Category Archives: Traditional clinker

Clinker plans and boatbuilding

Fowey River Dinghies for sale

Red Kite

Fowey boat builder Marcus Lewis writes to say that two Fowey River Dinghies are currently up for sale – Red Kite (No. 55)  pictured above and No. 51.

No. 55 was built in 2009, and is planked in spruce, and comes with sails and cover. She has no trailer. There is the possibility of a handy mooring in the river. The dinghy needs sanding and re-varnishing all over: the asking price is £8,000 as is, or £9,000 all done.

No. 51 was built in 2004, and is planked in mahogany. She was recently stripped and revarnished throughout, and comes with sails, cover, trailer and the possibility of a convenient mooringat an asking price of £6,500.

Contact Marcus via his website.

Fowey River Dinghies are based on the Yachting World 15ft Knockabout designed by Reg Freeman, and were published by the magazine in the late 1940s.

A Fowey dentist asked a local boatyard to build him one, and then others followed. Some owners go for plain sails, but the majority now get the coloured pencils out and design a unique sail pattern.

The class holds racing on a regular basis. At Fowey Regatta last year, Marcus tells me, there were 23 dinghies entered. There have been 67 Fowey River Dinghies built to date, with around probably half that number surviving.

PS – When he wrote, Marcus included these photos of a 14ft rowing boat that he’s recently completed for a client. Thanks Marcus!

35 wrecked zulus found at Findhorn

Findhorn Zulus

Some 35 wrecked 30-50ft zulus have been identified along the Culbin edge of Findhorn Bay and are being investigated as part of an archaelogical project.

The zulus were a short-lived but often mighty type of fishing boat with a near vertical stem and a sharply raked stern that fell out of use when engines came in as their sterns were not easily adapted to being powered.

This is a fascinating piece of news from the Scotland’s Coastal Heritage At Risk Project website is fascinating for anyone who, like me, has wondered where the zulus went when their careers ended, as there are very few still in existence. for earlier Intheboatshed.net posts about zulus, click here.

The SCHARP folks suspect the area was used for mooring the fleet, as they have found a postcard showing a large number of the boats moored and afloat in the area where the wrecks were found.

I gather that there was a similar project at Loch Fleet last year.

PS – My friend Iain Anderson, whose grandfather sailed with the zulu fleet has given me a link to this remarkable and interesting web page about the loss of the zulu Evangeline in 1905. The survival of young Saucy is remarkable, and the irony of the argument about melodeon playing will stay with me.

But then there’s this from a newspaper cutting:

”The sea has some mercy, but the land has none,” said one of the seafaring witnesses.

‘A number of fishing boats from Buckie, Portnockie and Cullen were caught were caught at their nets twenty or thirty miles off Wick by the gale. Adopting the recognised method in such cases these boats rode at their nets, drifting along as a whole towards the Orkney Islands. Had the gale lasted one or two days – the usual period – instead of being prolonged into four days, the consequences must have been greatly mitigated, if, indeed, worth of mention. But the terrible trial in almost every case proved too much for the gear, which gave out, and the boats having parted from their floating anchors, were forced to depend on their sea-going qualities for the safety of those on board. That so many of the zulu boats that encountered the full fury of the blast should have lived through it to tell the tale is a high testimony to the high reputation the zulu style of build has always enjoyed among fishermen as seaworthy craft, backed up as it must have been by the renowned skill and endurance of our fishermen… It may be the case that had she [Evangeline] had sea room her crew would to-day have been in the land of the living… Certain it is that it was through no lack of seamanship or sea-faring knowledge that the boat was lost…’

Weblog alert: Small Clinker Boat Restoration

Pembrookshire based Bill Dowell is clearly a devoted chap: he’s a man who enjoys restoring and maintaining clinker-built boats, and has a particular interest in Redwing sailing dinghies, designed by Uffa Fox for racing on the open sea.

The latest object of his attentions is Nanw, a strongly built 15ft  rowing and outboard dinghy built at Penarth some decades ago, and which remained in the Pembrokeshire area.

Bill believes she was used in the making of the Robin Hood movie starring Russell Crowe, which included scenes shot at Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire during the summer of 2009.

He runs a weblog about his exploits with the small clinker hulls (which I intend to follow), and another about cruising his Finesse 24.