The blog will now be devoted not to boat building but to my 82-year-old Vertue, Sally II, now undergoing a well needed refit at Johnson & Loftus in Ullapool (and gliding...)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

New Day, New Photo

This is one of my favourite boats, and the smallest I have built to date. Built on spec, she's now owned by the young lead guitarist of one of the world's best-known singer's backing band. I have it on good authority that he's often to be seen out in the bay, on his own, presumably as far from the mad world of gigs and tours and venues and screaming fans as it is possible to be.

The design is by Karsten Ausland, in effect a small version of his Jan sjekte, of which I have built two 18ft versions and a couple of 16-footers, tweaked as to midship section but essentially as they came off his drawing board in the 1930s.

But it's this little son of sjekte that I like most. She's a bit unstable on her own, alighting on the water like thistledown, and stiffens up beautifully with a little body weight. Just like a fast rowing boat show be. And she just flies along. I can't think of a nicer little rowing boat. After all, what do you want? A boat that's stable and sluggish or light and fast? And she' a delight in a seaway, riding the waves like a bird.

Wish I hadn't sold her sometimes as she's the kind of boat that one day I will build for myself. Why would you want anything else and, just so as you don't think I haven't forgotten my old prejudices, why on earth would you want something made of plywood, when you can have the real thing? There, just so you don't think I've gone soft on the awful stuff.

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