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, 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
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construction of the original has been replaced by modern clinker ply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 The long deadwood keel has been replaced by a swinging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.
Copyright © 2002 Nick Grainger