Projects: Building Eider at The Tallship Museum
A British cargo vessel. An Italian ship of mystery. The Tall Ship Museum in Glasgow is home to the iconic Glenlee.
In this article, we explore the daily activities at the museum, from owning and maintaining the historic Glenlee, their charitable activities, and the work with their local community, providing support to those in need.
About the Tallship Museum and Glenlee
125 years old in 2021, the Tall Ship Glenlee is a former merchant sailing vessel and the last remaining three-masted Clyde built cargo ship still afloat in the UK.
Launched out of Bay Yard, Port Glasgow, in 1896, the sail-powered cargo vessel has circumnavigated the globe several times, under many names and many different owners, including the Royal Spanish Navy.
In 1992, she was to be sold, likely for scrap, but was instead saved and returned to Clyde. Re-registered in Glasgow, Glenlee was restored by the Clyde Maritime Trust. Today, she is a museum ship, celebrating Glasgow’s mercantile, maritime, and shipbuilding traditions.
The ship is managed and maintained by The Clyde Maritime Centre Limited.
Next to the offices at the trust is the workshop. The team, led by Workshop Manager, Lachlan Cunningham, repair and maintain Glenlee and also take part in community boat-building projects. “The broader remit beyond the Tall Ship herself is to help keep historic boat-building techniques alive. These projects allow us to fund upkeep for Glenlee, as well as engage with the local community and train volunteers in boat-building skills,” explains Lachlan.
The workshop takes on volunteers from a variety of backgrounds; from school leavers to people who have been out of work for a while for mental health reasons, and retirees. “We work with several charities that place people that want to volunteer in our workshop. In return, we are dedicated to helping them build social and employment skills, and build their confidence.” Lachlan is also passionate about teaching skills beyond traditional boatbuilding. “When the volunteers go onto different jobs after being with us, we want them to have skills they can use.”
Eider the St. Ayles Skiff
When we spoke to the team at the workshop earlier this year, they were working on a commission for the Dundee Sailing Club. The family-friendly club sail from Grassy Beach on the Tay at Broughty Ferry, Dundee. The club focuses on traditional dinghy sailing, notably the Wayfarer, but over the winter months this becomes a challenge and the club looked to expand into rowing boats. So they enlisted the services of the workshop to build themselves a St. Ayles Skiff.
The four-oared rowing boat is held together completely with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy; not a single mechanical fixing.
“We added WEST SYSTEM 403 Microfibres Adhesive Fillers to the mixed epoxy on the joints and an epoxy/filleting blend on the hull to hold together the laps between the planks, making it completely watertight.”
St. Ayles Skiff, Eider, has now been collected by Dundee Sailing Club and is out on the water being used by members of the club.