It seems ages since Barbara and I met to dream up an informative and chatty newsletter, in fact it was early July. So here we are almost two months later with eager fingers on the keys tapping out our late summer issue.
While mr. Hoile and myself strayed no further than Suffolk this summer for a long weekend, no doubt many of you ventured much further afield.
There was however plenty of action to hold our attention locally including a European amphibious vehicle meet, which looked like a lot of fun for the participants.
Dunkirk: the movie
On rainy summer afternoons, history and boat lovers may have gone in search of a cinema screen to enjoy the summer launch of the film “Dunkirk”, in which some of HSC’s customers inevitably starred.
“Mimosa”’s owner insisted on helming his own boat. The director agreed provided he shave off his beard!
Other Dunkirk little ships that starred in the film came to the Traditional Boat Festival and provided us with a splendid real life spectacle.
Why we love the Thames Traditional Boat Festival:
During the middle weekend of July the riverbank on Fawley Meadows was a joyous place to be. Not only could one feast on the fabulous array of wooden boats afloat, but the whole atmosphere was one of celebration as boat owners and visitors alike came together to celebrate our maritime heritage.
Thank you Judy (Lady McAlpine), and your tireless team for the effort and determination to keep this event alive.
Deenar is a Dunkirk little ship that attended the festival. She was purchased from HSC by its current owner, Paul Weaver, who is an enthusiastic new member of the Association of Dunkirk little ships. Paul took the boat back to his workshop in Wiltshire and added a comfortable glazed aft cabin structure, which won him a trophy for Best Amateur Restoration. Well done, Paul!
We took three boats from the 1930’s to the festival, one American, one Norwegian and a 30 foot Andrews slipper launch. Two of these have now been sold and “Måken” will be appearing at the Southampton Boat Show on the Wooden Boatbuilders Trade Association stand adjacent to the main entrance to the show.
The Traditional Boat Festival simply is the best inland festival of its kind in Europe and it massively encourages people to consider buying a wooden boat and maintaining our heritage.
Other European nations envy our conservative (with a small c) attitude to our history and lament the fact that both the boats and the skills have disappeared from their rivers, lakes and seashores. Clearly we are doing the right thing in training young people to go into boatbuilding.
It is interesting that here at HSC we have a boat from Holland, another one from Norway, and have had boats also from Sweden in the past, as locally their wooden boat market has completely dried up.
Certain myths are being propagated by brokers who prefer the easy option. Why bother to learn about the history of a particular craft when you can pick up the phone and place an order for a floating widget?
Another myth that we are attempting to bust is that of electric boats being complicated and unreliable. The fact of the matter is that with minimal maintenance and regular charging electric boats are really simple, both to operate and to maintain. Many brokers simply do not have the knowledge or the engineering back up to sell electric boats with confidence so they persist in dissuading potential buyers from a point of view of complete ignorance.
Where have all the (electric) boats gone?
They have all been rented out and people have been having a great time enjoying the river (pollution-free)!
Our new PureBoating.co.uk website, with its online booking system has proved to be a big success. This summer we have been operating a fleet of 4 self-drive electric boats from our PureBoating base in Wallingford. On busy days there have been up to 16 separate customer outings and I can safely say that we have thus far had only one breakdown all summer, which was swiftly rectified by Steve from Henley Technical Services.
In the next couple of weeks we expect to launch our EBoatique website focused on electric boat sales, conversions and related topics and hope that it will become a sort of fount of all knowledge.
So while other brokers slumber through the Tesla revolution, HSC is going to create EBoatique.co.uk and embrace Elon Musk’s vision!
It is a pleasure to see that young yacht designers, such as Harris Maidment (pictured below) who introduced himself to me at the Traditional Boat Festival, are of course looking to electric propulsion for all their future projects.
Harris Maidment, 20, is a third-year student, studying Yacht and Powercraft Design at Southampton Solent University and is hoping to become a boat designer after graduating. Solent provides a unique course for future boat designers and builders.
Having completed year 2, he has undertaken a two-month internship with HPI Verification Services, testing and modelling RIBs and other vessels resulting in visits to Nice and Sunseeker in Poole which was a great experience.
As part of his final year dissertation he is looking at designing a new luxury tender for the superyacht industry based on the classic Thames Slipper Launch. This design concept will be looking to use new green materials and technologies to create a high-end vessel that is environmentally friendly and easily maintained throughout its lifecycle.
Since it is to be an open limousine tender it is required to be able to transport guests and crew to and from the mothership as fast as possible. Most tenders have top speeds between 30 and 40 knots, so a little different from the normal river limits!
Harris will be using the basic aesthetic shape of the classic Thames Slipper Launch and adapting the hull and layout for high speed travel. The structures involved will ensure that the vessel will be able to be craned into the superyacht hull and stored safely and easily.
His design is actually not dissimilar to the fabulous Cockwells Monaco yacht tender with its attractive sloping stern.
Southampton – here we come!
As agents on the Thames for the Cockwells’ “Duchy” range of boats, my colleagues and I will be exhibiting at Southampton Boat Show for the second year running.
Last year HSC showed two of the Ruban Blue electric boats and this year we will be showing their Scoop in the water on Pontoon M012A , which is in the marina itself.
One of the HSC team will be on the “Duchy 21” with the Cockwells team just a few boats away.
Don’t forget to pay homage to our classic boats brokerage section at the entrance of the show in the Arena area, where “Måken” and “Wise Folly” (great name for a wooden boat) will be flying the flag for traditional boat renovation skills.
Nautical reading suggestions
This month’s book suggestions were sent to us by John Shirley, a Thames Vintage Boat Club member and Bates Starcraft owner.
He mentions that he has a couple of shelves worth of interesting reads, but highlights: “Voyage in a Bowler Hat” and “Through Europe at four knots”.
Thank you John, for these recommendations!
A token of appreciation
Last week we sold “Lady Penelope”, the final vessel in a quartet of classics belonging to one of our (unfortunately deceased) collector clients. The family instructed us to sell all four of the boats and so that is what we did.
Here at HSC we live by a famous quote by the Buddha: “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”
We do this every day, and what makes our job as classic boat brokers all the more worthwhile, is the appreciation of our loyal customer base!
Read all about Gillian’s visit to a Dutch boatyard and our experiences at the Southampton Boat Show wearing a 3 cornered hat in the next issue of our newsletter. In the meantime follow us on Instagram @henleysalesandcharter for regular updates.