An admirer of the Shetland ‘sixareen’ and the part she had played in Shetland’s maritime history, Duncan Sandison set out to find an old sixareen in a repairable condition to add to the growing collection.
That proved to be a non-starter but having looked long, measured, photographed and gathered data from all available sources he decided that the only solution was to build. No such boat had been built in Shetland for a hundred years, but, the materials were available and so were able boat building craftsmen.
The ‘Far Haaf’ called after the old fishing grounds, was launched in 1987, a memorable day for Unst. This much admired craft was well used and well travelled. She proved to be good to row and a ‘delight to sail’. By 1990, the thought of a suitable building to house the growing fleet was strong enough to warrant a letter to the Shetland Department Of Leisure and Recreation.They were always very positive and helpful however, events took their own course in the early hours of New Years Day 1992. A hurricane struck Unst, of such ferocity that the anemometer blew away. A great deal of damage was done all over Unst but as far as our story is concerned the greatest loss was the roof of the Swedish Kirk, causing the destruction of Maid Of Thule and the loss of the Far Haaf which took off, with trailer, from the ‘lea side’ of the Swedish Kirk and was wrecked.
This event made the need for a safe haven for the boat collection even more urgent. Where there’s a will….how true! To hear that a new Far Haaf was on the stocks was, to put it mildly, a boost for Unst’s battered morale. She was built in record time and launched in 1993. To hear that a purpose built boat haven was also under way was also a boost.