Off she goes, Iain Oughtred's slightly foreshortened Penny Fee, at 15ft. Sails by Jeckells, spars by the wonderful Jeremy Freeland at Collars. The rest by Messrs Burke and Morgan (that's Jonny by the way...)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

More Skiff Thoughts

Strikes me that the Scandinavians, drawing on the Viking genius for boat building, had it right. The faering pictured above is just about as stripped out as you could wish for in a small rowing boat (bearing in mind this was long before the age of composite and epoxy).

Note the absence of gunwales forward. Just adds weight in the ends. And the minimal framing, the curved sections of which used to be formed from crooks. Very few fastenings and no steamed timbers either. Thwarts loose, and simply resting on the frames, and able to "rock" slightly to accommodate the rower's action. And just three planks or strakes a side, which made the absolute most of a squarish length of pine.

And yet achieved a shape which is glorious to look at and behaves beautifully in a seaway, allowing it to be rowed almost effortlessly for miles.

And the rowing gear: a spoon bladed oar, with a right angle section working in a kabe, held by a thong (or length of blue polyprop...). Looking at some of the cleverest skiffs at Coigach this weekend it struck me how those same criteria hold as good today: keep it light, simple and strong. The recipe for every winning yacht, skiff, boat, canoe ever built. I simply love faerings. My all-time favourite, designed 800 years or more ago and never bettered.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I love faerings too. I keep thinking they are the perfect boat for kayakers when they grow up and get families.