Saturday morning saw me at West Marine, browsing their magazines (like all cheapskates who digest the content at the local bookstore rather than pony up some cash) and I read an article about the just completed Irish Raid in September with two of the classes comprising some really ancient vintage dinghies (the WaterWags go back to 1887 and the Shannon One-Design to 1922-23). There was a picture in the Classic Yacht magazine of the Shannon One-Design ripping along in 25 knots, a wow-ee photo which looked ripe for some further research, especially since they were designed by Morgan Giles, the go-to designer in the 1920's for the International 14's (before Uffa Fox came along). In doing so I stumbled across a very delightful documentary, put together by Irish TV, of a Irish farmer, Jimmy Furey, building the clinker Shannon One-Designs. Split into three parts on YouTube, of about 9 minutes each, this is a fascinating look at how sailing dinghies were put together at the beginning of the 1900's. Although my craftsmanship tilts more to slathering on thickened epoxy rather than finely shaping a piece of wood, synapsing an expertly guided plane, most of us can well appreciate the craftsmanship on hand shaping a boat (the first mechanical device is a planer that appears at the end of video 2) and chuckle at the down-home wisdom of a taciturn Irish farmer.
Leigh Cockle Bawley ‘Endeavour’
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