Thursday, 23 October 2014

A 'new' boat for the Aberdaron regatta

Dafydd a Guto a 'Gwylan'
I had the pleasure of meeting Dewi, Guto and Dafydd in a barn at Felin Uchaf, not far from Aberdaron, where they were restoring an 80 year old wooden-clinker boat. They explained that it was built by John Thomas, builder of something like a hundred boats, and that he made them in about 20 days.

This particular one, ‘Gwylan’, had been built to carry passengers from Porth Colmon to Bardsey but after just a few trips was sold and used as a fishing boat working out of Tudweiliog. In recent years it has been lying on a beach like a wreck but is now getting a new lease of life.

It’s slow and painstaking work, removing the broken or rotten planks, creating a template for new ones, making and fitting the replacements. It looked to me like 30% of the plank-work was new. The wood of choice is larch which, with the help of steam, can be bent into the right shape - so much more satisfying than working with fibreglass! Until recently it has been hard to get hold of larch but there’s now a glut as whole plantations are felled to limit the spread of Phytophthora Ramorum.  

The restoration project, part of the Llŷn Landscape Partnership, will continue through the winter and students on the boat building course at Coleg Meirion Dwyfor will be joining in. If all goes to plan Gwylan will be taking part in the Aberdaron regattas next summer. You can hear Dewi, Guto and Dafydd talking about the boat on Sunday’s (26th October) Country Focus. 

Dewi Alun Hughes has made an interesting film about the local fishermen and their boats. The link below is to an English synopsis:

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