Bridgewater Flatner National Maritime Museum Cornwall

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 absence of a keel.

The hull consists of an (almost) flat sprung bottom with five strakes fastened edge to edge on sawn frames at 30 degrees. The bottom is not, in fact, totally flat, but has a slight rocker to facilitate use on the mud banks of the Parrett. It has a curved raked stem forward and the distinctive flat tombstone stern from which the rudder is hung. It is fitted with an unstayed mast with a sprit rigged main sail and a small jib fitted to a bowsprit, with a dagger board for use when sailing. It can also be rowed through a pair of double thole pins.

This example was built and operated by Bob Thorne, who is recorded as the last of the full-time River Parrett salmon fishermen.