Nordland boat (or Norwegian:
The Nordland boat (or Norwegian: Nordlandsbåt), is a type of fishing
boat that has been used for centuries in northern counties of
Nordland, Troms and Finnmark of Norway and derives its name from
Nordland county where it has a long history. It has dominated the
Lofoten and Vesterålen islands fishing industry for centuries and is
closely related to the old Viking longships.
The Nordland boat has a clinker, or lapstrake hull design and has
its rudder on the sternpost. Its length varies from the smallest of
fourteen feet to well over forty and usually has a length-beam ratio
of 3-1 to 4-1. It has a high prow, stern, shallow keel, v-hull and
has an inboard gunwale, which can be used to drain off the fishing
nets when they are drawn on board. Some of the larger Nordlanders
have a detachable cabin that is used for shelter, often having a
wood burning stove inside.
The Nordlander normally carries a large single square sail with the
largest boats carrying a topsail. It's one of the few types of boats
that still carries such a sail to the present day.
Oak had been a favorite wood for ship builders for centuries for its
resistance to rot, strength, and durability. However, oak is not
native to Norway north of the county of Trøndelag and is also a
heavy wood which would make such boats difficult to pull up on
shore, which was done on a daily basis. For these reasons, the
materials used for the Nordland is almost exclusively made of pine,
and in the northern regions, fir. Pine and fir are lighter woods
which would make it easier to be drawn up on shore, but at the
expense of durability.
The Nordland boat has a very long history in the north Norwegian
coastline, with both Norwegians and Sami, who are first recorded as
sailing such boats from about 950 onwards. Around 1000 AD the Sami
were described as producing Nordlandbots for their Norwegian
customers along the northern coastal farming communities, which the
Norwegians soon started to build for themselves.
One of the biggest differences between the Norwegian and Sami built
Nordlands is that the Sami 'sewed' the lapstrakes together using
reindeer intestines, while the Norwegians used iron rivets. Nordland
boats continued to be built for over 1,000 years, and in the early
20th century it was still used for fishing and coastal transport.
One of the unique features of the Nordland is its ballast system.
Dozens of fist size round rocks are placed at the bottom of the boat
to keep the boat weighted down. In the event that the boat is either
swamped or capsizes, the rocks are designed to roll out of the boat
which would lighten the boat and thus keep it afloat.
The Nordland Boat today
Nordland boats today are no longer used as primarily fishing boats
but as pleasure craft and have annual races. The coat-of-arms of
Nordland County shows the traditional boat - the Nordlandsbåt.