National Small Boat Collection

The National Small Boat Collection was originally developed by the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. This is now housed in Cornwall where it has been extended by the addition of other craft. This collection is representative of boats from the UK and around the world. A maximum of length overall of 30ft (9.14m) is set for the collection although there are exceptions. A collection of objects and archives support the National Small Boat Collection. Here are some highlights. For a fuller list, look Explore > Databases > National Small Boat Register and search by ‘Location=Falmouth’.

River Plate dugout log boat

This dug out canoe was produced by burning the centre of the log out with controlled fire and finishing with a hand axe. This particular example is thought to have been used on the River Plate including the estuary and as such is complete with a tin plate foredeck at the bow. The hull is…

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Holmsbu Pram

This Holmsbu pram is a working descendent from the same ancestor as many small yachts and dinghies in Britain today. This particular craft was used for herring fishing in the Oslo fjords of Norway. The aft part of the boat is closed off with a bulkhead and planked over to form a watertight compartment in…

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Bridgewater Flatner Peat Princess

This boat was primarily used in the lower reaches and tidal estuary of the River Parrett in Somerset for fishing or as a sailing day boat in Bridgewater Bay. Known locally as “Flatties” there are a number of different designs of Somerset flatners, the common feature being a longitudinally planked almost flat bottom and the…

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Fenland Punt

This type of punt originated from the fens of Cambridgeshire and was used as a general working boat and for fishing. This particular example, the last of its kind afloat on the River Ouse/River Cam, was used for catching eels with an eel gleave. The hull construction is highly individual to the type with a…

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RNSA 14 ft dinghy

This RNSA (Royal Naval Sailing Association) type of sailing dinghy was a modified version of the 14 ft One-Design Island Class, designed by Charles Nicholson and Uffa Fox in 1935. In 1937 the Admiralty adopted the class, with some modifications, specifically to adapt it for use aboard the Navy’s warships. Its purpose was to provide…

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Finn dinghy Seawolf

Designed by the Swedish canoe designer Rickard Sarby in 1949, the single handed Finn class racing dinghy was adopted for the Olympics in 1952 in Helsinki, Sarby himself taking the Bronze medal. The Finn replaced the previous arrangement of having a different single hander design for each Olympiad. Predecessors as Olympic Monotypes, the term originally…

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Dutch Courage – an early Flying Dutchman

In 1980 the Flying Dutchman class claimed to be the fastest two man centreboard dinghy in the world and even today it remains a very fast design. It originated at trials by the International Yacht Racing Union in 1954, soon achieved international status and was subsequently used for the Olympic games from the1960s through 1992.…

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Claritie – an early cold moulded dinghy

Claritie is a 1956-built typical example of the common wooden and later GRP built pram dinghies which were carried aboard yachts as a tender. Designed and constructed by the well known designer Austin “Clarence” Farrar Claritie was an early experiment in cold moulding plywood. This system of manufacture was developed to improve the more traditional…

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Seal – a lady’s dinghy delight

This single handed sailing dinghy was designed and built by the well known Norfolk boat builders William Starling and Sons of Blakeney in 1929 for Miss Patience Hardcastle of Godalming in Surrey. She had been taught to sail by Mr. Starling whilst on holiday in Norfolk and had initially sailed in the family’s heavy boat,…

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