Thursday, 7 July 2011

Cancellation of Bell Rock sailings

An announcement on behalf of the Scottish Fisheries Museum Boats Club:

July 28-30th, 2011.

To celebrate and support the bicentenary of the building and light up of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, it had been intended that the Boats Club of the Scottish Fisheries Museum would organise three sailings on the 109 year old herring drifter Reaper from Arbroath out to the Bell Rock over the 28-30th July for guests in return for a donation towards the cost of maintaining the boat.

The Museum and Boats Club have been advised that taking individual and group bookings for these sailings and funding these through donations will probably affect both our essential charitable status and our rating under current MCA regulations in being seen to have a commercial trading element.

As it is very important that we protect Reaper’s status as a core member of the UK’s Historic Fleet, the Boats Club has decided – with much regret – to cancel the Bell Rock sailings from Arbroath at the end of July. Reaper will thus not be in Arbroath until we arrive up for the Arbroath Sea Fest on 14th August, with the boat remaining in Arbroath until it leaves for the Stonehaven Harbour Festival on the 20th August.

We realise that this will disappoint those who have made enquiries about coming aboard on these sailings, and we send them our apologies. We trust that the reasons for our decision will be understood as it is important that the basis of funding the continuing existence and operation of this iconic and historic boat is fully protected.

We are exploring other possible ways in which we can make up for the disappointment that will be felt by many as we do seek to make Reaper available to as many of her friends and supporters as possible.

We shall put information about this on the boat’s website ( and on the Museum’s Facebook page. We will welcome all those who had hoped to take part in the Bell Rock sailings onto Reaper during the Arbroath Sea Festival to further explain the reasons for the cancellation, and to express our regrets.

John Firn : Chair Scottish Fisheries Museum Boats Club. 6 July 2011.
Tel : 01333312198 Email :

(With thanks to Wendy Glass)


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