Norfolk Pedal Boat builders, Dad’s Boats, are set to exhibit their uniquely designed boats once again at the Southampton International Boat Show.
David Williams, the ‘Dad’ in ‘Dad’s Boats’ built his first Pedal Boat in the 1950s. Almost 70 years on the family run business is manufacturing and selling their latest unique designs which allows two people to face each other and pedal forwards in comfort. The sophisticated gearbox makes it efficient, easy to use and environmentally friendly so you can just sit back, sip a drink, chat and take some gentle exercise while enjoying the water.
The first Pedal Boat was a single seater and was designed to offer a hands free method of travel allowing David to follow his remote controlled yacht while keeping his hands free for the controls. The drive mechanism was an old hand drill! ‘The Sieve’, as it was affectionately called, was moth balled in the garden not long after when National Service got in the way. By the time David got back two years later ‘The Sieve’ had deteriorated so much all he could do was cut it up for firewood.
So, the next generation of Pedal Boat started to form in his mind – this time a more sociable two-seater. This boat accompanied David on his honeymoon around the Norfolk Broads in 1961.
Since 2012 Dad’s Boats has been developing and testing a production model based on David’s original. This is The Pedal Boat! There are now two different designs (although each Pedal Boat leaving the boatyard can be a bespoke item) – the Elite model and the Universal Model. The boats are designed for inland, non tidal, flat waters. The Elite model is quite simply the best the design can be – its blue hull and varnished wood trim achieves compliments wherever it goes. It is aimed primarily at the luxury private market – for personal use, sitting happily in boat houses across the country perhaps adding to an owner’s classic fleet. The Universal Model has been developed by the team for boat hire companies who love the boat but want a version tailored for them. It is a pared back version of the Elite model – no varnished wood to maintain with luxury fittings removed.
Dad’s Boats will be exhibiting both versions of The Pedal Boat (Universal and Elite Models) at the Southampton International Boat Show in the Classic Boat Zone (with an all new layout) at Mayflower Park this weekend as well as their hand crafted ornamental wooden propellers.
David William’s son-in-law, Stephen Pitkethly of Dad’s Boats says, “At last we are back out and about! It will be great having both models of The Pedal Boat at Southampton for the first time. I have had to borrow a Universal Boat back from a customer, The Nancy Oldfield Trust (an accessible boating charity here in Norfolk), as we haven’t had time to build one for the show”.
For more information come and see Dad’s Boats at the Southampton International Boat Show on Stand C054 in the Classic Boat Zone from 10th to 19th September or visit www.dadsboats.com.