Waterlily (‘Lily’)

North Isles Yole

Waterlily rigged ashore

A small North Isles Yole of 14′ length and 6′ beam. Mast and spars, oars and sails all believed to be original.

Waterlily was built in the northern Orkney isle of Eday around 1870-1880 by Robert Miller of Sandybank. She is complete with a dipping lug sail and jib, as well as mast, spars and oars. She is a rare example of a 150 year old traditional Orkney wooden boat in original condition. The only known ‘alteration’ being the addition of alternate copper nailing to prevent any danger to her strength and form by inevitable deterioration of her original iron nailing.

Before Waterlily was donated to OHBS, she had been in the Foulis family in Deerness, Orkney, for five generations, being used for family fishing trips and leisure sailing. The boatbuilder, Robert Miller, was born c1832 in Eday, and was apprenticed to the renowned Sanday boatbuilder Thomas Omand of Towerhill. He is recorded in the 1851 Census as an apprentice to Thomas in Sanday, at the same time as his cousin Peter Miller, also of Eday. Peter would later move to Westray, marrying Ann Rendall of Bucklesberry.

October 2019

The interior of the hull was cleaned of all bruck to help the drying process. The only really rotten parts of the boat are some of the floor boards.

November 2019 – January 2020

The cleanup starts with paint stripping to accelerate drying and to allow a better inspection of the wood.

Summer-Autumn 2020

Restoration work commences

2021 & early 2022

Painting complete, Lily is moved into the Old Herring Factory. She still requires a board replacing which we will do once we have a supply of boat skin larch planks to work with. While inside we test rigged Lily to check that we could find all the bits and pieces and work out how to put them together.