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 Â£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.