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Zulu by Javier Baron - FINISHED - Scottish herring lugger


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My current project is a lugger of the east coast of Scotland, a type of ship called Zulu, which was the most powerful and efficient sailboat for the herring sail fishery among those of its size in the British Isles.

 

Its origin dates back to 1879, the year in which a Lossiemouth fisherman, William "Dad" Campbell, devised a radical design for his new boat for the capture of herring. He had the vertical bow of the fifie and the sloping stern of the skafie, and called this ship "Nonesuch." It was relatively small, with 16 m. of length and a keel length of 12 meters.

 

This design, which provided a longer deck and a shorter keel, markedly improved the maneuverability of the boat and provided it with a good speed, characteristics that made it highly appreciated by herring fishing fleets, as they managed to reach promptly to the fishing grounds and return quickly with the catch. Due to these qualities, that type of vessel quickly became very popular throughout the Scottish east coast.

 

The new type of vessel was baptized as a Zulu because of the war that was developing in South Africa at that time, in which Scottish soldiers fought, a war that was rejected by the population who thought they were fighting in an English conflict that, deep down, they were not concerned, which made their sympathies lean towards the Zulus.

 

The Zulu ships were carvel built, instead of clinker built, which was the most common in those waters. They were provided with two masts carrying lug sails and a bow jib. The sails were heavy and difficult to maneuver, and the masts to carry them had to be very long and strong. In the Zulu of greater size, the masts came to be 18 m high in boats of 24 m in length. As the twentieth century approached, steam winches were introduced aboard, which made maneuvering sails and nets much easier for crews.

 

However, and despite the success of its design, the life of the Zulu was quite short, since it was replaced by steam fisherboats after a brief existence of just over three decades.

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To make the sails, I first cut out a pattern on paper and check on the model that its size and shape are correct.

 

As in this case the sails are colored, I have chosen brown fabrics to which I have given a reddish gouache. The fabrics are cocktail napkins that come in a roll from which they are detached, and although they are disposable, they can be used several times, as they can be washed. In the end I opt for the darker one.

 

Putting the napkin on the bias (that is, diagonally) I have been cutting strips of 3 mm. wide. Then I have glued these strips, one with the other, with minimal overlapping, making a composite canvas, from which I have then trimmed the sails using the paper patterns.

 

The edges of the sails are very thin strips of cloth that stick over the sails. These very thin strips are trimmed from the edges of the napkin, as they are treated with a varnish or resin sizing that prevents fraying.

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Edited by Javier Baron
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