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Photo by Silje L. Bakke One of the inspirations of my little Skerry was the Norse Faerings. The word Faering refers to the four oar stations. It merely means a boat with 4 oars. In the same way a treroring has 3 rowing in the boat.There are also larger and smaller row boats in the same tradition.

Different areas have variations of faerings, but they all have 4 oars in common.

A faering is a clinker (lapstrake) type boat which is pointed at both end, with no transom. The strakes, which are often cedar, pine, spruce, or larch or other similar wood, are attached to a backbone which is composed of a curved stem and stern which attach to the keel. The backbone is often white oak or other strong rot resistant wood. The overlapping strakes were held together with rivets. In most cases the rivets were iron with washers. In some cases there were no washers and the rivet/nail was trimmed and hammered till it formed a j and the point embedded itself back in the strake. The boat is built and the strakes are laid then the ribs are added. Modern boats usually use copper rivets and washers.

Faerings have ribs which were made from curved planks often a side branch would be kept on the stem and this shaped to make ribs. The side boards or strakes were traditionally made from solid wood. Spruce or pine are common as is larch (tamarack). More rare are oak strakes. If boards were too short they were scarfed and the scarf fastened with rivets. The stem, stern, and keel were preferably made of a harder wood often Oak. Many different types of wood are used depending on what is available in the area. has a nice article on Faerings with lots of photos. It's well worth visiting the site.

New faering on it's maiden voyage. It gives a good idea of how the boat feel in the water. Here is the address in case it does not show up. youtube video

There is a fabulous wooden boat forum thread on building an Oselvar. This is boat porn at it's very best. He is using traditional materials and methods. The result is very lovely.

Although solid wood is the traditional way of building faerings, modern designers have successfully used marine plywood. Ian Oughtred's Elf is a faering designed for plywood. In this example the Elf faering has been adapted back to solid wood construction.

In the beginning the strakes were made from wood that was split rather than cut, then when sawmills were built around the 1600 the strakes were cut.




Oselvar are found on the west coast of Norway. They are often fitted with 2 sets of oars so can be called faerings.They are popular boats and are raced.

The Oselvar is a candidate for the first kit ever built and sold. From the 1500 to half way in the 1800s these boats kits were exported to the Shetlands and Orkney's. (These island were lacking large trees and could not produce the lumber needed to make boats at home.) Once safely delivered they were assembled. and finished. It has a long history as a work boat, but also has been used as a pleasure boat for several generations.

Faerings were the everyday work boat in Scandinavia and were used to transport people in a land with many island and fewer roads. They were also used for fishing and moving stuff around. Now there are several organizations racing traditional boats.

The beautiful lines of the faerings have inspired designers to adapt the design for more modern boat building methods. If you are interested look up Iain Oughtred.

Faerings are often fitted with sailing rigs. Sprit rigs are commonly used as are other square sails. When a faering is intended to be sailed a rudder is fitted. The push pull type of rudder is the traditional choice of old time boat builders. It takes a bit of getting used t but has the advantage of leaving the back free and uncluttered.

Faerings, like other boats pointy at both ends, can handle rough water. The narrow ends don't fill up with water when there is a breaking following sea.

This video shows how rivets are forged and applied in the construction of Viking reproduction boats. This is from Hardanger fartøyvernsenter.

email me if you find mistakes, I'll fix them and we'll all benefit: Christine