I've sketched dozens, gone as far as drawing a few, Built three or four models and even done a full scale lofting of one. But I've never actually started to build one.
My HBBR mate Paul is a bit less reserved than me and so he decided to design and build his own micro cruiser based around Matt Leyden's Ellusion. Paul brought a whole new meaning to the phrase Design & Build. Sometimes the cart got ahead of the horse and the designing was being done well after the epoxy had dried. Sometimes he would ask for opinions, some were offered, occasionally advice was taken but just as often it was declined due to some criteria which hadn't originally been made clear, like, if I put that there i wouldn't have anywhere to keep the beer.
I think lots of us got a lot of enjoyment out of that boat. Here are paul and I at the launching , fooling around as usual.
Now the Boat did get finished and made a very late arrival at Beale Park, I seem to remember it was around 11.30 PM when we pitched his tent in the dark and sent Dyllis off home on her own.
This is Paul and Cee Dubbs soaking up the atmosphere during the show. Paul set off with the rest of us on the Thames Raid II that wet and windy day last June.
The fuzzy image is partly due to low res. photography and partly due to damp. He struggled to keep illusion up to pace, due partly to short oars and an awkward rowing position but Paul is resolute and managed to keep going through it all and even managing to crack a smile.
He did eventually manage to make it to the end by hook or by crook. Quite recently in an episode of the property programme Location Location, right in the last couple of seconds before the credits there is a shot of two boats rowing down the Thames. On closer inspection only those in the know would recognise Illusion, getting a tow from Tony Waller in Isabella.
Walton on Thames was eventually reached where Paul, having been roused from his slumbers to ensure an early departure and therefore missing first breakfast demonstrated the versatile galley arrangements by having a fry up.
Now Paul, like most of us is a serial Boat Builder, and like most of us has limited space and a long suffering spouse who, although patient to the last has her limits, and her limit is three boats so one had to go. And sadly due to its shortcomings it had to be illusion.
A truly brave attempt, and the man has more balls than me for giving it a go, so raise a glass to Paul Hadley, pioneer, and join me once more in remembering those great days when illusion took to the water.