The Folding Boat Question.

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Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett on June 09, 2007 at 23:07:02 from user ACB.

In Reply to: Re: Folding Boats (was 40th Anniversary of the death of Arthur Ransome posted by Peter H on June 08, 2007 at 20:12:19:

This impacts rather precisely on the putative date of GN.

Prior to 1939, the folding boat in general use amongst yachtsmen was the Berthon boat, which had a pointed stem and a pointed stern and numerous longitudinal ribs. Claud Worth considered the 10ft size practical, but rather heavy and awkward. ("Yacht Cruising" 4th edn, 1934)

After 1945, the folding boat in general use amongst yachtsmen was the Prout, which came in 6ft and 7ft 8ins sizes and had sides made of plywood, with a centreline keel. This was light and stable and is the direct ancestor of almost all of today's folding boats.

The Prout was a huge improvement and was immediately popular. There is a photo of one in the first edition of Hiscock's "Cruising under sail" (Oxford, 1950 (I learned to row my father's Prout in 1957. He said it appeared so unsafe that it imposed good seamanship on all who boarded it!)

If Mac had copied a Berthon, when Prouts were available, Captain Flint's remark makes very good sense.

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