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 Davy Wilsons old boat.
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Davy Wilsons old boat.

I think this is the same boat as picture #4815. It belonged to Davy Wilson of Ore Burn Lyness. The boat was an old ships lifeboat built out of teak and had a engine that was made up out of two engines, it started on petrol and ran on Vap oil I seem to remember. It ran extremely slow. Old Davy was a boat builder but he also did hires with his boat from Lyness to Houton and up to Stromness as well. He used to set lines for skate and caught cudding's that he spleet and dried for winter food. After Davy passed away I think the boat was sold to Charlie Luckett of the North ness. I dont know what happened to her after that but I seem to think she went to Longhope for a time. This was 50 + years ago.
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Picture added on 06 October 2008
She did indeed come to Longhope and was owned for a time by Robbie Thomson this was after Charlie Luckett passed away.
The engine was akin to Stevensons Rocket!!Owld Davy Wilson was an expert at all things mechanical and your correct Alan, he built many wooden boats dont expect he would have had any formal training as I think it was more engineering that was his main expertice, I remember the speed boat that his son Jimmy had for many years, also mind on Jimmy using her to drive a school of whales out of the north bay up below Melsetter only one died by stranding this act would have been given world coverage by the media today Jimmy just" did hid"
I think maby the first Rocket sailing dingy in Orkney was built by Davy for a guy called Barbour and Jim Wylie that boat is still on Hoy owned by Jimmy Wylies daughter and son in law.

To get back to the old ships boat I mind davy had all sorts of innovations like a pump that floated alongside with a weight at the bottom and a float at the top which kept her dry by the wave action also another that was just a simi rotary with a big weight that wagged back and fore also no need to go out to her in bad weather.
And much more Im, sure others will remember he was indeed quite a guy!!.
Added by John Budge on 07 October 2008
I don't ever remember her having a name, old Davy had a fancy bilge pump rigged in her, it had a long arm on it with a big lead weight on it that swung back and forth when the boat was rolling, kept her dry during gales and the like.
Added by Jimmy Hamilton on 07 October 2008
Robbie Thomson from Longhope bought her from Charlie Luckett 1975/1978, at that time she had a yellow hull and white superstructure, the wheelhouse was aft and there was a small cabin forward, Robbie removed the cabin and moved the wheelhouse forward, he sold her to someone in Kirkwall, I have seen her in the basin but that was a few years ago.
Added by Keith Dempsey on 09 October 2008
Allan or John, Any idea what happened to Jimmy Wilson's speed boat?
Added by Stewart Taylor on 09 October 2008
In answere to your question Stewart, Jimmy Wilson's speedboat lay at the Wyng until new owners bought the house and they took her tae the shoreface and set had tae her A shame but I suppose they knew nothing of her history and she was sore rotten in places.
You know that boat made good speed and hid wiz only a small car engine that was fitted, maybe a morris 10 or the like. Old Davy had a get you home wing engine fitted to her as well, a great man indeed.

Now his other son Issac had a smaller similar boat she would have been kept at Scapa when Issac was harbour master there, what became o her?
One of these boats was named Bluebird, cant remember if it was Jimmies, one or Issacs, anyone mind on? Are there any photos of these boats.
Still a small sailing dinghy that old Davy built and is owned by the Groat family in Longhope also a yole he built went to Thurso and owned by the late Jimmy Manson. What became o her, some freens, on the ither side o the firth ken? I think she was built o wide boards or was she carvil? Kinna mind on, any bells ringan owere there?
Added by John Budge on 09 October 2008
That boat is no more me thinks, wonder if she wisna sawed up. I think the speed boat that Stewart refers to geed up in smoke. The peedie een called the BLUEBIRD is still to the fore but I think she will be fairly Gizzend by now as she hisna seen the water for long enough. Aye old Davy wis a trick lad, Mind the dynamo that charged the batteries and supplied his lighting needs, it was driven by the water fae the burn. Even the buoy on the end of his pick line for his moorings was not a buoy as such but was a drum built out of wooden staves and when it was steeped it made a fine watertight casket.He would have been about the first of the coal dredgers as well and so the story goes on He didna give his boats names but I think when the boat was sold to Charlie she was called RUBY or something like that.
Added by Allan Besant on 09 October 2008
Hi Stewart, peedie Davie Learmonth bought it, and it ended its days at the back o the Wyng, I dont think he ever had it in the water.
Added by Keith Dempsey on 10 October 2008
Thanks Lads, that house at the wyng must have been a graveyard for a few boats.
Added by Stewart Taylor on 10 October 2008
Davy Wilson was a joiner who had a passion for boats. He built his first boat as a very young man and just carried on from there. He worked to Baikie of the Boat house near the point o the Ruff Crockness. He also worked for Stangers of Stromness for a time before getting a charge hands job at Lyness naval base. The boat bought by the late Jimmy Manson was carvel built, had a canoe stern, and olso had single hard chines. Built to an American plan featured in the Rudder magazine, also It would seem that there was another sister to the boat in this picture. Belonging to Robert Peace of Stromness I believe Seawitch was the name.
Anonymous comment added on 11 October 2008
Another amusing story comes to mind about that boat the late Jimmy Manson took over to Thurso.
Now anyone who knew the late Jimmy, will remember what a trickster he was. Well the day Jimmy took this yole across on board the Ola, was a poor day on the sea and on arriving in Scrabster the Yole was lowered over the side. Jimmy boarded, started the engine and motored across Thurso bay and up the river to the berth at the old fish mart.

Before entering the river Jimmy doused himself in water so when his friends came to meet him they said "Hiv yee come from Orkney in that little boat on such a day?"

"Oh yaas and whit a bloody trip I have had"

You could fill pages with Jimmy Manson tales he was such a spinner o tall stories all harmless. There are not enough of that kind of people around today.
Added by John Budge on 12 October 2008
Davy built a dinghy called the Susie for Dr Johnstone about 1948, she is at present berthed in the Stromness Marina looking good and still sailed by Ian Johnstone and his family. I also remember Davy made a small mahogany bookcase for my father over 50 years ago (made to perfection).
Added by Stewart Taylor on 12 October 2008
Look at picture #14667, wpuld that be Issac wilsons boat or is it to big ?
Added by Keith Dempsey on 14 October 2008
A simple photo of a old ships lifeboat put on this site by Alan and it has provided an amazing amount of interest. Yes boats are as interesting as people, here is the proof!!.
Anonymous comment added on 15 October 2008
Came across this while searching for something only vaguely related. I think Davie Wilson was an apprentice joiner to Jame Groundwater at roughly the same time as my grandfather John Ross. (Jame's first wife was Catherine Baikie from Boat House so close connections between the two joinery business I guess.) My grandfather did work for the Melsetter estate, the lodge on Eynhallow for one thing, and Davie seems to have done so too as they were both on Eynhallow on census night 1911.
Anonymous comment added on 18 October 2015
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