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Portsoy Faering Project

As part of the 2005 Scottish Traditional Boat Festival 12 young teenagers from Portsoy, working in 2 teams of 6, built 2 Optimist dinghies. The project was very successful and gave the boys experience of working in a team, of using tools to shape wood, and of drawing the hull shapes from a table of offsets. They also sailed their boats with the RYA during the Festival, further broadening their experience and increasing their confidence.

The success of the 2005 project has led to designing a much more ambitious and demanding project for 2006 and beyond - the PORTSOY FAERING PROJECT.

This will involve a boat of traditional type with links to the area. The project will have 2 phases: phase one will be the build and phase 2 will teach the builders to sail their boat.

However, the Festival is essentially a short-term annual event while the boat build is expected to be a 2-year project - it involves felling a suitable tree and extracting tar from tree roots. Consequently, it was decided to form an independent group for the project.

The group is to have its own website.

The Faering tradition

During the 1700s displaced Highland families established crofts in the poor soil along the northern coasts of Scotland and quickly started fishing to supplement their diet and income. At the time communication from the north of Scotland was effectively easier to Oslo than it was to Edinburgh and the Norwegian faering became a major import into the area. Initially it came as a complete boat but was later brought to these shores as a kit to be assembled by local labour.

From those beginnings a boat building industry developed, making the complete craft from local materials. Subsequently, the boats were modified and developed to meet local conditions, eventually becoming the scaffie, fifie and zulu that provided the bulk of the fleets in the herring booms of the 19th and 20th centuries.