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When Did The First Grp Boats Arrive?.

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John Freeman started to build the Freeman 22 in 1957, he was also building caravans up to 1960 !

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59 minutes ago, JennyMorgan said:

Uffa Fox was certainly quick to see the potential of grp. Back in 1963/64 I was a sailing instructor at Pin-Mill Sailing school where one of the boats was an Uffa designed dinghy called a Pegasus, not dissimilar to a Firefly and certainly prettier than the Albacore. No gel coat and semi-transparent she was an exciting boat to sail, totally unsuited as a school boat and liable to capsizing whilst being boarded, but she could certainly fly! The school had bought her second hand and apparently very cheaply. Perhaps the sailing world was not quite ready for grp at that time.  

I learnt to sail at Itchenor sailing school and the bottoms/soles of most of their boats were semi-transparent. I had forgotten that, it was quite common in early mid 60s, thanks Peter.

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It seems like the next phase, in sail boats anyway is already underway.

This is where a chassis is fabricated in stainless steel and encapsulated in either GRP or composite if not cost sensitive. Chain plates, wnches, engine, in fact all the workings are bolted direct to the chassis so the hull and superstructure are non structural and are there to keep the water out allowing a very light layup.

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A quote from Wiki something

 Ray Greene, who had studied plastics while a student at Ohio State, had been working with Owens-Corning on fiberglass composites. He had made composite boats as early as 1937, but was searching for just the right plastic to use for boats. He received a shipment of the polyester resin in 1942 and produced a daysailer.

I believe the first Production fibreglass  boat in the UK was the Kestrel dinghy, designed By Ian Proctor in 1955

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W.J Tod of Weymouth produced the first sailing dinghy in the UK. The National Maritime Museum in Cornwall have one from 1951. Please see my other post re Halmatic. This is the Tod boatTod-Dinghy-215b.thumb.jpg.e9d8ad4a7122545fa38b8d8ff8380f1f.jpg9

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I have just looked up the NMM. Cornwall page. They say that Tods Brochure was over-optimistic.

I say that The Advertising Standards Legislation was a good thing.  I quote:-

"Stronger than steel", "will not absorb water", and that damage could be "easily repaired without special skill or tools".

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Much of this needs substantiating(marked *)  but I believe the first composite fibreglass hire cruiser was Conway Bridge from Bridge Craft at Acle which dated to1958 (*) and was similar in design to their Clifton Bridge. The first fibreglass hulled cruisers from a Blakes yard were the Ambassadors from the NBYC at Wroxham in 1961, which was also the year Windboats launched the Tradewinds with their Seacrete hull. By 1964 there were a number of Seamsters in a number of  fleets including Easticks and Sabberton Marine. The big breakthrough would also seem to be 1964 with the introduction of the Elysian 27 which was marketed on the Broads by Percival Boats and was  bought in large numbers by Richardsons, the Jenners group and many others over the next couple of years. 1965(*) was the first year of the Bourne 35 hull. The first examples in hire being Golden Emblem from Ernest Collins and Regal Safari from Hampton Boats. 

Without detracting from the revolutionary Wild's designs I consider them to be just modern versions of  Leo Robinson (and others) classes that dated back to the 1920s. What he did was to bring all the modern developments together in one boat with great success. I think it fair to say that some of his wooden fleet also had some unique design features.

I've uploaded a scan of the Bridge Craft boats.

Fred

Early fibreglass hulled hire cruiser- Bridge Craft, Acle Bridge.

 

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On 18/07/2018 at 18:47, Vaughan said:

This is a subject one could write a book about! I also remember first seeing a Caribbean in Thorpe in 1964. We all called them "the 79 bus" because that was the number of the bus that came out from Norwich along the Yarmouth Rd!

The important thing about them was not just Fibreglass - it was that radical design - now often copied - which radically altered the way people could enjoy Broads boating :

Single level throughout. Wide side decks. Low level hull for getting on and off when mooring. Handrails all round. No sharp corners at the bow or stern, so could be moored up almost like a dodgem car. Light and airy with big windows in all cabins, even the galley. Engine out aft, so no noise or smell inside the boat when cruising. Fully opening saloon canopy. Could actually be driven by someone in a wheelchair. Profile shaped like Potter bridge, so would go anywhere on the Broads.

What have I forgotten? It wasn't Fibreglass that made them famous - it was the design!

They made the Bermuda (4 berth) The Caribbean (6 berth) and the Mediterranean, which was an 8 berth, mainly exported to Blue Line in France.

I can take you to any mooring on the Broads, right now, and show you modern boats which have all been built around those original Wilds mould tools - later bought by Langford Jillings of Alphacraft. The superstructures may be different, but the hull is just the same.

Hi Vaughn,

I thought the Wilds 42ft 8 berth version was called the Bahama, and the Mediteranean was in fact a 44ft Aquafibre mould,  which also had a smaller 38ft sister.  The 44ft Mediteranean and her sister had that enormous "square shaped" fwd cockpit.

The 42ft Bahama and 34ft Bermuda hulls also had a few custom tops fitted, with higher level salloon roofs.  There were a couple on the Thames, one with fwd cockpit and the other with a wrap round windscreen, one was Bermuda Bay, the other was Bermuda Spray, or so i believe?.  Harvey Eastwoods had some on the Broads, but can`t remember which ones were which, but they were named Santa Fe, and Santa Paula, though they had slightly lower roof lines than those on the Thames.

Having said all that, do people think i should get out more?.

 

 

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As for the first all GRP hire boats, could they have been early Seamaster or Freemans, as i believe these were possibly built as early as the end of the 50s, though probably not considered for hire fleets until there strenfgth in construction had been proven?.

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Picking up on some of the comments on here led me to disappear into the man cave and shoot an old advert board I’ve got with examples of soaring light, the seacrete aft cockpit and full top and bottom grp Woods fleet examples.

I think this is early 70s, definitely before 77, and a former woods apprentice told me he was inducted into the fibreglass building section which my grandfather was heading up at the time. Can yer sail a boott was probably the interview question... any questions call Potter Heigham 265!

 

 

1FEEB802-E694-4FA5-BC60-D94EB6AB6CDA.jpeg

9B0446BB-1877-4530-B148-39F8E66E6FC7.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Turnoar said:

Picking up on some of the comments on here led me to disappear into the man cave and shoot an old advert board I’ve got with examples of soaring light, the seacrete aft cockpit and full top and bottom grp Woods fleet examples.

I think this is early 70s, definitely before 77, and a former woods apprentice told me he was inducted into the fibreglass building section which my grandfather was heading up at the time. Can yer sail a boott was probably the interview question... any questions call Potter Heigham 265!

 

 

1FEEB802-E694-4FA5-BC60-D94EB6AB6CDA.jpeg

9B0446BB-1877-4530-B148-39F8E66E6FC7.jpeg

Hi Turnoar, are the reg numbers visible on the concrete wonders? I cant zoom my screen in with enough clarity to see for myself....ta

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On 18/07/2018 at 16:21, kingfisher666 said:

It must have been quite a shock/surprise to see, as the 'Wilds' boats were so different to anything else afloat, at that time, I wonder what the reaction was, from both fellow boatyard owners and seasoned broads holidaymakers, when the first Wilds 'Caribbean' was spotted coming down the river... Did they think "that'll be a five minute wonder, it'll never catch on" or was it, perhaps "there goes the future of Norfolk Broads boating"?...

I think I was 14 years young (1966, there that's me aged), when a Wilds Caribbean moored alongside us at Ranworth. I can distinctly recall my uncle Alf's words - "That'll never catch on, skating all over the top of the water. You need a bit of keel underneath". He was often wrong, Uncle Alf, bless him.

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Checked in with my brother today and his old Seamaster he owned, all GRP was built in 1954 according to the records. Confirmed it was one of Barnes fleet. 

Cheers

Paul 

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9 hours ago, SPEEDTRIPLE said:

Having said all that, do people think i should get out more?.

No Neil we all think you should stay in more........ only joking, just could not resist. :)

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WherryNice just been to have a look and there are no numbers visible, maybe running on trade plates just for the day? Or airbrushed out.

 

A while since I’ve seen one of those, Concorde afloat at Upton about ten years ago, and the one sunk in the marina at Wroxham visible from the train a few weeks back. The bottom halves don’t seem to rot!

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On 18/07/2018 at 23:26, PCL023 said:

I seem to remember my brother mentioned a Seamaster 26/27’ (an old style) he owned for a while was built in the late 1950’s. There were a few around this time all GRP run out of Barns in Wroxham, Named queen something. I think there are some pictures of them on the Broadland memories site? 

I will try and find out from him when the one he owned was built. 

Cheers 

Paul  

Back in 72 or 73 I hired April Promise from Barnes, they also had a couple of sedans called I think Duchess and Countess left over from W.K. Barnes when Brian and Jill took over. Just looked on Broadland Memories and as you say also there were a Queen Jayne and Margaret

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My folks hired Countess of Thurne in 74, she was soft top back then though. She turned up at Wayford for sale with the sedan top recently, called Pasedena,

Turnoar there are two Seacrete boats next door to my home yard at Wayford, my parents owned one for 15 odd years which is now visible from the inside lane going over Postwick viaduct on the A47 and some family friends still have the one they bought back in the 80's.

The hulls are pretty bullet proof but various metal structures inside tend to rot away causing things to sag here n there.

Many happy times spent on them though:default_biggrin:

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Hi,

As far as I aware the first Bourne 35's (also known as something different?) were launched  around 1964. 6 for Herbert Woods (Glistening Stream later to join the wooden Glistening Light class ) and 4 for Moores  (2 Glenmores and 2 Baltimores), with another Glenmore and 4 more Baltimores following. Ernest Collins also had 4 in 1965 as the Golden Emblems. I believe the mould/designs came from Rip Martin, I wasn't born until 1971 so I am relying on features in boat magazines and word of mouth. As an aside the first hire boat I went on was Glenmore 2 (R430) in 1974 the last year before they joined Blakes and went out of Moores family ownerships a very nice boat indeed.

Neil

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Away from the Broads one Ernie Wheeldon began building grp cruisers in Shaw, Lanashire in 1959 initially alongside Callumcraft but. eventually, as Norman. These quickly became a somewhat less expensive way in which to start a lifetime of boating.

I was fortunate enough to graduate to an 1966 Ernest Collins built Moores "Glenmore" which was a fabulous boat and I do have some regrets for letting her go but I was not using her enough and also keeping up with the wooden topsides had already cost me thousands and were clearly about to empty my pocket even more, so I downsized and moved back to the rivers and canals of Yorkshire.

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On ‎19‎/‎07‎/‎2018 at 15:27, ChrisB said:

W.J Tod of Weymouth produced the first sailing dinghy in the UK. The National Maritime Museum in Cornwall have one from 1951. Please see my other post re Halmatic. This is the Tod boatTod-Dinghy-215b.thumb.jpg.e9d8ad4a7122545fa38b8d8ff8380f1f.jpg9

Those things were dreadful, we had two when I was at Bosham Sailing School in Sussex as an instructor during the summer and boat repairer/maintainer during the winter. No one like sailing them during the summer and yours truly found them hard to repair during the winter. Back in the 1970's surplus US drop tanks were readily available and bought by the hundred for floating jetties, houseboat floats and even boats proper. Trouble with them, and those Tod built dinghies, was that the resins of the day did not key with the glass fibre, no matter what we tried to do thus permanent repairs and conversions proved to be next to impossible.

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1 hour ago, JennyMorgan said:

Those things were dreadful, we had two when I was at Bosham Sailing School in Sussex as an instructor during the summer and boat repairer/maintainer during the winter. No one like sailing them during the summer and yours truly found them hard to repair during the winter. Back in the 1970's surplus US drop tanks were readily available and bought by the hundred for floating jetties, houseboat floats and even boats proper. Trouble with them, and those Tod built dinghies, was that the resins of the day did not key with the glass fibre, no matter what we tried to do thus permanent repairs and conversions proved to be next to impossible.

Absolutely correct Peter. In the UK many of the early boats were layed up using a Scott Bader product that was a Crystic Polyester Resin which I have been told was a way round DuPonts patent. Awful stuff, never really had any useful life in it.

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2 minutes ago, ChrisB said:

Absolutely correct Peter. In the UK many of the early boats were layed up using a Scott Bader product that was a Crystic Polyester Resin which was under licence from DuPont. Awful stuff, never really had any useful life in it.

That early stuff was certainly more brittle than later products. Strangely enough I have a Swedish ABU fly-fishing rod from the same period. ABU maintained that their products had been tested to destruction and they forecast a forty year life.  Mine is still going strong, is as sweet as ever and certainly not gone brittle. 

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22 hours ago, Regulo said:

I think I was 14 years young (1966, there that's me aged), when a Wilds Caribbean moored alongside us at Ranworth. I can distinctly recall my uncle Alf's words - "That'll never catch on, skating all over the top of the water. You need a bit of keel underneath". He was often wrong, Uncle Alf, bless him.

He wasn't always wrong! More than once we had to jack up a Wild's Bath-Tub after it had veered to one side and launched itself out of the water and onto the rhond!

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Re the Dawncraft query mine was fitted out in 1969 by Herbert Woods "D703" 

have also seen around the broads D700 to D704 still around in various conditions.

 

Gary Pulse..

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On 19/07/2018 at 21:05, Turnoar said:

Picking up on some of the comments on here led me to disappear into the man cave and shoot an old advert board I’ve got with examples of soaring light, the seacrete aft cockpit and full top and bottom grp Woods fleet examples.

I think this is early 70s, definitely before 77, and a former woods apprentice told me he was inducted into the fibreglass building section which my grandfather was heading up at the time. Can yer sail a boott was probably the interview question... any questions call Potter Heigham 265!

 

 

1FEEB802-E694-4FA5-BC60-D94EB6AB6CDA.jpeg

9B0446BB-1877-4530-B148-39F8E66E6FC7.jpeg

I started at Herbert Woods as an apprentice in 1976, they were building the Delight (Broom Skipper) class when I started and then went on to build the Mediterranean class (ugly boat) in 1977.  They still had more wooden boats than fibre glass and I remember the sea create boats but I moved onto the yachts in 1977 so didn’t get involved in the cruisers much after that.

Edited by brundallNavy
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