Few, if any, residents of Portknockie now will recall small boats being built in the back yard of our Pirie family home at 28 Seafield Street.
Our uncle, William Lewis Pirie, was a carpenter and boatbuilder, and continued to live at 28 Seafield Street, Portknockie until he emigrated to Australia in December 1968.
William worked at the Herd & MacKenzie Shipyard in Buckie, mostly in the lofting shed where the boat designer's scale drawings would be read and the component parts 'lofted', ie drawn out full size to create patterns for the parts, which were usually curved, often in three dimensions. Lofting tables (tables of offsets) were used to mark out the points of the required curves so they could be drawn. Once the components had been lofted, the boat builders could cut wood to the shape of the patterns ready for the build.
In this YouTube video, Herd & MacKenzie Boat builder's Buckie, the lofting shed and some of the wooden boat building activities can be seen.
He also taught a Shipbuilding Drawing class at Buckie Further Education Evening School.
After emigrating to Australia, William worked as a boat designer at Dillingham Shipyards (WA) Pty Ltd in North Fremantle, Western Australia.
Here are some photographs of William's activities, including building small boats in the back yard, and launching and sailing them at Portknockie Harbour.
A presentation in the lofting shed at Herd & MacKenzie
(William is standing far right)
William in the timber yard at Herd & MacKenzie, marking up wood using patterns
William and colleagues in the timber yard at Herd & MacKenzie
Front view of 28 Seafield Street, Portknockie
(This photo taken in 2000)
William working on a boat frame in the back yard of 28 Seafield Street
Neighbour Arthur Innes views progress in the back yard
The completed hull in the back yard of 28 Seafield Street
William's brother, James Clarence Alexander Pirie, with the completed boat in the back yard
William's friend, James Flett Wood, visits the completed boat in the back yard
William's boat arrives at Portknockie Harbour on the back of a lorry
The crane about to lift the boat off the lorry
The crane slowly moving the boat out over the harbour
The crane lowers the boat, named 'Constancy', in to the inner harbour at low tide
The crane's work is done
Securing the boat before the tide comes in
The boat is rigged with mast, spar, sail and tiller as the tide comes in
William trys the boat out
William's boat, 'Constancy', returning to Portknockie Harbour
(It is now registered BCK 225)
'Constancy' BCK225 is visited by uncle William Watson Cheyne (centre) and
nephew Fraser Moray Lanchester (right) c1968
Neil Alexander Pirie looks down on his uncle William aboard 'Constancy' BCK225 c1968
'Constancy' BCK225 moored (left) against Portknockie Harbour pier c1968
Another boat frame under construction in the back yard of 28 Seafield Street, this time for a dinghy
William shows off the dinghy in the back yard of 28 Seafield Street
William shows off the dinghy to visitors in the back yard of 28 Seafield Street
Taking some lads for a row in the new dinghy
Testing the dinghy with an outboard motor in Portknockie Harbour
William at Dillingham Shipyards, North Fremantle, Western Australia
William with a trawler ready for launch at Dillingham Shipyards, North Fremantle
William with the trawler 'Aru No.2' ready for launch at Dillingham Shipyards, North Fremantle
We hope you like our photos.