Des Townson  – A Sailing Legacy

 

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Des Townson  – A Sailing Legacy

Back in July Brian Peet contacted me about his latest book publishing project, Des Townson – A Sailing Legacy. Brian asked if I would like to attend the launch night, a smallish gathering in the dinghy locker at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron – of course I said yes and a few days later an advance copy of the book arrived via courier. Well that buggered my plans for that day 🙂
I later asked Brian if I could sneak a couple more onto the invite list, which happened. Then Brian lets me know that things have snow balled and the launch was now in the main ballroom at the RNZYS, things had stepped up a few notches.
Fast forward to last night and the who’s who of yachting is crammed into the Squadron. My guess would be 400+ people. Speakers were the Squadron Commodore Ian Cook, Des’s younger brother – Bill Townson and Brian Peet. Ian built six Zephyrs under Des Townson’s supervision, won the National Champs in 1980. Bill Townson is a skilled boatbuilder, yacht designer and amphibian aircraft designer/builder.
I sneaked in early any took a few photos and videos of some of the exhibits, which included a Starling, Zephyr, Mistral and a 1956 replica of Des Townson’s first commercial design Nimble. What most caught my eye, was the Townson 2.4m dinghy on display that had just been built by Allan Hooper at the NZ Traditional Boatbuilding School. Its for his own use, but if you ask me it should be should be on display somewhere. Talking to Allan I understand the school will have ‘build your own’ kits and how to classes – perfect opportunity to own a Townson.
I later filmed Brian’s talk / presentation, see below – it is a wonderful insight into how the book came about and challenges Brian had over the 10 years it took to complete it.
 
As I have said before – its a great read, buy it, you won’t be sorry – as Brian said last night – it is a “sailing book, about a sailor, written by a sailor”.
 
Enjoy the video, then buy the book – either via the website https://destownson.co.nz  or if you prefer to do a bank transfer, email Brian with your name and postal address and he will reply with bank account details – its that easy  brian@destownson.co.nz 
 
Oops nearly forgot –  Details on how to win a copy of the book on WW, later in the week.

 

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A Woody Workshop

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Now Here Is A Very Cool Idea – A Woody Workshop
There are a few woody hidden treasures in & around Auckland – some we keep under the radar & some deserve to be hauled up the mast so everyone knows. One of the coolest is the New Zealand Traditional Boatbuilding School. A lot of you will have rubbed up against the NZTBS when it was housed at the old Hobsonville Air Base, but with the redevelopment of the base, NZTBS was moved to a new home & these days has a tighter focus on its reason for being.
 
Now to some of you the word School breaks you out in a cold sweat, if I ran the place I’d change the name to NZ Wooden Boat Workshop, because these days thats what it is – a workshop where you can get hands-on experience in some of the skills that a true woody needs to know. I encourage you to visit their weblog to check out the new courses (see below) that have just been announced  http://nztbs.org.nz 
  • Veneering, Inlay & Marquetry
  • Ribbing, Steam bending and replacing Ribs.
  • Clinker planking. fitting new or replacing old planks.
  • Tuesday Workshop days
But woodys, what I really wanted to draw your attention to was what the NZTBS call the ‘Tuesday Workshop’. 
Not all of us are blessed with a workshop or the tools to undertake simple maintenance on our craft – the NZTBS have a solution – they have opened the workshop up on Tuesdays (from 10am > 2pm) & will have a couple of serious woodys on-site – Allan Hooper and Kere Kemp. So come along and either help them with the latest project they are working on or if you have a little job of your own or perhaps need a piece of timber sized or just some advice, pop along for a chat.
 
I dropped in on Tuesday, with a project under my arm & walked away a happy chappie. While there I spoke with the Allan Hooper & Colin Pawson about Allan’s latest project. Some of you may be aware that in a past life Allan created a male mould of the Townson 2.4 dinghy, & from this approx. 10 cold moulded / laminated dinghies were built. On top of this an additional approx. 250 fibreglass dinghies were built – so without a doubt Allan holds the record for the most Townson’s built 🙂
A little while ago, Allan crawled under the house & dragged out the original mould, pictured below being repaired at the NZTBS.
The next step is that Allan will be using the mould to build himself a light-weight (frame less) clinker (ply) dinghy, I’m sure his arm could be twisted to allow a woody or woodys to build another or several, maybe there are enough people interested in a forming a class.  
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Heads Up On A New Book From Robert Brooke
Talking with Robert mid-week & I’m stoked to be able to announce on WW that Robert is days away from the release of his new book on the memoirs and drawings of his late father Jack (John) Brooke. More details soon.
 
Now I couldn’t let the day go by without a woody photo – the photo below has appeared b4 on WW but in a much poorer reproduction. Dated c1930s, it shows Colin Wild’s yard at Stanley Point, Devonport – a very impressive line up of woodys. (photo ex Keith Humphrey)
1930s approx. Stanley Point Devonport Colin Wild Boat Yard