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Shetland's Boats 
origin, evolution and use

Join author Marc Chivers on a voyage of discovery into the origin, evolution and use of these unique open boats. It explores the central role these four and six-oared boats played in everyday Shetland life, meeting boatbuilders and the people whose way of life was centred on, and dependent upon, these seaworthy craft. 

This book is the culmination of Marc's PhD research which he completed in 2017. 

Purchase this book from the Shetland Times Bookshop 

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Video interview conducted by Dr Jeanine Pfeiffer with Dr Marc Chivers who talks about his new book and provides insight into the central role Shetland's unique open boats played in everyday Shetland life.

My Story

Growing-up in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, Marc developed a love for sailing, and spent many happy hours messing around in boats on the Thames Estuary. Marc graduated with an honours degree in fine art from Wimbledon School of Art, and had a career in healthcare education and training management that was halted by an opportunity to fulfil an ambition to learn how to build traditional wooden boats.


After completing a nine month full-time course at the Boatbuilding Academy in Lyme Regis Marc and his partner Rachel (Rae) spent five weeks in southern India, this was followed by a sailing trip, crewing on board a very old 38ft wooden Bristol Channel pilot cutter called Dolphin, which sailed from Ørnes in Norway to Svalbard. On their return to the UK Marc and Rae moved to Devon in their live-in van so that Marc could work for wooden boatbuilder Ash Butler. Marc and Rae were living on a 42ft yacht in Old Mill Creek on the river Dart when Marc saw an email advertising a fully funded PhD researching Shetland’s traditional small open boats. He applied and was accepted, and in September 2013, Marc and Rae moved to Burra, Shetland which is where they continue to live.


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