7th and 8th May 2022 – Lake Windermere
The journey from my boat in Oban to London is rather long and tedious so I often take a break halfway. It just happened that I had finished working on the boat a few days early and there was a “Wooden Boat Gathering” taking place over the weekend on Lake Windermere. It was organised by the Wooden Boatbuilders Trade Association. Luckily, I am still on the mailing list since my days of running the Arthur Beale Yacht Chandler and they let me, and my partner attend as “Wooden Boat Enthusiasts”.
Loads of credit needs to go to the whole Henwood family who pulled off a wonderful event in a very special venue.
There were four talks held over the Saturday and Sunday:
STEPHEN BERESFORD is the Museum’s Senior Conservator and Boatbuilder who, amongst other things, explained how they decide whether to put a boat back into use or just preserve the fabric. Obvious in some restoration cases but not so clear in others.
IAIN OUGHTRED was unable to make it, so COLIN HENWOOD stood in with a fascinating tale of his long association of working with mainly Thames launches. Saunders was a name that cropped up as he seemed to be quite an inventor. I’ve been inspired to find out more.
IAIN TOLHURST who seemed to be universally called Tolly, told us the story of building his Pinky yacht mainly from storm damaged local trees. It is a veritable work of art but, wow, a lot of dedication is needed to complete a project like, especially this whilst running an organic farm.
ANDREW WOLSTENHOLME is a very well-known Boat Designer. His designs are recognisably his, but I’d be pushed to explain why! As it happened Andrew had collaborated with Colin to build a very special “modern” river launch called Lady Helen. A great Designer and a brilliant Boatbuilder combining their efforts on one boat!
Normally you would expect one duff talk out of four, but each was really interesting. Actually I quite enjoy a really bad talk, I sit there wondering in amazement just how much further it can sink, and you’d be surprised. Nothing to quench my bad talk habit here.
I feel even more attached to my wooden Vertue “Sumara” now that I realise the imense skill and effort that went into building her.
We stayed nearby in our camper van at the Windermere camp site which was impeccably kept.