Design by David Raeburn Commentary by Joel White

The west coast of Scotland, particularly the Firth of Clyde, was once the northern center for yachting in the British Isles. Such famous designers as Fife, Watson, and Mylne lived and worked here, and most of their designs were built by the excellent boatshops of the region. A fine, friendly rivalry developed between the Scottish boats and their southern cousins from the Channel coast, where equally fine designers — Nicholson, Giles, and Fox — created wonderful wooden vessels for both racing and cruising.

It is interesting, and fitting, that a new class of wooden boat should be developed in Lanarkshire, in the Clydeside region of Scotland. The Tarbert Yawl was designed by David Raeburn and built by the firm of Clyde Classics Limited of Wishaw. Even more interesting is the choice of a basically old design, now executed in a thoroughly up-to-date construction method, making the best possible use of modern materials and adhesives.

Based on an existing boat designed and built by Dickes of Tarbert, the new Tarbert Yawl is a double-ender with a canoe stern, a long keel with a conventional rudder, moderate overhangs, and a strong, pretty sheer. The rig is a gaff yawl, with bowsprit and boomkin, double headsails, and topsail. (Albert Strange designed a number of boats similar to this one, and indeed, the designer and builders freely admit that inspiration for the Tarbert Yawl is derived from Strange designs.) For more interior space and greater stability, beam has been increased. In a move made possible by the new lighter, stronger construction methods, displacement has been reduced to improve performance under sail. Clyde Classics is betting that a handsome, traditional design coupled with modern wooden construction, increased performance, and larger interior accommodations will prove to be a winning combination.

Comparing the new lines with older Strange designs, we see that David Raeburn has lengthened the forward overhang, cut away the forefoot considerably, moved the center of buoyancy aft, and reduced displacement by 25 to 30 percent. The sweet sections still have a lot of deadrise, and because of her balanced ends and clean underbody, the boat will undoubtedly be able and fast. The sharp sections in both the bow and stern ensure that the boat will be comfortable at sea in rough weather, with none of the pounding that occurs in boats with long, flattish overhangs. The bottom of the keel is straight and parallel to the waterline, making her easy to haul on a railway or ground out alongside a dock.

The designer has made no major changes in the rig, staying with the gaff-yawl sail plan of the original boat. At 742 square feet, including topsail, the rig is a large one for a boat of this size. If the builders can indeed hold the displacement to 6 tons as advertised, the yawl's sail-area-to-displacement ratio works out at 20.9 — right up there with the racers. Clyde Classics says the topsail is regarded as a working sail up to about 20 knots of wind, at which point it will be handed as the first step in reefing down. I must say the rig looks right on the boat — it is difficult to imagine that her appearance would be improved with marconi sails. But I would like to see both the main and mizzen booms cocked up more aft, and I deplore the looks of the down-turned boomkin. The curve in it is nice, but please, steeve it upward like the bowsprit! Running backstays are fitted, but it is hoped that they need only be used in heavy going.

The lack of frames in the construction shows up as additional room below, and Raeburn has packed a lot of interior into a boat of only 34 feet overall length. I believe there is really only one layout that works well

Particulars Tarbert Yawl










6 tons

(13,440 lbs) Sail area 742 sq ft

. /rj

The Tarbert Yawl's lines balanced ends, a clean underbody, and sweet sections with considerable deadrise.


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