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, 7 March 2013

Finished... but Where's the Proof?

Well the Frank Knight-built dinghy went down to Struy the other day and, as always, I packed a camera to capture the moment of hand over. And then forgot to take any photos.

Ah well. All I can say is that she looked pretty good with mahogany thwarts back and varnished, as was the foredeck. Those of you who (loyally) tune into this blog will be bitterly disappointed of course. But be patient: I will get some shots by hook or crook before too long.

Those of you who also take that excellent publication Classic Boat can read a little about it in the next issue.

Meanwhile I have begun work on the next one: an elm-planked 10ft dinghy that was originally fitted with a centreboard. I only discovered this today when I hacked off the crude blanking piece over the slot. If anything this little gem is even nicer than her bigger sister. I fully intend to take off the lines. Unfortunately, again, I forgot to take my camera to the workshop today. Believe me, she's a little beauty with fabulous mahogany thwarts, Honduras no doubt and unobtainable now. Bent timbers were shot though and all will be replaced.

I have a feeling she was amateur built in the days when amateurs built clinker boats, as the quality is superb, but somehow not professional. In that I mean better. It has taken more time. More care has been expended and that is so often the way. So-called professionally-built boats have a put-together-by-time-served craftsmen-to-a-timescale-and-standard quality about them, whereas amateur-built boats - that is those built by super talented amateurs who may well be brain surgeons, nuclear scientists, climate change researchers or former British Rail managers - can be exquisite. Maybe it's the quota of dedication (I was going to say love) put into them, and the (unpaid) hours.

And if you want to know how to build a clinker dinghy, then you can do worse than subscribe to the thinking man's nautical magazine, The Marine Quarterly. You will not regret it. This quarter's issue, aside from the clinker treatise in 2000 words, includes pieces on scurvy, Brixham trawlers and Thames eels.

You know you should...

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