Dover boat launch day, end of 3 months work

After 3 months work May 12th was scheduled launch day for our replica bronze age boat. We had been working flat out just to get the thing together in time and had no time to test if it was waterproof and make adjustments as planned. We had a relaxed start for the first time in 2 weeks, if 8.30 after 5am bed is relaxed. There were a few bits of lath left to fix and lots of wedges to cut off, diagonal bracing to cut and fit and lots of other minor jobs we had not thought of.

I was flat out working again so never got to do interview with the rather pretty Ros.

Mastic in hand maybe should have used a few more tubes.

Keith who found the original boat in 1992 came to lend a hand.

Then Richard watched by Pete Clark pushed the boat off the building platform.

Richard with wife Lee and his boat, I can not tell you what a pleasure and an honour it was to work with this wonderfully humble man and help him realise his dream.

Tony Robinson had changed his hectic schedule to stay over for the launch.

Then suddenly it was away

Hotly pursued by Tony and crew.

through the market square

and away

Whilst everyone else followed allong we were left with a rather sad empty tent full of tools to clear up and lock away before dashing down to try to catch the launch.
We were just in time to get a pic before they started to lower it in.

Then a dash round the other side there was something wrong

she was taking on water and had to be lifted back out……I was gutted, it felt like reaching the FA cup final after monumental effort only to loose in injury time. I got a big hug from Tony Robinson who could feel our pain. It was always going to be a difficult brief to build a boat that can float one day then take apart to get into a museum a few weeks later on a very tight time schedule and we came very very close.

Here is an index for all blog posts on the Dover boat project
bronze-age-woodworking-tools-early thoughts
woodworking-marathon-continued-just 18 hours to go.
dover-boat-launch-day-end-of-3-months work.
the boat-that-didnt-float.

bronze age boat in medieval castle

More bronze age boatbuilding

Bronze Age boat, on the water


6 Responses to Dover boat launch day, end of 3 months work

  1. Gorges Smythe May 17, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    Too much learning on the go, I suspect. Your NEXT one will go quicker!

  2. mrcharly May 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    Robin, I've never heard of a clinker boat go into the water and be tight – they usually swell up and seal over a matter of days.Fantastic work, truly fantastic.

  3. Robin Wood May 17, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    yep clinkers need to soak, carvels need lots of caulking, no one has built one of these recently so no one knows what it needs.

  4. parlei May 18, 2012 at 3:25 am #

    How was the boat that Tim Severin put together for the Sindbad Voyage made? ISTR sewn construction there too, but I have not read that book in close to 20 years, so I have no idea. Nor can I recall anything about how well she held water.

  5. Bob Holtzman -- May 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Parlei: I wrote about planking on Tim Severin's Sinbad Voyage boat in my Indigenous Boats blog here: