Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Building boats ~ and renovating classic craft

Alastair Fothergill
Alastair Fothergill researching a documentary on the Thames

Men who have enjoyed reading Funnily Enough tell me that they are interested to know more about my father's boats. When I was seventeen, I helped Dad to renovate a 1901 Steamboat called Daffodil, which we kept on the Thames for many years.

Martin Nveille

What appealed to them was Dad's enthusiasm for classic design and his energy for renovating vintage hulls.

Martin Neville in his Humber Yawl on Windermere in Cumbria

In 1991 Dad was engrossed in completing a Humber Yawl, which he had designed and built himself. We ended up taking her to the Lake District where he sailed down Windermere despite the fact that there seemed to be no wind. I preferred rowing her.

Sophie Neville Neville rowing in the Cotswolds

Cassy was a beautiful vessel. You could also use her with an outboard, but she proved very much a one-man concern. Almost as soon as she had been finished my father was after a new project. He bought the hull of a 1912 river launch that came down on a trailer from Scotland and immediately began doing her up.

Martin Neville with his 1912 River Launch on the River Thames

The Ottor, as Dad christened her, replaced Dad's rather fragile 1901 steamboat - a lovely vessel that as far as my mother was concerned ran silently and had a fire on board. At first she was not keen on the idea of a noisy diesel engine but Ottor was a comfortable launch and Mum was happy once out on the Thames where there is lots to do and see.

Martin Neville with his Humber Yawl in the Cotswolds

For more about Martin Neville and his books and boats
please click on http://martinneville.wordpress.com/about/

If you wish to use any photographs please contact sophie@sophieneville.co.uk

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