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McGruer centreboard sloop

  • Designer: McGruer
  • Builder: McGruer & Co
  • Year: 1966
  • Location Scotland
  • Length on deck: 29'
  • Beam: 9'
  • Draft: 2'6"/5'4"


REF: 4706

Full Specification

Wooden ships comments on this McGruer Centreboard Sloop

The Loch Fyne Skiff  was a type of sailing fishing boat common to the West  Coast of Scotland. The design had probably evolved from the Norse type with it’s distinctive pointed stern but saw it’s most extreme development in the late 19th century. By this time the boats had a very marked drag to the keel, a steeply raked stern post with flared after sections, a generous beam and good freeboard. The stem was straight and the rudder hung on the raked stern post. The traditional Loch Fyne skiff type fishing boat usually carried a single lug sail and was built in any size between 25’ and 40’.

The result was a very handy boat which responded well to her helm, made well to windward and was capable of carrying a good catch of fish.

It was inevitable that the type was adopted by yachtsmen and developed into a yacht as  happened with the Falmouth Quay Punt, the Essex Bawley and many other local designs.

McGruer centreboard sloop

This yacht is a loose interpretation of the type by McGruers, the great Scottish West Coast design office and boat-yard but some of the distinctive features are there – the pointed, flared stern, the beam and the free-board. However the under-water profile is very different from the original, this boat having a shoal draft and centre-board in a long straight keel making her a very interesting and versatile yacht.

Add to this imaginative design her all-varnished hull and excellent condition and we have a truly remarkable yacht.

She was built for Robert Dunlop who moored her in Loch Creran, Argyll and used her for family sailing on the West Coast and the Outer Isles.

After 23 years ownership she was sold by Wooden Ships in 1990 to David Faulkner and moved to Strangford Lough in N Ireland from where she cruised with the young family to the Scottish West Coast and up as far as the Isle of Skye and other islands.

After 15 years in Ireland she was sold again by Wooden Ships in 2004 to Robert McAndrew from Aberdeen in  and 2006 returned to the West Coast of Scotland. Some refurbishment work was undertaken including new rigging and sails before being sold to Colin Tindal in 2007.

Colin was a very experienced yachtsman having previously owned several of James McGruer’s best known yachts. He undertook a full refurbishment program restoring her woodwork to its stunning original condition, fitting a new Beta Marine diesel engine and new upholstery for the cabin. She was kept initially in Crinan Harbour where she was used for day sailing with grandchildren. When Colin moved to Aberdeenshire, he moved Ptarmigan to a mooring in Badachro but she was still winterised each year in Crinan where the yard maintained her to Colin’s high standards.  With Colin’s passing she came into the ownership of his son.

Designed and built by McGruers of Clynder in 1966.

Construction.  Carvel planked in 7/8” larch all cut from one tree kept in the yard for many years until the order for the right boat came along. Splined seams, the topsides varnished with a remarkable finish.

All copper fastened to heavy laminated mahogany frames with 2 steamed oak intermediate timbers. Laminated mahogany back-bone. Oak floors.

Long external iron ballast keel slotted to take the centre-board plate.

Galvanised steel centre-board plate
with s/s pin, the centre-board box unobtrusive partly in the cabin by the entrance steps and partly under the bridge deck.  The centre-board is lifted on a stainless steel cable to a bronze winch on the cock-pit bulkhead operated from the cock-pit by a winch handle through the bulkhead.

Scrubbed teak yacht laid deck on a ply sub-deck between varnished mahogany cover-boards and king planks with shallow toe rail.

extends forward as far as the mast with varnished mahogany coamings set with 2 rectangular windows in bronze bezels each side, sheathed ply roof with grab rails.

Port off-set entrance with sliding hatch and 3 wash-boards.

Varnished fore hatch, mushroom vent and Sampson post on the fore deck.

The cock-pit is divided into two parts with a self-draining after well for the helmsman and a deep, spacious main cock-pit well for the crew, sheltered by the overhanging coach-roof. A low level bridge deck against the cabin bulkhead under the overhang provides good sheltered seating.

The main bridge deck between the cock-pit and the helmsman’s well is at main deck level, teak laid like the main deck and carries the sheet winches.

The whole area is protected by varnished mahogany coamings running from the coach-roof aft.

The engine is partly under the main bridge deck and partly under a box in the main cock-pit which also provides a useful seat or table.


Bermudian sloop rig on varnished mast stepped in a galvanised shoe on the fwd end of the coach-roof. A new mast by Collars was fitted in 2013.

Varnished roller reefing boom with double-tailed sheets.

Galvanised rigging wire renewed in 2004
with s/s rigging screws to internal galvanised chain plates, single lowers, cap shrouds around spreaders, and jumper struts above. Standing back-stay to a galvanised steel loop secured to the stern post head with the tiller passing through it.

Single fore stay to heavy galvanised stem-head fitting with twin chain rollers.


Winches. Pair of Lewmar sheet winches on the bridge deck accessible to either the helmsman or the crew in the cock-pit.



Mainsail on roller reefing – believed 2007

Genoa with roller reefing – reefing gear and sail 2007

Working jib, storm jib – all over 20 years old.

Spinnaker – age unknown, relatively recent



Beta Marine B25HE 3-cylinder diesel engine installed new in 2009.

Fresh water cooled with heat exchanger.

Single lever controls from the helmsman’s cock-pit.

Centre-line installed in a sound insulated box against the bridge deck to centre-line 2 blade prop. gives 6 knts.

12v battery on 12v circuits.



Fuel                 40 gall stainless steel tank under the main cock-pit bridge deck/seat.

Water              39 galls in stainless steel tank


Accommodation                    4 berths

Fore peak stowage under the fore deck with anchor warp on a drum for easy stowage.

Bulkhead to the main cabin with port and stbd settee berths fitted with white-piped blue cloth covers, back rest against exposed varnished ship’s sides.

2 further occasional pipe-cots under cock-pit side decks roll out on poles.

Owners frequently use the cock-pit as 2 berths with a boom tent over.

Lockers above the fwd ends of the berths between vertical mast support posts.

Baby Blake sea toilet in after stbd corner compartment with curtain across.

Fwd part of the centre board case on the centre-line.

Port off-set steps to cock-pit.

Galley in after port corner with smart Plastimo 2-burner and grill gimballed gas cooker in a recess and a rectangular s/s sink alongside against the bulkhead with hand pump from 30 gall s/s water tank, drains overboard.

2 Camping Gas bottles in ventilated cock-pit locker.

5’6” head-room in the cabin.

A very smart, clean and simple cabin with varnished coamings and sole boards, varnished mahogany ply joinery with a surprising feel of space.



Sestral compass,

Navico VHF,

CQR 20lb anchor, 15fthms chain

CQR 20lb anchor with 15fthms braided warp on a focsle drum..

Life bouy, life-lines, fire extinguisher.

2 Camping Gas bottles in ventilated cock-pit locker.

Warps, fenders,

Boom tent, all-over winter cover on a frame.


These particulars have been prepared in good faith from information provided by the Vendors and are intended as a guide, Wooden Ships cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. The Purchaser should instruct his agent or surveyor to validate all details as necessary and satisfy himself with the condition of the vessel and its equipment.

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