Wednesday 1 October 2014

Bronze Age Boating

First off the start line at the GRR was the half-size replica of the Bronze Age Dover boat, which was launched to much fanfare in 2012 but promptly sank. 
It was a rushed job to meet the launch date, so the builders had filled in the massive gaps between the planks with bath sealant or some damn stuff. Happily, the boat now floats after being taken apart and reassembled properly using entirely Bronze Age gap-filling gloop made mainly of beeswax.
The tale was told in a recently-broadcast Time Team Special that featured a two-second clip of Bembridge's bow, all that aired of a three-hour session in which we rowed Sir Tony Robinson round the harbour explaining why a boat has to have a bow if it is to slip through the water efficiently.
The replica has a bow but the design is rather speculative as the original had lost its entire front end. They don't even know how long it was. 
The crew struggled manfully but progress was painfully slow. Was it an inefficient bow design or the fact that it was being paddled by a bunch of sedentary archeologists that dragged it back to finish 327th in a time of four and a half hours? 
The first shall be last, as the good book hath it.


eric17 said...

as a "scow fanatic", I really would like to know "why a boat has to have a bow if it is to slip through the water efficiently"...

Chris Partridge said...

Even a scow is pointy at the waterline and I think that was their question. As the day wore on Tony's questions got ever shorter as he tried to get an answer that even Channel 4 viewers could understand and it got a bit silly. I was relieved it never got shown to be honest.

JP said...

I'm really sorry to have missed seeing this boat on the GRR having spent some time around the bronze age relics at Vauxhall.

Chris Partridge said...

I was sorry not to get a closer look. We overtook her very early on but I had both hands occupied so I couldn't take a pic (this one was taken by Ron Williams on the pleasure boat). I may have been a bit harsh on the paddlers - she is clearly very heavy and has a big swim on the front rather than the knife-like stem of Bembridge, shown slicing through the water in the programme. Must have been pretty punishing.