Two men’s færing faring fairly well
The mostly complete DIY boat project is so much fun as is that it may never be finished
We completed our Norwegian færing last summer just in time for the annual ScanFest. In fact, we actually repainted the outer hull the day before ScanFest. Our plans have been to complete the færing with a sailing rig, but the boat has proved such a joy to row that we have been spending much of our time on the water instead of in the shop.
Completing the rowing version of Naval Architect Iain Oughtred’s færing design Elfyn took us close to 15 months of part-time work. Oughtred had studied færings for over 20 years before he felt he could capture the beauty and functionality of these boats in a practical design.
We ordered the plans for Elfyn from Wooden Boat Magazine in early 2013. We then built a “Garage in a Box” which soon became the Haugaard Yacht Works. Slowly over the spring of 2013 the plans were turned into forms. Contrary to tradition, our færing would be built upside down. We found that if you turned your head upside down and held it there long enough for the blood to pool up, you could kind of imagine how the boat would look.
During the summer of 2013 we learned a lot about planking a “clinker built” boat. This is a boat where the planks are overlapped and riveted into place. Planking was completed by late fall 2013 and we finally got to turn the boat over. During spring of 2014 we began fitting the boat out with ribs, seats, and floors. After this was completed, a rather complicated journey began on how best to finish and paint the færing. During this time we also made the traditional færing oars and took a couple of test outings. Suddenly we wanted to go rowing and not painting.
As ScanFest approached we began to get very Nordic and self critical on the boat’s appearance. Extra sanding and painting become a daily effort. We were trying to exhibit our work but also celebrate our heritage. Not an easy combination. After 15 months of work and reworking we were having real trouble completing our efforts and were getting concerned about how the public would react.
The færing, though, was very well received at ScanFest. Some older Norwegians were clearly moved by the boat. It brought back memories of a time not too long ago when færings were used to put essential food on the family table. We would also learn about courtships and weddings conducted in færings. Others were really taken with the færing’s obvious Viking lineage. ScanFest had strategically placed a replica of the historic Gotskad vessel next to us. This made for a wonderful evolutionary type of heritage viewing.
We also had a number of Scandinavian design fans contribute comments on function, form, economy, and art. One memorable visitor told us he “loved the Danish Modern Look.” Some of the more athletic visitors saw a fine recreational boat. A lot of visitors wanted to know where they could get one, and fortunately there is now a company in Maine offering a kit version. The day ended very pleasantly with wives, children, and grandchildren climbing over the boat.
We are now back into the awkward pre-ScanFest mode. We are struggling with completing the sailing rig in time for ScanFest 2015. However, we are also wanting to go rowing and this is a problem. The sails and rudder have been completed, and in the next few weeks we will complete the mast and center board. Just in time to see you at ScanFest?
This article originally appeared in the June 19, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.