'Rowan IV' is an attractive and classic boat, well known in the west of Scotland. She was designed by James McGruer and built at McGruer and Co. of Clynder in 1938. 2017 finds her wintering in a shed at Rosneath, some 300 metres from where she was first launched.
Built as a private yacht along the lines of a Loch Fyne Skiff, 'Rowan' is a very pretty boat. She is gaff-rigged with tan sails, a pronounced sheer, a canoe stern, wooden spars and gleaming mahogany topsides. She has been sensitively restored, 2011 - 2015 to reflect her McGruer heritage.
She was built for Dr R B Carslaw, a Glasgow surgeon who owned and sailed a series of four sailing boats, all called 'Rowan'. He wrote a very readable account of his family sailing in these different boats on the west coast of Scotland in the 1920s and 1930s. This book, called ‘Leaves from Rowans’ logs’ contains a detailed account of 'Rowan IV' when she was built, and her first two summers on the west coast of Scotland.
Carvel built, with mahogany planking on 2 inch oak frames at 11 to 12 inch intervals. She has the tightly curved canoe stern and pronounced sheer typical of a Loch Fyne Skiff. The planking is splined above the waterline, and filled below. The topsides are in excellent condition and varnished to a high standard. There is a white boot-top, and red anti-foul below. Forward of the cockpit she has a characteristic McGruer semi-doghouse in teak which gives excellent standing cover against wind and spray, making a spray-hood unnecessary. In fact sitting in the cockpit at anchor, one always thinks that the wind has gone down!
She has a long iron ballast keel weighing two and a quarter tons, with additional internal ballast in the form of lead blocks under the cabin sole.There are 16 wooden floors in good condition, with wooden bearers above these for the cabin sole. The hull was lifted off the iron ballast keel and all the keel bolts were renewed in 1989.
The deck is epoxy-sheathed ply which replaced the original canvas covered deck. This is painted cream and is in excellent condition. There is an un-varnished 2.5 inch teak toe-rail, a teak rubbing strake, and a brass rubbing strip on this. Stainless steel stanchions and guard rails. Twin roller stem-head fitting.
There is a fore-hatch with centre light opening onto the fore-deck. There is a 5 foot 6 inch long teakkylight over the central part of the saloon, and a cabin trunk in advance of the dog-house, each giving 6 foot standing room below.
The internal accommodation is enchanting, in good original condition, in varnished mahogany and teak. All upholstery was replaced in 2011, new cushions, covered in blue textured vinyl. Sleeps 2 or 3 in comfort, 4 or 5 on occasional basis. The cockpit is exceptionally deep and comfortable, seating 4 or 5 with ease. Circular coaming around sides and rear. Bench seat across rear of cockpit, removable to allow one or two to sleep under totally enclosed cockpit cover.
Doghouse roof extends aft over forward part of cockpit with sliding hatch, and wash-boards leading to cabin. There is a sheltered seat on either side in doghouse, to port over engine/electric control box, and to starboard over battery box.
Saloon. Three steps down from cockpit into galley area with 6-foot standing room under cabin trunk. Galley to starboard, and cupboard, wardrobe, and locker storage to port. Attractive keyhole bulkhead to main saloon.
Drop-leaf table with 2 drawers, against edge of starboard settee. Teak-framed skylight above, giving 6 foot standing headroom. Skylight gives excellent light to saloon, with small porthole on either side.
Settee berth on each side of the main saloon, each measures full 6 feet; the port settee folds out to form a double berth. Settee backs fold inboard with storage on shelves behind, and storage above settee on each side. There are ‘trotter box’ lockers with shelf and small shelves above, at each end of each settee.
All settee cushions and backs re-upholstered with new Dunlopillow and washable blue textured vinyl in summer 2011.
Space Heater. Very effective classic Taylors (065 Voyager) paraffin space-heater on starboard bulkhead at forward end of saloon. Also provides modest amount of hot water. Paraffin tank for space heater and cooker under starboard settee.
Water tanks. 25 gallon water tank below each settee (total 50 gallons) with communicating pipe and original brass manual pump at galley basin.
Planked mahogany cabin-sole laid on bearers.
Fore-peak. Port off-set bulkhead door leading to fore-peak. Child’s bunk on starboard with lockers, and chain-locker below. Removable pipe-cot with fittings to port, with hooks for warps and lines. Forward in fore-peak is Jabsco 3000 series sea toilet. Fisherman secondary anchor and warp stored against samson post. Fore-peak deck-head has forward-hinged fore-hatch, mushroom vent.
Galley to starboard in aft part of saloon, deck prism above. Taylors (030) paraffin cooker with two burners (with grill under) and oven. Storage for crockery above with mirror and opening port-hole. Stainless steel basin with manual brass water pump in front of cooker. Storage for pots and pans below. Paraffin tank for cooker and space heater is under starboard settee.
Internal lights (electric) in cockpit, galley, saloon and fore-peak. One wall-mounted paraffin lamp.
Spars are all in varnished wood
Mast. Keel-stepped. 33' from step in forepeak. Standing rigging is 8mm stainless steel, 3 shrouds on each side with bronze bottle screws. Fore-stay to tip of bowsprit, inner fore-stay to stem. Running back-stay to each side of dog-house.
Gaff.12', with leather-covered metal jaws. Peak and throat halyards.
Boom. 16' 6". Galvanised goose-neck band carries halyard winch on port and anchor windlass to starboard. Boom sheets to original galvanised horse across re-inforced roof of dog-house.
Bowsprit. 3 foot 6 inches, with fixed chain bobstay.
CQR, 35 pounds, main anchor lashed to side-deck, with 55 metres of 3/8 inch chain.
Fisherman, 25 pound secondary anchor stored in fore-peak, with 5 metres of 3/8 inch chain and 50 metres of 16 mm nylon warp.
New sails in tan Dacron by Owen Sails in 2012. Designed by Chris Owen to reflect the original sail plan which was restored at that time. We have copies of the original drawings and sail plan by McGruer and Co.
Loose footed gaff mainsail, 2-level slab reefing, 244 square feet.
Furling jib foresail, 167 square feet.
Roller reefing for headsail, Harken, Cruising Unit 1, Fitted at time of new sails in 2012.
Canvas covers. Burgundy coloured acrylic canvas covers for mainsail, cockpit, main sky-light and fore-hatch. All except main-sail cover were renewed by Owen Sails in 2012. Cockpit cover supported by stainless steel frame.
Winches. Two winches for foresail sheets, deck mounted on mahogany plinths, one adjacent to each side of cockpit. LEWMAR 16 BST (Bronze self-tailing single-speed winch with standard modern winch handle), new in 2014. Original galvanised winch, mounted on goose-neck band for halyards and general work.
Deck cleats. Davey type bronze 8 inch deck cleats, 2 aft and 1 forward on each side. Single bronze fairlead each side at stern.
Windlass. Hand operated anchor-chain windlass, mounted on goose-neck band, lays chain to chain locker in fore-peak, surprisingly light and easy to use.
Samson post, wooden 5 inch square on fore-deck for general mooring and warps.
Engine and mechanicals
Engine. NANNI N4-38 Marine Diesel Engine. 4-cylinder 37.5 hp. 1498 ccs. Commissioned new in July 2008. Current total hours to date, 880 hors. Serviced regularly according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Gearbox. Hurth ZF 10 M marine gearbox, standard to Nanni diesel engine.
Engine controls. Standard type single lever control (Morse MV-2)
Shaft Seal. PSS (Packless Shaft Seal), rubber bellows type, renewed 2015.
Rope cutter. Shaft mounted ‘Spurs’ rope-cutter adjacent to prop.
Propeller. Bronze 3-blade fixed-blade propeller. New replacement in March 2015 with exact copy of original.
Anode on rear quarter under-side of hull, with shaft brush to propeller shaft, and ‘earth’ lead to engine.
Diesel fuel tanks (2), one under each side of side deck adjacent to cockpit. Both renewed (port 2015, starboard 2011) with Tektank custom-made MDPE moulded tanks. Total capacity 110 litres. New fuel lines throughout.
Batteries. Two sealed lead acid batteries, both the same. NUMAX, XV27MF ‘Sealed leisure Battery’ 100AH. Fixed under seat at forward starboard part of cockpit.