Sixareen Building Project

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Robbiework, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. Robbiework
    Joined: Feb 2008
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    Location: Norway

    Robbiework Junior Member

    Hi there,
    I am one of the editorial team on a wiki based site called Shetlopedia.com, about the Shetland Islands.
    I thought readers here might be interested in a boat building project which we are currently documenting with regularly updated pictures.
    The link to the site page is:
    http://shetlopedia.com/Sixareen_Building_Project

    I hope you find it interesting. And if I can help answer any questions about the project, or boat type, please feel free to contact me either by PM or e-mail, and if I can't help, I'll try to find the answer somewhere.

    Kind Regards,
    Robbie
     
    2 people like this.
  2. Robbiework
    Joined: Feb 2008
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    Location: Norway

    Robbiework Junior Member

    I just realised that I maybe should have given a bit of background to this boat building project.
    The Sixareen was the most common vessel used for what was known as the "Far Haaf" fishing in Shetland during the 18th & 19th centuries. These boats were originally imported to the islands in kit form from Norway, until import duty increases meant that it was cheaper to import the wood and build them locally.
    The boats were generally about 30ft overall and used for fishing as far as 50 miles out to sea. Under square sail, or rowed by 6 men, hence the name Sixareen (which comes from the Norwegian "Seksring" meaning six oared).

    This type of open fishing boat, although the best available at the time, wasn't perhaps the best suited to deep sea fishing, which can be proved by the severe losses of life suffered by the fishing communities of the islands.

    I could go on for ages about old boats, as it's a passion of mine, but I won't in case I bore you.
    But, if you're interested in old boats, and their bits and pieces, I'll give you a few more links to the pages I've tried to create for our site. And I would ask all you guys to have a look and perhaps comment on any of the items because I am always looking for information to add. Especially on the Boat Parts page, as I would be interested to hear the part names from other parts of the UK, and indeed the world.

    Here's the links:
    http://shetlopedia.com/Sixareen
    http://shetlopedia.com/Yoal
    http://shetlopedia.com/Boat_Parts_-_Shetland_names

    And just in case the site admin thinks I am spamming, by posting links,, I'm not :)
    I'm hoping for some genuine feedback from you guys.

    Cheers,
    Robbie
     
  3. Kay9
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Location: Central Coast Oregon US.

    Kay9 1600T Master

    Welcome to the forums. Im sure some of the good folks here will be along shortly.

    K9
     
  4. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: cruising, Australia

    masalai masalai

    Thank you all for showing your work and history at sea. Much appreciated and very pleasing to see.
     
  5. Robbiework
    Joined: Feb 2008
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    Location: Norway

    Robbiework Junior Member

    Glad you liked it.
    We're trying to add new pictures every day that the men are working on the boat. So hopefully it will build into a complete history of the project.
    The new pictures tonight show the completion of the first board, called the 'Boddam Runner' on this type of boat, and the setting up of the first planking frames.
    Hopefully you guys may get a few tips from these pictures.

    Cheers,
    Robbie
     
  6. safewalrus
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Cornwall, England

    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Robbiework, welcome to the forum. The NEW Shetland museum looks a grand place, mind you the old one in the middle of Lerwick was pretty immpressive if a lot smaller. Spent many an interesting hour there back in the late seventies whilsts working out of Lerwick (Oil Supply) Quite a frightening stretch of water even on the ships I was on! To think the locals fished in open boats for many a year!

    Great to see a replica of the sixareen being built, and used I hope!! Maybe not in gales though!! Keep up the good work!

    Mike the 'Walrus (Miss Piggy in those far off days! - don't ask!!)
     
  7. Robbiework
    Joined: Feb 2008
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    Location: Norway

    Robbiework Junior Member

    Actually Mike, the new Museum may be impressive, but the old one was far better. ;)

    Something interesting though, regarding the Sixareen, which members here may be able to help with.
    We have evidence that Sixareens and other types of boats were originally imported to the northern isles, and Scotland, in flat pack form, having first been built in Norway then dismantled for shipping. This leaves us with the question of how the boats were assembled initially, obviously not riveted.
    One suggestion we have found was that they were initially assembled using tree nails, then riveted on final assembly at destination.
    I would be grateful to hear from anybody who may know anything about this 'flat pack' boat trade, which might help.

    Cheers,
    Robbie
     
  8. safewalrus
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    Location: Cornwall, England

    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    That saddens me a little Robbie, that museum was really good and showed it subject in very good light, I would hope none of that has been lost as it would mean a sad loss both for the Shetlands and the rest of the world!!


    Further your problem, whilst the use of 'trunnels' would be handy for the initial construction that would leave a lot of rather large holes - OK they are replugged by the trunnels later but the boring of these holes would remove a fair bit of wood that would be needed to hold the job together - whilst wood on wood is ideal and thus trunnels are good, they need to be somewhat thicker than your average rivet / nail. It would work for the main frames but not the strakes etc and the thinner ribs! Certainly is a problem! I wish you luck with it, guess the only way to really find out is to build a boat in Norway, take it aprt and ship it, using the original tools only - now that would be fun! (you wouldn't need to build a full size sixareen, maybe a yole or small foreen maybe?)
     
  9. Robbiework
    Joined: Feb 2008
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    Location: Norway

    Robbiework Junior Member

    ^^^ Yes Mike, I'm toying with the idea of asking some Norwegians to do it.. I actually live in West Norway now, in the region where the Sixareen's were originally built. There is a fantastic boating/fishing museum here on the island of Hjertoya, near Molde, in fact the whole island is a museum. There are many old boats to look at and it makes a great day out for boat enthusiasts.
    I found it very interesting to see the similarities between the Norwegian boats and the boats I was brought up with in Shetland.
    Although perhaps the most notable thing about visiting the Hjertoya boat shed for the first time was the smell of archangel tar, as they had just been tarring one of the boats. A process I can remember all to well from helping my father tar his boat when I was young,, and of course, as a kid, coming home covered in the stuff, much to my mother's dismay.. :) :)

    Our Sixareen Building page now has 130 pictures, up to the fitting of the 4th board, so it's starting to look like a boat now. Hopefully it will be launched by the time I visit Shetland for my summer holiday. I certainly will have a trip in her as a 'must do' on my schedule. :) :)

    Cheers,
    Robbie
     
  10. safewalrus
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    Location: Cornwall, England

    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Makes me want to go back up there - in the summer! As you know winter ain't exactly the nicest time of the year to visit (can't shelter under too many trees either!) But in a good summer it's beautiful, unlike a lot I can see why you don't want to leave the place (till it's winter again!!)

    all the best Mike
     
  11. safewalrus
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    Location: Cornwall, England

    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Robbie, had a wee look at the pictures of the building progress just now, things are really looking good up there! Congratualtions to all concerned, keep it up she's looking beautiful!!


    Mike (the Walrus)
     
  12. Robbiework
    Joined: Feb 2008
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    Location: Norway

    Robbiework Junior Member

    Mike, Glad your liking it. :)
    I think by the time the build is finished we'll have over 500 pictures. Maybe the best pictorial documentation of anything like this, ever.
    The guy who is taking the pictures for us is also taking pictures of another build which is happening in the museum shed at the same time, a replica of a Shetland Haddock Boat. That build is going a bit slower so we're just going to add it later.

    The Sixareen build is now in our top 10 most popular pages, with hits from all over the world every day. It feels good to let folks see something like this, thanks to the internet. Maybe other community based Wiki sites, like Shetlopedia, could be used to show boat building from around the world. :)

    Cheers,
    Robbie
     
  13. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Aye Robbie and when you produce the book be sure to let me know! It'll be worth it
     
  14. Robbiework
    Joined: Feb 2008
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    Location: Norway

    Robbiework Junior Member

    Just an update.
    This building project is now nearing completion. There is just some fitting out to be done, and some strange mix of oil, tar, and paraffin, to be applied to the wood, then she's ready for the water.
    She's scheduled to be launched on 20th June, to coincide with a local mid summer celebration.
    When she launches she will be under man power only, but there is a plan to add a full traditional sail rig to her over the winter, and hopefully have a race with the only other real Sixareen in Shetland, the "Far Haaf", which was built by Duncan Sandison and a group of volunteers in the 90's.
    That actually reminds me. You might be interested in these links to the Unst Boat Haven, where some details and pictures of the "Far Haaf" and other boats can be found:
    http://shetlopedia.com/Unst_Boat_Haven
    http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/unst/boathaven/

    I'll post an update when the Sixareen launches, by which time I hope we will have about the best, perhaps only, photographic record of the building of this type of boat.

    On behalf of Shetlopedia.com, I'd like to thank all the forum members here for the interest shown in this fascinating project.

    Cheers,
    Robbie
     
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  15. safewalrus
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Cornwall, England

    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Aye she's looking good! a credit to all involved, both today and thousands of fishermen in the past who evolved the boat to what she is today! Just perfect!!
     
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