A brief history of the Seine Boat
by Syd Hook
Traditional River Teign Seine Boats are seventeen feet long and clinker built with English Elm bottoms and larch topsides. They were propelled by oars or sails and were usually named after the owner’s mother or wife.
These boats have been used in the Teign Estuary for hundreds of years working salmon seines. A salmon seine is a net that is two hundred yards long and over half a ton in weight. A seine boat carries the net and a four-man crew and is rowed by two fourteen-foot oars. The boats must be able to carry a ton of shellfish and still float in less than eighteen inches of water. In the past the seine boats were also used in the winter months for catching herring and sprats. The conditions would be hazardous when working over the bar entrance of the River Teign and the seine boat, with its excellent safety record, was ideal.
Boat-builder, Mr Alan Chaney, was a builder of traditional wooden boats who converted to building fibreglass boats. On finding a damaged wooden seine boat built by Hook Brothers, who were builders of dozens of wooden boats, he repaired the damage and brought it back to its original condition. From this seine boat he then made a mould for the fibreglass boats, which have become the Seine Boat Class for racing in the River Teign Rowing Club. These races are fiercely contested and are held from April to the end of August each year with four rowers and a coxswain in each boat.