Regular readers will know how fond I am of North West England as a card carrying Mancunian, and therefore always happy to jump on the train heading north whenever the occasion arises.

It was love at first sight

While in the Lake District this time with the typical mix of snow and sun, I was delighted to be able to introduce a customer to her new build Windermere 25.

The "Blue Duck" in build (not blue just yet)

The “Blue Duck” in build (not blue just yet)

This is a variant of the 27ft version, admired by many of you at the London Boat show. We all shared the excitement of the project. The boat builder Hamish Patterson had prepared the workshop in advance of our arrival.

It was a breakfast at Tiffany’s moment.

It was a breakfast at Tiffany’s moment.

There was a table laid with shiny stainless and chrome fittings as well as samples of highly varnished wood.

Highly varnished wood samples

Highly varnished wood samples

One of these came from some centenarian oak planks, which had been milled for a coffin maker. Few boat builders have access to English oak of this age, some of which will feature on the decks.

The boat is to be named “Blue Duck”, so fittingly we went from Hawkshead to the Drunken Duck Inn & Restaurant for lunch, admiring the view of Lake Windermere on the way up.


While up in Cumbria I was invited to view a Chris Craft Cobra which was left to the current owners in a cherished relative’s will.

Chris Craft logo on the vertical Cobra fin

Chris Craft logo on the vertical Cobra fin

When people think they have inherited something rare and of great worth, I often find myself the bearer of bad news. I don’t like having to disappoint as is often the case. However I do like seeing all kinds of boats, after all it adds to my bank of knowledge and often such a viewing is a learning experience for both parties.

Oct 1954 - The first 21ft Cobra's hull is finished off.

Oct 1954 – The first 21ft Cobra’s hull is finished off.

An 18ft and a 21ft Cobra in action

An 18ft and a 21ft Cobra in action

The 1955 Cobra was constructed in two lengths, the 18ft and the 21ft and was the first Chris Craft model to highlight fiberglass, albeit only above the waterline. Perhaps it was ahead of its time in terms of its styling, as only 106 were built in total, and they removed this model from their inventory after 1955 as it wasn’t selling well.

I think it is a fabulous looking boat with the sloping stern somewhat reminiscent of our very own Thames slipper stern launch. Maybe it was the lack of cockpit space which put off potential owners.

After all compare this with the earlier Chris Craft utilities of the 30’s like “Sans Peur” which is on brokerage through HSC at the moment (and comes complete with trailer).

"Sans Peur"

“Sans Peur”

In order to make this boat suitable for a low speed environment we fashioned a new rudder and changed the propeller to enable use of the boat on the Thames, however she would be equally at home on a lake or an estuary. All you have to do is remove the rudder extension and revert to the original prop size.

“Sans Peur” seats 10 people in great comfort and has a level of sociability which boat owners have always appreciated.

The Cobra probably fell in between two stools really, in that it was neither an out and out racer nor a family craft.

A model Cobra that I would love to have in my office (and on which the maintenance will probably be slightly less than on the original).

A model Cobra that I would love to have in my office (and on which the maintenance will probably be slightly less than on the original).

A Chris Craft Cobra in mint condition can be worth almost 6-figures. Of course the question for any owner is: Can I afford to implement the restoration work that would enable me to achieve top money for my “barn find”?

Incidentally if anyone reading this is interested in potentially buying the Cobra I viewed, please do get in touch and we can have a chat about value.

Brand NEW for YOU!

"Pebbles" in action (above) - "Black Arrow" on her trailer (bottom)

“Pebbles” in action (above) – “Black Arrow” on her trailer (bottom)

If you prefer new builds we have a couple of racy little numbers on our books at the moment, including “Black Arrow” and the 14ft “Pebbles”, they both come on trailers and the former is brand new. Both could be a lot of fun for a new owner this summer.

"Luna Di Miele"

"Luna Di Miele" before her delivery and then with all her cushions in place.

“Luna Di Miele” before her delivery and then with all her cushions in place.

We also delivered our first Duchy called “Luna di Miele” which was a surprise 50th birthday present for a gentleman from Shiplake (lucky guy). His wife and I had a lot of fun working on the specification, so it was a relief to know that our hours of deliberation over the finer details paid off in the end.

The PTS 31 seen from the front

The PTS 31 seen from the front

We have had a great deal of interest in the PTS 31. You may remember that it was inspired by the Swedish interwar Petterson designs. It is quite a stretch design wise from Statement Marine’s original PTS 26 (one of which we have in build for a Thames customer at the moment), but according to the latest boat report in Waterkampioen magazine, the Dutch market still sees it as a contemporary classic.

PTS 31's transparent transom

PTS 31’s transparent transom

Luckily we have Barbara in our midst, although now a Henley resident and a valued member of our HSC team, she is Dutch and was born on a river boat in Holland. For any other fluent Dutch readers the article attached will make an interesting read; others (including me) can simply enjoy the photos.

This boat is available to purchase through Henley Sales and Charter, so please get in touch if you would like to jump on a plane with me for a day in the land of tulips, canals and beautiful boats.

Exciting new arrival at E-Boatique!

The Scoop Plus seen from above

The Scoop Plus seen from above

We are eagerly awaiting the delivery of a Scoop Plus from Ruban Bleu, which Stuart is going to fetch at the same time as he brings back the cute little Ace for Pure Boating. The Scoop Plus is a boat that we have had quite a lot of influence over with the manufacturer, as we felt that the basic Scoop might not be so appealing to private owners.

In fact the basic Scoop has appealed to owners and we hope that the Scoop Plus, which will be featured in our next newsletter and on the E-Boatique website as soon as it arrives, will be an even bigger hit.

Aboard the Scoop Plus

Aboard the Scoop Plus

This model has a rigid canopy, another improvement suggested by us following feedback from customers.

Do give us a ring if you’d like to see the Scoop Plus in mid April, when we should also have two brand spanking new Fantail 217’s from the Montreal based manufacturers CEBC.

You will also be able to admire our range of new electric boats at the Beale Park Boat Show as well as at the Horning Show this year.

What’s in store at Boatique?

Marine Business for sale at Boatique

Marine Business for sale at Boatique

Jules at Boatique has brought in some fabulous new Marine Business items for the spring/summer season. We love the new smoked coloured “glass” ware. Give your galley an update with a fresh look.

If you are adding to your exisiting stock, there are still the old favourites with the different coloured stems as well as the clear plastic glasses that look just like real glass.

Jules also has a shop full of stripes and some Quba jackets in pastel colours for your favourite crew members.