Category Archives: Locations

The twilight of the traditionally-built Hastings beach boat fleet?

Hastings Hastings Hastings

Hastings Hasting Hastings Hastings

Hastings Hastings

Please send interested friends this link:

Today I took my kids down to Hastings for a nostalgia-filled trip to see what remains of the once-proud fleet of beach-based wooden clinker-built fishing boats.

It’s a trip I loved to take as a child, and I still very much like to visit now. But the dwindling numbers of the tubby old clinker-built beach boats is a powerful reminder of time passing, and the inevitable loss of things we once took for granted. Of course, I’m not talking about the fishing fleet as a whole – there are still many steel and fibreglass boats fishing off the beach at Hastings, and I’m quite sure the crews who still hunt the fish are as brave and tough they always were.

But some of the old fishing boats remain, and so I was able to bring back some photos that will hopefully spark some memories for some, and attract the attention of those of you who have not made this particular pilgrimage to one of the great centres of the English south-coast fishing fleet.

For more on working boats:


Would you like to see your project here?

Forest & Stream skiff

Send your interested friends this link:

Just about everyone who comes to these pages is some kind of boat nut, and I’m a boat nut too. I’d like to make this weblog as interesting and useful to us all as possible, and I want to fill it with news and photographs about:
•Projects about old boats, historic boats, traditionally-built boats, and traditionally-derived boats.
•Boating history and traditions.
•The skills involved, the craftsmen and the available training.
So, whether you own these kinds of boats, work on them, sell them, build them, paint or photograph them, write about their history, design them, run a club or organise events, or collect old songs and stories connected with them – if you would like to bring your projects to the attention of a wider public, email me now at!

Will Stirling at Morewellham

Cutters & Smuggling Luggers Cutters & Smuggling Luggers Cutters & Smuggling Luggers

Cutters & Smuggling Luggers Cutters & Smuggling Luggers Cutters & Smuggling Luggers
Stirling & Son

Will Stirling is fascinated by the boats of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Small boats of this era have no equal in beauty, he says: the bluff shapes of the 18th century had become finer for speed, while the deep sections, firm beam and strong forefoot speak of a good grip in the water and lots of stability to stand up to a large rig.

Since early September Will has been building the lugger Alert at Morewellham in Cornwall, with reference to plans he has studied at the Science Museum, the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich and at Exeter University, where he is also doing a part-time MA in Maritime History.

Alert has clinker planking, a lute stern, and typically bold curves that make the transition from buoyant hull above water to a fine entry, long keel and smooth run aft below. With 80 square foot of canvas per ton displacement, Will says she’ll be a powerful little vessel.

Will’s site includes some excellent reading, and his photo gallery is a treat. I’ll be coming back time and again over the next few months to follow his progress with this project.

Will also makes and sells clinker rowing dinghies at a cost of £220 per foot, including leathered sweeps, a choice between thole pins or rowlocks, a ring-bolt through stem and stern post and removable sole boards.