Friday, 25 July 2014

Expedition Rowing

Bridge Fiend. "Drat it! It's clearing up,and I suppose we shall have to go out in that confounded boat!"
I have been on expeditions with people like this.
Joe Des Lauriers in the US has reminded me of drawings of Arthur Watts, Punch cartoonist and Radio Times illustrator, so here's another one from the website of his son Simon Watts. Simon is a woodworker with several boat designs to his credit, including Sea Urchin, a rather attractive 10ft rowing boat.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Another boat on eBay

This boat currently on eBay is even less suited for camp-cruising than the last one, but at 26ft long, with two sculling stations and a very smart seat for a cox/coach, it should go like a train.
It was built by Eton College Boat House as a training boat about 30 years ago. The vendors suggest it could be adapted for the Great River Race by removing the outriggers and fixing the seats, but even then its long, slender hull would get it handicapped out of the race I suspect.
But for hammering round Chichester Harbour and the Solent it would be brilliant.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Ex-Demo sliding seat cruiser on eBay

The demonstrator model of the Collars Skiff that was shown when the boat was launched at Southampton Boat Show last year is on eBay at £3,250.
The grp hull is 16ft long and only 3ft 6in beam so she should be fairly slippy.
I was intrigued by the flat bottom, which seemed to offer the possibility of sleeping aboard. Unfortunately, the gunwales need to be reinforced where the outriggers are to avoid flexing when the power goes on, and this is done with struts that interrupt the flat area.
And the open space is 6ft 6in by less than 2ft, so it is just too tight for camping in. The Collars Skiff's cousin, the Salter Skiff, would be a better bet, and apparently it is possible to remove the rowing thwart. The search for a cheap Salter for adaptation as a camping boat continues...

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Clearing the Backlog

Owing to sloth, idleness and indolence I have failed to post on a number of things that have happened recently. This is one of them.
The rowing Laser, PicoMicroYacht, which readers with long memories might recall was rowed across the Channel and round Land's End has gone down the navigable length of the Thames.
Robin Morris starts his account at Lechlade and finishes at Greenwich. A great voyage - I now want to do the whole thing in one long holiday - the only reservation being that the English weather doesn't seem to guarantee a couple of weeks or so without rain (if you recall, even the Three Men in their Boat abandoned their trip at Pangbourne because the heavens opened.)

Friday, 11 July 2014

Literally Coast Australia

Coast Australia on the BBC has been a great series. Lots of fantastic scenery and two of the loveliest PhDs on TV anywhere.
The last programme told the tale of the Dutch East Indiaman Batavia, wrecked on the western coast of Australia in 1629 on her way to Indonesia for spices.
There seemed to be no water on the island they were stranded on. so most of the senior officers took a boat and sailed off to Indonesia "to find some." "Saving their own skins," said a local historian.
A group of marines took a boat to another island and found water, but despite their smoke signals the rest of the survivors did not come over. They had come under the control of the civilian second-in-command, a psychopath who decided that the best way of ensuring his own survival was to get everyone to slaughter each other.
Eventually, he mounted an expedition to kill the marines. In the middle of their spirited defence what should arrive but a rescue ship.
Both sides realised they had to get to the ship first to ensure their side of the story was heard, and a rowing race began. Quite literally a race for their lives. The marines won, the leading killers were hanged on the spot and the survivors taken to Indonesia.
"Literally within arm's reach?"
Notice that I used the word 'literally' correctly there. Twice in the programme, presenters were guilty of egregious literally-abuse.
Dr Emma Johnston said that whereas the Great Barrier Reef is hundreds of miles offshore, the fringing reef on the west coast was "literally within arm's reach". Come on ducky, it was close but not that close.
Then Neil Oliver himself came out with: "The Coral Coast is quite literally the western frontier of this continent." No it isn't. It's quite literally the western coast. Come on, Neil.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Up the Pole

Rowing Bembridge down channel to the Piranha Bar for lunch, we passed the channel marker at Verner (so named because it is opposite Verner Common on Hayling Island). A bloke climbed up into the can, stuck his head out of a hatchway at the top and fiddled with the light. I love the way his feet dangle out the bottom.

By the Seaside

Taking a boat round the bay and saucy postcards are both vanished traditions of the British seaside. The postcard above is currently for sale on eBay. It shows how rowing keeps you fit and slim...
There is really no excuse for these two, however: