During my ‘retirement’ cruise in Brittanny, its a few years ago now, i anchored in the Paluden river above L.Aber-Wrach for a few days and nearly every day one local sailor would come down to the little muddy beach near the head of navigation and get underway in a small open lugger : i got some film at the time but never did get to use it and since then my computer ate the clips so i can’t show them today but the boat was a boxy/chunky and high bowed craft typical of Brittanny. It was there that i photographed the chunky Langoustier alongside the quay at Paluden (above).    I didn’t think about the small dayboat lugger until just recently when my youtube account gave me a recommendation to look at Roger Barnes’s video’s of his small boat sailing around Brittanny in a similar boat : his boat is apparently the ILur dinghy as designed by Francois Vivier who i had only vaguely heard of : i think in the context of designing ‘raid’ boats.  Anyway here is a borrowed photograph of the Ilur : sweet and seamanlike looking little boat that she is.


I didn’t realise that the Ilur and Roger Barnes have featured in his own book on the subject of dinghy cruising : i have a copy and its a very nice book except that the text is annoyingly small such that i get a headache just trying to read it but the pictures are nice !.  Anyway here is one of Rogers video clips.

From what i can gather so far Rogers boat is a traditionally (properly) built boat and that Roger, like me; is a keen francophile and has sailed a lot around the wilder bits of Brittanny : it can be an intimidating place with some of the strongest tides i have ever sailed in, it has frequent fogs and its an absolute rock garden to navigate…..but it is extremely rewarding and it does have a huge contrast in that there is also a much gentler side of Brittanny in the many inlets and rivers.   I enjoyed my time there with the Frances and i think that the many sailors i met enjoyed and appreciated the little Frances : i enjoyed the area even more in the Liberty as the option of very shallow draught and drying out meant that i could enjoy the shallow estuaries and rivers far more. I think i am discovering more and more that its the crinkly edge where the wet stuff meets the hard stuff that is the interesting bit and its boats like the liberty and dayboat/dinghys that are the ones to enjoy that with : its the deeper/wider bit in between here and there that is the problem now !.


Anyway and back to the Ilur.

The Ilur dinghy is one of a series of ‘sail and oar’ boats from the board of Francois Vivier, by far not the only one but it does seem to be the most popular one of about this size and is now available as plans, as kits and in different rig configurations.  Here first is a link to his website :      and here is a link to the classic version of the boat itself :  I think you can well imagine that i was ‘lost in space’ for a while on the website as there are so many interesting designs.   There is also a kit available from Jordan boats : which i think is to build the slightly lighter clinker/ply version which is also a good looking boat.


ilur 16

Tempted ? hell yes.

It is also making me rethink the Dinghy cruiser idea as its a very similar looking hull to the Devon Yawl which started life not as a racing dinghy but as an inshore fishing boat so maybe i need to put the DY back on the menu if one comes up locally or make it an excuse to just ‘pop over’ to Cambridgeshire to go see the old folks.


Thinks :  “asymmetric spinnaker”

Comments :

Peter Cash wrote :  “Again, gets my vote. Nice blog.

Stephen Mundane wrote :      “Indeed — very good; both the Ilur and Devon Yawl are good looking boats. And I thought it was just me that struggled with the font size while reading Roger Barnes’ book — glad I’m not alone!


  1. Indeed — very good; both the Ilur and Devon Yawl are good looking boats. And I thought it was just me that struggled with the font size while reading Roger Barnes’ book — glad I’m not alone!


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