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Winkle Brig river launch discovery

Started by Old Forum, April 13, 2014, 07:58:10 AM

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Old Forum

Username: Mike_seller

Registered: 06-2012
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 09:11 pm:      
I'm looking to keep "Heligan" on the River Thames from next year - exploring the estuary as well as the upper reaches along with some sailing close to home. In my search for a mooring I stumbled across Woottens Boatyard at Cookham Dean which has been in the family since 1908. This stretch of the river between Cookham and Marlow has excellent sailing for over 2 miles between locks and bridges.
On meeting the owner Guy Wootten I told him that I was looking for mooring and that the boat was a Winkle Brig which no doubt he had never heard of. With a wry smile Guy pointed to an upturned hull in the corner of the yard and said "That's a Winkle Brig hull". He then took me into one of the sheds and showed me another Winkle Brig fitted out as a river launch with plenty of wood and gleaming varnish. I have yet to speak in detail with Guy about this discovery but he did say the hull plans came from Eric (EB).
Woottens is a real gem in this day and age - a traditional yard with plenty of history. They built the "Sopranino" an 18 foot yacht which sailed the Atlantic in 1951 - at the time the smallest boat to do so. Today they are renovating "Judith R" a motor yacht built in 1935 owned by Barney Balaban of Paramount Pictures which he used to commute from home in Connecticut to his office on Manhattan Island.
Pleased to say that I have a mooring at Woottens and will share more about these WB hulls as I get to know the owners and yard better. For more info on the above projects check out