When the gates open for the Southampton International Boat Show on Friday, head straight for the Wooden Boatbuilders Trade Association stand (HO40), for some of the finest examples of boatbuilding – not to mention boatbuilders! – you’ll see at the show. Here’s what they’ll have on display:
Thames restoration specialists Michael Dennett Boatbuilders will be displaying a 1946 25’2” (7.7m) Osbourne day cruiser LITTLE ANN II, fully restored to the usual Dennetts exceptional standards and immaculate varnish finish. Based on the River Thames at Laleham near Chertsey since 1988, when Michael Dennett launched the traditional wooden boatbuilding yard together with his son Stephen, Dennetts have over 100 years of combined experience and numerous Dunkirk Little Ships to their credit. Photographer and regular WaterCraft contributor Kathy Mansfield was at the yard for our July/August issue (W148), with the story of the restoration of JOLLY BRIT, one of the Royal Yacht BRITANNIA’s jolly boats.
Star Yachts will be exhibiting the new Bristol 6 launch and their 16’ (4.8m) Bristol 16 launch VERITY. Based in the historic Underfall Yard in Bristol, run by boatbuilder Win Cnoops, Star Yachts builds a range of motor boats designed by leading yacht designer and regular WaterCraft contributor Andrew Wolstenholme.
The new Bristol 6.0 is a fast 20’ (6.10m) open launch with a shallow draft to allow for use in estuaries and easier beachings. The maximum speed with a 57 hp turbo charged diesel will be around 22 knots, with an easy cruising speed of 15 knots. Designed to pierce through waves without the slamming you encounter with RIBs, the light fully glued wooden hull is strong and stiff and beautifully hand finished with high quality two-component paints and varnishes. With its sleek design and finish, it’s set to be a real head turner among new builds at the Show.
In W145 (January/February 2021), designer Andrew Wolstenholme talked us through his design for the Bristol 16 and her big sister the Bristol 29, in our regular ‘Grand Designs’ feature.
Evans Boatwork will be exhibiting a new 14’ (4.6m) design; a lightweight sail, oar and outboard multi purpose dinghy. Based in Pembrokeshire in Wales, boatbuilder Colin Evans trained at the IBTC Lowestoft in 1993 and is probably best known for the Atlantic Beach Boat; a 28’ (8.5m) four-oared lug ketch for coastal rowing and sailing.
Lakeland Wooden Boats, based near Kendal in Cumbria and run by boatbuilder Kevin Halcrow, will bring two Andrew Wolstenholme sailing dinghy designs: the 14’6” (4.4m) Swallow and the 12’ (3.6m) Mallard. See W50 (March/April 2005) for Judy Brickhill’s review of a Swallow and an account of building a traditional clinker example.
On loan from the Old Gaffers Association is the Gaffling, the OGA dinghy also designed by – you’ve guessed it! – Andrew Wolstenholme and first launched in 2018. Designed to be built by home builders from a pre-cut CNC kit, the Gaffling is 13’6” (4.1m) and can be sailed, rowed, sculled or used with an outboard engine; perfect for gaffers young and old!
Last but by no means least, Willow Bay Boats will have a Phil Swift designed 13’8” (4.17m) Farthing sailing dinghy on display and boatbuilder Dick Phillips will also demonstrate traditional boatbuilding skills on a clinker dinghy in build. This is a unique chance to watch a craftsman at work, especially one who has contributed so much to boatbuilding education over the years, teaching at both Falmouth Marine School and the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis.
The Southampton Boat Show – the UK’s largest boat show – runs from 10th – 19th September at Mayflower Park, Southampton. The WBTA stand is HO40, at the foot of the pedestrian bridge on the south side, by the Holiday Inn. Show tickets from: www.southamptonboatshow.com/visitor-information/tickets/ – wear your most comfortable walking shoes!
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