Among Traditionalists And Inventors

Although The WoodenBoat Show, for the fourth year running at Mystic Seaport Museum, maybe was not really as big as the three previous years, it was a great show. I was working there for the two first out of the three days and as I was terribly busy, I did not manage to take a good look at what the vendors had to offer. Well today, on my day off, I went back to take some photographs that I would like to share with you.

I met Steve Ferlauto, whom I talked to at last year’s show. Steve is running the River School Boats and this year he had his latest built boat on display, a mix of old and new – old as it is built out of wood, and new that it has ‘wingriggers’ (see above). He is eager to know how this recreational shell is going to be received. Will the wooden ‘traditionalists‘ whine about the wingriggers, and will the carbon fiber scullers complain about the wood?

Steve also had a beautiful old single on display by boatbuilder Vincent Radley & Sons (see above) who built boats on the river Lea in east London starting during the 19th century. It has probably been restored on a couple of occasions, with a sliding seat, ‘new’ clogs, etc. – a beautiful craftsman work, indeed.

Another exhibitor’s watercraft also caught my eye, Andrew Meigs’s Dancing Dragon, which was launched earlier this month! Andrew, who is an old oarsman, became tired always facing backwards, he said, so he came up with this propeller-driven, scull-less, faceforward ‘cycle-boat’. Being conservative when it comes to my sculling and rowing, I truly thought this was a fun-looking boat, which I would not mind at all to go for an outing in!


  1. The Vincent Radley and Sons single was probably built by Sid Radley who was the grandson of Vincent. Sid died in 1970 and the business then ended and the site was sold to the Lea Valley development authority and is now a marina. The business began in the 1850s and at its peak had 3 separate sites on the river lea in NE London in early 20th century.
    Sid was one of 10 children and he rowed in Radley family fours and eights.

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