Constant gaze

 Waiting tide

This exhibition, open to non-members of the RSMA to show, and to the general public to visit, is a visual treat of, in general, reasonably-priced works reflecting our fascination with ships and the sea. The quality and standard of the work is outstanding and the techniques varied. An interesting addition this year was a time-lapse film showing artist Rowena Wright RSMA at work completing one of her paintings on show, Tuiga in the Solent. Living in Cowes her studies of classic Yachts in the waters of the Solent are vibrant and her use of paint adds interest to the occasion.

Harbours are a popular theme and one that caught my eye was Woodbridge Harbour at low tide by David Allen RSMA, Classic Boat award winner in 2005. Read more »

Designed for raiding

Designed for raiding

Ibeen looking forward to trying out the first BayRaider 17 since spending nine days in Swallow Boats’smaller Storm 15 sailing and rowing around London. The prefix ’means a double ender (in 15,17 and 19-foot models); Raiders are open, day/weekend boats with a transom: the new BayRaiderl7 and the 20, now Swallows’most popular boat, and the SeaRaider 22.

The 17 is the baby of the range. First impressions are that the littleembodies much of the Swallow ethos and she particularly takes after her big sister, the 20. Firstly, there is the light displacement that comes from her 6mm ply/epoxy build. This is not there just for sailing performance —italso because the 17 was designed to be hand-towed on her trailer down low-tide beaches where cars cango. Read more »

Dinghy cruising on the Solent

Dinghy cruising on the Solent

Steffan Meyric Hughes went on the first English Raid for a few breezy days on the west Solent this summer. Photos by Kathy Mansfield

Summer dreaming

I know that having Matt Newland of Swallow Boats on our stand at the London Boat Show in January is trouble —in a good way. In 2009 he offered the loan of one of his boats and I ended up taking a pretty little Storm 15 double-ender and rowing and sailing it in a 100-mile circuit around London (CB255).

This winter, the country was in the midst of its deepest freeze in 30 years —Isure none of us has forgotten that satellite photo of the whole country brushed white with snow. It was a good time for Matt to sell me the idea of a summer raid, which his firm was part-sponsoring, and in which he, and it seems I, would be sailing. And so it was that on a summerevening at the end of July, I found myself, with first mate Lara and a car full of oilies and camping kit, about to set sail on another Lilliputian odyssey. Read more »

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Gaboon

 Gaboon plywood

A lightweight hardwood used in ply, it has a special significance in boat construction —but also some limitations. Richard Hare and Robertsons BoatyardMike Illingworth explain

Gaboonrole in boatbuilding can be summed up in two words: lightweight plywood. This however should not be misinterpreted as an indictment of its quality; since it helps to reduce a boatdisplacement, ita feature valued in yacht construction, particularly in hulls designed for speed. It gives us a lighter sailing boat.

Otherwise known as okoume (a reflection of its habitat in the former French Equatorial Africa, gaboon (Aucoumea klaineana) is a low-density tropical hardwood (430kg/m3, as opposed to khaya at 530 and utile at 660) available in large diameter logs. This combination makes it excellent for peeling into plywood veneers.

Although indigenous to West Africa, Gaboon plywood arrives in Europe mostly from France and, to a lesser extent, Italy. Greece also produces it. Until quite recently it was also produced in Israel, but log export bans in Gabon meant that Israeli mills have since had to diversify. Read more »

Lost in transit

 Mystic Seaport

Postal delays aid procrastination about Siandra s rig —and stir memories of past disasters

Don Street started the whole thing. yougoing to have a stick holding your wind generator up, you might as well make it a mizzen. Convert Siandra to a yawl!”

Good point, we thought, although not a thing to rush into. We made a temporary turbine pole and left the yawl idea for further consideration.

As yet, we havencome up with a really good excuse not to follow Donadvice. There are always gains and losses in rig conversion, but the split rig ought to give Siandra better close-quarters handling, more balance at sea, less loading on the hull and a prettier look. Not to mention somewhere to plonk that wind turbine.

 Mystic Seaport

I hear the cry of a purist: not original!”Even this doesnget us off the hook. Arthur Robb designed a yawl rig for the Lion Class and the plan is at Mystic Seaport. As far as we know, nobody ever built one, but Robb obviously thought it would work. We needed a copy of that drawing. Read more »

Rainbow brighter

 feature boat

The boat is a Thames day launch built in 1920 by James Taylor and Bates of Chertsey, 35ft (10.7m) in length and what wecall beaver-tailed-although the builderbrochure describes it as having a stern’, the term now used for what were once called stern’launches, as popularised by the firm of Andrews among others.

Taylor and Bates offered a range of open launches-there were also 27ft (8.2m) and 30ft (9.1m) versions-as well as cabin launches, which started at around the 35ft length; these included Genevieve and Lady Genevieve, both at this yearThames Traditional Boat Rally, as was the 1906 Verity, recently seen in the Sherlock Holmes film and sold in the Turks auction. The company became Bates, makers of the Starcraft cruisers in the postwar decades. It still operates as Bates Wharf, at Chertsey and elsewhere.

The firm is thought to have made no more than half-a-dozen of this particular model. This one, Rainbow, is almost certainly the only surviving example.

Her present owner is Adam Toop, who bought her in the early summer of 2009. seen her some years before, in the distance, making a turn on the Bray reach. Some things just stir the soul. god, look at that,’Isaid. I couldnsee her imperfections at the time.” Read more »