Concept Boat Competition www.conceptboat.com is an annual competition started in 2001 and run by the British Marine Federation in association with the Royal Institution of Naval Architects. It is intended to encourage interest in the design of future boats and to show the global small craft industry how they believe boating should develop. The Competition covers the full range of recreational and commercial/working boats, and each year has a different theme. This year the design is for recreational or commercial craft of up to 24m in length that encourages group activity to as broad a range of people as possible.
On the other hand a lot of people are quite happy with narrowboats. Dream Weaver www.dwnb.co.uk is a private narrowboat syndicate, still at the fitting-out stage at the time of writing. Per Angusta www.biscituk.biz/~perangusta2/html/home.htm is another narrowboat that is at the fit-out stage. Tafelberg www.tafelberg.co.uk which means Table Mountain is the name of a 70ft long narrowboat belonging to the Clevetts. There are also pages of general interest on this site. Narrowboat Apple Queen www.applequeen.me.uk is about the constuction, fitting-out and painting of a gas free narrowboat designed and built by Reading Marine.
The Dawncraft Owners Site www.dawncraftowners.com welcomes all boat owners, not just Dawncraft owners, and runs a forum on the site in which you can post any boating related question. Springer Narrow Boat Owners www.springerowners.co.uk is very much an embryo site set up with the aim of communication with the past, present and prospective owners of narrowboats built by Springer Engineering. Peterborough Yacht Club www.pycweb.tk is, as far as I know, the only River Nene based boat club with its own website.
Traditional Canalware by Martin Toennigs www.tradcanalware.co.uk/main.htm has a selection of hand painted water cans and other decorative canal ware for sale. Peter Bendall Canals Page http://homepage.schleswig-holstein.de/cbendall/index.html contains a miscellaneous collection of waterway pages telling of voyages that date back to 1958. Thames Cards www.thames-cards.co.uk features photographer Sue Milton's excellent images of England's river Thames and its surrounding area.
The Canal Warehouse www.canal-warehouse.com is a site with canal books, videos and DVD's, brass plaques, art, t-shirts, maps and guidebooks and a big range of gifts, toys and games. Dudley Tunnel Trips www.dudleytunneltrips.org/index.htm offer a range of trips through and around Dudley Tunnel and finally the Bridge Inn Ratho - Edinburgh Canal Centre www.bridgeinn.com is the site of the Bridge Inn beside the Edinburgh & Glasgow Union Canal. The owners of the inn also run cruises and provide services to boaters under the title of the Edinburgh Canal Centre.
Site of the Month
Residential Boat Owners' Association website www.rboa.co.uk is just the type of site I like to see. It has a clear purpose and fulfils the needs of its visitors in a straightforward and logical way without resorting to gimmicks. If you are thinking of living on a boat this is the first site to visit. It does not try to sell the idea of living aboard but instead comes up with a list of questions and answers that confront the day to day practical issues of having a floating home. They deal with everything from "why live on a boat" to the nebulous subject of Council Tax for boats and if you want even more information they will sell you their publication Living Afloat, which covers the subject more comprehensively.
There are also pages on Computing Afloat explaining using a computer on a boat and accessing the Internet. Another page reports someone's experience of attending a RYA Inland Waterway Helmsmans Certificate course at Willow Wren Training in Rubgy.
Of course the site has information on benefits for members such as the RBOA Newsletter Soundings, which is sent free to members four times a year. An article from Soundings also appears on their website. They also offer discounts for members on River Canal Rescue services.
This site has been designed with web users afloat very much in mind. Because of the slow internet speeds offered by mobile phones the site has very few pictures or graphics and a little camera icon beside links to pages containing photographs, which gives users the chance to turn off the image display option on their browser before downloading the page. If only more website designers were this thoughtful towards mobile web users we would avoid the situation where a site is impossible to load via a mobile phone because it needs several mega-bytes of graphics before the home page is loaded. With so many web users now on broadband the situation is unlikely to get better.
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