Ocean Pearl – zulu, fifie or baldie? Scots fishing boat expert Jay Cresswell explains

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Regular visitors will remember I recently put up a photo of Nick Gates’ boat Ocean Pearl, which he believed to be a zulu skiff because of her vertical stem and raked stern. I must say that I thought the same – and was very pleased to be able to publish a photo of her.

Nick acquired her as a motor-powered fishing boat some years ago, brought her back to a condition where she could again put to sea, and added a sailing rig. The result is that she’s a handsome vessel, as the earlier photo shows.

However, the ex-trawler skipper and authority on marine history Jay Cresswell, who has for many years lived near Aberdeen, recently saw the photos and got in touch to put the matter right.

It seems that Ocean Pearl’s stern is not sufficiently raked and that she was built too late to allow her to be called a zulu. In support of his point, Jay sent us a fistful of photos of zulus shot while he was trawling in the ’70s and ’80s.

I’ll let him explain.

‘If Ocean Pearl was berthed up here in the North-East of Scotland, there is little or no doubt that she would be regarded as a fifie and, to confuse the issue further, a yawl too.

‘The boat below is a case in point – a fifie called Poppy on the Caledonian Canal, and one with the same rake to her sternpost, give or take a degree.

Fifie in the Caledonian Canal

Fifie Poppy on the Caledonian Canal
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