White Wings

White Wings K375

Built 1937 in Deerness by Davie Eunson of Colster, she was fitted for a lugsail and auxiliary motor, and was registered for fishing on 23 August 1938 by William Sinclair Laughton, Park, Holm. The registration was continued until 1969, and cancelled when the boat was sold in 1975.

White Wings is an atypical yole, being smaller than a full-sized yole at 10.9ft of keel, 14.2ft in length, 6.3ft in beam and 2.5ft in depth, and her beam is widest well astern of midships, making her ‘pear shaped’.

Bought at auction by present owner some 35 years ago White Wings is said to have been a good sea boat, but she has not taken to the water for many years, being in dry store in a well-aired shed on Hoy. While she has retained her lines well, restoration to sea-going stand was deemed not be economically viable, and the owner, Lesley McKeown Harmer, donated her to OHBS in late December 2017.

The boat has been tidied up internally, and some stroke repairs, as the result of an accident, attended to. She will go into storage to dry out thoroughly, before being given a scrape down and a fresh coat of paint.

About the builder

David Eunson (1915-1998) of Colster, Deerness, was a talented musician, fiddler and composer, as well as being a poet and artist. He could also turn his hand to many practical tasks, being an accomplished fiddle maker and boatbuilder. As a fiddle player he was for many years a much respected member of both the Orkney Accordion and Fiddle Club and the Orkney Strathspey & Reel Society. His work as a composer of fiddle tunes was acknowledged both locally and further afield. A special collection of his songs, tunes and poems was compiled to celebrate his 80th birthday, and published by The Orcadian as “A Breath of Orkney”. He was also a prolific fiddle maker, making more than 100 fiddles, including the Norwegian style Hardanger fiddle with 8 strings, in a career spanning over 50 years.

Orkney Strathspey and Reel Society playing for Queen Elizabeth II in 1978, when she officially opened the new Council Buildings in School Place, Kirkwall

Davie built his own boat ‘Sunset’, a 16ft yole, which he used to sail and fish the Deerness waters around Copinsay and its neighbouring island, the Horse. The boat was registered for fishing (K366) in 1950, and registration continued until 1982. He enjoyed going to the creels and spending a summer evening handlining for haddocks and cuithes (coalfish) – being a poet, perhaps that experience influenced the naming of his boat!

Work during late 2023 and 2024