The World of Boats, Eyemouth, is a collection of nigh on 400 boats and 300 plus models with supporting archive from across the world and spanning many centuries. At its core is the former Exeter Maritime Museum collection of Ethnic, European coastal, Day Sailing and other interesting craft of historic significance. It is in the process of being moved to the East Berwickshire fishing port of Eyemouth at the centre of the stunning scenic World Heritage East Coast Scottish Border landscape. Here the collection will be progressively restored and conserved as an asset of global significance. Many of the craft are unique and are the last known examples of their kind anywhere in the world. Put together over a period of 50 years they represent the story of mankind and his need to cross water for reasons of trade, fishing, emigration, escape, war and last but by no means least, pleasure.
Where practical, the craft will be returned to their natural element and will be displayed afloat. Others will be restored as shoreside displays to tell the story of the men and women who worked or sailed them. The boats successes, failures, their designs and uses, their construction, materials, their places of origin and their relevance to one another will be explained in a comprehensible way. The collection also includes many hundreds of models, photographs and plans as well as a library and other archive material. Eyemouth, with its port development, its continuous tradition of trading, fishing and its smuggling past, contains many classic architectural gems. These include built by the Adam Brothers and other listed buildings which form its quaint narrow streets and wynds. The town will be a fitting home for all that the World of Boats brings, newly constructed conservation workshops, its stock of boats some finished, others unfinished, its library, its skills based training, its film-making opportunities and outstanding location. With classic boats afloat on its new 100 metre pontoon and home base for deep sea sail training and day sailing operations the Georgian Harbour and new multi- million deep water basin will come alive to the progressive expansion of boats on show, creating a veritable forest of masts and spars. A new subject specific display is being built on the harbour side conservation area of the old town with craft relevant to each exhibition afloat alongside the town's old fish market quay.
The gateway by road to the harbour is sign posted by Isambard Kingdom Brunel's 1834 Steam powered puddle iron Drag Boat, 'Bertha', at present under restoration as part of the National Heritage list of Historic Ships. The harbour side and water within will become the venue for regular displays and a biennial Maritime Festival, 'Sea, Salts & Sail, Scotland' with invitations extended across the world to visiting ships, trades and professional performers alike to absorb and exude the history and friendship of the maritime tradition and sample the hospitality that Eyemouth has to offer. Deep water sail training for young and old of both sexes will be managed and operated on historic craft based in the port. These will include 'Silvery Light' a 120 year old Cornish Herring Drifter built at St. Ives, 80 feet in length and recently re-rigged as a West Country Ketch of her period.
Many of the craft are unique and are the last known examples of their kind anywhere in the world. Put together over a period of 50 years they represent the story of mankind and his need to cross water for reasons of trade, fishing, emigration, escape, war and last but by no means least, pleasure.Here a just a (very) few of this fascinating collection. 2-fathom Ellice canoe (Te Paopao) made of 'Buka' wood, complete with flying fish net, Bonito fishing rod, pearl shell hooks, 4 paddles, punt poles, coconut shell water bottles, bailer and castor oil fish hook. he Te Bao Bao (there is no b in the Ellice language) is a ceremonial canoe used on the lagoons of the Ellice Islands. The coral atolls that comprise the greater part of many of the South Pacific islands enclose lagoons of calm shallow salt water. The design and decoration of this small craft are traditional, but the craftsmanship shows considerable European influence. The multitude of brass screws in the floorboards probably gives the game away - along with the pinned dowels that hold the planks together. We think this boat was probably built in a trade-school, to teach the pupils various generally useful skills. There is nothing typically Ellice Island about it but it was certainly presented to Prince Charles on the Duke of Edinburgh's visit to the Pacific in 1959.
The Xavega is a beach launched fishing boat, which had a crew of 46, 11 to each oar and 2 supernumeraries. A further 15 men and 20 oxen were employed ashore in hauling the net. There are no no four oared Xavega's working in Portugal, although a smaller 2 oared boat is still in use, with 8 men on each oar. Frame with plank covering, the Xavega is thought by archaeologists to be a descendant of the Phonecian craft that reached Portugal from the Eastern Mediterranean some 3,000 years ago. Ambatch Reed Boat. Lake Baringo in northern Kenya produces a very thick, extremely light reed, the length varying according to the depth of water where the reeds are growing. The longer the reed the better the boat. These boats, which are technically rafts, weigh less than 30 lbs (13 kilos). The ambatch reed will, when the lake water is deep, grow to ten feet long. These boats are still used (1993). They have a short life but have probably been built like this for a thousand years or more. Three of these boats were presented to the Museum by Mr. James Gee and his wife Dr. Ruby Gee in 1978.
Bamboo Sampan. This boat was used, probably by three people, to escape from the communist regime in North Vietnam to Hong Kong, where the crew were interned as illegal immigrants. It was built as a fishing boat, and much larger boats than this - up to forty feet - have the same method of construction. There are about 2,000 varieties of bamboo ranging from tiny grasses to giants 70 ft high and there is surely no more versatile plant in the world. Rafts of bamboo are fairly common and many boats use bamboo as floats or for spars, but only in Vietnam and the Gulf of Siam is the whole hull made of woven bamboo. The same technique of weaving is used in larger boats but these have planked sides with replaceable (because they are difficult to repair) bamboo bottoms. Bamboo is light, flexible, strong and rot resistant, all virtues for the boat builder. It is also scraped with a knife and the scrapings used for caulkings. This boat is unusual for another reason. It sailed from Vietnam to Hong Kong (600 miles) with refugees - a truly remarkable effort and the red number on the bows records their case number on arrival in Hong Kong. Tobique River canoe. This is an interesting boat because it represents the adoption and adaption of a native-born idea - the birch-bark canoe - by a later arrival on the scene, the European. Almost everywhere the immigrant has brought and perpetuated his own, usually more advanced ideas but a study of this boat and its neighbour reveals only one basic difference. This boat uses canvas as its final waterproof cover, whereas its neighbour uses bark. Canvas has been used to achieve water-tightness instead of the bark of a tree. This canoe is of the standard pattern used on the Tobique River in New Brunswick, Canada. It was used for salmon fishing and for the carriage of a single passenger and luggage. The operator was known as a 'guide'. He would propel the canoe upstream by means of an iron shod pole, and would guide it downstream with a single bladed paddle, which was also used in slack water. The canoe had to be stable enough for the 'guide' to be able to stand up to pole it - hence its wide flat bottom. History.
Berthon Collapsible Boat. A collapsible boat made by the Berthon Boat Company, Ramsey, Herts, founded by the Reverend E.L. Berthon possibly over a hundred years ago. Basically a folding timber structure faced with a thick canvas like material. When folded up measuring 2ft 6ins. For recreational use with oars. The following is taken from one of their 19th century advertisements: "Berthon Boats are undoubtedly the most practical and satisfactory folding boats which have ever been produced. Berthon Boats at the International Exhibition in London in 1873 were awarded the Gold Medal and for the last seventy years have defied competition. Berthon Boars have been in use in the British Navy for many years and have been supplied to most of the Continental Governments. Berthon Boats have an international reputation amongst yachtsmen and are in use in every quarter of the globe. Berthon Boats have been imitated frequently, but although the design has been copied, no one has been able to produce the wonderful flexible dressing which is a secret of the Berthon Boat Company Limited and a most important factor in the success achieved by these boats under varied climatic conditions. Berthon Boats are built with a double skin divided into six sections with air spaces between the skins. They are unsinkable and are, indeed, small life boats. Berthon Boats when folded, are only a few inches wide and can be carried on deck or stowed below in small yachts. The method for expanding for use is extremely simple and semi-automatic and can be accomplished in less than a minute. Each boat includes 1 pair of rowlocks. The 7ft boat is not fitted with seat benches, but a cushion is supplied for the oarsman. Price £8 complete.
Bullhide Coracle. Coracles were once made of willow covered with hide - they were very much heavier and needed more maintenance than those covered with calico or canvas. In many parts of the world hides are still used to cover boats. Some say that most of the hair would have been cut away from the hide to make the craft lighter when wet. In many parts of the world hides are still used to cover boats. This coracle was made by Mr Eustace Rogers of Ironbridge and has been presented to ISCA by Mr and Mrs Roderick James of Cornworthy, Totnes. Coracles date back to at least the time of the Roman Conquest and were (and still are in some places) used for fishing and ferrying people around and can be carried on a persons back by means of the leather thong fastened to the seat being held across the forehead or shoulders. Cat Boat. A cat boat is one that is cat-rigged, that is to say with its mast stepped well forward in the bows. It is also more often than not gaff or lug rigged. These boats are particularly handy in calm waters such as the lagoons of tropical islands where they fish or tend traps, act as ferries, or run small cargoes ashore from visiting schooners. It is believed that the sail plan and possibly also the hull design of this boat is descended from small boats carried by British merchantmen that traded with the West Indies in the eighteenth century. This boat was presented by the government of the Cayman Islands.
Dghajsa. Grand Harbour, Valetta, consists of a number of long creeks of deep non-tidal water. Because of this and also because many visiting ships prefer to moor away from the quays (to save money) a 'water-taxi' was developed for carrying passengers and their small baggage across the creeks and to and from the ships. This 'water-taxi' is the Dghajsa (pronounced dysa). It is usually propelled by one man standing, facing forward, and pushing on two oars. He stands to one side of the craft probably because by doing so he can provide a larger space for baggages, but most Dghajsas are now equipped with outboards. The high stem and stern pieces seem to be mainly ornamental but they are certainly useful in handling the boat and in the boarding and disembarking of passengers. The decoration follows a strict pattern. The various symbols (eg. 'The hands that defeat the evil eye') vary from boat to boat and the name is frequently a popular heroine - 'Queen Victoria' - or hero, 'Wilson Picket'.
Double-ended pulling boat, 'Hulu'. Hulu is probably the most sophisticated of British ocean-rowing boats. In it Hugh King-Fretts rowed from Tenerife to Barbados in 1984 in 100 days. It was built for Mr King-Fretts of North Devon. On 30th January 1984, Hugh King-Fretts set out from Los Cristianos (Tenerife) in his purpose built boat HULU with intentions of rowing to Barbados. One hundred days later, on May 8th, he landed at Conset Bay on the rugged east coast. His trip was not without its problems and within the first two weeks the self steering system and the radio failed. Further to this the sliding seat kept breaking down and the front of the boat was soaking up water beneath the water line - flooding compartments and forcing Hugh to ditch much of his tinned foods. Adverse westerly winds blew him back 150 miles and after 42 days he was only 650 miles from Tenerife with 2,400 left to row. With never a thought of giving in Hugh regained his ground eventually sighting Barbados on the morning of May 8th 1984. By evening he was drifting rapidly towards the reefs when two fishermen towed him through the one narrow channel. During this tow a large surfer capsized Hulu, throwing Hugh into the sea - after which he was left to swim into Barbados through the reef. Drag Boat. Bertha has a tonnage of 60 and is constructed of riveted iron with a timber superstructure. The steam engine is a single cylinder double action engine and operates at a pressure of 40 pounds per square inch, steam is raised in a coal fired boiler of unknown vintage, the motion is transferred to the main drive shaft which can be recognised by the large flywheel by means of a single reduction spur wheel drive. Sometimes mistakenly referred to as a dredger, Bertha is in fact a drag boat. Where as a dredger operates by lifting the mud and silt out of the water, a drag boat is rather like a floating bulldozer with a submerged blade which scrapes the material along the bottom. Although steam powered, Bertha has neither screw propeller nor paddle wheels but is moved by hauling herself along a chain, the ends of which are secured to quayside bollards. Bertha is believed to have been designed by the eminent Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and has the distinction of being the oldest operational steam driven vessel in Britain - possibly the world. Bertha was probably designed in Bristol and assembled in Bridgwater where her role was to keep the docks clear of mud and silt. To do this, the blade, mounted on a sliding pole, was lowered by means of a chain. The vessel then hauled herself along the main chain bringing with it the mud and silt which was dragged out into the river Parrett where it was carried away by the tide. The vessel then hauled herself back along a lighter chain and the procedure repeated.
Eskimo Kayak. Nimrod has the frail design of the Eskimo kayak, or angmagssalik, which enables a canoe to execute a complete roll through the water. It's hull is sewn together with nylon line. Glass fibre resin is glued along the joints, with a plywood deck glued and pinned to complete the canoe. Nimrod is the canoe in which Geoff Hunter started out in 1970 on the first canoe voyage to be made round the coast of Britain. A second kayak of similar design was borrowed to complete the 2000 mile journey, Nimrod having been severely damaged half-way through the voyage. Rough seas in the Solway Firth resulted in a broken paddle. Geoff Hunter swam to a buoy, towing the kayak behind him. Although the canoeist managed to climb on to the slippery buoy and stay there through fifteen cold, uncomfortable and anxious hours until the morning tide made it possible to tackle the long, difficult swim to land, the canoe was too heavy to stay tied to the buoy in the rough sea: it broke free, drifted away and was lost for some time - along with Geoff Hunter's food and equipment! Colchester Oyster Smack TSW Shamrock. A 'smack' now seems to mean any smallish inshore fishing vessel and although TSW Shamrock has been converted to a gaff-rigged cruising boat, and will remain as such, she still displays the features and beautiful lines of the fishing craft of East Anglia. TSW Shamrock was built in 1900 by Robert Aldous & sons and immediately joined the Colchester Oyster Fishing fleet. In the winter of 1962 she was reaching the end of her working life and was moored near the oyster beds on the Blackwater, doing her duty as the guard ship, when disaster struck. On a very cold night in January, ice being borne on the tide, rapidly sliced its way through her pine planking, and her ballast and engine took her to the bottom.
Gondola. One can scarcely think of Venice without gondolas. The hull is asymmetric, the lopsidedness helping the gondolier to keep a straight course when rowing on only one side of the boat. Although one of the most graceful and romantic of boats in the world the gondola is, by design asymmetric - lop-sided. Not only is there a marked and deliberate list to starboard but the sides are of different length and curve. If the gondola is to be rowed down narrow and busy canals, the list enables the gondolier to maintain his balance on the opposite side of the boat to his oar whilst at the same time applying his weight and strength to it. The unequal curve of the sides causes starboard to sink lower in the water than port and this in turn induces increased drag on the starboard side, to counter-balance the thrust of the single blade, which would otherwise continually force the boat to turn to port. The Forcola on which the oar rests is usually carved from a single block of walnut, and is shaped to allow the gondolier to use his oar in the wide variety of positions that navigating so long a craft in such confined waters demands. Propulsion: The gondola is usually propelled by a single gondolier rowing from one side of the craft only. All gondolas are a standard size. Before the railway came to Venice in 1846, the gondola was the main form of passenger transport to the island and was a much sturdier craft requiring two men to row it. Since then, however, a more beautiful and sophisticated craft has evolved for work in the sheltered canals of the City, work that can be carried out by a single gondolier rowing from one side of the craft only. This gondola was built in 1946 and plied the canals for hire until 1969 when she was bought by Mr Guy Sanders of Truro. For a further three years she was used on the Truro river in Cornwall and was then presented to the Maritime Museum by Mr Sanders who, not only prepared her for display, but also made the mosaic 'Ave Madonna delle Gondole' which hangs nearby. Mr Sanders, sadly now dead, accompanied this boat when it came back to England on a lorry. The lorry broke down in the Alps and Mr Sanders claimed that he was surely the only man in the world to have slept in a gondola in the Brenner Pass.
The Guffa is a cargo and passenger carrying boat and in this respect is very different from the British coracle which is a one-man fishing boat. Guffas are obviously neither designed for speed nor sea-worthiness but as the circle encompasses the largest area for perimeter so the design of the Guffa facilitates the carrying of the greatest possible cargo with the most economical use of material. This is important because in some cases, particularly on the Tigris, the Guffa is abandoned after one long-river voyage. The construction is a frame with waterproof covering and is propelled with a paddle. Another advantage of the circular form is that it lends itself to a very simple form of construction - indeed this boat was built by a blind girl. The wooden sticks are of pomegranate and the only other materials are twine, straw and pitch. The Guffa is also interesting in that it has no waterproof skin as such, the pitch, which comes from Hit on the Euphrates, being laid on sufficiently liberally to act as a skin. These boats were found and given to ISCA by Mr. Glen Balfour Paul who was the British Ambassador in Bagdad at the time. (1970's). Huri For Pearling Dhow. The Huri for Pearling Dhows acts as a tender and is usually carried across the platform of the stern. This Huri was built in Bahrain with wood imported from Pakistan, but resembles in every respect dugouts found along the Southern Persian and Baluchistan coasts. This is more sophisticated than many dugout canoes, having added stern and stern pieces. To the seafarers of the Persian Gulf it would be a comparatively expensive boat to produce but maintenance and running costs are low and it is very durable. Though rather unstable without an outrigger, the dugout is very fast due to its slim lines. This particular example has a number of pieces scarphed into it to replace faults in the original timber of the tree trunk. The wood has been oiled.
Jangada - Log Sailing Raft. The Jangada is a beach-launched sailing craft used for fishing off the most easterly coasts of Brazil. The logs are held together with wooden pins and the raft has a centre-board to prevent sideways drift when sailing across or into the wind. The centre-board is not a popular feature of working boats as it takes up valuable space but it is also found in the bamboo sailing rafts of Taiwan. Another unusual feature is the sewing of the sail to the mast. The boats will often spend the night at sea fishing or waiting for the on-shore breeze to blow them back to the beach the next day. When sleeping on board the fisherman will latch himself to the boat. Junk. Besides fishing a junk must provide a home for a complete family including children, parents and grandparents, dogs, cats and chickens. It must provide shelter and warmth in the winter and be cool and airy in the humid summer. There must be a provision for keeping the fish alive in the flooded wet hold and space for drying and repairing the nets (hence the beams all around the deck).'Keying II' was built in Hong Kong for the Hong Kong in London festival in Battersea Park. Pearling Dhow.This pearling dhow (known locally as a 'Shu'i) was built specially for the International Sailing Craft Association in 1966-67, and was presented to the association by His Highness Shaikh Isa Bin Sulaman Al Khalifa, Ruler of Bahrain, an independent island shaikhdom in the Persian Gulf. There were once many hundreds of these small dhows fishing the pearling banks of the southern gulf, but the discovery of oil with consequent prosperity to the region, and also the advent of the cultured pearl, have reduced this industry to comparative insignificance. The crew of this boat would number between thirty and forty men and boys and they would spend a month at sea pearl fishing before returning for fresh supplies and water. All the routine work, from weighing anchor to opening the pearls, would be accompanied by traditional chanting and rhythmic clapping and stamping. Dhows are built without hull plans or drawings, the lines being judged by eye and construction carried out with the most simple tools. However, as can be seen, flowing lines and a graceful symmetry are achieved. Construction is almost entirely of teak fastened with hand-made soft iron nails. The bottom is normally coated with a layer of tallow and lime which is effective against the Terodo worm. This is not an anti-fouling covering and it is therefore necessary to careen the vessel frequently and keep the underwater surfaces clean if performance to windward is to be maintained. This is a comparatively easy operation as the old coating of tallow and lime becomes chalky and barnacles and other growth scrape off easily with it. The new layer is then smeared on by hand, the whole operation normally being completed in the period of one low tide. A dhow is a difficult vessel to bring about as it can not safely pass through the eye of the wind. The manoeuvre involves the transfer of the yard from one side of the mast to the other whilst, at the same time, all the stays are moved across to (what has become) the new windward side. Fifteen men are required to put this particular vessel about.
Eyemouth Maritime Centre is housed in their recreation of an 18th century frigate alongside Eyemouth’s historic harbour. Telling the stories of mankind afloat, their ever-changing exhibitions display boats from the 'World of Boats' collection of nearly 400 vessels. Their current exhibition, ‘The Whalers’, tells the story of whaling, from using hand-thrown harpoons from open whaleboats, to the local men whaling in the Antarctic. See the magnificent 37-foot long whaleboat, Elisa, from the Azores. She hunted sperm whales in the Atlantic Ocean and was powered only by sail and oar, with her crew of seven merely using hand-thrown harpoons, just as in the days of Captain Ahab and Moby-Dick. The story of the local men who spent the winter months “at the ice”, whaling from Leith Harbour, South Georgia is told through a multitude of whaling artefacts and photographs from the Antarctic whaling expeditions. They are kindly on loan from the families of local ex-whalers, bringing to life the little-known, or often forgotten, story of our whaling past. ‘The Whalers’ exhibition joins a selection of other boats including UK coastal fishing boats, all on display from our 'World of Boats' collection of nearly 400 vessels from around the world. Many of these are represented by scale models in Eyemouth Maritime Centre, offering a glimpse into to their full and unique collection. In keeping with their external vision of an 18th century frigate, the atmospheric replica gun deck, complete with sound effects, recreates what naval life must have been like for the officers and crew in those far-off times. Level access to main entrance. The boats can all be viewed by wheelchair users. There are many objects to handle. Accessible parking. Accessible toilets. Assistance dogs are welcome:
Location : Eyemouth Maritime Centre, Harbour Road, Eyemouth, Berwickshire, TD14 5HY
Transport: Berwick-upon-Tweed (National Rail) then bus (34, 235, 236). Bus Routes : 34, 37, 60, 235, 236 and 253 stop close by.
Opening Times : April - October, Daily 10:00 to 17:00; Sundays closes at 16:00
Tickets : Adults £3.00; Concessions £2.00; Children (5 +) £2.00
Tel. : 018907 51020