An Sgoth

I’m going to quote directly here – I can’t better the original, and it’s well worth reading here and in the original, linked below.

‘An Sgoth is a one-hour documentary film produced for BBC2 Scotland as part of their Gaelic service and was first broadcast in January 1995. The programme records the traditional boat building skills in the Hebrides, following the construction of a ‘sgoth’, from the felling of the timber to the launch of the finished boat. The project grew from the shared vision of John Murdo MacLeod, master boatbuilder, and Sam Maynard, Director of Eòlas, an independent film production company based in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

‘The ‘sgoth niseach’ was the type of boat used in the Ness district on the north coast of Lewis, where there was a thriving cod and ling fishery during the latter decades of the 19th century. These clinker-built boats, the hull being constructed of overlapping planks, had an overall length of 33 feet; 21 feet on the keel with a curved rake on the bow and straight on the stern. The beam was 11’ 3”, the generous width necessary for buoyancy in the sea conditions in which they worked. The sgoths fished in the turbulent waters of the minches, between the isles and the mainland, and offshore to the north and west. They also took part in the annual gannet harvest, almost 30 miles out from their home ports of Ness and Skigersta. These were four-oared open craft, with four-sided sails (lug-sails) bent and suspended from a wooden yard, and whilst similar boats were built in Orkney, no area other than Ness had completely open boats of this size.’

For more on this project, and some striking photos:

There’s a nice shot of John Murdo Mcleod here:

And a link to the An Sulaire Trust here:

An Sulaire


Herbert Krumm-Gartner at Classic Boats Ltd

Herbert Krumm-Gartner says he and his colleagues just love to build, restore, repair and sail wooden boats, and finds the experience of creating a one-off each day hard to beat. He couldn’t imagine restoring even a ‘classic’ fibreglass boat to its original lines and specifications, carefully removing layers of old chop strand matt to be replaced by new ones carefully fitted with that craftsman touch…

Herbert started his career in 1982 with an apprenticeship in boat building, beginning with a plan to become a boat builder and then to fulfill his dream of sailing around the world in his own yacht. Since then boat building has turned into a profession and, although sailing is still high on the agenda, the practical aspects of wooden boat building have become his priority.

Having apprenticed on the Bavarian Lakes near Munich in 1982 , he decided with his wife Romy to set up a classic boat building business in New Zealand. Initially he worked for John Gladden, a well respected boat-builder known for his quality workmanship and eye for detail, and then became one of the working partners of the Wooden Boat Workshop. Aspiring to build real boats and deal with classic boat enthusiasts, Herbert then stepped out on his own to run a working boatyard exhibit at the New Zealand Maritime Museum. The experience and craftsmanship gained over the years has culminated in the formation of Classic Boats Ltd, with the aim of getting people hooked on wooden boats.

The profile below is of a 26ft Pilot Sloop that Classic Boats are currently building. It was designed by American naval architect George Stadel in 1939, and plans are available fom Wooden Boat magazine. Construction is edge-glued carvel over laminated frames. The yacht will also feature teak cabin sides and a teak deck.

While you’re there, look out for photos of a 17ft whitehall Herbert built from John Gardner’s book Building Classic Small Craft, and for Classic Boats line in blocks in sizes ranging from 6mm to 16mm line. They are available in singles and doubles with or without beckets, with shells made from teak with stainless straps, aluminum sheaves and Tufnol bushings to minimise friction.

Once again, my thanks go to John Welsford for leading us to this site.

George Stadel pilot cutter

The Dinghy Cruising Association

These folks are some of the most real boat users one could find – small open boat sailers, many of whom are tremendously skilled and experienced, and more than willing to share their knowledge. Only a boating enthusiast with no soul would not admire them, and which boating enthusiast continues to be enthusiastic who has no soul?

Anyway, here’s their informative site:

I particularly like this gizmo, the Huntingford Helm Impeder and intend to install one sometime not too far away:

Huntingford Helm Impeder