Top designer: Iain Oughtred

I bit ago I realized I was overdue doing a post about Iain Oughtred, a man whose drawing table has produced some gorgeous small craft. I first got introduced to him vis his book on glued lapstake building: Clinker Plywood Boatbuilding Manual. Yeah, he’s a Brit, so he used “clinker,” which, however laden with tradition, is a term I have never liked – but I digress.

Iain has a great gift for looking at the traditional, finding its merits, and bringing it forward to today. Adding in the glued ‘strake construction, which allows for solid but lightweight craft with all the charm of their rivet-n’-rib brethren, he hits my particular sweet spot – the modern traditional boat. Mark my words – I will build one of his boats when I can get to building again.

I was, however, fairly amazed that he is not online. A couple sites have his plans: WoodenBoat and CLASSIC MARINE: Traditional Equipment for Classic Boats. WB’s list seems a lot more up to date. I encourage a browse of these, as always, but I will note some highlights.

19'6The 19’6″ Caledonia Yawl takes a page from traditional Norwegian boats – which in turn a scaled back Viking ships. At nearly 20′ one could imagine taking this on many adventures – both day trips and longer. She seems solid and apparently handles well, so given she’s an open boat, there’s plenty of room. Interstingly, she is one of those boats that doesn’t jump out at me from the plans , but in pictures, and I bet real life, those Norse lines are great.

13'6Another one I like is this 13’6″ MacGregor Canoe. This one of those boats that would be a trip – a potentially wet one – to sail but would be oh so satisfying. No worries on the plans not doing her justice – she’s beautiful. The fact that one could go from exploring a little creek by paddle to tacking across a bay (in the right conditions) gives some great possibilities.

13'6Finally, I offer 13’6″ Tammie Norrie, which evokes Herreshoff’s COQUINA a little bit. She’s a little more workboat-y, but still is clearly lovely.

By the way, as boatbuilding books go – and I have a few (those who can’t build read) – Iain’s is a fairly good one. It has plenty of pictures and enough background to be interesting without bogging you down. Of course I haven’t put it to use, but on a close read I could already see a few areas that would be somewhat unclear. That seems to be par for the course in this genre – these folks get you 90% of the way there and then there is some tricking bit of construction they gloss over that is sure to leave you screwing around making scrap wood and talking like the sailor you soon hope to be.

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