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What a punt is and how to punt by Innes Donaldson






What a punt is and how to punt by
Article Posted: 08/03/2014
Article Views: 116
Articles Written: 2883
Word Count: 450
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What a punt is and how to punt


 
Advice,Business,Consumer
This is for those who are concerned simply to punt for pleasure (rather than learning a racing technique). There are people who will dogmatically tell you that they know an exact method. That may well be the case for racing. But for pleasure punting the fact is - it doesn't matter how you do it as along as it is reasonably efficient and does not soak you or your passengers. And if it can also have that certain elegance that the best punters show then why not? I have developed the method outlined here over some forty two years (250 miles last year) so it undeniably works.

WHAT IS A PUNT?

A punt is the countryman's boat. It can be seen on African Lakes and in Far Eastern river markets. Its basic characteristic is a flat bottom, which is what makes it very stable in flat water (and very unstable in choppy water - but that is unlikely to be your problem) It is basically a box afloat. On the Thames it has been used for cargo carrying since time immemorial (and probably slightly before that.) In one of its forms it became the fishing punt with a central flooded well with holes in the bottom so that live fish could be kept. The Victorians developed this into the elegant pleasure craft that is the Thames Punt. This is traditionally 32 inches to 34 inches wide and between 24 feet and 26 feet long (though shorter punts may be for hire).

Racing punts are 2 feet wide down to 14.5 inches and up to 35 feet long. The pole which propels it is 16 feet long as a standard though it may be found from 13 feet to 20 feet. The Thames Punt has a TILL or BOX or DECK at one end (sometimes the other end has a smaller version). The bottom is curved from one end to the other, as are the sides. The ends (HUFFS) are flat (that is not pointed). (Racing punts are defined as flat bottomed boats having the width of the ends not less than half the width in the centre) The sides are joined together by TREADS (cross wise planks on the bottom, placed at intervals). The joint to the side is reinforced at each tread by a KNEE which may extend to the top of the side. The bottom is then made up of lengthwise planks secured to the treads. The area between each tread is often filled with a grating. There are usually two, sometimes one or three, seats. The area between them is the SALOON. The passengers sit on the bottom on MATTRESS(ES) (cushions).

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