Stirling and Son build a traditional 17ft Tamar salmon boat for the Scobles

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Tamar salmon boat Gloria Marcella. Click on the thumbnails for bigger images

Stirling and Son are currently building some smaller boats after having had to relocate to a garage while they organise themselves some new premises – for some years they were based at Morwelham Quay, which is sadly now in administration.

To prevent misunderstanding, I should explain that the garage is a temporary arrangement and that the outfit will be moving to new premises to begin a new 44ft project by the end of this month. Meanwhile, however, Will and his colleagues have been hard at work, as he reports, and have sent in these very nice shots of a Tamar salmon boat in build:

‘Two recent new builds in the garage have been a 17ft salmon boat for the river Tamar and an 11ft pilot’s punt for a pilot cutter.

‘One of the elder salmon fisherman, Alec Scoble, who has net fished the Tamar in wooden boats since the 1950s has ordered a new boat in preparation for the renewal of the fishing licences, which have been suspended since 2004.

‘In order to increase the viability of the boat, Alec’s son Colin Scoble will net fish with tourists in the traditional manner, tagging and releasing the fish for the National Rivers Authority. Also as a continuation of the family tradition Alec’s grandson, Sam Scoble, helped build the boat.

‘There were no plans for Tamar salmon boats; it seems most likely that none have ever existed, so in order to record the shape for the future, I created a draught of the shape based on dimensions given by Alec. Before planking small alterations were made to the forward moulds following an inspection by Alec and his friend Frankie, who had both fished the river since War War II. The draught was altered accordingly and is now held by the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.

‘The boat is named in memory of Alec’s wife Gloria Marcella, and  has an oak backbone and framing with spruce planking; all fastenings are copper and bronze.’

‘Best wishes, Will’

Will does seem to have the knack of finding some great projects!

Stirling and Son are offering plans for a traditional general purpose 9ft clinker-built dinghy and an 11ft pilot punt of 1900. For more on these, see this earlier post.

Stirling and Son develops a new 9ft dinghy

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The new 9ft dinghy from Stirling and Son – the lower
photos show the materials and moulds

The Stirling and Son boatyard down at Morwelham near Tavistock must be one of the most picturesque anywhere – I enjoy the photos Will Stirling sends us for their setting almost as much as the boats.

Here’s what Will has to say about the dinghy in the photo.

‘Dear Gavin,

‘The dinghy is to go to Northumberland – but I can build another with a lead time of approximately six weeks.

‘She is 9ft long of mahogany planking with an oak sheer strake. All other timber in the boat is oak with copper fastenings.

‘The shape is a very stable one, as I’ve had had some near-capsizes getting into dinghies in the past. She has a mid-19th century shape with the bold forefoot and relatively full bow, while she is finer aft with a shapely transom.

‘After building this dinghy I have set down the shape in a full five-page A2 draught with A4 offsets, scantlings and materials list. I am to build the next dinghy from this draught and then make full size mould templates with the planking lined out and a little colour booklet with photos taken along the way. I will let you know when that is all prepared, probably in a couple of months.

‘Best wishes

‘Will Stirling’

I think that booklet might interest quite a few budding home boatbuilders, and when it’s ready I’d like to put up a post about it here Will!

See the Stirling and Son Wooden Shipbuilding and Repairs website at or contact the company at 01822 614 259.

PS – If like me you’ve been admiring Will’s trestles, see some handy trestle plans here. Ok, they aren’t Will’s plans but they look quite similar.

Stirling & Son build a yawl for HMS Victory

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A yawl for HMS Victory, build by Stirling & Son. Even the supports

Boatbuilder Will Stirling of Morewellham has sent us these photo of the striking yawl his company Stirling & Son has just built for HMS Victory. She was built to a Ministry of Defence contract using drawings dating back to 1793 supplied by the National Maritime Museum, and a specification from David Steel’s book Naval Architecture published in 1805. So it should be authentic!

One question I feel is particularly relevant, however: how did men manage when they had to wear hats like that?

Will is perhaps best known in the boating world for having designed and built the 18th century style lugger Alert, which is now back from a trip to Iceland and is for sale: read about her here.

The news on Alert is that Will has dropped the price a little to £67,500, as he’d like to get on with a new project – if you’re in the market for a magnificent boat like this, it would be well worth taking a look also at the Stirling & Son website for more information. Alert is an outstanding piece of floating history, and the kind of boat that would be noticed and admired anywhere.

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