Thursday, 26 April 2012


Alongside the harbour quayside in Anstruther, opposite the Fisheries Museum is a 70 foot Fifie herring drifter.  She belongs to the museum and is maintained by volunteers who belong to the Museum Boats Club. She is called the Reaper FR 958 (FR for Fraserburgh). A work party was just arriving for their early morning restoration and maintenance work.

The full story is here on the Scottish Fisheries Museum website.

Built by J. & G. Forbes of Sandhaven in 1901, she is 21 metres long and of carvel construction, using larch planking on larch and oak frames. First registered at Fraserburgh in 1902, she operated initially as a sailing lugger with a main dipping lugsail and a mizzen standing lug sail. There would have been a crew of around eight to work the nets which were set at dusk and hauled in at dawn. Once the haul was complete, a swift return to port would ensure the best prices for the earliest-sold catches.

Reaper later spent many years in Shetland fishing for herring in the summer and she was fitted with an engine between the Wars. During World War II she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and served in the southeast of England, often being used as a barrage balloon mooring. After the war, she resumed fishing in Shetland and continued until 1957.

From 1959 she served the local council as a general purpose cargo boat until the introduction of the roll on-roll off ferries when she was retired from service. [Wikipedia]

Reaper was purchased by the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, Fife in 1975 and restored to her traditional sailing configuration as a two-masted sailing lugger, much as she would have appeared when first going to sea in 1902. Renamed Reaper FR958, she is one of the last authentic survivors of this type of vessel, once plentiful on the east coast of Scotland. [Photo and text: Wikipedia]

Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection, she sails regularly in the summer months. [Photo and text: Wikipedia]  Here she is at Dunbar on the East Coast of Scotland.

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