Copper and bronze for the Victorian racing yacht Integrity


Will Stirling has sent over these striking shots of copper and bronze work he has had delivered for use on the Victorian sailing yacht Integrity currently in build at the of Stirling and Sons yard. Here’s what he has to say about it:

‘We have had 120 kilos of bronze cast to our own patterns as fittings for the yacht. The patterns were made after studying the details of old fittings in photographs and books such as Dixon Kemp’s Yacht Architecture. The castings include winch drums, chain plates, bollard fair leads and a main sheet buffer. They have been made locally at Fowey by Ian Major (tel 07897 924 005).

‘We have also been buying copper sheet of different thicknesses for various applications on the hull and interior. Brown paper templates are made before the copper is cut with a jigsaw. A hardboard pad is placed between the jigsaw foot and copper so that the machine doesn’t scratch the relatively soft metal.

‘A fairly unpopular job was fastening a 1/8in thick copper chafing plate on the heel of the boat – a hole in the ground had to be dug to allow access! The chafing plate is a precaution against marine borers: it’s inevitable that the antifoul at that point will be scraped and it may be awkward to replace the antifoul at that spot in the future, so we’ve antifouled the timber at that point and added the plate to protect it. A copper band of the same thickness reaches from the ballast keel, up the stem and is forged over the stem head.

‘The deadeyes were made by TS Rigging of Maldon and have been bolted on to the bronze chainplates. The chainplates have been fitted to the channels and the hull pre-drilled.

‘The hull was painted with a grey gloss before fairing with a torture board. This indicated the high and low spots for a final fairing in and then a good body of undercoat was been applied. Now we have to wait for some warm weather so that the ivory white gloss paint will flow and set without brush marks and then the chain plates are ready to attach.’

Stirling and Son undertake traditional yacht building and wooden boat repair, and are based at Tavistock in Devon. For information see

Stirling and Son deliver two very different 12ft rowing dinghies, and repair a hogged Tideway


Lead On (first photo) is a new pilot’s punt built for for Kindly Light, a Bristol Channel pilot cutter, was completed by Stirling and Son and delivered to her owner during March.

She was built to the owners specification’s following his extensive research into the pilot cutters‘ boats.

Here’s what Will has to say about her:

‘She is built to both tow well in a seaway and also to scull well, and has very flat floors midships to provide stability, a little hollow in the bow under the waterline so that she cleaves the water with full sections above the waterline to give her good reserve buoyancy forward. Aft, she has a shapely transom above the waterline to reduce drag to a minimum.

‘In an initial tests in Carrick Roads, when a 12-stone man stood on her gunwale only 6in of freeboard showed above the water.’

That stable shape is very clear in the photo.

The second shot above shows another new 12ft rowing dinghy that left the yard at the end of March. Destined for a lake in Sussex, this is a much finer boat for rowing on lakes and rivers, and is varnished with gold leaf scrollwork and cove line. Will remarks that it’s interesting that two 12ft rowing dinghies of similar beam can be so different.

A third 12ft dinghy – a Tideway general purpose sailing dinghy – came into the Stirlings yard for repairs recently. New sidedecks and foredeck were fitted, underwater repairs were carried out and the boat was completely refinished.

Will’s remarks about this boat include a useful little warning for owners of timber-built dinghies:

‘This Tideway had generally stood the test of time well but, like another dinghy we repaired earlier in the year, most of the damage requiring attention had been done by the trailer where she had sagged aft of the last trailer roller.

‘A good piece of money-saving advice for traditional dinghy owners who keep their boats on a trailer for long periods is to put some supporting blocks under the transom – it is better to risk causing a little extra rocker than have the boat hog.’

Thanks Will! Stirling and Son offers traditional yacht building and wooden boat repair, and is based at Tavistock, in Devon.


Early 20th century Alfred Mylne yacht Belle Poule arrives at Stirling and Son

Early 20th century Alfred Mylne yacht Belle Poule arrives at Stirling and Son

Early 20th century Alfred Mylne yacht Belle Poule arrives at Stirling and Son

The 46ft Alfred Mylne-designed sailing yacht Belle Poule built shortly after the First World War has arrived at the Stirling and Son yard for restoration and repair.

Will Stirling reports that she has all the classic features of a fine Mylne yacht; her plans have been identified among the original A Mylne & Co archive collection.

Her current owner has had her shipped back from the USA, where she was saved by the Gannon and Benjamin boatyard, and stored at their premises at Martha’s Vineyard.

She is now due for an extensive rebuild, which will include centreline, some framing and some planking. The restoration will commence in the spring of 2012.

Stirling and Son carries out traditional yacht building and wooden boat repair and is based at Tavistock, Devon. Web:, tel 01822 614259.

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