Thoroughly traditional boatbuilding.

A replica of the St.Ives Jumbo from the mid 1880’s.

“In recent years it seems the romance of boatbuilding has acquired a more universal appeal. Perhaps people are finally waking up to the fact that our society desperately lacks manual skills and that building a boat is just about the most creative thing you can do with wood”

Welcome to a website devoted to promoting a thoroughly traditional approach to boatbuilding. If you ever wished to own a boat that feels and smells of authenticity – don’t click away, this site is or you!

Currently building St.Ives Sailing Punt No.3, due for launching in early 2022 (link).

After a lifetime of sailing and repairing historic replicas, I now specialise in building them. This St.Ives Jumbo (above) is one such vessel that, through research and replication, I have been able to bring back from obscurity.

Recently, I was approached to design and build 11ft 6in, single-handed, knock-about for sail and oar for use at St.Ives, Cornwall. The client would have liked his new boat to have been a replica as well, however, with no traditional sailing craft there of this size to replicate, we based the design on the nearest thing – the St.Ives punt.

The St.Ives Punt

Built primarily for landing fish, the design of the punt had developed over generations to survive the occasional rough conditions of this drying harbour. It is also one I know well having built 2 replicas (see below) from details my father recorded back in 1975 when a few still remained. 

The result has been most encouraging! The owners are clearly thrilled (see below), so I thought I’d share the good news that I’m now prepared to build one for you – so you can join them and their new one-design class. 
Please call or text me on 44 (0)7866 777219 to arrange a trial sail.

Here it is then; an affordable, robust and easily manageable boat for those who share my enthusiasm for truly traditional boatbuilding.  (more….)

WINNER OF ‘PRETTIEST BOAT’ (SMALL BOAT CLASS) AT FALMOUTH CLASSICS 2016

Read the full review published by the U.S. magazine Wooden Boat in 2018 by Nic Compton.

The St.Ives Sailing Punt

The St.Ives Sailing Punt is simplicity itself: there’s no vulnerable centreboard to weaken the hull and no unnecessary clutter. 

Rigged with a loose-footed standing lug on an unstayed mast with masses of stability and strength to spare, she is dry, forgiving and would be ideal for introducing your kids to boathandling. At the same time, she is surprisingly weatherly despite lacking a centreboard. Her elegant lines ensure she is easily-driven, leaves a barely-discernible wake – and is certainly no slouch! (see ‘Looe Lugger Regatta’below)

The sail and spar may be stowed neatly beneath the thwarts allowing for two comfortable and balanced rowing positions or for ‘scullying’ over the transom with a single oar.

Rowing solo. Thole pins provide a traditional, low tech and easily replaceable alternative to rowlocks.

A forward rowing position allows for well-trimmed rowing for two on the launch day.

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‘Scullying’ (as it’s known in St.Ives) with 3 adults aboard. Note extended leather to allow the same oar to be used for both scullying and rowing.

In all, it’s an unusually successful combination of qualities to find in one boat. But it’s the adherence to traditional construction, when added to the mix, which sets her apart from similar craft…

This boat won her class at Looe Lugger Regatta 2015 – a few weeks after her launch – helmed by her proud owner Scott Bowring. Racing against much larger and more sophisticated craft out in Looe Bay, Scott proved that she’s competitive – even without a centreboard. He says:

‘She has proved a delight to sail, row and scully and has been a great hit with our grandchildren.
 There is no doubt she has brought me a great deal of pleasure. My wife jokes that she is the new love in my life.’

‘This is a joyful boat, a work of art, very tactile and very practical. It just shows what simple design, clean lines and traditional boat building skills can bring together. Thank you Jonny!’   Peter Lee, who conceived and commissioned the first St.Ives Sailing Punt

Please call or text me on 07866 777219 to arrange a trial sail.

NEWBUILD UPDATE December 2021.

‘Flute an Arrow’, Sailing Punt No.3 nears completion.

Earlier this year, former classic yacht skipper, Nick Mahlich recognised another lockdown provided a golden opportunity to fulfil a long-held ambition – to build a boat from scratch – and approached me to help make it happen. This, then, is a joint project as Nick has participated throughout the build. As I say, building a boat is just about the most creative thing you can do with wood, and so this project has proved to be essential therapy for us both during the winter months of Covid 19.

At her launch in St.Ives harbour, she will be named ‘Flute an Arrow’ – a term of affection my father used when we were small. It’s actually an anglicisation of a Cornish expression, once popular in the St.Ives district, meaning ‘Child of my heart‘. The recently retired curator of St.Ives museum, Brian Stevens, also remembers being greeted in this way by elderly ladies when he was still in the push chair. Her name, therefore, forges an association with the town whilst helping to preserve a little piece of local history.

Jan 2022. The remaining shores that have secured her in position since the keel was laid, have finally been removed in order to profile the top of the transom and fit the hand-forged iron stemband – a feature of all my boats. This is the moment when the new-born boat moves for the first time, as if drawing her first breath.