Isleornsay Inn


Sleat At Sea

On the Yachts

In 1983, Donald MacDonald, 1 Teangue, (born 1915 in Tarskavaig), was interviewed as part of a Sleat History Project. He told of his experiences as a young man working on a yacht.

I went to a yacht as a sailor. Many men from Tarskavaig went to yachts in summer. They would leave in spring and return at harvest time. Most of them would usually cut the peat before leaving and do the ploughing and the rest of the spring work. They would then be back in time to cut the corn.

I would have been about 20 years old. It was a local man who took me with him. There were two of us from Tarskavaig on the yacht. We were based in Ireland, in Loch Belfast. The yacht was called "Moire" and was owned by a Major Workman who was a linen manufacturer in Belfast. She was a sailing yacht, although she had an engine and was at least 22 tons. Two of us crewed her and she could normally sleep four guests. We used to come up the west coast of Scotland up to the sea lochs and up to the north of Scotland. I did the cooking, stewarding and catering. I also looked after the engine, doing everything, the sails as well.

The pay was not great at that time. My first pay packet was £2 10s for a week’s work. But we got clothing as well - a suit, trousers, shoes, wellingtons, an oilskin, coat, sou’wester, two jerseys, white jackets, apron and a knitted cap. After a few years the Second World War war broke out and that put an end to the yachting.

Before my time on the yacht, there were bigger yachts with more crew, some with six to twelve of a crew.