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
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
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.