Wednesday, 20 June 2012

New Boats at the HBBR Thames Raid (4)

Some boats appear in ever evolving forms at each HBBR event.
Paul Hadley's Millibee started life as a conventionally completed Selway Fisher Lynx14 but has become more of an electric cabin cruiser over the years. Paul has spent a goodish amount of time and effort recently tinkering with an electric outboard (a cheapie trolling motor), batteries, Chinese switchgear for an electric bike and, this year, a huge solar panel which you can just see, side on, covering the cabin.
The arrangement worked well, and Paul rarely had to fire up the petrol outboard. Charging points are gradually spreading along the Thames.
Millibee's evolution has already started afresh since the raid. Paul has taken his jigsaw to the bilge keels and cut the boxes back to the hull, which should improve drag considerably. The next step is to cut the cabin down a bit to reduce windage. Pictures of the process are on the HBBR Forum.
The other boat that had changed considerably since I first saw her was John 'Ratcatcher' Lockwood's amazing TBA, which had lock keepers boggling from Rushey to Goring.
John had added a yard or so to the stern to create a motor well for a second outboard, by the simple process of epoxying on some extra panels and strengthening the join by bolting on a few ginormous baulks of wood.
Then he put a cabin top on the bow by (this is genius) buying a time-expired boat on eBay, sawing it in half, turning the stern upside-down and epoxying it in place - it is the green thing at the front. Imagine it the other way up....
A few lengths of deal he had in his barn, a bag of bolts he was given by a mate years ago and a tarpaulin, and the cockpit tent was complete.
The final touch (more genius) is a seat consisting of a wooden chair with the legs cut down and epoxied to a bit of plywood so they don't go through the hull.
This is my sort of boatbuilding. Simple, quick, cheap and effective. Aesthetics? Bless you - get well soon.

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