For love of a boat – keep them alive

Last week, I admired this boat in Padstow, Cornwall

and early last month, this one in Finikas, Crete

They are about the same size, both registered fishing boats.

One is built for fishing inshore in the Atlantic Ocean off Cornwall. the other in the Lybian Sea off Southwestern Crete.

To look at, these are totally different boats – but there are many similarities – similarities that come from their function and the work that is put into building, maintaining and running them.

Without a specific function and the people who use them, working boats become mere objects to look at (albeit very fine objects). Add in the people who built them and run them and they take on a life.

Someone decided to build them, lay the keel, add molds, timbers, planking, decking, an engine. Someone finished them. Perhaps the same people, perhaps someone else now takes them to sea, fishes from them, maintains them. These people have families, friends, fellow fisherman, customers – a community of people who know the boats.

Well, they have one other thing in common, they won’t last for ever. As time goes on, and fishing becomes more regulated, and plastic and metal construction finally takes over from wood, and universal design takes over from local design, and costs become more and more prohibitive, so these boats and those like them will disappear into history. Maybe this generation. And the skills that come with them will likely dissolve or resolve into some other field.

Celebrate them now, while you see them working.

Record them and share them

. . . and admire those who are working to keep those skills alive.

Try the boatbuildingacademy site – here, or Charlie Hussey’s marinecarpentry site – here.

Enjoy Mark Harris’ video on building the Isolde, then go to his woodenboatbuilding site – here.

One thought on “For love of a boat – keep them alive

  1. September 2014…
    PW474 was originally an open deck boat built by legandary “launched over the harbour wall” Mitchells of Portmellon Mevagissey as a ferry for the Camel estuary in 1965 or 1966. She had a sistership which was identical, they were named Jacqueline and Robert John after the son and daughter of their owner John England of Padstow – founder of the Padstow speedboats
    The Robert John was sold in the early 70’s but the Jacqueline remained in Padstow and was fitted with a foredeck, cabin and kitted out as a fishing boat by John England in 1982.
    She is still in Padstow, Cornwall owned and worked by local fisherman Dasher Reevely.

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