Tag Archives: colin archer

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.

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The Westsail story – how a William Atkin design became a popular GRP cruiser

A trailer for a new film about the popular and handsome Westsail GRP cruising boat based on a William Atkin double-ender (Thistle, I gather), which was itself derived from a Colin Archer type.

Like some other early GRP boats based on previous designs for wood, it has that look.

The film makers are appealing via the Westsail Owners Association for a few bob to help finish the film.

Building the Colin Archer Emma

There’s plenty to read and pictures to see at the Emma website – but as it’s in Dutch, I suspect many Intheboatshed.net readers won’t understand it too readily. If Nederlands isn’t your favourite language, happily all is not entirely lost – it’s possible to make sense of quite a lot of it using Google Translate and I gather an English version of the site is in the works.

However, there is no Google app that can help you get over the urge to acquire a similar vessel from somewhere and go sailing forever…

The Wikipedia has quite a lot more information about Colin Archer (1832–1921), shipbuilder and designer of more than 200 boats including the design used for building the Emma.

Archer was famous for his durable and safe vessels, and his output included a distinctive double-ended design for the Norwegian Lifeboat institution.

The class of boat remained in service for many years, and some original boats and later builds have been adapted for use as cruising yachts – Emma is an example of a recent build by Tom Pollman from Holland, and is based on drawings of lifeboat RS22, Vardo.

556px-Colin_Archer_Statue

Colin Archer monument erected in his home town of Larvik, photo by Stig Andersen from Wikimedia Commons