A unique rowing boat, hand-built in Gwynedd, will be among the craft on show at the first All Wales Boat Show.
It’s the latest design from Classic Sailboats, where watersports instructor Adrian Richardson has joined forces with his father-in-law John Jones, a master boat-builder.
At their yard at Wern Difyr, Bethel, near Caernarfon,they’ve come up with the 14ft rowing boat, which can carry up to four people but is suitable for one and two rowers, and which is perfect for fun on rivers, lakes and in harbours,
The range will be called Menai 14, but the name of the latest rowing boat will be unveiled at the show, which is being staged in both Conwy and Deganwy Marinas in July.
“We are very proud to be showing off our new design at the event,” said Adrian, who is now business development manager at the company. This is the prototype model. It has a fibre glass hull, while all the trimmings and fittings are wood.
“So it looks really good and elegant, and sits well in the water. Also it’s fast to row,” added Adrian. “We were looking to bridge the divide between fibre glass, and the traditional wooden rowing boat, to create something that combines the best of each.”
The boat has been trialled at Llyn Padarn at Llanberis and in the Menai Strait, and they are now putting the finishing touches to the design, ready to unveil it at the show, where it will go on sale for under £5,000.
John 55, has more than 40 years’ experience of building boats for use on the Menai Strait. He set up his latest venture in 2003 and Adrian, originally from oxford, joined him in 2008.
“I used to sail dinghies on a reservoir near my home and then came to North Wales to be a watersports instructor at Plas Menai,” explained Adrian, now 28.
During that time he met his wife Rhian, 25, a teaching assistant in Bangor, and the couple, who live in Felinheli, now have a son Leo, aged 15 months.
“Maybe one day he’ll be the third generation to go into the boat-building business,” added Adrian.
“We are looking forward to showing off our new rowing boat at the All Wales Boat Show, and seeing what else is on offer at the event. This event is just what the watersports industry in North Wales needs.”
The All Wales Boat show from July 24-28, will be split between Conwy and Deganwy Quay marinas, with visitors ferried across the River Conwy from one harbour side to the other. There will be a range of craft on show, plus the chance to try out some of the equipment on sale, along with a variety of events and entertainment.
The event, organised by event management and marketing specialists, Sparc Ltd, aims to help Wales grab a bigger share of the marine industry that generates around £3 billion in the UK every year.
Managing Director Davina Carey-Evans said: “We very excited about the huge potential of the event, especially as it’s the only boat show that uses the water to actually transport people.
“It’s the first ever National Boat Show for Wales and what’s interesting is how far and wide the exhibitors are coming from – from all across the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe.
“We believe the timing is perfect, too, because it’s taking place the same time as the Conwy River Festival.
“Two million adults in the UK enjoy water-based activities and the marine sector generates £66.7 million in Wales alone.
“Wherever you go in Wales, you are never far away from a river, lake or coastline which is why it’s renowned for not only offering every water sport activity possible but also some of the very best facilities to do so, so it is only fitting that we have our own boat show.
“Conwy boasts two marinas and a reputation for outstanding water sport amenities. It is also a major tourist attraction in its own right being a world heritage site with its own medieval castle so is the perfect location for a show of this stature and size.
“And with its easy accessibility whether by car, plane, train or even boat, it will appeal to a wide target audience from not only all of Wales but also the North West, Midlands, Isle of Man and Ireland.”