Writing this newsletter evokes memories of a wonderful summer, tipsy on renewed freedom, some beautifully sunny days, boat sales aplenty, and the return of a few boating events.
As August drew to a close, I was in a childlike state of excitement at the prospect of the TTBF gathering. Despite the slightly chilly weather, nothing could dampen the spirits of exhibitors and attendees alike.
'Neptune' (a boat we sold last year) and her owner Nick, came down from Lechlade for the festivities and a week's holiday.
What a joyous occasion, with varnish gleaming and flags fluttering in the breeze.
I personally hardly had time to draw breath as customers and friends old and new drifted by our stand for a chat.
There appears to be a welcome increase in enthusiasm for wooden boats, with a number of potential clients wishing to embrace and invest in our maritime heritage.
For those more inclined towards a twist on tradition, there is always the attractive option of the contemporary classic even though you will not be able to attend the TTBF, as currently there is no ‘spirit of tradition’ category.
We have an increasing number of options available for owners who would prefer a relatively low-maintenance hull, including the ever-popular PTS range, the Frolic 31, or the Bossoms Patricia double hull.
In this category, there are several end-of-season bargains, including 'Drifting by,' 'Salad Days,' and the Caprice Classic. All are in very good condition, and each of them is half the price of a new-build for which you would have to wait at least a year.
Having coined the expression ‘Contemporary Classic’ some years ago, it’s fun to be able to add the occasional new model to the range.
I was invited to view a new hull last week in Norfolk based on a 1930s Brooke. This elegant runabout features in my original Brooke sales booklet, printed in the 30s.
The new boat will be known as the Phoenix Classic 20, and the first vessel out of the mould, fitted with a smooth refurbished petrol engine, is now for sale. Please feel free to contact our office for more information.
A few miles away, Abbey Molyneux soldiers on in her new premises bolstered by the well-deserved recognition she gained for her work at the Thames Traditional Boat Festival. 'Queen of Light' left the event covered in glory and rosettes.
Well done Abbey!
After 6 years, sadly our amazing administrator Gail is leaving us and moving on to pastures new. Her departure will leave a large hole in our organisation. We will miss her sunny disposition and her dedication to customer satisfaction, as well as her impeccable organisational skills, which have been such a bonus.
We often jokingly compare my method of planning an event, i.e. making a list on the back of a scruffy envelope, with her immaculate Excel spreadsheets which have served our customers and our team so well during her tenure as our administrator in chief.
Gail isn't leaving because some large corporation has lured her to the dark side, but to have more time for her family and to return to her desk as a student having signed up for a second degree, this time with the Open University.
We feted Gail's massive contribution to HSC's ongoing success this month in glorious sunshine on the beautiful 'Windsor Belle'.
A business is merely the sum of its people. With each year our team has grown in size and strength. Gail is now sadly leaving us and she will be a very hard act to follow. We all wish her well and will keep in close touch.
On the bright side, Ellie and Andrew will be joined full-time at the yard by Alex Simmons.
Please let us know as soon as you can if your boat needs attention so that Ellie can include it in her winter calendar.
In addition to Gail’s impending and much-lamented departure, we will also be saying goodbye to most of the PureBoating team who have run an exemplary day-hire operation on the Wallingford and Goring reaches this summer.
The older generation often describes the youth of today as snowflakes. The young people that I was privileged to employ this summer are true rays of sunshine with a cherry on top. They all have bright futures, and I look forward to welcoming some of them back for the 2022 summer season, which will mark HSC’s 30th anniversary.
'Windsor Belle,' which has to be the most beautiful wooden boat on the Thames, as well as one of the most historic, is now officially for sale. If you are interested in becoming the custodian of this very special vessel please give me a call.
The Electric Boat Association is revving up for a new assault on the authorities to provide more charging points along our rivers and canals.
You may be interested in reading the article titled 'Charging Along,' that appeared in RYA Magazine, most of the pictures and information having been provided to the journalist by me.
A few enthusiastic members of the EBA launched their boats at Lechlade last week for a cruise down to Kelmscott country home of the designer William Morris. We lunched in the sunshine at the Plough Inn, and a pleasant time was had by all.
Range anxiety for electric boats should be a thing of the past. Here is PureBoating's little 'Agatha' having achieved a 1,000 hours of trouble-free boating. From our kiosk in Wallingford she, like our other boats, runs for 8 solid hours a day, with an overnight charge sufficient for another day’s cruising.
As a private owner if you need 2 days worth of power, then mostly you can double your battery pack ('Salad Days' has a double battery pack) or you can convert to Lithium Ion, the cost of which is rapidly decreasing with the popularity of electric cars.
Many owners still prefer the internal combustion engine. However we have heard via river-gossip channels that new fuel regulations may impede the operation of older petrol installations. A company called 'Aspen Fuels' appears to have come up with a solution.
If any of our readers have more knowledge of this matter, could they please get in touch.
As we say goodbye to the summer our boating activities, at least here on the Thames, will be curtailed by autumnal lock closures. If you are thinking of some winter cruising it will be seriously restricted. You will find more information on the Environment Agency website.
There is a public consultation underway regarding increased charges for a number of waterways. If only an increase in charges could mean an increase in customer service we might be less opposed to the idea.