John Harris with his Tammie Norrie, built while attending the
Boat Building Academy at Lyme Regis
Yvonne Green, principal of the Boat Building Academy at Lyme Regis has kindly sent us some photos and details of boatbuilding projects by recent students – and here’s the second in the series.
While still working in his career as a consulting engineering geologist John Harris made a kit boat with oars and spars, and attended a basic clinker boat building and repair short course at the Academy. When he retired, however, he fulfilled a life-long ambition and, as he puts it, came to the Academy to learn how to build boats properly.
While on the course he built a glued-clinker Tammie Norrie yawl with a balanced lug foresail designed by Iain Oughtred. The plans are available from Classic Marine.
See an earlier post about Ian Thomson’s Nestaway dinghy.
Built by James Weir of Arbroath, the Isabella was launched on the 15th September 1890. With an overall length of 45ft, 13ft 9in beam and a draught of 6ft, the vessel was built for line and drift-net fishing, and powered by two big lug sails, a jib and five oars.
In 1919 a 15hp Kelvin engine was fitted but by 1928 greater power was needed for seine-netting and a Kelvin K2 44hp engine was installed. This was upgraded again in 1932 when a Kelvin K3 66hp engine was fitted, and this engine continues to power the boat today. At that same time the name was changed to Fortuna.
In 1997 the Wick Society bought the boat, which by this time had been renamed Isabella Fortuna. A pictorial record of the vessel and the restoration is available from The Wick Society link below.
The Isabella Fortuna is normally berthed in Wick Harbour but during the winter she is housed in the old Lifeboat Shed on the South shore of Wick Bay. With a voluntary crew the vessel visits ports for festivals and other sea-based events. By the way, there really are coracles (tiny skin boats) in the photo below…
Wick Heritage Museum site:
Isabella Fortuna at the Caithness Community website:
If you can add to this story – perhaps links to more photos, details of the restoration or the boat’s history – please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .