About the SHTP project: This Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership (SHTP) project is managed by NHS-UK and funded by a £261,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund Skills for the Future programme. It provides ten 12-month training placements at five partner sites offering on-board specialist training to ensure the significance of the various historic vessels and the ability to operate them safely and effectively is kept alive. The trainees will also undertake a tailored course in historic vessel maintenance at the International Boatbuilding Training College and an interpretation placement at the Scottish Fisheries Museum. A skills mapping exercise will provide template training models for the wider sector and an assessment framework for seamanship skills will be developed as a project legacy.


Shipshape Scotland hosts one of the five partner organisations in the form of the Scottish Fisheries Museum, Anstruther, a National Museum, telling the story of the Scottish fishing industry, its boats, harbours and communities. http://www.scotfishmuseum.org/reaper.  Whilst at the Scottish Fisheries Museum, the trainees will undertake the following:

  • Sailing on board the Museum vessels - Reaper, a restored Fifie sailing herring drifter and the baldie White Wing, (both lug rig)
  • Learning traditional seamanship and deck work on board lug-rigged vessels, including: handling the rig safely and setting sails for optimum performance, understanding the physics of the rig, boatwork, steering, ropework, and safety on traditional vessels
  • Undertaking specialist maintenance tasks on the Museum vessels
  • Evening and weekend team rowing activity with the Rowing Club on one of the Museum’s St Ayles skiffs
  • Undertaking curatorial, museum conservation and interpretation work, including skills in fundraising, business and conservation planning, researching vessel significance and audience development etc to better understand the historic vessels in the collection

Working with the visiting public, welcoming school groups to the vessels and integrating with volunteers from the local community


Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership film

The documentary has been produced to celebrate the end of the SHTP project after two amazing years.

Watch "Learning the ropes"


December 2015: Update

During the last three weeks at the IBTS Olivier captured the opportunity to increase his proficiency in in joinery, seeking to obtain a great finish at every step. He worked on different types of wood, such as beech, iroko and mahogany and trying various techniques to obtain best results for each of them. Olivier initially realized a mallet made of beech wood. The work had to be very precise and everything was realized by hand. The surface was finished with two layers of linseed oil. In advance on the program, he also had a very intensive one day course on traditional wood turning. As an exercise he realized a rolling pin which turned up being very complicated because of the different sizes of the handles that have to be reproduced exactly on both ends exactly with the same shape. He worked on dovetails joints for the following four days. He delivered a clean job at the end, realizing few different dovetails. The last part of the program was to make spar. After finishing the program in advance, he was invited to work with PJ Hummel on the preparation of the IBTC stand for the London boat show. Each teacher produced some special objects for this and he helped in making the model of a wooden mast and two little seats.

Once back in Scotland at the Scottish Fisheries Museum he will deliver an engine maintenance course to the boatyard trainees, finish the restorations on the Scaffie and other small projects. He also prepared a short presentation for the SHTP Networking Day early next January.

Read here about the end of the course at the IBTC


November 2015: Update

November started with a diesel maintenance course which gave Olivier an important and useful qualification. Was presented to him a rich collection of engines spare parts, a full explanation of the history of the maritime engineering evolution: water cooling, air admission, exhaust, Fuel treatments, contamination problems, electricity supply on board, risk assessment; as well as their demonstration straight on boats ashore in the marina.

After the course, he left Lowestoft to spend few days sailing on board of the Thames barge Reminder for a group sail with all the other trainees where he exchanged points of view and provided his feed-back to the SHTP manager, and was filmed by a professional team.

Back to IBTC, he had a successful sailmaking masterclass which took three intensive days, learning the most used techniques to reinforce and to repair sails on board. This was followed by some classes of wooden work, learning how to recognize an appropriate material and its quality. Understanding techniques for isolating the deck, Olivier first learned how to build a light deck building, with seems filling with Sikaflex, and then the way to seal traditional deck, made of thick plank with oakum and pitch. He appreciated to exercise himself in working safely during dangerous operations. He practiced on a two square meters deck model getting right cotton or oakum thickness, stretching it, caulking on the deck, preparing the pitch, burning the extra fibres after caulking, obtaining a neat surface, putting the pitch in the seams and removing all for the next students. After a short course of splicing on rope in March, he continued his preparation with a much more complex wire splicing session. Olivier finished this month with a joinery course during which he completed some exercises, realized tools, practiced woodturning and spar making.

Read here more about the IBTC course


October 2015: Update

The writing of Maggie’s restoration plan gave Olivier a great opportunity to discuss about all the different sides of the maritime heritage restoration in general.

With the Scottish Fisheries Museum team he followed the assessments to understand how she boat was used at different periods of her life. After two weeks of work and some wrong clues Olivier is now looking for the new documentation that could be provided a better insight of Maggie’s history. He is also planning to invite the owner’s family to the museum in January to talk about the boat and to learn all they know about her history. Olivier completeded some conservation works applied by the Museum’s boatyard. His work on Maggie consisted first in a deep cleaning realized with sponge, water, non-ionic detergent, ethanol and vacuum cleaner. He also worked on the corroded original fittings to stabilize them, leaning all the pieces with a fiberglass brush to get reed of the red corrosion. Then, Olivier prepared and applied a solution of tannic acid treating the metal by converting the oxidation in steel. At last, in order to protect the treated metal from the external environment in case of a high level of humidity, he applied a layer of micro-crystal wax.

At the end Olivier also retouched the painting on the bilge with an acrylic painting, applied strictly on the visible wood in order to bring homogeneity to the hull, using slightly different colours from the originals to distinguish the original from the retouched parts.

Read here the full report on Maggie


September 2015: Update

Olivier’s most important of the month was to contribute to a new boat entering into the museum permanent collection. He discovered in Dysart an 1880’ Scaffie lying on the peer in poor state. Thanks to the knowledge acquired since the beginning of the SHTP project, Olivier was able to recognize the originality of the boat and foreseen the great opportunity for the museum to fulfil a gap in the permanent collection. On several travels to Dysart, he photographed the boat, reinforced her rain protection, bringing the boatyard manager and the curators discussing the possible interest of her integration into the permanent collection. Finally the team brought the boat to the museum becoming nearly the oldest hull of the museum collection. “Maggie” is now under restoration, before to be displayed. Olivier suggested a new restoration plan in accordance with the curators and the boatyard manager. They will try to stabilise the boat without processing her full restoration, keeping the idea of a working boat, without painting her, saving and making visible the original layers and retouching old parts in a way that is not clearly visible at the first sigh. Next month, this project will be presented to the Museum’s Trustees for validation.

September started with Olivier presenting to the public the results of my three month work on Kingsbarns’ harbour for the The Scottish Days of Archaeology. The peculiar topic was initiated in February and developed to a larger project of research on the Fife coast vernacular harbors. Every Wednesdays and Saturdays he guided visitors to Kingsbarns’ harbor for an organized visit about history, functioning and context of Kingsbarns and his connections with Crail harbor, very similar in its shape and use. Everybody was surprised to learn more about the massive structure, rediscovering their coast.

Olivier also finalised the inventory of a more than 200 ledger and book collection about the boat building habits, the refit techniques and the fishing industry, gifted to the museum by Robert Prescott. For each document he wrote an accession form, describing the conservation conditions and the location in the store. All information was registered in the museum data base and each document and shelf received an entry number. Working on this inventory Olivier found some points to be improved. He is now organizing a short briefing for the conservators and volunteers on the collection handling methods and dry cleaning techniques using his paper conservator background.

He continued working on the whales’ bones project, searching the best solution for their safe hanging. Thanks to the director’s, Simon Hayhow, help, Olivier got in contact with the conservators of The Natural History Museum in London, who shared their experience with him.

Olivier was involved in a photography collection mounting project. He took the responsibility of ordering all necessary for an important number of single dimension realisation frames. Because some materials required a good experience, Olivier prepared and delivered a two days theoretical and practical course to teach the mounting techniques to the museum team.

Read the full report here.


 August 2015: Update

In August Olivier had an additional exclusive Rotation 3 on the Thames barge Reminder managed by the Sea-Change Sailing Trust. This was in addition to his previous placements on Jolie Brise and Leader.

He received a warm welcome on the boat and immediately became confident with the new rig, conceived to be managed by two people only. Sailing on a barge gave Olivier the occasion to learn many new traditional skills: to set the sails not by hauling but dropping them down from the masts, to adjust the two leeboards to sail on different water levels and wind conditions with a flat bottom and to manual brake with rope all the witches at the same time. He also learnt more about bowsprit restoration plan, a key project of Sea-Change Sailing Trust, in order to bring back the barge to her original condition and speed. 

During the first week they sailed to Chatham and down the rivers all around the Thames estuary with a group of 6 young people. Olivier had the chance to participate in every moment of life on board repairing outboard engines, steering the boat, preparing the rig, and teaching to the student some rope work, work on charts, rowing techniques, and how to sail a dinghy. Moreover he manged to have an afternoon sail on Thistle, a 1895 metal barge and to spend some time on Brent, a steam tug attached to Maldon pier, object of a Conservation Plan developed by another trainee, Daniel, as part of his SHTP Training. During the second week Olivier worked on Reminders’ preparation for the annual barges race. He scraped the hull with hand tools and diesel high pressure washer and then applied an antifouling painting for a better boat performance. After three days of work they sailed to Foulness Island and then anchored in a small river for the next three day. There Olivier and the crew delivered a one-to-one sailing lesson to the young people who had joined the sail of Reminder.


 July 2015: Update

During his Rotation 2 in July, Olivier had the chance to participate in the Tall ship race. He sailed from Belfast to Aalesund in Norway, on board of one of the Brixham trawlers, Leader. The ship arrived to Belfast three days before the race and he had a chance to work on a sail repair, understanding the rig and studying the day-to-day documentation. The engine, the fuel, the water, the electricity and the safety points had to be checked every day in order to prevent from any eventual problem. During the sail Olivier learned how to fold the sails on a Brixham trawler, different from the technique on a smack, even if with the same rig configuration. He also discovered the traditional “stopping a jib” technique to set up the jib and to open it suddenly. Unfortunately, the race was much briefer because of the forecast. 18 hours after the start, Leader and few other vessels were retired and had to find a shelter and to wait for the storm passing by. Olivier then worked on charts, magnetic modifications, tide and route. He also gained an in-depths knowledge of the log book. Leader crossed the North Sea in a deep fog and finally reached the small city of Aalesund.

By the middle of the month Olivier went back to Anstruther. There he continued his work of reorganization of the Scottish Fisheries Museum’s archives, also trying to move ahead with his personal project on Research. Together with the boat yard manager, he looked into new solutions to stabilize the hull of the ship, and preserve her historical aspects.

From the end of July, Olivier also went on an additional rotation on the Thames barge Reminder.

Read the full story here.


June 2015: Update

Olivier had his Rotation 2 on board Jolie Brise. During his first week he learnt more about the history of the boat, which he described as “The most functional and well maintained of the 40 other units built in Le Havre in 1913”.

Staying on board he understood the importance of a routine focused on visitors’ needs, aimed to let them enjoy the life on board. This daily fixed tasks gave him the time to understand and to anticipate what was necessary to do and to become a good crew member.Thanks to his improved abilities he undertook more responsibilities during the second week of the rotation that involved 5 days trip with 8 young students on board, their teacher and a new crew. He worked together with the first mate, learning about the problems caused by the tide and steering the boat in front of Yarmouth harbour.This placement gave Olivier the chance to understand all the particular features of a vessel meant to be accessible for schools and group, different teaching techniques, as well as the financial and the maintenance problems that might occur and how they are managed.

Back in Anstruther at the Scottish Fisheries Museum he managed to go ahead with his project on the whale’s bones he was working on since April. He finalised the pest treatment, improved the original plan and prepared a funding application for it. 


May 2015: Update

Olivier has been working this month on the re-housing of two large whales’ bones given to the museum by the family of Captain William Smith, fisherman from Cellardyke, as a reward for an important catch in the Arctic in the 19th century.  Removed from the fisherman’s house entrance, the project is to use the two bones in a permanent exhibition. They will be placed forming an arch at the entrance of a building which used to be part of the whales fishing company.  Olivier is in charge of the restoration and installation of the bones.  Read the full story here.


Reaper after refitApril 2015: Update

Returning to his host placement at the Scottish Fisheries Museum this month, Olivier had to get started immediately on the refit of ‘Reaper’, preparing her for the season.  Once the masts were lifted in at the beginning of April, lots of volunteers arrived to finish the boat refit: a retired engineer, architects, VHF specialists, rigging specialists. Olivier helped with stripping and painting, bringing the sail on board and participating in the rigging work.  By the end of April, work was complete and Reaper was ready to welcome schools and to sail along the coast for the next six months.

Olivier also worked this month on the restoration of ‘White Wing’ (a small Fifie in the collection) and assisted with the stern post disassembly.  With nearly the entire top frame and two layers of hull plank needing conservation work, it became clear that White Wing will not be able to sail during this 2015 season, as was initially planned.

Olivier has begun to better understand the Museum and its collection, working with the curator Linda Fitzpatrick to make an inventory of the store.  He has worked through the accession forms for more than 200 books, also making a list of preventive conservation recommendations and beginning dry cleaning on the most urgent objects.

He has chosen the subject for his personal project, writing a conservation management plan for the zulu ‘Research’.  Built in 1903, Research is preserved today in the main gallery of the museum.  Olivier has begun research and has found another existing Zulu, ‘Leenan Head’, with the same dimensions, built in 1906, just 3 years after Research, in the same city of Banff.  He hopes to arrange a visit of this vessel to Anstruther later in the year.


March 2015: Update

Olivier spent this month at the International Boatbuilding Training Centre in Lowestoft undertaking a specialist maintenance course with the other SHTP trainees and learning relevant skills such as woodwork, joinery, rigging, painting, coatings and vessel construction.  During the course, the trainees visited the Hunter fleet at Ludham to learn about the way in which the 12 boats are maintained.  Olivier also obtained his RYA Personal Survival certificate during this month.


February 2015: Update

The trainee chosen for SHTP Scotland in Year Two was Olivier Fleygnac who has a passion for boats and cultural heritage.  Growing up in Marseille and Saint-Malo, he had a chance to get afloat at 16 years old.  He went on to do a short sailing course on Le Renard, giving him an introduction to helmsmanship, rigging and rope work and later undertook a masters degree in conservation of cultural heritage.  He has his RYA Yachtmaster Offshore and worked until recently as a conservator.

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