Launch of the Coracle

Published: 04:17PM Feb 22nd, 2012
By: Victoria Smith

Fun was had by all at the long awaited launch of the coracle, at 11am on Sunday 8th January 2012 at the Interaction moorings in Peartree Bridge. Steve Knight, from boat Ahab, has been building a coracle.

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Using modern techniques with the traditional methods, the coracle went in the water without any incident and stayed floating. When Steve finally got into the boat, he got very wet, when it toppled over, putting him in the canal. After re-ballasting the little boat, Steve learnt how to propel the coracle with ease.

Over these last few months Steve has been working with one of the residential moorers there on what he thought would be a good winter project. While Shirley brought out the tea and cheese cakes, Steve and Brian have been working on creating a coracle. Usually made out of willow or hazel, then covered in animal hind or calico (canvas), a coracle is a one man vessel that was made for fishing and is small enough to carry on your back. There are around 26 different types of coracles in the UK alone, but this one has been inspired by a variety them. It is thought that the base is too deep, however the basics are still right, but as Steve said “it’s been a bit of an experiment.”

But it wasn’t all plain sailing; some of the low points the boys remember were battling with the wind and rain and cutting fingers. They also found not very nice, when the part of the garden they were working in become very muddy, let’s just say only Steve managed to stay upright. Another low point with fond memories was when Steve was holding the wrong side of the withy when cutting and it sprang up and smacked him in the face. Even though the last few weeks had there downs, there is always a silver lining. The highlight for Steve was being able to make something with someone, “especially if it works!” and making new friends, for Brian, he found he had good fun doing it too.

As payment for the withy (willow), Steve did half a day’s volunteering at Hinchingbrooke Country Park, he brought the calico from the market and had the bitumen donated from boating community, who had become very interested in this project.

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