Interior and fittings of Victorian gentleman’s racing cutter Integrity




These photos of the recently launched Victorian gentleman’s racing cutter Integrity designed and built by Stirling & Son of Tavistock in Cornwall are an illustration of how much research and thought has gone into this boat.

As usual, click on the thumbnails for a better view!

Here’s what Will Stirling has to say:

‘The detail of the interior has been taken from photographs of Victorian yachts. The frames of the panelled oak bulkheads are mortice and tenoned together. Loose panels are fitted in a rebate in the frame. The lower panels are fielded, while the upper panels are flat, and a beading or trim is fitted around the edge of each panel to give the bulkhead a three-dimensional feel.

‘The oak has been treated with Van Dyke crystals, a crushed walnut and water mixture that stains the wood and brings out the quarter grain – you might find something similar in old panelled libraries. Once stained, beeswax is rubbed into the oak and then buffed.

‘I have been collecting fittings for some time. I have managed to collect a full set of brass clam lights with switches to suit, the sink is of hammered copper with a brass galley pump. The Blakes Minor heads has a hand-painted ‘bird bath’ basin next to it with a brass soap holder that came from an old ocean liner.

‘In the next few weeks I hope to get some good sailing shots and shall send them over.’

‘Best wishes, Will’

Stirling & Son traditional yacht builders and wooden boat repairers can be contacted via their website or by phone on 01822 614259.

Stirling & Son makes progress with beautiful Victorian gentleman’s sailing yacht Integrity

Stirling and Son Victorian racing yacht Integrity Bow

Stirling and Son Victorian racing yacht Integrity  Stirling and Son Victorian racing yacht Integrity Port Quarter

These delicious shots of the Victorian-style racing yacht under construction by Stirling and Son have been sent over by Will Stirling, a man who really should be called a photographer, as well as a boat builder, designer and historian.

Here’s what he says:

‘We are fitting her out at the moment in oak panelling. The detail has been taken from photographs of Victorian yacht interiors, with lots of morticing and tenoning to make up the frames, then the different fielded and flat panels, and then the beading.

‘This gives the bulkheads an interesting 3D effect.

‘We have made up patterns for all of the deck fittings and are having them cast in bronze by Ian Major of Major Castings (tel 07897 924 005).

Russian hats came out in force last week during the cold snap, which particularly affected John in the yard, as he was fitting the metal work to the spars in a long and drafty shed.

‘Integrity will be launched in mid-May by the Mayflower Marina in Plymouth.

‘Best wishes, Will’

I’m looking forward to seeing photos of her afloat. Stirling and Son is at Tavistock and can be reached via its website, or by phone on 01822 614259. Will doesn’t mention whether Integrity has a buyer, but if you’re in the market for a boat of this kind I guess it wouldn’t do any harm to enquire.

For earlier posts about Stirlings’ projects and plans, click here and follow the ‘Older posts’ links – there have been quite a few over recent years.

PS – I wonder how the Victorian racing yacht Leila’s getting on over by Southwold Harbour? Does anyone know?

PPSDonan Raven (see comment below) has been in touch to point out that there are some good clips of Will’s workshop included in a YouTube video about the America’s Cup. It seems the directors thought it would be fun to film a traditional boat builder sailing one of the AC speed machines, and Will agreed…

Stirling & Son take a clinker-built 14ft sailing dinghy to the Southampton Boat Show

Stirling & Son Sailing Dinghy Hull (1) Stirling & Son Sailing Dinghy Hull

Stirling & Son Sailing Dinghy Hull  Stirling & Son Sailing Dinghy Hull  Stirling & Son Sailing Dinghy Hull

Stirling & Son Sailing Dinghy Hull  Stirling & Son Sailing Dinghy Hull

This 14ft clinker-built sailing dinghy close to the main exit (and entrance) at the Southampton Boat Show will have been quite a relief for eyes suffering from shiny-white GRP-fatigue.

She was built by Stirling & Son, and is of mahogany on oak with copper and bronze fastenings. All fittings are bronze and yellow metal, including the centre-plate. The rigging is three strand buff polyester, and the sail is in Hayward’s Clipper canvas with tanned stitching and hand-sewn leather work. She is also varnished inside and out with Blakes products and has a gold-leaf inlaid cove line.

We were away during the show, but I gather Will Stirling and his small team also took a 12ft rowing dinghy built to the same specification, and were selling sets of plans and five postcards of boat building work that no doubt were taken by the same hands that took the shots above.

Stirling & Son is based in Tavistock, Devon and can be contacted via the website at or by ‘phone on 01822 614259.