Traditional Boats and Rigs of Scotland, The


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reprinted from Mast and Sail in Europe and Asia

by H. Warington Smyth

On the east coast of Scotland, from the English borders to Whitehills in Banffshire, and along the coasts of Caithness and the Orkney Islands (and during the last twenty-five years, the Shetlands also), the boats used in the herring fishing have always been of the ‘Fife’ build, with very little rake on either stem or stern. Sixty years ago these boats only measured some 80 to 85 feet of keel; they were clinker-built, and of light draught of water. About the middle of the century fore cabins began to be introduced, and the length of keel gradually increased, till by the end of the ‘sixties’ 40 feet was the usual length for a new boat. The herring fishing had hitherto been confined to the inshore waters; but fishermen now began to push farther seawards in search of the herring shoals; full decks began to come into use, a large open hatchway being provided to facilitate the working of the nets. Decked boats were first built by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in order to prove to the fishermen the greater comfort and safety to be derived from full decks.

36 pages, 2 plate(s)


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