Stirling & Son’s latest clinker dinghy

Stirling & Son 9ft clinker dinghy

Stirling & Son 9ft clinker dinghy Stirling & Son 9ft clinker dinghy Stirling & Son 9ft clinker dinghy


Boat builder and historian Will Stirling has sent in these shots of his latest beautiful 9ft clinker dinghy – Will has a great eye for a photograph and these shots are up to his usual standard, even if it was a miserable day.

These dinghies are a regular product line for Devon-based Stirling & Son and should be better known. This particular example is mahogany on oak with copper and bronze fastenings, spoon oars, with the name relief-cut with gold leaf.

Will also sent over a photo of half a whole mahogany butt sawn at 1/2in. ‘Dinghies in kit form’, he says wryly… There should be enough for seven to ten dinghies worth of timber in this part of the log – the rest arrived in a second delivery on the same trailer.

Will and his workmates had to cut hundreds of softwood sticks to place between the planks to allow the timber to season – softwood is chosen for the job because it does not stain. I gather teabreak at the Stirling & Son shed was dominated by question of how to calculate the optimum size of spacing stick to provide effective airflow and drying while using the least timber – and Will has asked whether any readers can advise?

By the way, Stirling & Son run twice-yearly courses during which students build their own 9ft traditional dinghy under the guidance of a skilled shipwright. The courses are part-time, running for three days a week for sixteen weeks, and cost £3,500 including materials.

For more posts relating to Stirling & Son boatbuilding projects and boat design work, click here.

Mahogany log for building clinker dinghy

Photos from the Stirling & Son yard

Stirling & Son Victorian cutter Integrity counter

Stirling & Son Victorian cutter Integrity is that straight! John Gallagher fitting the mast step Stirling & Son Victorian cutter Integrity Stirling & Son Victorian cutter Integrity safety boots

Will Stirling’s had his camera out over at the Stirling & Son yard and has come up with these photos.

They starting with the cutter Integrity’s impressive counter stern – click here for more about this project.

I’m strongly reminded of an original Victorian cutter named Leila we saw some months ago. Leila is  currently being restored at Southwold; see a post about her here.

The others show John Gallagher fitting the mast step; Ted Luck eyeing up the sheer and Will’s son Alf adjusting a batten he feels perhaps could be a little fairer. I can’t imagine a better place for any of these boys to play.

Thanks Will – you take a nice shot!

Stirling & Son traditional yacht building and wooden boat repair is based at Tavistock, Devon. For more information see

12ft rowing dinghy built by Stirling & Son of Tavistock

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Rowing Will Stirling 12ft Dinghy

Rowing Will Stirling 12ft Dinghy boat Bow and Fairlead Rowing Will Stirling 12ft Dinghy  boat Stirling and Son - transom Rowing Will Stirling 12ft Dinghy  boat Thwarts Aft sternsheets and transom

Stern of 12ft Dinghy Rowing Will Stirling 12ft Dinghy  boat

A recent 12ft rowing dinghy by Stirling & Son

These delicious photos come from regular contributor, boat builder, historian and designer Will Stirling of Stirling & Son. The plans for this boat are available to buy, as his letter below explains:

‘Dear Gavin,

‘Attached photos of the most recent dinghy, a 12ft pulling boat. She is built of mahogany and oak with copper and bronze fastenings.

‘The clocks have gone back now so it is time to string up some lights otherwise the working day is too short.

‘I now have plans available in the following format:

  • two sheets of A2 tracing paper
  • two sheets of A1 tracing paper, a scantlings list
  • a list of materials
  • a CD with photographs of various stages and details of dinghy building

‘The A2 sheets contain the lines draught and consrtuctional detail, the A1 sheets have templates of the moulds and transom with the planking marked out and templates of the backbone members (stem, sternpost, stern knee etc).

‘Plans in this format are now available for a 9ft general purposes dinghy and an 11ft pilot’s punt of circa 1900 and a 17ft salmon boat. These plans cost £50 plus postage and packaging of £2.50 in the UK.

‘Plans without templates are available for a 21ft frigate’s longboat of 1757, a 37ft smuggling lugger of 1835 and a 43ft gentleman’s cutter of 1880.

‘I hope you are well. The Intheboatshed website is going from strength to strength; it is very popular with Google.

‘Best wishes,


Many thanks Will! I do hope your plans go as well as they deserve – it’s only a shame that there aren’t more professional and home builders of these kinds of boats in the world.

Stirling & Son is based near Tavistock, Devon. See the company’s website
tel 01822 614259.