Tag Archives: iain oughtred

Adrian Morgan in praise of Iain Oughtred and Collano Semparoc polyurethane wood glue

Adrian Morgan The Trouble With Old Boats

Now we’re into the amateur boat building season, a series of posts from professional boatbuilder and writer Adrian Morgan about building an Oughtred Caledonia Yawl using a kit from Jordan Boats seem particularly relevant.

At the time of writing, the latest post is here – as the project progresses you’ll have to navigate his site to find earlier and later posts. 

Two quotes from Adrian’s weblog seem particularly worth bearing in mind. The first is a testament about Alec Jordan’s kits:

‘Well, Mr Jordan, the hull’s finished and that’s your job done. At which point I take my hat off to you. Thanks to whatever magic you managed to weave on your computer and cutting machines, all went together brilliantly, millimetre accurate. So well, that I would highly recommend anyone thinking of building any of Iain Oughtred’s boat from scratch to think again and buy a kit from Alec Jordan.’

And here’s a similarly fulsome point about the glue he’s using:

‘The garboards went on today and with luck a pair of planks tomorrow. Thoughts so far: the kit is dead accurate; you deviate at your peril. Unlike solid timber, there is little leeway and precious little edge setting. Which is as it should be.

‘The glue that we have been using, Collano Semparoc, is coming up trumps as I knew it would. No mixing, no mess, little waste and a curing time of around six hours. Bt it’s the lack of mixing I like best, plus it has a limited gap-filling ability. The proof is when it has cured to a hard, epoxy-like crust that is nothing like the Balcotan it is supposed to replace. Do not be fooled: this is nothing like Balcotan which cured to a crispy honeycomb that had no strength.

‘I can see this as an epoxy-beater for so many reasons.’

Well, that seems clear then… Thanks for the tips Adrian!

Veteran and vintage dinghies sailing in the Australian sun

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It happens every year. Just at the moment when our English winter starts to get me down, someone sends over a couple of fabulous photos that make me sigh and wish I could be somewhere else, and out on the water.

This time it’s the turn of Jeff Cole, intheboatshed.net regular (see these posts) who has sent over a couple of shots taken by HS (Hans) of the Woodenboat forum.

Here’s what he says:

‘Hi Gavin, I’ve been busy restoring boats for a local wooden dinghy regatta. The Iain Oughtred-designed Macgregor canoe needed some serious attention and an Australian Sailfish that my cousin and I built in 1963 had to be completely restored as it had had a hard life through various branches of the family and always leaked through a badly underbuilt centreboard case. But she came up well, and dry!

‘My cousin Andy had not sailed the boat for at least 35 years, but on the day I couldn’t get him off it!

‘Most of the boats were older racing class boats, but mine was unique. The oldest was a Sydney 15 footer, an open clinker built boat nearly 100 years old and another from the 1950s in rather delicate condition but when they got it going it stormed through the fleet, including the modern boats.

‘The rest were mostly John Boats, Jolly Boats, Moths, Mirrors and Herons.

‘The regatta was at the Victorian coastal town of Inverloch. Due to changes to the estuary the water we were sailing on was very narrow and shallowed abruptly at the edges of the sandbars at low tide. What with the vintage fleet swanning about and the normal club races and a fleet of personal water craft buzzing around it got quite crowded. But it was a fun weekend, with 2.5 days of sailing and half a day of show and tell in the park.

‘There are more pics on Woodenboat forum Antipodean Boats Connection thread, people and places, page 309.


Thanks Jeff!

Jeff that his part of Australia has fires and no rain at all as is becoming usual – although his local area has not had fires, they’re getting thick smoke from all of 200kilometres away. That’s quite a contrast to the succession of storms we’re seeing here, but may well be due to the same cause. And yet we go on consuming and flying… I guess folks don’t see an alternative.

BBA student launches Iain Oughtred glued clinker rowing boat

Photos by Jenny Steer and Becky Joseph

This 9ft 6in Iain Oughtred-designed glued clinker dinghy built by Boat Building Academy student Alex Kennedy hit the water for the first time at the BBA’s student launch day back in December.

Built to Oughtred’s Sea Hen plans, she is named Gracious Lady, and is planked in Robbins elite ply.

During the build Iain Oughtred himself regularly showed his support to Alex via the Academy’s facebook page, giving the thumbs-up to photographs of the dinghy throughout its build, and also to Alex’s birthday cake, which took the shape of a chocolate ship.

Before attending his BBA course, Alex worked in various roles including as a mechanic and chauffeur. He has travelled in Australia and enjoys sailing, swimming and cycling.

Like most most students, he started with little or no woodworking skills, and openly admits that he ‘didn’t even know how to hold a chisel on day one’, but I gather he is now delighted with what he has achieved.

James Goulding worked closely with Alex on Sea Hen. James went to school in Dubai and then completed a BTEC National Diploma in Design at Chichester College before joining the Academy. His previous jobs have ranged from carpenting in Bournemouth to sales in Dubai.

James plans to use his new skills to find work in the marine industry and would like to travel the world; Since the course ended Alex has visited America and is to do a two-week internship at the Mystic Seaport Museum.

2013 Skiffie Worlds featured in Water Craft magazine


Read the nice feature about Scottish Coastal Rowing’s Skiffie Worlds event by Kathy Mansfield recently published by Watercraft magazine here.

St Ayles Skiff World Championships take place this week

St Ayles skiffs World Championships


The week-long St Ayles Skiff World Championships are about to start at Ullapool, and it’s to be a right Royal event. Read about it all here, here and here.

I was reminded about the event this morning by Chris Partridge, and I have to say I think  his sentiments about are right on target. Read what he has to say here: Rowing for Pleasure.

Sephira the Musical Ark comes to Scotland to race – and to serenade whales

There seems to be no limit to the rapid growth of the Scottish Coastal Rowing movement – and perhaps there’s no limit either to its ambition and imagination.

A case in point is Sephira the Musical Ark – an Iain Oughtred-designed St Ayles skiff built by students and teachers at Moravian Academy, a school at Bethlehem in Pennsylvania.

Most of these boats are built by communities, but the difference in this case is that the boat is rigged with eight long piano wires from stemhead to stern with the aim of making it a kind of sea-going harp – the string lengths and tensions are said to be designed to play notes in the frequency range of whale song.

That’s the imagination bit. The ambition bit is that the school is raising money to transport the boat over the Atlantic to Ullapool for the Skiffie World Championship on the 8th-14th July – and it seems they’ve done sufficiently well that the boat has actually begun  its journey.

While in Scotland, the boat will also row to an area where whales are known to congregate, and play music for a while… It will be interesting to see how they respond.

The whole thing sounds like a lovely, exotic idea to me. If you fancy chipping a few dollars to help pay for the expedition, click here.

Blakeney folks build the UK’s southern-most St Ayles skiff

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Photos by Ian Duffill

A rowing club set up under the aegis of Blakeney Sailing Club is well on the way to completing the UK’s most southerly St Ayles rowing skiff for racing under oars. Read about the smart-looking build here.

The Scottish Coastal Rowing movement imagined and then realised by kit manufacturer and boat builder Alec Jordan and Iain Oughtred, who designed the seaworthy four-oared plus cox, fixed-seat boat St Ayles skiff, continues to amaze with its success. For one thing, it has been remarkably popular – the number of kits sold for these good-sized community-built racing skiffs this month topped 100.

We’ve seen these boats built in other countries – there are now St Ayles skiff kit suppliers in the Netherlands, the Antipodes, and North America – but there’s something a bit special and unexpected about the movement extending itself to Norfolk.

The story of how it happened begins in 2012, when Dr Victoria Holliday, an avid and competitive sculler persuaded Blakeney Sailing Club to run an early morning race for a collection of sculling boats kept in the club’s boat park. It was evidently a success – more races were held, and, encouraged by the club led by Commodore Joe Carr,  CraBlakeney (Coastal Rowing Association Blakeney) has been formed under the sailing club’s umbrella.

The question of what the local coastal rowing history and traditions of  North Norfolk, but few answers were forthcoming, and the idea of building a St Ayles skiff and taking part in the Scottish Coastal Rowing movement came to the fore.

Dinghy sailor and would-be rower Ian Duffill joined forces with Victoria Holliday to sponsor a kit from Alec Jordan, and this has taken shape over the past five months in Ian’s workshop, where an enthusiastic group of 20 or so volunteers, mainly drawn from the sailing club are aiming to launch the boat on the 25th May, to exhibit her at the Beale Park Boat Show near Reading in June, and to take part in the Skiff World Championships at Ullapool in July.

The skiff has been named Hoi Larntan, a Norfolk dialect phrase used by seafarers to indicate a boat or skipper of superior quality. It’s also an example of the local taste for punning names – it also means ‘high lantern’ or ‘high learned one’.

After the skiffies’ world championship at Ullapool she will back at at Blakeney to be used for exercise and recreation.

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Photos by Ian Ruston