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Preparing for Beale Park Boatshow

By James Wharram

Rush, push, scramble, deadlines to meet. We have in English the concept of the "Grumpy Old Man".

Whether I have become a grumpy old man, it appears, depends on the day, or the events around the day when you see me.

Assuming that I am a "Grumpy Old Man" what do I dream about? Well for some of us it is an escape vessel; a small, easily handled ship, boat, water-craft, multi-hull, that we can hoist sail on and disappear up a quiet creek/lagoon or over the horizon.

One of my heroes was Michael Richey who on his 25' junk rigged Folkboat ‘Jester’ wandered around the Atlantic into his 80's. In 1994 I met him in Madeira just as he was about to sail back to Britain. A brief talk on ‘Spirit of Gaia’ then with his junk sail reefed well down he was on his way, well out into the Atlantic and several thousand miles home to Britain.

Another one of my heroes is Glenn Tieman who is happy sailing his Tama Moana around the Pacific. I’m not forgetting the much younger Rory McDougall who sailed his Tiki 21 around the world, then last year raced her in the Jester Challenge across the Atlantic, coming in second.

Unpainted Amatasi hull in workshop
Michael and John working on unpainted Amatasi hull in workshop
Amatasi hull, unpainted.

That’s enough. Once I begin to go down memory lane there is no end! My grumpy old man's escape boat is the 27' Amatasi and I am extremely grumpy because next week is the Beale Park Boat Show, and I will not be able to present the finished Amatasi there as I had planned to do.

I think that is was most unfair (grump, grump) that partner Hanneke began year 2011 with a heart-valve operation that kept her in hospital for 5 weeks. Then there were the freezing cold months of January and February, particularly in the work shop, which did not help speed of construction either.

As a grumpy old man I increasingly find boat shows boring; too much pushy salesmanship, too many gadgets. But there is one boat show in England I enjoy, Beale Park Boat Show, close to Pangbourne near Reading. It is held outdoors around a beautiful little lake, connected to the River Thames.

The people there love boats. Some, of course, go too far; they exhibit varnished wooden boats of such exquisite finish they should go straight from the show to be displayed in an Art Gallery!

Spruce trees
James with girdled Spruce trees
Girdled Spruce tree
Crossbeams are shaped out of Spruce trees.

I/we wanted to exhibit a beautifully finished Amatasi there, suitably painted to cover up any construction faults. Well the Amatasi is not finished, we shall however exhibit half a boat; one hull, the crossbeams and half a platform attached, unpainted. All our handy work will be open for inspection and no doubt criticism, but it will give people a chance to see how she is made. We can also show ‘Green’ vegetable based ‘Ecopoxy’ alongside oil based epoxy, even a sample of ‘bamboo’ cloth to be used for skinning the second hull instead of glass fiber.

Anyone interested in helping us build the second hull can also come and meet us at Beale Park; one of our volunteers is soon off to a boatbuilding job in Portugal and the other has offered to help build the second Amatasi in Rhode island, USA, in a month time.

So friends who are able to get to the Beale Park Boat Show 10-12th June, we will welcome you there.

www.bealeparkboatandoutdoorshow.co.uk

- James Wharram