The ‘Local Boats’ and Their Rigs

The first meetings of the club stipulated that the boats should be open clinker built boats of 15’ water length with a 6” keel and this rule is still in place today.
For many decades a substantial number of the boats were ‘McKenzie’ boats built by ‘John MacKenzie and Son, Boat builders, Portree’.  These boats were the mainstay of the club for many years and even now although new boats have appeared, roughly half the fleet still consists of ‘MacKenzie’ boats.  The last MacKenzie boats were built in the late 60’s.
During the next two decades no new boats were built and indeed there was a period in the early to mid 70’s when the active fleet diminished to but a few boats.  However, that trend started to reverse by the end of that decade and in 1985 the first new boat for almost 20 years was built.
It was the ‘Coruisk’, commissioned by Rod MacLeod and built by Malcolm Hendry of Carbost.
From then until now a further 8 boats have followed. Two were constructed in Thurso, 5 in Skye and one in Plockton via the ‘Am Bata’ project.
The first boats used gunter or gaff rigs with wooded masts and booms and the sails made of cotton.  Now, however, light aluminium Bermudan rigs have replaced these with custom made synthetic sails.

The Plockton Regatta

The Future

The Am Bata project is an exciting project where local school children under the supervision of an experienced boat builder Mark Stokl have started building local boats.  Back in the mid 70’s the local boat fleet was struggling but the trend has been reversed and now the future of the class looks very healthy.