Tag Archives: boat design

The story of the original Colin Archer

"Stavanger", "Kragerø" og "Colin Archer" 01
The Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue (Norsk Selskab til Skibbrudnes Redning) was founded in 1891 and a year later Colin Archer built the first rescue cutter.

A double-ender with a continuous deck, it was 14m long, 4.65m in beam and had a draught of 2.25m. The sails – a main, mizzen, staysail, jib and topsail – added up to 110squaremetres.

The vessel was launched in late July 1893 and named Colin Archer after its builder and designer.

RS1 Colin Archer performed convincingly during her first season and became the prototype for rescue cutters built in Norway over the following 30 years. Over 40 years of loyal service, she clocked up an impressive record: she saved 67 ships and 236 people, as well as assisting 1,522 vessels carrying some 4,500 crew.

At the end of her career in service, in 1961 RS1 Colin Archer was discovered in America. She was now in a bad way, but was brought back to Norway and was used by the Scouts for some years before being acquired in 1972 by the Norwegian Maritime Museum.

1973 the museum concluded a long-term agreement with the Seilskøyteklubben Colin Archer (SSCA) to take over her day-to-day care. Her hull has since been comprehensively overhauled and her interior refurbished and restored to its original colours.

But the there’s more to the well-loved Colin Archer types than seaworthiness and strength alone. In 1983, RS1 Colin Archer was overall winner in the Cutty Sark Tall Ships’ Race of 1983 in a field of 75 ships – but even more strikingly another Archer design, the RS10 Christiania came second, and the Stephansen/Archer design RS5 Liv came third.

In the next race in 1987, RS1 Colin Archer again won over all with RS10 Christiania again second. And in 1993 RS1 Colin Archer was overall winner for the third time, and also took home the Cutty Sark Tall ships’ Races biggest prize, the Cutty Sark Trophy.

Read more about Colin Archer’s designs here and here.

Percy Blandford, DIY polymath and small boat designer, crosses the bar

Percy Blandford

I have heard that Percy Blandford, the century-old legendary designer of boats and canoes for home building and prolific author on huge range of workshop-related topics passed away today.

Good ol’ Mr Blandford. Among many other things he helped to get the post-War leisure boating and DIY boat building boom going, and got lots of people afloat for the first time. He will be much missed, but deserves a rousing cheer to send him off. I’m raising my glass, as you’d expect.

Our post about him written to celebrate his 100th birthday probably tells the story as well as I can – read it here.

A lateener from the drawing board of Antonio Dias

Antonio Dias lateener

This intriguing drawing from the Antonio Dias Design weblog is of a trailer-sailing lateener he’s working up for a customer who intends to sail the boat around the Channel Islands of Southern California. Read all about it here.

I think this very cute little boat has a great deal in common with Mr Dias’ long standing interest in canoe yawls – read all about that here: Boats I’d like to design: canoe yawl. Those who have spent some time dreaming about canoe yawls as I have will be interested to know that the interior is along the lines of L Francis Herresshoff’s canoe yawl design Rozinante.

I must say I felt better when I realised the boat was bound for California – the idea of managing that big yard in a strong wind in the area of the British Channel Islands made me feel a tad queasy. But I guess we should temper that with the knowledge that lateen sails were all the rage among Barbary pirates in the same area of sea just a few centuries ago.

If it worked for those pirates of long ago, perhaps lateen rigged boats could work for us – I’d certainly like to try sailing one some day.