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.

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

Projects at Stirling and Son, autumn 2011

Stirling and Son 14ft dinghy ashore in the mud Stirling and Son 14ft dinghy with one reef

Stirling and Son Victorian Yacht Hull Planking Complete and Faired Stirling and Son 14ft dinghy with All Plain Sail Stirling and Son 14ft dinghy Sailing Twice Reefed Down

Stirling and Son Mast Making Stirling and Son Lock Gate - Tenon Measuring Stirling and son Lock Gate Timbers

Click on the thumbnails for bigger images

Those busy folks at Stirling and Son have been getting on with an amazing range of projects. Building and marketing beautiful small traditional clinker-built dinghies is one thing, rowing to Magnetic North Pole is another, but how about building lock gates or appearing in adverts for soap? All this and a regular round of repair and restoration jobs are all in a day’s work for those Stirlings…

  • As the photo above shows (click on the thumbnail for a much larger image) the hull of the Stirling & Son Victorian yacht named Integrity is complete, and the rudder has been hung. The mast has also been hewn from a tree selected in a local forest. I say Integrity looks amazing and I believe she is available for sale.
  • Will has taken the 14ft sailing dinghy out for a trial. It was fairly windy, so he began with two reefs, and later shook them out as the wind fell and sailed under all plain sail. He reports that it was so much fun they kept sailing on past high tide – and it was a pretty muddy business getting her back out…
  • In a surprise non-boat project, Stirling and Son are building a new lock gate and cantilever bridge in oak for the Tavistock Canal. Due to the size of the timbers and the poor access, both have to be assembled in the shed, dismantled and then taken to the site in order to rebuild them in position. I guess it makes sense, for there’s no doubt that anyone who can build a Victorian-style yacht knows something about working with oak.
  • And what about the soap? From the Stirling & Son newsletter I gather the makers of Dove soap products decided that Will should be the subject of a shower product advert, and so their ad agency visited with a film crew.

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