Sunday 17 November 2013

Hanningfield Gigs

Years after i built the first two of these i thought its time to tell the story! A couple of friends had acquired a fleet of Angling skiffs from Hanningfield reservoir in darkest essex. These were heavy GRP 18 footers.
A few of us had started a new Rowing club Ltrc in 2003 & having been pressganged into the job of founder Chairman i had to address the problem of how we could fit the fledgling club out with a few boats.
Sketching on the back of the proverbial fag packet in the yacht club bar came up with the idea of stretching one of the 18 footers.
The most beat up Skiff was put into my garage & the length was fixed at 21ft as it was the maximum length i could get in on the diagonal. Her transom & aft tank was cut out with a diamond cutter & a gig style stern fabricated from mdf. A mould was then taken polished & re affixed. This allowed the boat to grow by 3ft.

This is a photo of the as yet unnamed Gig on launch day in 2003. She was not a great success being far too heavy & did not have enough carrying capacity.
Needless to say she showed some potential by racing at the annual row 4 a reason race & winning it in some style.
In September the Clubs base at Benfleet station burned to the ground & the new club promptly collapsed.

The Club restarted in 2005 April fools day if i remember correctly!
Again i was pressganged into the Chairmans job. Again the question became pressing, we needed boats!
The Gig had been languishing on the marshes for over a year & she was again brought to my house & put into the Garden.

This time i sawed of the heavy GRP gunwales & seats & cut her in half right across the middle a centre section mould was knocked up & this was the result. Great care was taken to make sure the hull was straight and this shot shows she came out well!
Despite now being 26ft long she was now at least 50kgs lighter. Shortly after this she was named Dauntless after the Clubs Sponsor.
She proved to be a Good boat & tracked straight & true.

I built a second Gig in Dauntless Boatyard's Shed in early 2006, built underneath Paul redmans catamaran in just three weeks. This one was named Proud Mary after the Credence clearwater revival song.
There were a few subtle differences, her thwarts were slightly wider spaced & the stern had a slight kink in it, this caused a slight tendency to turn one way at speed.

This shot shows her just as she emerged from the shed.

 To be continued!

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