Actually, this guy isn't rowing backwards, he is just getting in position for that great nature shot, but it's the boat that is the star. It is a new design from Charles Broughton, called the Westport Jolly Boat.
Charles is a naval architect and founder of Westport Group, located in the martial magnificence of Crownhill Fort in Plymouth. Westport Rowing is the latest addition to the group, and its first product is this lovely sliding seat skiff.
"She is designed for recreational rowing along traditional lines, but is very much a practical boat," he writes. "We have designed folding riggers, which are proving great when coming along side and for storage. She has a full deck mould and with the addition of a dinghy self-bailer she will drain even at rest with a rower aboard. We build her down in Plymouth, Devon, and have manage to keep most fittings UK manufactured. Neaves supply the sliding seat and gates, with Xcell manufacturing the scull for us. Our folding riggers our our own design and they are cast and finished here in Devon."
I love the practical details like the folding riggers, the netting so you can keep bits and bobs close to hand without them drifting under the sliding seat, and the compass exactly where you can keep an eye on it. The way the deck mould wraps over the gunwale is not to my taste but will definitely help keep water out of the boat.
The boat comes with a full range of accessories including carbon fibre blades, cover, trailer and so on - an unusually comprehensive list. And the price is not exorbitant at four grand including blades. All the details are on the website.