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East Coast featured boat: ‘Red Red Rose’

Our featured boat for July is another amazing restoration undertaken by East Coast Gaffer, Pete Thomas.

‘Red Red Rose’ was originally built in larch with clinker planking on sawn larch frames in 1965 at Baltasound on the island of Unst in Shetland by A Sandison & Sons. There is no record of her journey south to the English East Coast but it is thought she was commissioned by someone from the area. In the 1970s and early 1980s ‘Red Red Rose’ is listed in the OGA archives as having taken part in the Annual East Coast Race when she was kept at Arthur Holts Yard in Heybridge Basin. She never distinguished herself in the Class III races and then disappears from the record . . . 

Rescued in 2023, having been left outside for too many years neglected, Pete ‘the knife’ delivered ‘Red Red Rose’ to Pete’s home on a trailer and hoisted her into his workshop. Pete spent the spring working his usual magic and she’s looking good as new, ready for launch when there’s time amongst all the other pressing projects.

Pete started the project with a good strip down to inspect the whole boat. When he first saw her he had suggested that a box of matches and paraffin may be the only solution. However, many planks were split or damaged but repairable and four of the frames were in reasonable condition with the fifth frame just needing to be mended before refitting. Many of the planks were in need of minor repairs. Pete removed the keel because the grip fast nails used were not holding. All holes were plugged to accept new bronze screws and the timber was found to be sound. The new gunwales were gently coaxed to form the sheer with strapping rather than steaming. 

With the keel refitted it was time to paint the inside, but not before the entire hull was soaked through with a mixture of Cuprinol, white spirit and linseed oil. The rudder was sound but Pete had to fashion a new pintle. With the inside complete and looking good in blue and white, the outside of the hull was finished with varnished topsides.

There’s very little known about her history or original design. Pete thinks she’s a bit of a hybrid, similar to the Dysart Yole, a Fifie boat-type from the east coast of Scotland. He’s made her a new trailer so all that’s now missing is a sail. ‘Red Red Rose’ originally had a dipping lugsail rig but Pete’s already made the mast and is seeking out a balanced lug sail for her.

If anyone has information about the ‘in between’ years, do send it to the Editor so that we can update the story of this beautiful boat.

Lugsail clinker dinghy, ‘Red Red Rose’, built 1965 at Baltasound, Unst by A Sandison & Sons and finished by Willie Moaut.
Length on deck (LOD): 16.20 ft
Waterline Length (LWL): 15.30 ft
Beam: 5.30 ft
Draft: 1.90 ft

Restored ready for relaunch by Pete Thomas, East Coast Gaffer, 2024