Boat show of classics and memories
The Antique & Classic Boat Show this weekend will display more than 20 beautiful boats in Thesen Harbour Town.
A 1948 Chris Craft, original in every respect and unrestored, will undoubtedly be a star this year’s show on Saturday 7 October. Just to view such a boat and tick off all the detail from Pinterest photographs is an absolute pleasure.
However, it is disappointing to note that three wooden boats will not make an appearance this year because they were consumed by fire on the night of 7 June. Two yachts owned by Jock McConnachie of Timber Village perished in the first few hours of the blaze as it swept down the valley, taking the Timber Village and all in its way. The two yachts, a Graduate and Solent Scow both steeped in history, will never be seen again. Some of you may recall these boats from previous shows.
According to McConnachie the show also features a memory wall to acknowledge some of these boats destined for display but which were lost in fires.
“Sad to say, I lost both my soulmate sailboat Clemency, a 1954 Solent Scow; and my dear old Moonflower, a 1964 home-built Graduate, in the devastating fire,” said McConnachie.
“Clemency was built at Burnham-on-Crouch, England. She was purchased by Pippa Jarman in 2012 and beautifully restored in the UK before being shipped to the Knysna Yacht Club. “Moonflower was built by the indomitable Tony Rendell, now well into his 80s and still sailing at Groenvlei, Sedgefield.
Rendell sold her to McConnachie three years ago for the princely sum of R100, since he knew that she would be taken good care of. Rendell had fixed a brass plaque to her deck which read, “If God had intended man to build fibreglass boats, He would have created fibreglass trees,” said McConnachie.
Another beautiful wooden speedboat, perfectly restored by Steven Hopper in his garage over four years, was to be shown for the first time this year. The owner, a consistent and generous sponsor of the boat show, was particularly proud of this runabout; the hardware had been sourced from the UK and a spectacular wooden steering wheel had come from Italy. The boat itself looked brand new as Hopper, a UK-trained and qualified boat builder paid meticulous attention to every detail. The boat was launched in the middle of the year and probably had less than five hours on its Mercury engine when it was reduced to ashes in a Belvidere garage.
This reinforces how fragile these boats really are. Being of organic substance, wooden boats are temporary by nature. Freshwater is more harmful even than sustained sunlight, but time is the real catalyst. To last, these boats need care and attention – not the back-breaking work many perceive to be necessary, nor at vast expense. A vintage wooden boat is actually one of the cheapest ways to get onto the water in style. If you don’t have the time or determination to restore a boat yourself, then you can’t go far wrong buying a fully restored boat and learning, as you enjoy your mutual, temporary existence together.
Another highlight will be the contribution of master craftsman Deon Serfontein who is bringing four of his canoes to the boat show, the longest of which is 16 foot. His rationale for turning to canoes, he said, is based on an experience when he was fishing on the Knysna lagoon, with people all around playing, skiing and just having fun, when all of a sudden a wooden motorboat came past and everyone just stopped what they were doing to watch it. He said he decided then and there to one day build a Riva, a famous Italian wooden motorboat. – Staff reporter
Sadly, only pictures and memories remain of this boat, which would have been on display at the Boat Show this year, but was lost in the fires.