Vaila Mae (Shetland Museum Sixareen)

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Launch Invitation.

Until the end of the 19th century Sixareens (also spelled Sixern) were regularly built in Shetland, and used extensively for the Haaf fishing. However the building of such craft declined rapidly as larger vessels, such as the Shetland Haddock Boat, became established.
In 1988 a replica Sixareen, the 'Far Haaf' was built in Unst by Duncan Sandison and a group of volunteers. This vessel was sadly destroyed by a storm in 1992, but a replacement, also called the 'Far Haaf' was built in 1993, and can be seen in a special enclosure outside the Unst Boat Haven.

Now, another Sixareen has been built in the boat shed of the Shetland Museum.
Craftsmen Jack Duncan and Robbie Tait have taken just over 3 months to complete the Vaila Mae. She is based on the Industry, the last survivor of the Haaf fishing days, which is on display in the museum.
She was launched and named at a ceremony on June 21st 2008, to coincide with the Johnsmas Foy.
The name Vaila Mae is in memory of a young girl, Vaila Mae Harvey from Virkie, who had recently, tragically died from cancer.

Although wood for her mast and yard had been obtained, the Vaila Mae was not rigged for sail during her first season. In 2009 a full traditional Dipping Lug rig was installed. The wood in question, was from wind blown trees at the Sullom plantation, and this could be the first time that Shetland grown wood has been used for this purpose.
(Unless otherwise stated, all photographs on this page, and the gallery files, have been taken by Heimdal)

Sixareen 011.JPG
Laura Kay and Vaila Mae, ready for launch. Photo by Jeannie

Launch Day 21st June

Click on any image to enlarge

The Haddock Boat and Sixareen side by side on the slipway.
Museum Curator, Tommy Watt, prepares the painters.
The Haddock Boat, built by Malcolm Hutchison, from an original in the Unst Boat Haven.
Jimmy Moncrieff of Shetland Amenity Trust making his short speech.
Tommy Watt, with the two girls, Aimee Goddard and Miriam Brett who named the sixareen.
Malcolm and Charlie unship the rudder from 'Laura Kay' before the launch.
Aimee and Miriam name the sixareen 'Vaila Mae'.
Jack and Robbie attach the nameboard.
Rev Gordon Oliver gives a blessing for the boats.
Ready to launch.
Down the slipway.
The two boats take to the water together.
Robbie at the helm as the sixareen leaves Hay's Dock for the first time.
Underway with Aimee and Miriam on the forehead taft.
'Laura Kay' under oars.
Change of crew for 'Vaila Mae'.
Fair Isle gansies at the launch.
Bairns making paper and wood boats in the boatshed.

After The Launch

Vaila Mae lies peacefully alongside the Pilot Us, in Hay's Dock
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Sailing with Dipping Lug rig, 2009.


{{#ev:youtube|VabC84i_YGw}} Above video by: Digital Imagineering {{#ev:youtube|RiflVYu0ZIA}} Above video by: Digital Imagineering {{#ev:youtube|0AX3Q85Cx4o}} {{#ev:youtube|qOhY3hHOiHI}} {{#ev:youtube|lOVRx9gMD7A}}

Links To Older Pictures

Pictures from 6th to 13th February

Pictures from 14th to 21st February

Pictures from 22nd February to 4th March

Pictures from 5th to 14th March

Pictures from 17th to 31st March

Pictures from 1st to 10th April

Pictures from 11th to 23rd April

Pictures from 24th April to 30th May

Pictures from 2nd to 19th June

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