Ever wondered what it would take to build your own boat? We asked the three winners of Water Craft Magazine's 'Amateur Boat-builder Competition' held at the Beale Park Boat Show in 2009, exactly that – why they entered, how they did it, and what they felt about their achievements…
Winner of the "The Most Innovative Home-Made Boat" category was Dr Chris Waite with his entry 'OCTAVIA'. "It was a great challenge to hand craft a vessel with something unique about it. I wanted to receive recognition for my amateur design work. My inspiration was that I wanted a rowing skiff for my local river - the Arun - and spent happy hours trying to work out how much hull I could get from two sheets of ply. Toward the end of this exercise I realized that all eight pieces I had drawn up looked very similar - so I tweaked them until they were identical and Octaviatook shape as a result - this also facilitates very little wasted wood. It was a pleasant surprise to win."
Mr Mike Wooldridge was the winner of the "Home Made Boat which offers the Most Encouragement to Beginners" class with 'PUDDLEDUCK'. Mr Wooldridge says, "Though this was my second boat, the idea was to build a boat from cheap, easily available materials, a design was chosen that was easy to build by first timers and it proved to be a great and ultimately rewarding experience." Mr Wooldridge added "I can use the boat building book prize and vouchers to build my entry for 2010!"
In the final category, "The Most Professional-Looking Home-Made Boat", Mr Nick Paull was victorious with 'HAZYDAYS'. Mr Paull was delighted with his win saying "Boat building is a real labour of love, with the added bonus that you can savour the fruits of your labour to enjoy a truly relaxing pastime. Building my own boat took longer and cost more than I had anticipated. However, it was a hugely rewarding experience, which enabled me to learn more about working with wood and discover the delights of building boats. Receiving the prize for "The Most Professional-Looking Home-Made Boat" category was even more rewarding knowing that professional boat builders had judged the event. In addition, I must add how helpful and friendly my fellow amateur boat building 'competitors' were, more than happy to exchange ideas, suppliers' names and contacts' numbers. For me this atmosphere of camaraderie reflected the whole vibe of the Beale Park Boat Show. All in, the Show provided the most fantastic backdrop for the inaugural launch of my canoe."
Pete Greenfield, Water Craft Magazine says, "Entries had to be scratch-built, not made from kits, by genuine amateurs. The purpose of the competition's set was primarily to encourage craftsmanship and for entrants who enjoy getting real use out of their boats. All entries and winners highlighted craftsmanship superbly; it was a great pleasure to witness such an array of talent. Congratulations to all entrants."
Gillie Jackson, Event Organiser says, "Many congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to all who entered these inspirational competitions. We look forward to seeing what the 2010 entrants have to offer and wish them well."