This is something amazing. Somewhere in Kent, retired shipwright Eric Paine and his friend Len are building a traditional South Coast fishing vessel. When they launch it off Dungeness, Eric believes it will be the first new boat of its type to sail off that beach in 45 years.
There’s a mass of details in these photos, and there is a huge sense of history attached to so many of them – quite a few would have been recognisable to Viking boatbuilders of long ago.
The whole thing is being done by eye and three moulds.
Notice the photo of the boat they’re working from – one key difference between it and the new boat is that the new one will have wheel steering rather than a tiller; otherwise they will be very close.
Notice also the long lath above the boat showing where the sheerline is to be, and the bilge pump, which I gather was something apprentices made many years ago.
I’m sure you’ll all joing with me in wishing great good luck to this fabulous project and a long life for the new boat!
Our pals Tina and Vic Smith visited Shetland earlier in the year and took these photos.
Here’s what Vic says about them:
‘The excellent, very impessive new Shetland Museum has been built on the waterfront of Hay’s Dock in Lerwick, and includes Hay’s Boatyard, an old boat shed on the same site
‘The present boat shed was built around 1900 to replace an earlier shed built in 1844, though there has been boat building on this spot since at least the 18th century.
‘The shed was restored in 2015 and fulfils the same role today as when it was a commercial going concern: repairing, renovating and building craft to traditional Shetland designs including the famed sixareens. An entry from the museum building next door leads to a gallery where visitors can see the work in progress.
‘When we visited, one of the current projects was the Loki, which was originally built in the Boat Shed in 1904 under her original name of Maggie Helen. More than a century later she had returned for restoration. This is a long term project.
‘The small island of Mousa is the location of the oldest surviving ‘broch’ – an Iron Age roundhouse in Scotland (and therefore the world). Visitors to the island use a small ferry to get there.
‘In the ferry terminal on the mainland side is the Robina, a rowing boat that ferried visitors across in times gone by.’