Some facts and data on our wooden boat 'Kirsty.
Owned and cared for by myself and my husband Andy Law since 1997, Kirsty is the hub and catalyst of many arts projects.
'Built in 1921 by John Fyfe at Ardmaleish Boatyard, Port Bannatyne, Isle of Bute.
A bit of history...
The Lochfyne skiff was the last evolutionary stage in the era of sailing boats in the Clyde area, prior to the advent of motorisation in the first decades of the twentieth century. Based on the lines of these fishing vessels, Kirsty was built in 1921 on the island of Bute to the designs of her original owner David Mowat who wanted a rugged no-nonsense family cruising boat in which to cruise the Western isles. Sturdy construction of pitch pine on grown oak frames combines with a graceful sheer sweeping upwards to the high stern so typical of the skiffs. The result is a comfortable seakindly boat especially suited to our northern waters. She is 37 ft. long plus bowsprit, is a gaff rigged ketch and weighs 15 tonnes. Down below is a wooden clad cosy saloon with a solid fuel stove, perfect for coorying-in on dreich days.
Kirsty remained in Scotland until 1955 when she was sold to a flight lieutenant in the Royal Airforce and moved to the south of England, until my husband Andy and I brought her back from Falmouth to the Oban area in 1997.
With the boat we inherited a box of goodies. Her past owners had carefully kept the register of owners, magazine and newspaper clippings, letters, bill of sales and photographs that were associated with Kirsty - and it makes for interesting and nostalgic reading. Included is a letter written by an elderly lady (Jean Hunter) from a nursing home in Bute, reminiscing about the days when Kirsty was under construction. She watched the launch in 1921 and was aboard during her maiden voyage. When past owners Fran and Peter Flutter (who lived aboard Kirsty for 25 years) sailed to Bute to visit the boatyard in the 80's, Jean Hunter was sadly unaware of this event and never saw the boat again. Heartbreaking stuff! However, I'm sure she would be pleased to hear that Kirsty is still well cared for and back sailing on home waters.
Only a few L. Fyne skiffs have survived.