1902 West Cork Fin Keeler.

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Here’s a look at the latest project here at Roeboats. She is a 30′ long, on deck,  Gaff Cutter designed and built in Schull in 1902 by the present owners Great Grandfather. Unusually for this area, and the time she was built, she has a fin keel. Over her first hundred years she had quite a reputation as a fast boat, winning many races against better known boats such as the William Fife designed Cork Harbour One Designs.

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The first order of business was to get the keel off her and move her to a more accessible position. The second goal was to get the ill fitting and ugly coach roof off her. Luckily most of her Hickory backbone timber and Canadian Red Pine planking is in reusable condition. She had been originally framed with sawn Hickory frames but was later reframed with steam bent oak. Both the frames and floors are not original and will be replaced with new.

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As you can see from the bent bolts of the whisker stay plate this boat was raced hard. I found bent and strained fittings throughout and the oakum caulking that was used on her was up to 1/2″ wide on the inside of the planking. One would hope when building a boat that the planks would be touching on the inside. This gives a very good idea of how she was slowly torn apart over the years. She was still winning races. It’s pretty hard to beat a flat sterned boat with a massive mainsail downwind. The new owner is hoping to show his fellow competitors  how it’s done.

This is a long term project so expect to see updates sporadically in the future. If you would like your family heirloom built, repaired or restored don’t hesitate to contact me, Tiernan Roe, +353 86 158 6937 or you can use the contact form or email.

Roeboats, Ballydehob, Co. Cork, t:+353 (0)28 38973 m: +353 (0)86 158 69 37 e:tiernan@roeboats.com

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