Thursday, 20 March 2014

Tepco 8' Stem Dinghy - The Yachtsman's 'Bawley' Boat


THE TEPCO DINGHY is synonymous with East Coast yachtsmen and fishermen alike. It is quite likely there are thousands of them in and around this coastline.  The boat has lines that hide nothing from the viewer therefore they are an honest craft. With the Tepco what you see is what you get. The eight feet version is as chunky as a butchers dog. It has the full shoulders of a Staffordshire bull terrier, the sure footing of the British bulldog and a layup build quality of a Chieftain tank. What you end up with is an all-round, workman-like tender dinghy that is just as at home ferrying the sailor to his cruising yacht as it is the hard-nut fisherman heading out to his dredger in a Force 6.
  The Tepco is rather obliging too when simply leaving her laying for months on end as a beach dinghy. If she is full of rain water on your return she will still function as intended after a bail-out. But surely the Tepco is much more than a mere tender dinghy. And sure enough, alone, the Tepco is suited for setting a seine net in a creek, or fishing from with rod and reel. I like to scull mine around the creek but I've rowed her up the Blackwater in open water and with a Force 5 blowing white seahorses off the crests of gnarling chop, from Goldhanger to the Osea Road and back, with detours to the head of Wilkins Creek. Not a drop of water shipped.
  They were built at Leigh-on-Sea which has a long history of fishing and goes some way in answering the working boat familiarity. The Tepco can be seen as a type of 'bawley' boat of the yachtsman. It will work for you, carry your tools, pick up the other half, and get the supplies on-board. In use the eight feet version (8' 2") is reliably stable, partly due to her two feet at the stem and 18 inches amidships and her beam of 4' 2".

Being that the layup is heavy (some, like mine, also have teak inwales and gunwales) they are a relatively heavy boat to handle on land so it's worth considering what your main priorities are before you decide to buy one. There is quite a healthy second-hand market and they can be picked up for between £100 - £300.
If you have a spare sailing rig then the basic Tepco stem dinghy is a good foundation for a stable sailing dinghy... Here's a Tepco refurbishment, undertaken with a few cannibalized parts and various odd bits of wood, with adaptations to give the option of sailing her as well as sculling and rowing.
Glassed thwart removed and slot cut in central bilge to accept dagger board.

New marine ply keel box set in epoxy and tape.

Mast foot positioning after leveling hull.

Plant-on iroko piece using plywood biscuits and epoxy. The Mirror rudder fittings are adjusted to suit sculling notch.

New oak bilge strip is sikaflex and screwed in place.
New Iroko thwart in position. Dagger board is cut down to suit and oak strips with finger pulls routed before epoxy.
New rowlock blocks were made two inches longer.
Scraping off old varnish with a sharp chisel makes light work of sanding the beautiful teak gunwales.
Pilot holes are made with a braddel for accuracy. Old holes will be epoxy filled.
Repositioning pintel on an ex Mirror rudder.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Winkler's Tales

Smaller Boat Publications
Title:  Winkler's Tales ISBN 978-0-9569030-1-3
Size 110mm x 180mm
120 black and white pages plus full colour cover
19721 words
69 photographs
3 illustrations

 Small boats make the world a bigger place, as Tony Smith demonstrated in his first book, Ready About on the River Blackwater, a charming exploration of the creeks and secret corners of the marshy Essex coast. Now, in Winkler’s Tales, he’s expanded his universe even further, by going even smaller in his home-built 12ft sailing duck punt. Along the way, he’s evolved his own unique brand of “roof-rack” boating, literally sailing to new heights in these enchanting, intrepid adventures that will broaden your horizons, whether you’re at home in your armchair or are inspired to venture forth and delve into the dewy margins of land and water. This is a pocket gem, a companion on a journey into hidden nooks of time, nature and history. DAVE SELBY 

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Robert Manry

I've just finished reading Tinkerbelle, Robert Manry's story of his lone crossing of the Atlantic from Falmouth, USA to Falmouth, England in his 13.5 feet cabin cruiser. I find the whole Manry story a fascinating one. What an inspiration he has been, and still is. Having read through the final words of his book and put it down on the table, I come away from the pages thinking "wow", I felt lifted, and inspired. And, if it was'nt already there, with a confounded confidence that in a small boat anything truly is possible.
There is a website called the Manry Project, where his daily log of the trip is a fascinating read. It was interesting to read the log first and then follow that with reading his book.
 The whole story was front page news back in 1965, when literally everyone on both sides of the Atlantic were following news reports of his whereabouts during the 78 day crossing.
The whole concept of what society classes a normal working  man, working a normal job and having a young family, being compelled to take to a path of adventure into the unknown, to realize his dreams. I can fully side with.
  First of all we have to be living a "normal" existence, perhaps being confined to a dreary day job, or possibly a routine of; she brushes her teeth in the morning at 06.35, and you follow at 06.40; the train leaves the station at 07.10 and you're there without fail, waiting for it five minutes earlier at 07.05, to be able to have the dreams in the first place - to want more out of this life. As far as I know, when it happens, as it inevitably will to all of us, we will be spending a long time being dead. Every spring thereafter we will be pushing those daffodils up. It therefore makes complete and logical sense; live life to fullest of your own ability.

Here are a couple of Manry links to be inspired by:
 Pathe News 1965

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Maldon Little Ship Club Table-Top Sale

Ahoy all mariners! Please make a note in your log books.

Sunday, March 30.

 There will be a treasure trove of boat bits on offer when Maldon Little Ship Club hold their popular annual Table-Top Sale on Sunday, March 30.
Buy or sell anything — from fittings to fairleads; boots to books; clothing to compasses - sounding canes and splatchers.

If you have any bits of boating paraphernalia, then why not rent a table for just £5. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a bargain, then just turn up at the MLSC on Maldon Quay on March 30. You never know what goodies there will be.
Embark 10.00 hrs; disembark 16.00 hrs


Free admission; refreshments available; bar open...