Monday, 24 June 2013

HBBR Raid down the Thames and up the Kennet

As the Beale Park Thames Boat Show drew to a close on the Sunday, the Home Built Boat Rally fleet left for its annual raid. This year the objective was to go down the Thames to Reading and turn right up the River Kennet, which leads via the Kennet and Avon Canal to Bath, Bristol and beyond.
The first stop was Mapledurham, a fabulously beautiful house, church and mill. Tim O'Connor demonstrated the latest development on his Hobie Mirage-driven canoe Zelva - a fitted tent.
The tent is supported by wooden hoops that fold down over the bow and stern. They blend into the lines of the boat nicely when down, and when up give lots of headroom although the shape might be a bit odd.

I wandered down to the mill and was astonished to see electricity being generated by a reverse-Archimedes screw, a very impressive bit of kit. The old mill wheel (or a replica thereof) showed how technology has moved on.
In the morning we arose to find Zelva hauled out of the water and Tim looking worriedly at a long crack between two strakes just below the waterline. He had been woken at 3 am by a worryingly damp feeling. The dampness continued to rise so he reluctantly got up to investigate.
The crack seemed to have been caused by the trailer, which had been modified slightly bringing a roller up too far against the hull.
But the Home Built Boat Rally has the expertise and the tools! Application of marine sealant and duct tape made Zelva watertight in minutes and we continued down river.


Rob said...

And, Chris, that heap of kit in the background, that all came out of the Zelva?

I remember a tale of a Royal Flying Corps training officer in WW1 that had his riggers converted the Gunners cockpit of his RE8 into a Chest-of-drawers... So he could pack for weekends off visiting his fiance ...

Chris Partridge said...

Yes, all that stuff came out of Zelva. A very capacious boat!