Monday 29 March 2010

Two Launches in One Day

Yesterday saw a double launch at Pulborough on the River Arun in Sussex.
Launch one - the inaugural cruise of the Arundel Boat Club (ABC).
Launch two - the maiden voyage of my new boat, small enough for shallow, narrow streams. The design is called Simbo, the simple boat, by the incredible Hannu of Hannu's Boatyard. It is seven foot something long, and made out of just one sheet of plywood and some odd bits of timber. A construction blog will follow over the next few days.
The picture above, taken by ABC member Wendy Williams (thanks, Wendy!), shows the new boat in the water for the first time, riding high, with me considering carefully whether 5mm of ply really is strong enough for someone of average weight such as myself. Above, ABC chairman Chris Waite holds his self-designed, self-built skiff Octavia back up the very steep slipway.
Finally, I took that step into the unknown and hopped in - Wendy has caught that delicate shake of the boot intended to minimise the amount of water taken in. The boat floats with both transoms just out of the water - success!
Off I row. Unfortunately the rowlocks are too close to the thwart and too low on the water, forcing me to keep my knees down and legs straight, a very uncomfortable pose. Happily, another ABC member, John, lent me the very short oars from his boat which made life easier. Changing the position of the rowlocks will be the first modification before the boat gets another outing.
We ambled gently a mile or so upstream to Stopham Bridge where we have an all-too-short break at the White Hart for BEER.
Then a couple of miles up to Pallingham where the river changes into the disused Arun and Wey canal and is no longer navigable.
One of the advantages of a small boat is you can stuff it in the back of the car for instant boating gratification.

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