Saturday, 16 January 2010

A Miniature Currach

Hilary Russell of Berkshire Boat Building School has developed a design for a small currach (that's him in the stern) with a frame of withies, spruce and pine covered by a polyester skin. Influences include the Donegal currachs (obviously), traditional north American skin-on-frame kayaks and umiaks, the hi-tech designs of Platt Monfort and, from left-field, J.R.R. Tolkien.

 Hilary writes:

"I used 8 oz. polyester from George Dyson.  Nylon works too.  Considering it's only 9.5' long, the currach rows very well.  Since building the currach, I've replaced the thole pins with brass oarlocks (however, thole pins can still be used) and made the middle seat removeable, as did the people of Donegal.  Do you know the book, The Donegal Currach by Donal Mac Polin?  It's quite detailed and thoughtful.  For instance, the author speculates on the evolution for the coracle (a river craft in Wales and Ireland) to the small Donegal currachs, which were both paddled from the round (a dead round semi-circle) end with a skulling stroke that pulled the craft through the water and also were  rowed.  There are wonderful illustrations and building instructions."
Hilary holds boat building courses at the school, located in Sheffield, Massachusetts. and supplies kits.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. Further searching came up with this 72 page PDF about the "Curraghs of Ireland"