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Photographer's Note

Taken whilst enjoying a 'punt' in Cambridge.

From Wikipedia.

A punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow, designed for use in small rivers or other shallow water. Punting refers to boating in a punt. The punter generally propels the punt by pushing against the river bed with a pole. A punt should not be confused with a gondola, which is propelled with an oar rather than poled.

Punts were originally built as cargo boats or platforms for fowling and angling but in modern times their use is almost exclusively confined to pleasure trips on the rivers in the university towns of Oxford and Cambridge in England and races at a few summer regattas on the Thames.

The term "punt" has also been used to indicate a smaller version of a regional type of long shore working boat, for example the Deal Galley Punt. This derives from the wide usage in coastal communities of the name "Punt" for any small clinker open stem built general purpose boat. According to March[1] and The Chatham directory[2] there were punts peculiar to Happisburgh (Norfolk), Yarmouth (Norfolk), Broadstairs (Kent), Dover (Kent), Hastings (East Sussex), Eastbourne (East Sussex), Itchen Ferry (Hampshire), and Falmouth (Cornwall).
A traditional river punt differs from many other types of wooden boat in that it has no keel, stem or sternpost. Instead it is built rather like a ladder with the main structure being two side panels connected by a series of 4 in (10 cm) cross planks, known as "treads", spaced about 1 foot (30 cm) apart.

The first punts are traditionally associated with the River Thames in England and were built as small cargo boats or platforms for fishermen. Pleasure punts – specifically built for recreation – became popular on the Thames between 1860 and 1880.[3] Some other boats have a similar shape to a traditional punt – for example the Optimist training dinghy or the air boats used in the Everglades – but they are generally built with a box construction instead of the open ladder-like design of a traditional Thames pleasure punt.
Since a punt has no keel, it draws only a few inches even when fully laden; this makes it very manoeuvrable and suitable for shallow water. A punt can be punted with equal facility in either direction; this is handy in narrow streams where turning round may be difficult. The square-cut bow gives greater carrying capacity for a given length than a boat of the same beam with a narrow or pointed bow; it also makes the boat very stable, and suitable for passengers.

Punts are still made in England, mainly to supply the tourist trade in Oxford and Cambridge. The construction material of choice is wood. Fibreglass and other synthetic materials have been tried, but the resulting boats are rarely stiff enough to be easy to use. The sides, the ends (known as "huffs"), and the "till" are normally made of hardwood such as mahogany. The treads are often made from teak. The bottom is made of softwood and may be replaced several times during the life of a particular boat.

A traditional punt is about 24 feet (7.3 m) long and 3 feet (0.91 m) wide. The sides are about 18 inches (0.5 m) deep. Both the bow and the stern are cut square, with a long shallow "swim"; this is to say that the underside of the boat slopes very gently at the front and the back.

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Additional Photos by Stephen Wilkinson (wilkinsonsg) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 879 W: 48 N: 1446] (8662)
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