The Slipper Launch CollectionBoats on Show 2000 Beale Park, Pangbourne Boats on Show is a development from the previous Wooden Boat Show and promotes a wide variety of boating for the public. The aim is to make boating accessible for ordinary people, the displays range from self build designs and kits to superbly restored river launches (presumably for your ordinary wealthy types!).
There were four slipper launches on display, the first I came across was Esox II a 20 feet Brookes of Lowestoft slipper launch. A full restoration had been completed and there were pictures to show the project in progress. Esox II was previously named Joanne. The restorer is going to provide me with more information in June.
Excuse the pictures as Esox II was wedged in between 2 other boats and under a gazebo.
Second up was Ondine a superbly restored Andrews 30 feet 1938 launch. This is a no expense spared restoration and allows us to see and feel what a prospective customer would have seen at the Andrews work shop. Ondine should be back on the Thames soon and I am sure would be a strong contender for awards if entered to the Traditional Boat Rally in the summer. The cleats are not the usual bullet shaped but a more curved art deco influenced type. The restorer tells me this is in keeping with Andrews publicity material of the time. Ondine has a straight 6 engine.
Third was the Langley 25 feet Slipper Launch, traditionalists may not be so happy about this one as she has a glass fibre hull to the deck. The builders emphasise the improved practicality and lower maintenance of this design. I understand that the mold for the hull was made from an Andrews 25 feet launch. The deck and cockpit is finished to a traditional Andrews specification: Mahogany and Obeche deck with traditional bullet shaped cleats and Lucas motorbike style navigation lamps. The engine is a 1300 Ford Watermota unit.
Number four is the brand new Millennium (build year 2000) electric propulsion 30 feet slipper launch. Superbly finished in every detail: the leather-covered cushions give the look and feel of quality and luxury. The driver and passenger seats are a variation from the traditional wicker type and in the seat backs they have a 'Rolls Royce' type hinged tray-table for guests to put their snacks, Champagne or Pimms on. Other details include a hidden cool box and a hidden rack behind the rear bench seat for storing the fenders. There are two fairly serious looking exhaust ports in the stern transom, these were included to allow motorised conversion in the future. The hull design is similar to Seattle Slipper and would allow for a high-powered engine unit for fast cruising.
'Rolls Royce' type hinged tray-table for guests to put their snacks, Champagne or Pimms on!
In addition the two cushions behind the rear bench seat cleverly hide the storage for the fenders.