Last week Scullywag went to Douarnenez to demonstrate the making of a paddle in public. The boat, oars, tools and timber were kindly transported by Keewaydin and I found passage aboard Guide Me. Upon arrival, the festival organisers berthed the boats and exhibitors were shown their respective stands.

The weather was sublime, in fact so hot that working was impossible without regular ice-cream and beer stops! What with the refreshments, regular stops to talk with interested people and to see old friends, the progress of the paddle was very slow indeed. Fortunately, the reason for going to Douarnenez was not to be productive but to exhibit what Scullywag does.

Some paddles were tested by interested scullers and the dinghy received lots of strokes. The designer of the dinghy came and saw the boat and I believe was pleased with the result. Gerd Lohmann drew the lines in 2006 I think and it has been built by three shipwrights before me.

The bamboo paddle has two 8mm pieces of sapeli scarfed to the end forming a long blade. This received so much attention that the results of the longevity test will be very interesting. It may provide the answer to long, flexible, durable and inexpensive paddles!

I was at the stand for two and a half days and during this time, many came and shared knowledge and ideas and admired the long wood shavings blowing down the port. Some were taken to adorn ladies’ hair.

France Bleu came to interview and ask exactly what I was doing and why? A very justified question I believe. Ouest France came to interview for an article and the festival did some filming too.

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