there have been complaints that the controller lets it down as it was installed as late as 1923.
Another TVBC boat on show was Arthur.
Als always Margaret and Frank Dye were camping in their beloved Wayfarer dinghy, and were on hand to discuss their famous voyages, and Frank's book about sailing the East Coast of the USA in a Wayfarer, "Sailing to the Edge of Fear".
The Kipperman brought a host of paraphernalia, including a Severn punt developed for salmon stop netting (C1) and his kippering shed. I love the stickers, particularly the one that says 'This is not a s**t house'.
No-one would make that mistake, of course.
The Drascombe people brought the wooden prototype of the new Drascombe Drifter 22. This seems a more conventional boat than the other Drascombes, but a very attractive craft nevertheless, and represents a logical way to extend the brand. Certainly, I'd like one even without seeing the final product or even the rig.
Mitchell Boats of North Devon showed their interesting new Explorer pocket cruiser complete with a novel keel and convenient bolt-on legs.
If only it were a little more attractive, I think it might have a chance of being popular. Perhaps a change of colour scheme might help?
A nice addition to the show was an Irish-style curragh, complete with traditional narrow oars. I knew these skin boats were light, but the three rowers seemed to be able to get it almost to plane despite the narrowness of their oars. I like the shot (middle photo) where a crewwoman casts a net... Very traditional-looking.
The Eventide Owners Group brought down a couple of Yachting World Seniors. I haven't seen them before, but if your taste runs to old-fashioned plywood sloop-rigged pocket cruisers I think you might like them.
Here's a neat idea - plumbers' fittings used in making a rudder.
This traditional Thames slipper launch is just asking to take someone for a ride...
One of the officers at my local sailing club entered this rowing skiff in the Water Craft magazine's annual competition, but seems to have kept it secret from all of us... (below, left) First prize, however, went to this stripper canoe. (below, right)
Meanwhile I was more taken by this sailing canoe brought by Solway Dory... A very appealing little boat, with lots of nice detail. Sadly they weren't about to let us have a go!
This Wharram catamaran was a nice surprise - though it did make the lake seem very small.
I've a soft spot for punts, so this electric punt seemed an interesting variation on the theme. And I particularly liked the name.
Towards the end of the afternoon and in very light winds, my other pal for the afternoon, Jim, and I went for a spin in Conrad Natzio's Sandpiper skiff. This is sloop rigged trad-style plywood skiff sailed pretty well in the puffs, but clearly likes a breeze to make her go. A cute boat...
There was almost a moment of shame when I nearly but not quite hit the moored vintage steam launch Consuta.
My pal Steve, who came along for a day out, used to be crew on Royal Navy nuclear submarines, so I thought it essential to take a shot of him near a model submarine that someone brought, but I'm not sure it didn't look better with the owner's dog in command.