Category Archives: Traditional clinker

Clinker plans and boatbuilding

Viking ship sets sail to America

Viking ship sails for America via Iceland and Greenland

Reproduction Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre has set sail for North America via Iceland and Greenland, and we can follow its progress here and on this Facebook page.

Great good luck to them. This will be an amazing and challenging trip, of course, and the crew will experience conditions few of us could face and will be far from any sort of quick rescue.

We live in very different times and it’s striking that this voyage will in some ways be different those experienced by the Vikings, and for good safety reasons. The skipper and crew have waited for a suitable weather window – in an open boat, you would. Modern weather forecasting must be a huge blessing.

Also I gather the ship is only permitted to carry 30 crew, not the 100 it would have had in the Viking era – which means she cannot be rowed in the way the Viking forefathers did, and so is motorised.

Still, I can’t imagine there’s a red-blooded sailor alive that wouldn’t love to spend some time sailing a craft like that – particularly if (like me) they have good reason to believe the Vikings were among their ancestors…

Do you want to see the sailing? See below!

HJ Mears complete a new Beer lugger

Alex Mears of the long established Seaton, Devon boatyard HJ Mears has written to let us know about their latest project – this very handsome little Beer lugger. Here’s what he says:

‘She’s larch on oak, over 7ft in beam on her 16ft length so she’s a very broad boat, as ours always are.

‘Our boats are beamy because they are beach boats. To make the task of beach launching easier you want fairly flat bottomed, beamy boats with substantial bilge keels. Hence all of our boats fit this spec for the beaches around here – including Beer, Seaton, Sidmouth, and Branscombe and beyond.

‘The red top strake of the new boat will help distinguish her during lugger racing over at Beer.  She could win in racing when handicaps are being applied – there are carvel boats with larger sail sizes and which also have a longer waterline length. In general, the Beer luggers are a pretty variable fleet and people, but Hannah will fit in happily somewhere amongst the fleet.
‘It’s great to be adding to the fleet of Beer luggers and continuing the traditional boatbuilding in a traditional craft. We are lucky to have appreciative customers who ultimately keep the tradition going by paying our wages!
‘She will be moored at Lyme Regis and will compete with the Beer luggers on Monday nights during the summer.
‘The owner is someone who has followed our work for many years and previously owned a Ron Lavis-built clinker boat. Ron is an Exmouth boatbuilder who trained with my grandfather. The appeal of the Beer lugger for this particular owner is the flexibility – he can sail her, he can fish from her, he can go potting for lobsters with her,  go off for picnics on the beach, and so on. She is a multi purpose boat as the history of these has proved.’

Thanks Alex! We look forward to the next commission and set of photos!

18ft clinker built fishing boat for sale, Devon

Alex Mears of Seaton, Devon-based boat builders HJ Mears and Son has written to let us know that one of the company’s long-term customers is selling his 18ft clinker-built fishing boat.

Built by HJ Mears in 1980, she is built from wych elm on English oak ribs. Alex says she’s very full – as the photos show – and perhaps two planks higher than most 18ft boats, which he says provides plenty of freeboard and safety.

She has been stored in a barn during the off-season, and has a Bukh DV20 twin cylinder inboard engine, a bespoke twin axle trailer, and a cover and mast.

The owner is asking £8,750 and she is available to view at HJ Mears’ yard.

HJ Mears are currently finishing off a 16ft Beer lugger for a customer  – and we’re promised some photos soon…