Lead On (first photo) is a new pilot’s punt built for for Kindly Light, a Bristol Channel pilot cutter, was completed by Stirling and Son and delivered to her owner during March.
She was built to the owners specification’s following his extensive research into the pilot cutters‘ boats.
Here’s what Will has to say about her:
‘She is built to both tow well in a seaway and also to scull well, and has very flat floors midships to provide stability, a little hollow in the bow under the waterline so that she cleaves the water with full sections above the waterline to give her good reserve buoyancy forward. Aft, she has a shapely transom above the waterline to reduce drag to a minimum.
‘In an initial tests in Carrick Roads, when a 12-stone man stood on her gunwale only 6in of freeboard showed above the water.’
That stable shape is very clear in the photo.
The second shot above shows another new 12ft rowing dinghy that left the yard at the end of March. Destined for a lake in Sussex, this is a much finer boat for rowing on lakes and rivers, and is varnished with gold leaf scrollwork and cove line. Will remarks that it’s interesting that two 12ft rowing dinghies of similar beam can be so different.
A third 12ft dinghy – a Tideway general purpose sailing dinghy – came into the Stirlings yard for repairs recently. New sidedecks and foredeck were fitted, underwater repairs were carried out and the boat was completely refinished.
Will’s remarks about this boat include a useful little warning for owners of timber-built dinghies:
‘This Tideway had generally stood the test of time well but, like another dinghy we repaired earlier in the year, most of the damage requiring attention had been done by the trailer where she had sagged aft of the last trailer roller.
‘A good piece of money-saving advice for traditional dinghy owners who keep their boats on a trailer for long periods is to put some supporting blocks under the transom – it is better to risk causing a little extra rocker than have the boat hog.’
Thanks Will! Stirling and Son offers traditional yacht building and wooden boat repair, and is based at Tavistock, in Devon.