Iain Oughtred: A Life in Wooden Boats

5 reviews

Sale price$29.95


Readers of WoodenBoat magazine will be familiar with Iain Oughtred's work. His Acorn skiffs, Gray Seal, Caledonia Yawl and others are practically legend. Author Nic Compton, former editor at Classic Boat magazine, has written a biography which lets you into Iain's remarkable life.

Iain was instrumental in Britain's wooden boat revival. A former dinghy racer turned boatbuilder and designer, Iain developed a cult following both for the beauty of his designs and the quality of his detailed drawings. He creates boats that are exceptionally appealing, yet inexpensive, and ideally suited for the amateur builder. With over 100 designs (and growing) to his credit, Iain frequently bases designs on traditional local craft.

This comprehensive (and beautifully produced...) book traces Iain's life from Australia to Scotland, including his sabbatical at WoodenBoat in 1986 and other points in between. Many of his most popular designs are shown photographed in gorgeous settings, as well as a healthy selection of plans shown in the design section, plus there is an appendix listing all of his designs.

Cover photographs: top is a Caledonia Yawl, shot by Kathy Mansfield. The lower image is Iain's Elf, photographed by Iain with the snow-covered rocky beach at Findhorn, Scotland in the background. Iain makes his home in the Hebrides... on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

What others are saying about the book:
This sensitively written book is about an artist with a belief in beauty and simplicity, who lives his dreams, mostly by himself, while giving far more to the world than he takes from it. --Maynard Bray, author of Herreshoff of Bristol, Designs to Inspire, and Technical Editor of WoodenBoat magazine.

Late at night, out in the workshop, builder's of Iain's boats have often admitted to feelings of invisible company, of being part of something much bigger; a strong sense that in the act of working with such beauty they too have become part of that great pantheon of boatbuilders. -Robert Ayliffe, founder, Duck Flat Wooden Boats

This is a fine book, both biography and design catalogue, it is a fitting tribute to a remarkable character.--Christian Brook, owner Boat Books Australia


  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: A Childhood Near The Sea
  • Chapter 2: New Beginnings
  • Chapter 3: The Designer As Artist
  • Chapter 4: Among Friends In Maine
  • Chpater 5: A Highland Fling
  • Chapter 6: The Epoxy Connection
  • Chapter 7: Back To The Roots
  • Chapter 8: Epilogue
  • Appendix 1: A Complete List of Oughtred Designs
  • Appendix 2: The Plans (A Selection)
  • Index

    by Nic Compton
    160 pp., hardcover
    9 x 11.25"
    ISBN # 0-937822-99-


    Customer Reviews

    Based on 5 reviews
    Eigil Rothe

    Anything by Nic Compton is good. Anything about Iain Oughtred is amazing. Function becomes art

    Don Ferguson
    Much more than I expected.

    When I received the book, I was in the middle of two projects, and thought “I’ll read it later, when I have time; then when I got your e-mail, asking for a revue, I thought I ought to read a bit. Could not stop reading or put it down. I, (like many others) liked his designs because they were so beautiful. I (as a “prop” builder) also fell in love with the construction concepts. How satisfying it is to find that someone took a disturbing childhood and molded it into making things of such beauty. Inspirational. A lovingly written book. Now, back to work…

    Thomas Wolfe
    Great book

    Great biography of a humble man. Thank you!

    Chris Marr

    Iain Oughtred: A Life in Wooden Boats

    Phil Tarman
    A Beautiful Book!

    I've loved Oughtred boats since I first saw a picture of the Caledonia Yawl. Every design has touched me. If I wasn't old and semi-crippled (and if there was sailing water near me), I'd be building something. Reading about his life deepened my sense of connection. I especially like the new Sharpie design and that was enhanced by the article on the boat in the latest issue of The Wooden Boat Magazine. The Wooden Boat Store's service was outstanding as well.

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