Tag Archives: yawl

A canoe yawl in Bristol’s floating dock

Canoe yawl in Bristol Docks

Canoe yawl in Bristol Docks Canoe yawl in Bristol Docks

My sailing and boatbuilding pal Jim Vandenbos snapped these photos of a nice old canoe yawl in Bristol’s oddly named Floating Dock last week, and naturally speculated about the designer and the boat’s story. He thought the flattish sheerline suggested that it might not have been one of Albert Strange’s.

Does anyone have any answers please? Naturally, I’ve checked the Canoeyawl.org website but without success.

PS I should explain that Bristol’s Floating Dock isn’t actually afloat, but has lock gates so that vessels contained within it are always afloat.

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Will Stirling’s latest news – a classic cutter, an Arctic circumnavigation and popular dinghies

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Classic cutter Integrity's hull framing Stirling & Son

Walrus photographed in the Arctic by Will Stirling Stirling & Son General Purpose Dinghy

Cutter Integrity being framed, walrus photographed by Will Stirling in the Arctic, and the bows of a Stirling & Son general purpose dinghy.

The latest Stirling & Son newsletter makes it clear that the yard is as busy as ever.

Will writes that his building shed is dominated by Integrity, a replica 43ft gentleman’s cutter of circa 1880. A cruising racer, she’s a classic English cutter, and here design takes references from Fife’s Bloodhound, Nicholson’s Marigold, Beavor-Webb’s Partridge, Watson’s Vanduara and Dixon Kemp’s Zoraida.

The shape is now defined with all oak the frames up and three planks wrapped around each side. She is a speculative build, so if anyone out there wants to buy a newly built classic, Integrity offers an opportunity that doesn’t come by every day.

The Stirling & Son 9ft general purposes dinghies seem popular – three have been built this year – and the range has been extended with a 12ft version designed and being built to commission.

The company’s range of plans has been significantly expanded this year with six boats now available. Details of each plan pack are on the website.

John Gallagher who built the 12ft sailing dinghy Frolic on our first dinghy building course received an award at the Plymouth Classic Rally for the best new build of 2010.

On their 25th anniversary the South West Maritime History Society awarded four prizes in recognition of significant contribution to maritime history. Will was honoured to be selected for his ‘exceptional research and boatbuilding’ during the Alert and HMS Victory yawl projects.

The National Historic Ships photography competition has shortlisted a Stirling & Son photograph of the interior of the 17ft Tamar salmon boat completed in January of this year. Those shortlisted are to be judged on the 6th of October.

Despite all this activity, Will has also found time to go sailing – and has recently returned from his fourth Arctic voyage. This year, aboard the pilot cutter Dolphin, Roger Capps led a team of three including Will to the far east of Svalbard, making a landing on the particularly remote Storoya, before sailing north west to 80 51N, which is 550 miles from the North Pole. Unlike last year, there was little ice this year. We were able to visit small islands that in 2009 had been visible from a distance of 50 miles, refracted above the pack ice that surrounded them.

The lack of ice may explain the large number of polar bears seen in the area in comparison to the previous year. A circumnavigation was completed by passing through the Hinlopen Straights. We crossed the Barents Sea at an average speed of 3 knts, permanently close hauled, trying to make southing without going too far east, in order to avoid Russia. This resulted in the crew working to windward in F8 winds with waves to suit. They were pleased to reach Hammerfest and the dramatic fjords of the northern coast of Norway.

The next adventure will begin on the 10th of September when Will goes to Galway, Ireland in order to collect a Falmouth quay punt built before the Great War. The boat will receive working repairs before being sailed back to Plymouth where she will be hauled out for a more thorough restoration – she’s destined to become the Stirling family boat for estuary and coastal sailing.

Stirling & Son are based at Tavistock, Cornwall, and can be reached via their website or by phone on 01822 614259.


Is it a Humber yawl? A Thames canoe yawl? Restoration begins with detective work

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The mystery canoe yawl. Does anyone have any clues as to what this
particular boat would have looked like when launched? And what’s the
meaning of the enamel plate showing a paddle?

One of the interesting items that turned up at the Turk’s Boatyard sale wasn’t actually in the on-line auction – an old canoe yawl spotted by our good friend Steve Taylor.

The Turk’s yard folks quickly accepted his offer, and so last week he trailered the old boat home to begin the first stage of any restoration: trying to work out what the boat must have been like before age and botched modifications and repairs brought it to its current condition. This boat has certainly had it’s share of odd, badly executed changes, though the original workmanship seems to be quite fine and the materials certainly seem to have been expensive.

The boat’s 18ft in length, and came with some stories attached to it. These had it that the boat was originally made by Turk’s, that it was made for William Baden Powell, that it was depicted in Dixon Kemp and that it had been brought to the yard many years ago by a pair of elderly ladies who intended that it should be restored by the yard, though the project never went ahead.

Having looked at my copy of the book, I don’t think we’re convinced by the Dixon Kemp link, but I suppose she could have been built by Turk’s to a set of plans that might have been associated with the Humber. Does anyone have any information that would help Steve towards working out the details of his restoration please? If you do, please email me at gmatkin@gmail.com and I’ll pass it on.