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The WATER CRAFT 2010 Guide to the


Trade Association

Photograph: Kerry Maguire

When visitors to the 2009 Southampton Boat Show were greeted by a display of beautifully-built wooden boats, many were delighted to discover that real boatbuilding craftsmanship is not only alive and spiling, it’s becoming better appreciated every day. Colin Evans introduces the members of the WBTA.

There were many reasons for the decline of the numerous boatyards which once could boast generations of time-served craftsmen who built and serviced wooden boats.

The scale of that industry has condensed into a few businesses which mass-produce ‘plastic’ boats in factories. Consequently, the perception has been that the profession of wooden boat building and repair has sunk into obscurity. In reality we never really went away. Quietly, in the background, we're alive and kicking, although some would say we still suffer from the old GRP salesman's pitch: Wood is bad; glass is good.

However, wood has never ceased to be a wonderful boatbuilding material. It allows 'one-off' and series-built boats to be hand-crafted and customised to the individual's


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