Shetland fifie Swan beats Spider T to win National Historic Ships flagship award

Fifie Swan - The Swan Trust

Shetland fifie Swan, winner of the national flagship award

Spider T, winter 2010

Humber sloop Spider T came second in a close contest

The Swan Trust deserve our congratulations on the fifie Swan’s victory in being made 2011 flagship by the National Historic Ships.

Humber sloop Spider T came second in a close contest.

The award presented to Swan goes to the owners of the vessel on the National Historic Fleet with the most impressive seasonal programme of public events in the forthcoming year. The winners receive a special pennant to mark her flagship status, and a grant of £1000 to be spent on the vessel’s upkeep.

A fifie herring drifter, Swan (LK243) was launched in May 1900 at Hay and Company’s yard in Lerwick in the Shetland Isles. Having survived two world wars and then falling into disrepair, this vessel has now been restored to her former glory by a team of dedicated volunteers. The judges were particularly impressed with the breadth of Swan’s summer programme which, starting in her home port, will take her to the Orkneys; along the Caledonian Canal; to Waterford to compete in the Tall Ships Race to Glasgow, and then to Norway, engaging throughout with the large number of young people who will form her crews, and inviting visitors on board wherever she goes.

Swan is one of some 200 vessels of pre-eminent national significance which together form the UK’s National Historic Fleet.

Swan Trust chairman Allister Rendell, said: ‘I am delighted that Swan has won… It is particularly appropriate that Swan has been selected, since the Tall Ships will be visiting Shetland this year.’

Runner-up Spider T receives a £250 grant which will also go towards supporting the vessel and promoting the Flagship of the Year scheme.

National Historic Ships director Martyn Heighton commented: ‘With the flagship award now in its third year, the quality of entries has gone from strength to strength. Swan is a worthy winner in a year of fierce competition.’

Humber sloop Spider T’s owner Mal Nicholson is a regular contributor to, usually on the subject  of Spider T herself. For more posts about the Humber sloop, click here.

More photos of Aluna Ivy at Portsoy

26-06-05 014

04-07-04 003 26-06-05 016

Chris Perkins shots of Aluna Ivy at Portsoy. As usual, click on the images for larger photos

These photos of the Aluna Ivy at Portsoy come from supporter and award-winning amateur boatbuilder Chris Perkins, and follow some earlier shots provided by John Lamb. Thanks Chris!

Chris is currently heavily involved in building the first St Ayles skiff, an Iain Oughtred-designed rowing skiff developed for the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project, which plans to foster rowing racing.

Chris has also pointed out a web page showing and naming the parts of a traditional yole.

04-07--09 761

Click on this image for the fascinating background of the Aluna Ivy

Don’t miss something good. Sign up below to start receiving the free weekly email newsletter.

Ex-Academy student wins scholarship to build a Dorset lerret by eye

[ad name=”intheboatshed-post”]


Dorset lerret photographed on the beach. Click on the image to go to the
excellent Burton Bradstock web pages including some interesting photos
of traditional boats

Former Boat Building Academy student, instructor and Cornish pilot gig builder Gail McGarva will be back in the workshops from September to build a traditional Dorset lerret by eye.

Gail has won a £13,500 Queen Elizabeth Scholarship for the project, which is to take place under the mentorship of Roy Gollop, one of the few remaining Dorset boat builders who build this way.

She worked as a qualified sign language interpreter, but after she decided to live on a boat in Bristol became seriously interested in boats and trained at the Boat Building Academy – her course boat Georgie McDonald was a replica of the oldest remaining Shetland boat constructed in 1882. She was also was named the 2005 British Marine Federation Trainee of the Year.

Gail went on to an apprenticeship in Ireland, became part of a team building an ‘Atlantic Challenge’ gig, before returning to Lyme Regis and the Boat Building Academy to work as an assistant instructor and project leader in the construction of Lyme’s first Cornish Pilot Gig. She is a member of the Wooden Boat Trade Association and is presently building a second gig for Lyme Regis rowers in a shed next to the Academy.

The scholarship for the lerret project comes from the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, which looks for well thought out projects that will contribute to the pool of talent in the UK and reflect excellence in British craftsmanship.

She will take the lines of a historic lerret currently lying in an old barn in Dorset, and then build a replica by eye over six months – I think it will be very interesting to learn how close the ‘by eye’ boat fits the lines at the end of the project!

PS – The Academy will also be exhibiting at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show this weekend. Principal Yvonne Green tells me that they’ve got a much larger tent this year and, because several students will be bringing boats, pontoon space as well.

Sign up for the weekly newsletter now!