Well, Beale Park Boat Show is over and another year will go by before we have another "rush" to be there.
The English yacht magazine, ‘Watercraft’ July/August 2011 has a leading article, on why a proposed new boat show to be held in Liverpool failed to ‘take off’, due to the high expense of exhibition stands, plus expense of accommodation, etc, etc. In contrast Beale Park exhibition costs are low, the show is for just 3 days, and one can camp on site!
Two Viking friends, Bo and Karin, on holiday from Denmark, had been staying with us in Devoran and provided much needed help to get the Amatasi ready to take to Beale Park. They helped us planing the crossbeams to the correct diameter. They are experts in making Viking tents for Viking Fairs and gatherings, so planing down our trees into straight, fair beams came easy to them. They joined us at Beale Park boatshow and said there was nothing to equal it in the Scandinavian countries.
A Dutchman exhibiting at Beale Park told me that he had exhibited his wooden boat at the major Dutch boatshow, the Amsterdam Hiswa. He found the Hiswa ‘boring’, but found Beale Park was ‘fun’. He said this on the Sunday when the rain poured down! We all - stand owners, and visitors - showed the stoicism that all small boat sailors have to learn!
What makes Beale Park boat show so special? First it is the beautiful outdoor site with green grass and trees, plus the lake on which fun activities take place; The crazy jazz band that wanders around; The big tent with Irish girl dancers, full voiced women's choir, steel band music. Stands selling leather hats, boat bits, traditional crafts, coracles etc.
Classic Boat and Watercraft yacht magazines had stands. Watercraft this year organized an ingenious competition/race for small craft propelled by cordless drills! They also hold a yearly competition for the best self-built boat. On the lake were the sailing boats, canoes, steam launches, even a one-man submarine!
The Dinghy Cruising Association as always brought their boats and low cost cruising ideas. Then there are the stall holders like myself with new or classic small boat designs, most built in wood. It all blended together into a ‘real event’ around the theme of low cost, simple boats.
It must not be forgotten that in the mid 1980s, before the development of factory produced boats, small, simple boats were the backbone of the sailing world. Read ‘Classic Boat’ May and June issues on the simple designs of the Norwegian Knud Reimers as taken up by Uffa Fox in the mid 1930's.
The philosophical concepts of the Scandanavian 22 square meter designs (25ft water line length) are echoed in some of my Tiki designs. A personal highlight of the Beale Park boat show was a quiet couple with two children who visited our stand. They told me that they had their honeymoon sailing their Tiki 26. "Where" said I, thinking of the south coast of Britain. “From Hong Kong to the Philippines”, they modestly said. The wife said, “I made a sea anchor with many small drogues attached to a warp, but we did not need it, the boat looked after us”.
It is a privilege to design modest boats for modest people, who can achieve such oneness with the ocean.
- James Wharram