Copper and bronze for the Victorian racing yacht Integrity


Will Stirling has sent over these striking shots of copper and bronze work he has had delivered for use on the Victorian sailing yacht Integrity currently in build at the of Stirling and Sons yard. Here’s what he has to say about it:

‘We have had 120 kilos of bronze cast to our own patterns as fittings for the yacht. The patterns were made after studying the details of old fittings in photographs and books such as Dixon Kemp’s Yacht Architecture. The castings include winch drums, chain plates, bollard fair leads and a main sheet buffer. They have been made locally at Fowey by Ian Major (tel 07897 924 005).

‘We have also been buying copper sheet of different thicknesses for various applications on the hull and interior. Brown paper templates are made before the copper is cut with a jigsaw. A hardboard pad is placed between the jigsaw foot and copper so that the machine doesn’t scratch the relatively soft metal.

‘A fairly unpopular job was fastening a 1/8in thick copper chafing plate on the heel of the boat – a hole in the ground had to be dug to allow access! The chafing plate is a precaution against marine borers: it’s inevitable that the antifoul at that point will be scraped and it may be awkward to replace the antifoul at that spot in the future, so we’ve antifouled the timber at that point and added the plate to protect it. A copper band of the same thickness reaches from the ballast keel, up the stem and is forged over the stem head.

‘The deadeyes were made by TS Rigging of Maldon and have been bolted on to the bronze chainplates. The chainplates have been fitted to the channels and the hull pre-drilled.

‘The hull was painted with a grey gloss before fairing with a torture board. This indicated the high and low spots for a final fairing in and then a good body of undercoat was been applied. Now we have to wait for some warm weather so that the ivory white gloss paint will flow and set without brush marks and then the chain plates are ready to attach.’

Stirling and Son undertake traditional yacht building and wooden boat repair, and are based at Tavistock in Devon. For information see

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