Win-some\, adj: "Causing joy
or pleasure; gladsome; pleasant."

design by Mat Newland (Swallowboats)

Do you ever feel an itch to explore the rivers, canals, city docklands or estuaries near to where you live? It's fun to walk along the banks (where you can) but wouldn't it be more fun to be on the water itself? We've been looking for a novel way to explore our local waterways. We want it to be:

  • simple quiet and relaxing.
  • a "spur of the moment" experience.
  • attractive to boaters and non-boaters.
  • sociable.
  • environmentally friendly.
  • gentle and enjoyable exercise.

Our new product concept, the 'Winsome' is a lightweight, elegant river punt which two people can pedal silently and effortlessly along any canal, lake or river. Our design means the two sit opposite one another with their hands free so they can chat, sip champagne (or a flask of hot soup in winter!), take photographs or simply watch the world glide by. David Williams of Irstead, Norfolk has built a couple of boats like this for enjoying the Norfolk Broads which flow past the end of his garden. Within minutes of stepping into his cleverly designed boat and gliding speedily and silently off up the River Ant, even the non-boaters among us were totally sold on the idea and we came straight home determined to design our own version for exploring the canals and rivers of Wales.

You pedal Winsome as you would a bicycle with the double set of pedals driving a small, highly efficient propeller at the stern. You steer Winsome, when necessary, with a small lever, although most of the time she will simply glide along in a straight line . Our design focus is 'spur of the moment', so we are designing Winsome to be quickly car-toppable as well as easy to launch and recover from canal and river banks.

Here's some of the feedback people have given us so far:

  • "I'd love to do the River Shannon in a Winsome - my age and weight look ideally suited to this form of motion!"
  • "What a novel way of popping round to friends. Yes! Since we live only about a mile from the Grand Union canal"
  • "I'd like to be on water more but I don't know how to sail and I don't like the hard work that rowing demands"
  • "This looks like a gracious, relaxing way to pass time with a friend - just chatting"

Matt Newland