Saturday, 16 December 2006


Welcome to The Invisible Workshop. For the present a communal garden in Spain.

The idea is to document the construction of Gavin Atkin’s Light Trow. The trials, tantrums and hopefully triumphs of a prototype boat build.

I don’t consider myself particularly well qualified for the work ahead but trust that rudimentary carpentry skills and a passion to be on the briny will see me through.

The project started over the summer, in my mind at least, after sailing to Ibiza on Capitaine Ulysse, a 12 metre aluminium drop-keel cutter. I’ve been sitting on a boating dream for about a decade and after the three day cruise the no boat situation became untenable.

Up until now I’ve satisfied this chronic case of sea fever by moving from the city to a house by the sea, windsurfing when its windy, body-boarding or surfing when it’s wavy, pottering in an inflatable dinghy or swimming when its calm. Or, more recently, simply standing on the beach gazing at the h2o.

The Light Trow will take me over the horizon on summer days with a light sea breeze, to sail, to muse on the blue dome above me and the blue disc around me. (I’ll try not to get too carried away here.) Hopefully I’ll do all this in style for the Light Trow is a very stylish craft. A gentleman’s day-sailor. Based on the Fleet Trow, a heavily built work boat mainly rowed, Gav's version is lighter and carries a small yawl rig which only adds to her traditional looks. From her nearly plumb bow and gentle sheer to the reverse raked transom and sprit lugsails on unstayed masts she breathes style and class. At least on paper. I hope all these fine qualities will survive the machinations of the Invisible Workshop.

Of all the plans I’ve looked at she seems to come closest to my personal brief. It’s taken me the last ten years to realize that a small, simply built craft is what I need. Not the huge boats that I used to dream of that all came with the drawback of having to become a millionaire first.

For the moment I have a large hole in my pocket and 8 litres of epoxy under my bed. I started on the stem about a month ago but stopped after sawing my hand instead of the wood. The stem, whose wonky angles needed rectifying, has since disappeared, no doubt swept up and thrown out, confused with the debris of domestic life.

Here are plans for Gav’s Light Trow and the links to his site.

And here is a photo from the beach; a beautiful green wave rears out of a brown, grey sea.


Ignacio said...

Tiene muy buen aspecto y si necesitas dos manos en algún momento no dudes en avisarme.


bowsprite said...

what adventures, Ben!
wow! and Hello, back, to you and the community you have found!