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  • Alick Burt

Felix's Canoe and Dabchick No 2 go to Beale Park Boat Show.

Hello Folks

This weekend I took Felix's Canoe and Dabchick No 2 to Beale Park Boat Show.

I was there as part of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association and with my friends Nick, Andy and David we had a great selection of old canoes for people to admire along with my latest new creation Dabchick No 2.

The Friday was slightly overcast and we had a downpour in the afternoon but there were still a few visitors to keep us busy. I had also brought a selection of paddles with some of my newly invented paddle racks to hang them on.

Felix's Canoe was looking at her best after the extra four coats of varnish I gave her prior to coming and I am pleased to report that later in the day I took her for a paddle without any leaks!

It seems that 18 coats of varnish has finally done the trick for now.Those of you who have read my restoration blog will remember how I have been trying to work out whether it is best to,let an old canoe like this one take on water to swell the planking or if it is possible to varnish her to the extent that this does not happen and this is what I have been working to achieve.

The flag is not contemporary just one Nick stuck in there. Neither of us know the designation of the flag itself (please let us know if you do !) some sort of canoe sailing group perhaps?

I have also made her some of my adjustable kneeling thwart brackets which, like the ones I have in Peterborough No 1 and the Dabchick work a treat.

On the Saturday morning before the gates opened I decided to go for a short paddle up river.

Beale Park is adjacent to the river Thames and although I have been here twice I hadn't yet ventured onto the river itself.

As the flow was quite strong I opted to paddle up river first and return with the flow assisting me.

After an hour of fairly hard work against both flow and a light breeze I got to this railway bridge.

Just before the bridge there was also a curious hut on the right bank that I later discovered was part of an old ferry that used to cross the river at that point.

Later when I got back we were joined by David Millward with his two fabulous old canoes.

The Burgundy one is an Old Town Otca and the White one ( also David's) is of similar Age to Felix's Canoe but is of a very rare type of construction. It was made by Stephenson and is a rib boat. That is to say the planking runs in the direction of where other boats normally have ribs making it very difficult to build.

I was lucky enough to get to paddle her later in the day.

Nick also had his Peterborough rib boat another rarity of similar construction complete with sailing rig and self adjusting lee boards that incredibly rise and fall of their own accord depending on the direction of sail.

The Day finished with a fabulous sunset and I took a picture of these ripples on the lake.

Day 3 passed very quickly as it was very hot and we had more visitors.

Before things got started I popped out onto the lake and saw a very amorous swan chasing a mate.

You can see the female making a dash for it at the very start of my film.

Before I left I had one last paddle and all was calm.

As I was packing up I discovered another handy feature of my remove-able thwarts and brackets is that I can carry the brackets and seat all in one hand like this.

A fabulous show which I will be attending again next year.

Happy paddling!

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