The Home Built Boat Rally (HBBR) over the weekend was rainy but fun, a pattern that seems to have emerged for these events.
Chris Perkins launched his latest work of art, Stangarra, a little canoe designed by Iain Oughtred. She is well up to Chris's exacting standards, complete with gold leaf name and a stylised stangarra (Scots for stickleback) on the side. For pics of her maiden voyage in the rather apprehensive hands of a middle aged baldy who is more used to rowing, see Chris's Flickr page. His informative and entertaining blog is here.
Noted sailor Brian Pearson discovered sliding-seat rowing in Snarleyow - here he is looking a bit nervous, just like me in Stangarra really. Long thin boats are very much an acquired taste.
John Lockwood's unusual new rowing/outboard tender/utility/fishing boat also got its first wetting at the show. She's almost a catamaran, perhaps a tunnel hull. Anyway, she looks rather ungainly though stable, but goes surprisingly fast under oars. John's oars are rather short for the boat - with a longer pair she could go quite quickly I think. The design was taken from an old copy of Motor Boat and Yachting, John said, adapted for the materials he happened to have around.The Keynes Country Park where the event was held seems to be getting busier and busier - a triathlon happened on Sunday morning and the boats of the new Cotwold Rowing Club are conspicuously racked up in the boat park. Among them was a Virus Yole with sliding riggers, an arrangement I have been wanting to try for a long time.
Unfortunately nobody from the club was around on the Sunday, so I didn't get a chance to go out in it, but the rigger is impressively engineered and shows no sign of rust despite being left outside in all weathers. Virus sell the sliding rigger as a bolt-in unit. I'm very tempted by the idea of fitting one in a Selway-Fisher Windrush. At 18ft long and 2ft 9in across, it should go like the clappers while being stable enough for Chichester Harbour and perhaps, with suitable built-in buoyancy, off the beach.