In 2011, when the Society found new Members were needing to have the use of a solid double skiff, it was decided to purchase one for beginners and for loan to non boat owning members. Aware that an older double skiff, “Thomasina” belonging to member Caroline Hooper was going on the market, the Society offered to buy it. Thus, boat and her “Hardy” trailer were purchased, knowing that she had been reasonably well maintained, John Greenford having done a serious amount of work on her when she was first purchased by the Hoopers in 2004.

“Thomasina” was built at Ashleys of Pangbourne by, we think, Walter Downing, a builder who is known to have worked in the yard from 1905 to 1912. Other TTBS members have boats made by this builder and it is possible to see similarities in the construction but no name appears on the underside of the thwarts or other parts of the boat. She was used as a hire boat by Ashleys, then by Hobbs who bought the yard, until the late 1990’s. She is 24 ft long and built of mahogany on oak timbers and has thole pins.

After purchasing her, “Thomasina” was put on trestles and overhauled. Two, new to her, pairs of sculls were adapted and she started being used on the Port Fonty outings which take place once a month. She has accompanied the Society to boat Shows and even gone on the Tideway in the newer parade known as the Boat Race Flotilla. We have recently fitted custom made cushions of a traditional design to the bow passenger seat, for extra comfort. Whilst “Thomasina” has cost the Society to keep up with repairs, she enables our many members who do not own their own boats the pleasure of “messing about in boats”. She also has her own camping cover and hoops for members to experience the full “Three Men in a Boat” experience.

Susan Greenford, 2001