Rory’s boats

[27 May 2021] There are three things I always read or hear about Rory McCann in more recent media stories about him: that he’s single, that he’s reclusive, and that he lives on a boat.

Life’s funny. He may not be single anymore, which would certainly affect how reclusive he is. And now I’m not sure if he still lives on a boat either.

I don’t know what got him started wanting a boat but, pending finding some interview or article that clarifies the issue, I suspect he got bit by the bug when he filmed Beowulf and Grendel. If you watch that movie you’ll see what I mean. I just have a feeling. Count this “rank speculation.” The earliest article I have where he mentions owning a boat is from 2009 after he returned to Scotland from Iceland. I have no idea what kind of boat it was.

Sometime in 2014 or 2015 he was telling HBO that he had the Hound’s swords on the wall above the front door in his house. House, not boat. But at some point he definitely had a sailboat, whether he was living on it all the time or not. I call this Blue Boat and here’s a photo of him on it:

Rory on Blue Boat

The eBay listing where he sold this boat is no longer live but I believe that occurred in 2017.

His next boat I will refer to as Wooden Boat and he was already working on that one by 2016, as I’ve seen in photographic evidence from that year. Thus:

Rory on Wooden Boat, 2016

The party line about Wooden Boat among fans seems to be that Rory had earned enough from Game of Thrones to finally buy a larger boat that he could actually stand up in without opening any hatches. I’ve seen the stats for this boat and sure enough, he had exactly six and a half feet worth of head clearance inside it.

In January and February 2021 I started wondering, though. Around that time, another fan ran across what looked like a recent sales ad for his boat and asked me about it, and the information included in the listing didn’t match up with what I knew about his time on it. The occupation for the owner didn’t fit, the year purchased didn’t fit, and portions of the interior looked completely different, which initially I put down to the restoration work Rory had mentioned doing on it. Someone else pointed out to me that the year of manufacture and the photos of the boat didn’t match either (if you zoomed in on the exterior photo, it had the wrong name on the hull), and yet the ad was using Wooden Boat’s name and referring to a trip in 2019 that sounded a lot like Rory’s trip to Norway in the same time frame.

I can’t decide if someone really was trying to sell Rory’s boat but used another boat’s photos to illustrate the ad, or if they were trying to sell another boat in the same class by the same maker and copy/pasted the ad copy from when Rory’s boat was last offered for sale and didn’t edit Rory’s boat name out of it. That wouldn’t explain the description of what looks like Rory’s trip to Norway in ’19, however.

Depending on what’s going on, it’s possible that Rory never owned Wooden Boat but merely helped to restore it in exchange for being allowed to live on it for some time or being allowed to rent it as a temporary home. This would not have been the first time he’d ever entered into such an unconventional living arrangement. He is friends with a person who works at the marina where Wooden Boat is or was docked, whether as a regular employee or manager or owner I do not know, and could be the marina friend is the actual owner of Wooden Boat, going by the description of the owner in the sales ad I mentioned earlier. I do know Rory worked on Wooden Boat, because he mentioned that in interviews. I don’t remember him ever saying he owned it, however — he’d say things like “I have” a boat or “my boat,” but people say things like that about apartments or houses they rent — “I have” an apartment or “my house” even though they don’t own them. One of the fans asking me about the sales ad mentioned Ian McShane, who played Brother Ray in Game of Thrones, saying that Rory spoke of owning a boat but given when he filmed the one episode he was in, Rory was probably talking about Blue Boat at the time. We do know he owned that one.

So this is another area of Rory’s life with a huge question mark over it. It’s not important to anyone but him, of course, but it’s fascinating the way the media will latch on to a certain narrative about him and then you start putting it under a magnifying glass and several details are off. I suppose that can’t be helped when one is dealing with a very private person. But at this point, basically, don’t assume Rory McCann is living on a boat anymore. If he’s married as the rumors suggest, that alone would explain why.

I will miss this aspect of his life if he’s given it up. There’s a certain almost-mythos about it, you know, like he’s half Viking or something. And occasionally you hear little stories like the journalist who got a ride from Rory to an outer island because the journalist was waiting for a ferry and Rory just happened to show up. How often do you hear about a guy just randomly giving people rides on his boat? That’s fucking awesome.

That’s “oor” Rory. Long may he continue.

And finally, a note: I know what I know of Wooden Boat because I got a bit too nosy one day about someone I was directed to by another fan. It was a public post but I still had to dig for it. I have decided not to compound my error by trumpeting the name of Wooden Boat all over the place. Could be you’ll find someone unethical enough to tell you, but it won’t be me. Thanks for understanding.