Friday 7 December 2012

Watts cartoons and boats

"You might have upset the beastly thing
a bit further out, George. I'd rather
be drowned than look a perfect fool."
Arthur Watts (1883-1935) was a cartoonist with Punch, book illustrator, author and sailor - his books include A Three-legged Cruise (compiled from articles for Yachting Monthly) and The Scented Trawler (an account of his time spent at sea with the Auxiliary Patrol in WW1).
His cartoons epitomise the gentle, conservative humour that characterised Punch between the wars, and many are featured at The Art of Arthur Watts, a site maintained by his son Simon.
Simon himself is a boatbuilder now based in San Francisco. 
He has run many week-long classes that create traditionally-built boats, including this lovely sliding seat rowing boat based on a hull built in the 1920s and found in Petaluma, California.
The original was planked in red cedar on a frame of an unidentifiable wood, fastened with copper clench nails. Simon's new version is in sitka spruce on locust, fastened with copper rivets and roves.
At nearly 20ft long, she should be fast. I particularly like the traditional 'clogs' - shoes fastened to the stretcher rather than straps.
The plans can be bought from the site and various other outlets.

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