We began our story in 1923 so 2023 is a big year for us, our centenary year starts with the arrival of a new hull ready for fit out. This classic launch, Ellie, a Mayfly 21 will be ready to travel down to the Thames next month, and will be used as a commercial trip boat this coming season. Without the beautiful varnished Mahagany of our classic range, this trip version is designed to be very low maintenance and the cost represents excellent value for a bespoke hand built to order river launch. If you are looking for a beautiful British built handcrafted classic electric launch, please get in touch now if you want a boat this season.
Electric boats are the mainstay of our new build business, and we believe electric launches are key to the future of environmentally sound, non-polluting boats that will ensure the future of areas of natural beauty such as the Norfolk Broads where we are based.
Being custom boatbuilders though, we usually have other interesting projects in the shed apart from our river launches, wooden boats are a significant part of our workload at the moment. We have just completed a restoration of a 1942 Chris-craft sportsman 17, which we hope to have nominated in the upcoming classic boat magazine 2023 awards, restoration category. Having a six cylinder Chrysler Ace engine is certainly a world away from our current electric boats.
Keeping with the wooden boat theme our new build Aroha is coming along well. The beautiful Douglas Fir framework has now been covered with the 3 layers of diagonally opposed plywood. This cold moulded hull will soon be ready for scrimming and fairing. The lovely hull shape is now evolving to show why this design is so easily driven and efficient through the water. The solid block of Douglas fir laminate for the keel has also now been carefully sculpted into shape ready to be fitted to the hull which will make her track well at all speeds.
As we cover the ribs of one boat we expose those of another. Born in 1936, Falcon II comes to us each winter for some TLC and winter maintenance. This year that includes replacing approximately 60ft of planking and repairing or replacing some broken frames. Iroko planks will be roved onto the oak frames and caulked in the traditional manner before being painted to ensure this lovely broads cruiser stays in great shape for years to come. Wooden boats are considered a labour of love but ownership is immensely rewarding and knowing that this is the essence of sustainability, 83 years old and still going strong with some regular care and maintenance.
It is very satisfying to think that in our 100th year of operation we are able to continue to use techniques that were common place when we started, and long before, particularly when the debate has started as to whether traditional wooden boatbuilding should be on the heritage list of endangered crafts. https://www.rina.org.uk/woods.html . Did I say we were 100 years old………more of that later.