After being the keeper of a number of classic wooden craft from 13ft to 33, I have come full-circle and returned to ‘sail & oar’ as the best fit for my current rather busy circumstances. TEAL is a superb build by Fabian Bush of Rowhedge in Essex (and his second build for me) to the small lugger design Aber by François Vivier. (François spoke at this year’s Dinghy Cruising Association AGM at Warsash, on the River Hamble.)

Aber is the slightly slimmer older sister to Ilur, an example of which is sailed by Dinghy Cruising Association President Roger Barnes, and seeing both designs at Beale Park last year convinced me that Aber is all the boat I really need, for day-sailing, camp-cruising, and the odd ‘raid’; she may not have quite the sea-keeping ability of her beamier and deeper sister but, ‘teal’ being ‘a small dabbling duck’, I will avoid putting that to the test. She is an easier row to be sure, besides being more easily launched and recovered solo.

Her launch party was at the end of May, and next day Fabian and I took her out off Mersea Island, where her behaviour, whether under sail or oars, was delightful, showing all the promise I expected of her. Pictures under sail when I can get some! But she has yet to sail again—I really must do better. Her next outing will be the English Raid at Falmouth in a few weeks’ time.

More photos can be found here.

Conor O’Brien’s Sea-Boats, Oars and Sails advocates and describes exactly such a craft as Ilur and Aber, and our new edition is illustrated with photos of An Suire (the Sea-Nymph), the Ilur of boatbuilder Tim Cooke in south-west Ireland.

Slider Sea-Boats