Origins of the Caledonia Yawl design The Crazybird crew Go to the Discussion Forum

Origins of the Caledonia Yawl

Iain Oughtred's Caledonia Yawl was inspired by the Shetland Foureen, a traditional Shetland four oared sailing fishing boat, which itself has its origins in Norway.
Traditional Shetland Foureens are a very rugged boat indeed, built of solid timber, Crazybird on Port Phillip Bay clinker style with a full length dead wood keel and often carrying 500kg of internal stone ballast. With no trees growing in the Shetlands, and thus no wood for boat building, they were supplied to the Shetlands in kit form from Norway during the last century. (The first mail order kitset boat?)
Shetland Foureens usually carried a dipping lugsail or later a standing lugsail and jib. Often partly decked, they were used for fishing in the very stormy waters well to the north of Scotland. Legends abound of substantial (inadvertent) voyages across the North Sea back to Norway when bad weather made return to their home port impossible.
The design of the Caledonia yawl, whilst keeping many of the characteristics and the style of the foureen, is lighter and shallower. The solid timber construction of the original has been replaced by modern clinker ply epoxy planking which is light, relatively inexpensive and quicker and simpler to build. The long deadwood keel has been replaced by a swinging weighted centreboard supplemented by lead pigs under the floorboards making the boat more easily trailable and probably improving speed and windward ability. At the same time some of the seaworthiness of its more solid parent has been sacrificed.
Although called a 'yawl', Crazybird actually has a ketch rig with a gaff headed mainsail. (Small sailing and rowing boats are often called yawls or yawlies in Scotland regardless of rig). The mizzen is large enough to give real drive and good balance. Her fastest point of sail is a reach but her windward ability is quite good, aided by her high peaked gaff mainsail and deep centreboard. Her sail area is quite large relative to her weight giving her a lively performance.
The hull shape has a large amount of reserve buoyancy, full ends and a strong sheer which combine to give a seakindly and mainly dry vessel.
This design is suitable for amateur construction. The plans consist of 8 sheets plus full specifications and an illustrated building procedure. Estimated building time is 320 hours. To get to full sailing trim as per Crazybird? Well you'll need to allow a bit more time...
The Caledonia Yawl has a length on deck of 19ft 6ins, a beam of 6ft 2ins and carries 170sq ft of sail.
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