A Woodys Trip Report from France
photos & story ex Russell Ward
Getting the other-half to go on holiday in France – thats easy, but how Russell manages to sneak in visits to wooden boat yards, beats me. I need some tips 🙂
I’ll let Russell tell the story. Remember to click on the photos above to enlarge 😉
I visited a fellow steam boater in Arcachon and the conversation on steamboats lulled a trifle and we went on to local work boats the Pinasse! Yep, when the French say Pinasse it is rather akin to the technical term for one’s diddle!
They are a breed of double ender peculiar to Arcachon on the coast out from Bordeaux. Arcachon is a rather larger harbour than Whangateau. Golden sands and sandbars abound. Oyster farms are everywhere and the origin of the Pinasse in the area dates from 1900 or so.
The local work boats abound and many have been retired to pleasure duties and some look real posh.
They have a broad beam, some have elongated bow and stem posts to give a Venetian look; bold sheer (as befits a work boat intended for fishing), self draining cockpit fwd, low deck house and aft cockpit.
The engines were marinised automotive engines and many early ones were made by local engineers.
The older traditional boats have a disappearing prop arrangement akin to the American Dispro boats (check out Wooden Boat). The Dispro has a cast tunnel that the prop shaft and prop pivot up into. The Pinasse has a slot about six inches wide from a third of the way fwd from the stern post. The prop shaft emerges at the fwd end of the slot and there is a bronze universal to allow the prop shaft to pivot up when a lever is raised in the aft cockpit or automatically if the skeg scrapes on a sandbar.
The hull form is interesting. They appear round bilge but in fact have a chine on the middle third of the hull.
One boatyard built most of the boats and above are several photos of the sheds. Makes my eyes go all misty and George and Pam’s will too. They have so much space in there but only a couple of major rebuilds in progress. One smallish burdensome sailing boat of about 16’ and one elderly Pinasse who has a new stem, chines, set of floors and most of the bottom having new planks.
Six generations of one family worked the yard and it was recently sold to a man and his sister who continue the work.
There are a lot of references but few specific to our interests. Go trawling!