I was very pleased to be asked to join Graham Signorini and Greg Blunt on the Alan Chinn Award committee this year, as Alan’s generous advice was a significant part of the reason my first boat was built with a minimum of fuss. His interest, enthusiasm, and wealth of knowledge made building my Selway Fisher Coble so much easier than it would have been had I been just trying to work it all out on my own. I met Alan through the Selway Fisher Yahoo Group, and as a result of this joined the WBA. I’m sure that my experiences are far from unique: Alan has been a great role model and recruiter for the Association over the years!
The four candidates for this award exemplified the diverse interests of our members. Keeping in mind that the award goes to the builder rather than to the boat, it was a privilege to be able to talk to each builder and learn a little about the journey they undertook when working on their craft.
|David O’Dempsey’s clinker Selway Fisher Adirondack Guide Boat showcased David’s enthusiasm for experimentation and simple, practical solutions. Anyone who has tried David’s boat knows how effective the Hobie drive is in that boat!|
|What struck us most about Jack Ellis’ skin on frame Ravenswood kayak was his determination to enjoy every moment of the build - not rushing it, just doing a little but here and there (on his front verandah no less). The end result was an amazingly light and extremely well-built boat.|
Jimmy Baillie’s strip planked Guillemot kayak showed Jimmy’s attention to detail, willingness to seek advice and assistance, and his justifiable pleasure in having his boat being recognised by other kayakers as being so much better, and lighter, than commercially available plastic boats.
|Russell Hurren’s restoration of a 24’ carvel hulled motor cruiser from the 1940s was a great story of perseverance over adversity, solving innumerable problems along the way, and involving a network of helpers to complete the project. In a way,Maude was a mens’ shed in her own right, bringing together a disparate group of volunteers who all finished the restoration with a new or improved set of skills|
All four candidates deserved to win the inaugural Alan Chinn Award, but in the end we decided that Russell Hurren should be the recipient, as we felt that the enthusiasm that he engendered in the group involved in the restoration was a fitting recognition of the effort Alan is well known for. Alan has always loved messing about in boats, working on them, talking about them, and imparting skills and knowledge far and wide, and Russell’s restoration did the same for a large group of people who will now always look at wooden boats just a little bit differently.
We congratulate Russell, Jimmy, Jack and David on their diverse projects and look forward to seeing nominations for next year’s award.
Peter Batchelor [on behalf of the 2019 judging panel]