Saturday 15 February 2014

News from New Zealand

Owen Sinclair in New Zealand saw a pretty boat with an interesting mechanism for loading it on top of a car. He reports:

Hi Chris, 
John MacBeth of Nelson, New Zealand had his lovely self-designed and built boat at the Antique & Classic Boat Show at the South Island Lake Rotoiti this past weekend. 
He read some books including Thomas J Hill's Ultralight Boatbuilding, made a scale model (visible in one of the photos), and built the first boat he has ever built to a high standard. 
He has come up with some good ideas along the way: eg; the fitting at the bow, which looks a bit like the pulpit on a yacht, serves to take a dowel pushed through to form a handle. 
The boat can then be wheeled around using the wheels temporarily mounted at the transom. The photo of those wheels in situ is fairly self-explanatory. 
The flattened U shapes protuding through the wheel mount are stainless steel rod permanently fixed to the transom. 
The thwart is located by a type of cleat (visible in one of the photos) mounted on longitudinal bearers and held in place by the rower's weight. I would be inclined to have a lanyard securing it to the boat. 
He has also built a side-loading roof-rack to take the boat. 
It would need a detailed series of captioned photos to fully explain the ingenuity of his system, but the boat is effectively bolted to part of the roof rack, then turned upside down onto the side arms and winched quite easily onto the roof where it is then mechanically secured. 
The virtue of side-loading the boat for John is that his caravan can remain coupled to his vehicle. 
John intends to use the boat primarily with a 2hp outboard, but there are some useful ideas for rowers here. I didn't get a chance to row it, having taken up an invitation to sail in a Drascombe Lugger at the time everyone was on the water. 

Some great ideas there. I particularly like the roof rack - I have gouged some nasty scratches on the roof of my car recently, getting Snarleyow on top. And that is a very light boat.
Thanks, Owen!

Thursday 13 February 2014

Storm Dodging

The series of rainstorms that has lashed the UK continues, causing more flooding in the West Country and along the Thames. We are lucky here on the South Coast, and I have been able to get out rowing more than I would have thought possible from the weather forecasts.
Today it was raining as I drove down the A27. At Langstone it brightened up, and I took Lottie for a spin. By the time I got to Marker Point the view backwards towards Emsworth was lovely, sunny with scudding clouds.
Turning round the post, the view changed instantly with a lowering cloudbank coming in from the Channel.
I rowed back and as the bow crunched on the beach at Langstone a few drops of rain told me I had timed it right. It looked like this:
Then it brightened up and turned into quite a nice afternoon, surprisingly.

Friday 7 February 2014


Sometimes enduring a shower is rewarded. This was taken on the Hamble today, on the return leg of a quick sprint upriver before the next belt of storms comes in, predicted to prevent anything bar sitting in front of the fire impossible for the weekend.
The picture was taken with the amazing 41 megapixel camera in the Nokia 1020.
I was in the Solent galley Avery A with the Hamble River Rowers. Thanks, guys and gals!

Thursday 6 February 2014

Wind and Weather

 I've managed to get out rowing quite a lot recently, between the line of storms that have blown in from the Atlantic. Did the Hamble last week and will go again tomorrow. Rowed to Emsworth in a brisk F6 southerly on Tuesday. And on Sunday I took Lotty out, taking this picture on the amazing 41 megapixel camera on the Nokia 1020 that I've got on test. It takes really superb pics and I will miss it when it has to go back.
We complain a lot about living on tidal water that prevents us from going out whenever we like, but at least we can get out all year round. Unlike the Henley Whalers who haven't been able to get at their boat Molly for weeks.
Geoff Probert sent the pic, and another of the boat park at Remenham. They don't seem to have got out much lately either....