The Fifie is a design of sailing boat developed on the east coast of Scotland. It was a traditional fishing boat used by Scottish fishermen from the 1850s until well into the 20th century. These boats were mainly used to fish for herring using drift nets, and along with other designs of boat were known as herring drifters.
While the boats varied in design, they can be categorised by their vertical stem and stern, their long straight keel and wide beam. These attributes made the Fifies very stable in the water and allowed them to carry a very large set of sails. The long keel, however, made them difficult to manoeuvre in small harbours.
Sailing Fifies had two masts with the standard rig consisting of a main dipping lug sail and a mizzen standing lug sail. 20 metres (66 ft) in length. Because of their large sail area they were very fast sailing boats.The masts were positioned far forward and aft on the boat to give the maximum clear working space amidships. A large fifie could reach just over
Fifies built after 1860 were all decked and from the 1870s onwards the bigger boats were built with carvel planking, i.e. the planks were laid edge to edge instead of the overlapping clinker style of previous boats. The introduction of steam powered capstans in the 1890s, to help raising the lugs sails, allowed the size of these vessels to increase from 30 feet (9.14 m) to over 70 feet (21.34 m) in length. From about 1905 onwards sailing Fifies were gradually fitted with engines and converted to motorised vessels.
There are few surviving examples of this type of fishing boat still in existence. The Scottish Fisheries Museum based in Anstruther, Fife has restored and still sails a classic example of this type of vessel named the Reaper . The Swan Trust in Lerwick, Shetland have restored and maintain another Fifie, The Swan, as a sail training vessel. She now takes over 1000 trainees each year, and has taken trainees to participate in the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Races to ports in France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland as well as around the UK. The Isabella Fortuna is owned by the Wick Society.
A sail plan is a description of the specific ways that a sailing craft is rigged, as discussed below. Also, the term “sail plan” is a graphic depiction of the arrangement of the sails for a given sailing craft.
A Yawl is a type of boat. The term has several meanings. It can apply to the rig, to the hull type or to the use which the vessel is put.
Lossiemouth is a town in Moray, Scotland. Originally the port belonging to Elgin, it became an important fishing town. Although there has been over 1,000 years of settlement in the area, the present day town was formed over the past 250 years and consists of four separate communities that eventually merged into one. From 1890 to 1975 it was a police burgh as Lossiemouth and Branderburgh.
A lugger is a sailing vessel defined by its rig, using the lug sail on all of its one or several masts. They were widely used as working craft, particularly off the coasts of France, England, Ireland and Scotland. Luggers varied extensively in size and design. Many were undecked, open boats, some of which operated from beach landings. Others were fully decked craft. Some larger examples might carry lug topsails.
St Monans, sometimes spelt St Monance, is a village and parish in the East Neuk of Fife and is named after the legendary Saint Monan.
Cellardyke is a village in the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. The village is to the immediate east of Anstruther and is to the south of Kilrenny.
The Scottish Fisheries Museum is a museum in Anstruther, Fife, that records the history of the Scottish fishing industry and its people from earliest times to the present day.
Reaper is a restored historic Fifie herring drifter which is registered by the National Historic Ships Committee as part of the National Historic Fleet of the UK, and currently operates as a museum ship.
The Scottish east coast fishery has been in existence for more than a thousand years, spanning the Viking Age right up to the present day.
The Moray Firth fishing disaster of August 1848 was one of the worst fishing disasters in maritime history on the east coast of Scotland, and was caused by a severe storm that struck the Moray Firth. The event led to widespread improvements to harbours and significant changes to the design of fishing boats over the remainder of the 19th century.
A drifter is a type of fishing boat. They were designed to catch herring in a long drift net. Herring fishing using drifters has a long history in the Netherlands and in many British fishing ports, particularly in East Scottish ports.
A fishing vessel is a boat or ship used to catch fish in the sea, or on a lake or river. Many different kinds of vessels are used in commercial, artisanal and recreational fishing.
A herring buss was a type of seagoing fishing vessel, mostly used by Dutch and Flemish herring fishermen in the 15th through early 19th centuries.
The nobby is an inshore sailing boat which was used as a traditional fishing boat around Lancashire and the Isle of Man. The Lancashire nobby originated in Morecambe Bay about 1840 and around Southport. It subsequently came into widespread use down the north west coast of England. The Manx nobby first appeared in the 1880s and was used around the Isle of Man. Many localities on the coast of Great Britain developed their own type of fishing boat adapted to local fishing and sea conditions, and the nobbies are examples of this.
A Sgoth or Sgoth Niseach is a traditional type of clinker built skiff with a dipping lug rig, a Lateen style sail, built mainly in Ness, in the Western Isles of Scotland. The boats were used as traditional fishing boats, particularly for line fishing, during the 19th century and until the early half of the twentieth century. There are several still in active use owned by community trusts which maintain them.
The Polperro Gaffer is a type of fishing vessel used in Cornwall. The Great Gale of 1891 destroyed the fishing fleets of many of the smaller Cornish villages. The old boats were generally clinker-planked and lug-rigged. The new boats built after the Gale with government intervention and support were to a new design, carvel planked and with the "modern" gaff rig, boats we now know as typically West Country with straight stem and transom sterns though the lines varied from port to port.
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The pinas, sometimes called "pinis" as well, is one of two types of junk rigged schooners of the east coast of the Malay peninsula, built in the Terengganu area. This kind of vessel was built of Chengal wood by the Malays since the 19th century and roamed the South China Sea and adjacent oceans as one of the two types of traditional sailing vessels the late Malay maritime culture has developed: The bedar and the pinas.
The Montagu whaler was the standard seaboat of the Royal Navy between 1910- 1970, it was a clinker built 27 by 6 feet open boat, which could be pulled by oars or powered by sail. It was double-ended; having a pointed stem and stern. The design of this naval whaler, was proposed by retired Rear Admiral The Honourable Victor Alexander Montagu in 1890 to replace a variety of smaller craft with one single, versatile craft.
The lug sail, or lugsail, is a fore-and-aft, four-cornered sail that is suspended from a spar, called a yard. When raised, the sail area overlaps the mast. For "standing lug" rigs, the sail may remain on the same side of the mast on both the port and starboard tacks. For "dipping lug" rigs, the sail is lowered partially or totally to be brought around to the leeward side of the mast in order to optimize the efficiency of the sail on both tacks.