Better drowned than duffers, if not duffers won’t drown. (Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons)
I’m feeling a little nostalgic today. It’s my Dad’s birthday and he’s on my mind…
When I was a child, Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons was one of my favourite books. His writing had the ability to transport me into all the action and adventure that the Walkers and the Blacketts experienced in their little sailing dinghies. I vividly remember wanting to be a member of Team Swallows so badly.
Mr Ransome wrote the book way back in 1929, so it’s a sign of his seriously good writing that I was still so engaged almost 50 years later. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back and read it again, to see if I can still feel that sense of escapism… Perhaps I will!
I was lucky enough to grow up in a boating family. Not all that surprising when you consider that the City of Sails was my home-town.
My Dad is still boating today. And, I know how much he appreciates messing about in boats. So, when I first found out about the wonderful Balmain Boat Company, it made me think of him.
Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. (Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows)
The good people at Balmain Boat Company reckon anyone can build a boat. They create flat-packed, DIY rowing and sailing dinghies so that anyone who has a hankering to get out on the water, can do just that.
Founded by Nicole Still and Andrew Simpson, the awesome Balmain Boat Company mission is “to make parents and grandparents look like legends.” Brilliant!
Purists can rest easy – the design of these beautiful wooden boats (no tinny’s here, thank you!) is a combination of yester-year rowboat (think Swallows and Amazons!) coupled with the clean lines, not to mention neat edges, of computer-led wood-cutting.
I think they are just lovely.
And, you want to know what else?
You can even design your own figurehead for your Balmain Boat. All Balmain Boat Company boats come with a standard figurehead, inspired by the co-founders first built boats. Nicole’s figurehead is a Fairy Penguin, inspired by the world’s smallest penguins, which come to shore on Phillip Island here in Australia. Andrew’s figurehead is the mythological flying seal.
Nicole and Andrew rightly feel that every boat has a story, and your boat should tell your story. So, you can send them a photo of your family dog, your favourite animal or your lucky charm, and they’ll design a custom figurehead just for you. I think that’s inspired!
If you have a hankering to make your own Balmain Boat Company boat, you have a couple of options:
- If you live in Australia, the DIY boat kits can be dispatched from the Darlington, Sydney warehouse within 7-10 business days of ordering.
- If you live in the USA, the DIY boat kits can be dispatched from the Poland, Ohio warehouse within 7-10 business days of ordering.
- If you live anywhere else in the world, shipping charges are determined by order size and postcode. The company has shipped to Taiwan, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
If you’d like to learn more about the very fab’ Balmain Boat Company (including how to have your boat built for you!), check out the website here.