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Rig-Talk and traditional LapStrake

Jan 19, 2010
7,189
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
Hello all:

For the past year or so, I've been doing some light research on the ancient Norse traditions of lapstrake boat construction (clinker). For those of you who are unfamiliar with some of the boat building traditions, the Norse tradition of lapstrake construction was mostly displaced by Carvel planking once cannons started appearing on the "gun-wall" of the ship. The rigidity was needed to keep the percussion of the cannon fire from ripping the boat apart.

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The picture here is not exactly accurate for more traditional ancient longboat construction. This picture essentially shows a lapstrake construction on heavy frames. However the Vikings added the frames AFTER the planks were built and the frames were not nearly has heavy and they did not cover every plank. The overlapping "strakes" are essentially stringers and are what gave the longboat its strength (and flexibility). I've obviously never sailed in a Viking boat but I've read that they hulls flex a lot and the boat slides over the waves instead of punching through them. In fact, before the bronze age, the planks were sewn together.

In my readings on the use of this building technology, I am struck by the relative ease of construction the traditional lapstrake approach provide. There was no lofting required and the shape of the boat was created by how the planks were "clinked" together. The Viking longboat was fast, light, easy to build and had a large carrying capacity. It just didn't sail to windward very well.

I 'm surprised we don't see the longboat being upgraded with more modern technology. It seems you could keep what is good about the longboat design and improve its windward abilities considerably.

For instance when I see a boat like this...

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I can't help but think that if you moved the mast forward just a bit, and rigged the boat as a cutter gaff (maybe add a shoal keel, dagger board or stub) you would create a very efficient design that would sail to windward much better while keeping much of what is desirable about the longboat. The gaff rig should keep the heeling moment low and still allow for the shorter mast.

PLUS!!! How cool would it be to show up at the marina with a dragon's head on your prow:biggrin::yikes::biggrin::yikes::biggrin::yikes::biggrin::cool:

refs:
 
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Jan 11, 2014
4,644
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Funny you should mention Viking ships in strange places.

A few years ago, the Draken Harald showed up in a small Upstate NY town, Sylvan Beach as she was returning from a Great Lakes tour. She tied up next to the Hokulea. Interestingly, the Draken is a traditionally built Norwegian Viking ship outfitted with the latest electronics and Diesel engine. The Hokulea is a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe using traditional navigation equipment, propelled only by sails or the tow boat that accompanied them up the Erie Canal, however, she was built of fiberglass.

It was a pleasure to see them together. FWIW, the Draken is currently wintering in the Mystic Seaport Museum under shrink wrap. Not sure what the spring will hold for her.

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Jan 19, 2010
7,189
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
@dlochner

Great link and beautiful ship. So imagine a real cabin on that ship and a rig that could be handled by a short-handed crew and you would have a real cruiser.
 
Jan 19, 2010
7,189
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
There was this guy in Richmond VA who built this boat. I only chatted with him once by email. He told me it was a 1/3 replica. This would make a nice day sailor or even a weekender.

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Oct 22, 2014
11,123
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Interesting... Yes a great daysailor to sail down wind on the lake and row back home.
 
Jan 19, 2010
7,189
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
Interesting... Yes a great daysailor to sail down wind on the lake and row back home.
Right:thumbup:

Which is why I'm thinking about a gaff rig and a jib on something like that. Maybe even add a dagger board trunk or leeboard to help with pointing. I've built a strip plank canoe once so I really think I could make something like this. I'd also like to add a real rudder instead of the steerboard.
 
May 27, 2004
1,285
Hunter 30_74-83 Ponce Inlet FL
Wow! A lot of historical goodies in this post.
I discovered through an ancestry/DNA test and research that I am descended from some of those Norsemen who went Viking in about 850 AD when they visited Francia and decided to stay.
 
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Jan 19, 2010
7,189
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
@jssailem

To my eye if you took something like what I've sketched here and move the mast forward about two feet, add a traveler about where the rudder currently sits in the boat, a dagger board and a jib, you would have a boat that could sail rather well to weather. Of course the sail would have to be tan bark and have some wicked rune on it. ;)

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Apr 22, 2011
580
Hunter 27 Pecan Grove, Oriental, NC
PLUS!!! How cool would it be to show up at the marina with a dragon's head on your prow:biggrin::yikes::biggrin::yikes::biggrin::yikes::biggrin::cool:
A friend of mine has just about finished building his 30' mini trawler that will be berthed in Oriental, NC. Oriental's unofficial mascot is the dragon. So he found this decal for the prow of the boat.
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Oct 22, 2014
11,123
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
I think you would find that the lapstrake on the hull will try to move the boat on a line consistent with the strake.

My M15 was built out of fiberglass and had a lapstrake hull.
 
Jan 19, 2010
7,189
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
A friend of mine has just about finished building his 30' mini trawler that will be berthed in Oriental, NC. Oriental's unofficial mascot is the dragon. So he found this decal for the prow of the boat. View attachment 173999
Nice!

@heritage I've made Whittaker Point my temporary home on a few occasions. These shots was taken there.
 

Attachments

Jan 19, 2010
7,189
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
@heritage

I was told (don't know if it is true) that the town Oriental got its name from the transom of a shipwreck that washed ashore. And the emblem of a dragon was carved into the transom as well. Thus the mascot. I hardly care if it is true or not... the story is cool so I'm choosing to believe it.