Object Detail

Object Name
Royal Oak

Royal oak is a four-oared Irish gig dating from the early 1800s, made of oak with elm ribs, a fast sea-going boat designed for racing. It has thole pins and bar foot stretchers.

As far as is known it is the oldest racing boat in Britain. It was built for the Bailie family (in 1812?) whose Ringdufferin estate is on Strangford Lough in County Down, Ireland. It is clinker built with square rivets, main timbers being of oak and the seven planks of pitched oak over ribs of elm.

The design was probably influential through the school and student activities of a son of the house, William de Ros, at Westminster and Oxford, where he introduced a racing four in 1816. Royal Oak was crewed by members of the family and their guests as well as the fishing community from nearby Ardmillan, including an all-women crew, and won many races.
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Associated Person
Associated Date
Associated Period
19th century