View Full Version : Atkins Valgerda

Wild Dingo
01-11-2004, 08:36 AM
Well after much ado and muckin around Ive decided that I would build Iain Oughtreds Grey Seal...

Soooo Ive been thinking and preparing as I start stripping the canoe and readying the skiff for painting and turning... about doing one of these as a first sail boat to get me hand in sorta thing...


Shes got a "white oak" keel sided 2inches...


and its this keel that interests me and causes me to wonder as I sit and ponder at me moanin chair...


So I got to wondering about using a length of Tuart for that keel cause I cant get that White Oak stuff... but the Atkins also call for a peice of lead some 2inch T x 3inch H x 42inch L...


So now my thoughts are to ask here for the appropriate size Tuart to replace all that White Oak and Lead keel... Tuart as I understand it is a fair bit heavier than White Oak

I know Mike Field sent me the figures for the Tuart some time ago and also the proper name but Im damned if I can find the email anywhere in my emails!... but in doin the search thing here I found this in one of the threads I posted when the Tuarts came down... Euclayptus gomphocephala... seems at some stage TonyH also let me know what its proper name was :cool: ... anyways I was wonderin how Id go about figurein the sizes out?... what if I just leave out the 160lbs of lead on her bum and use higher timbers for the keel? so instead of bein 2in by 7 1/2in taperin to 9in go larger leavin her 2in but say going out to 9 1/2in and 11in?

whaddyareckon? a goer or not?

Thanks in advance fellas!~ :cool:

oooh edited to add credit to TonyH for the scans of Valgerda from MoToR BoatinG

[ 01-11-2004, 09:39 AM: Message edited by: Wild Dingo ]

Jack Heinlen
01-11-2004, 09:26 AM
Whadya wanna know? smile.gif

The boat is strikingly like an unballasted creation by Joel White. It goes to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I don't really understand Billy Atkin's desire for ballast in a boat like this, but I don't know. But what, exactly, do you want to know? I'm asking for de-Aussified English. :D

01-11-2004, 10:06 AM

I cannot help you build it but I hope you do. She looks very much like the Norwegian rowing skiff I saw stacked up on the dock at Stavanger, Norway, many years ago, waiting to be shipped up the coast where they have no roads.

I like the standing lug rig, although I have never used one. If you find she has the stability to take it, think about a little hankerchief of a jib, set flying. I remember my dad told me that a jib makes a boat sail better, even a little tiny jib. I verified the truth of that later with my own boats.

It is a pity that the text is so small. I would like to read it. We met John Atkin many years ago. We though about one of his designs but nothing ever came of it.

Wild Dingo
01-11-2004, 11:07 AM
Jack the unAussieafied version of what Im thinkin is... can I just whack a larger lump of the Tuart on her bum instead of the Oak which I cant get here and the lead keel... the Tuart as I understand it is a fair bit heavier than the Oak anyways... hence the change in the sizing I talk about

Art mate the album is right here (http://www.imagestation.com/album/?id=4290816399) ... just scroll down the list till Valgerda shows up click it then when the pic lobs up to that size above... click it again and you will get the full size which you can then read... or save it to your hard drive and print off at your leasure :cool: She do look a real pleasure doesnt she?... a snmall jib eh? now where on that wee 18fter would ye be puttin her?

Jack Heinlen
01-11-2004, 11:21 AM
I don't know 'Tuart' from my arse, but I suspect it would work fine.

I still don't understand Atkin's(Billy, John, not sure) desire to ballast this boat. The same boat has been sailing, rowing, mostly rowing, the fiords of Norway and Iceland for a millenium, without any ballast, save some fish or a few cobblestones. It's not unlike a Swampscott dory, poor initial stability but a fine form for ultimate stability. Like a leaf in the wind. To put any kind of keel, a ballasted keel, under this form makes no sense to me. But who am I to argue with the Atkins?

Are you really contemplating building?

Maybe Michael from Nova Scotia will weigh in.

[ 01-11-2004, 12:23 PM: Message edited by: Jack Heinlen ]

01-11-2004, 11:46 AM

I don't have a weight for Tuart, but some other Euclayptus (diversicolor, commonly Karri) is about 51 pounds a cubic foot. White Oak can range widely, about 42 pounds/cubic foot would be average. Lead is about 700 pounds per cubic foot.

I would just go ahead and build the boat without the 105 pounds of lead. Use the denser Tuart in her keel. If she proves to flighty for you, throw a couple of sandbags in the bilge. Or spike a 1/2" by 2" by 8' piece of steel flat bar on to the bottom of the keel. But I really doubt that would be necessary.

It is a "goer", so go!

All the best, Tad

Todd Bradshaw
01-11-2004, 12:30 PM
As I remember, the 106 lb. chunk of lead was added because as a recreational boat there would not be a load of stones or fish in the bottom to add stability and Atkins thought the design needed it. The original Norwegian boat which he saw and which inspired the design didn't have it.

imported_Steven Bauer
01-11-2004, 01:21 PM
I was going to say what Tad said but he beat me to it.

I love this boat! Get those canoes finished so you can start. The one time I saw a Valgerda at the MAine Boatbuilders Show I was smitten. She is a real beauty!

My helping Gavin build his ELF is my warm-up to building Eun Mara. ELF is basically the same hull shape as Valgerda.


Paul Scheuer
01-11-2004, 02:04 PM
Pretty boat. I can't read the fine print, but it looks like a natural practice project for Grey Seal.

As I understand it, you want to make the fin a little deeper, out of heavier stuff and forego the lead. I'll say go for it. If she won't stand up, you can add temporary internal ballast until you get it right, then install the equivalent on the outside.

You'll be able to set the ballast exactly to suit you and your crew instead of a typical or average as contemplated by the designer.

If she won't tack, you can trim the extra keel to suit. My guess is, she'll do fine.

Cosmo Lengro
01-11-2004, 02:30 PM
Dingo, are you not moving to the outer limits of way back of somewhere? :confused:

Are you going to be taking all your nice wood with you? Is the area suitable for boatbuilding?

Pardon if I missed some post about the above. smile.gif

01-11-2004, 03:51 PM
And I will chime in chorus: You might keep some of the added depth (for lateral resistance, but you shouldn't need more than a couple of inches, not 106# worth) then as said you can add internal ballast in the form of sandbags, rocks or lead if and when you need it. The ballast is only for added stability. In little boats the live ballast is the most significant anyway and if you pile on the crew you might want to lose the ballast anyway.

Jack Heinlen
01-11-2004, 03:54 PM
Ballast, weight down low, I'm hip. A keel, even a very shallow one...Doesn't it defeat much of the reason? He's got the same thing in a Bank Dory, his Pemaquid.

What I'm saying is that the reason this boat is so potentially seaworthy is because the hullform is so 'slippery' every which way. But when you add a keel...

01-11-2004, 04:18 PM
Much to that Jack, and you row up wind!

Jack Heinlen
01-11-2004, 04:41 PM

Yup, that's what I think too. That keel is going to cause nothing but problems in a seaway. It makes it a marginally better boat to win'ward, but at a substantial price.

As a practice run for Oughtred's 'Grey Seal', hows about Joel White's itteration of an Oselver? I can't remember the name, but it's a Norwegian form for glued lap ply, about sixteen foot long...

What is the name?

01-11-2004, 04:49 PM

Where would I put the jib? Just foreward of the mainsail, in the usual place. It would probably be less than 20 square feet. The bolt rope of the jib and its halyard would be the forestay. With no jib I wonder if this boat needs a forestay with only 72 square feet of sail.

I wonder about that shallow keel and ballast. She would sail better and tack faster with a dagger board, and I doubt that ballast is needed.

imported_Steven Bauer
01-11-2004, 09:04 PM
Hey Shane, Issue # 2 of Boat Design Quarterly has an article on Valgerda. Back issues are $7 from the WoodenBoat Store. Probably worth a read.


Wild Dingo
01-11-2004, 09:38 PM
Sounds great fellas! :cool: Will start to make some room this weekend and at least start to lay out the ply for the lofting... depends on how I get on with the canoe and skiff. :rolleyes:

Now to Cosmos questions...
1) The initial position I went for out in Kalgoorlie fell through I have another 3 on the tables out there as I type also another 2 in the Kimberlies and one down south... I can no longer justify "working" at a job where I sit at a damned desk and do nothing for hours on end... nothing! there is firstly nothing to do as there are no bloody clients coming through the flamin doors secondly there is no way I can go out and market the damned place because that "is not" my role and there is a clear demarcation between what I can do and what I cannot do if I do market it and get bumms through the door the manager whos a lazy ****e is well within his rights to lay me off simply based on the fact that it is not within the scope of my duties... and if I do that there will of course be more work for him and that is where the layoff will come from... And I intend to leave of my choosing not be forced out by a lazy ****e who is happy sittin back on his fat arse at his desk doing nothing!... I am hired under that unique oxymoron "Permenant casual" and have only been here a few months and have no sway with anyone at this level or above he is seen as a "very good manager" does a great rendition of a brown nose.

2) The move to a place like Kalgoorlie which is near by to the Simpson Desert doesnt preclude one from building boats be they canoes or whatever its just a bit of a drive to get anywhere where theres enough water to do anything on!... Believe it or not Kalgoorlie and even Alice Springs for that matter have surf life saving clubs along with surfboard and surf wear shops! along with a ali and fibreglass boat dealership... so cant see there being any probs with building wee wooden boats?

3) Yes most of the timber would come with us.

Now back to Valgerda... so those measurements of mine would you fellas think be fine to work with... okay so heres another thought... what if... yes its a what if... what if I get a peice of that 6x5 out the front and cut a sort of dogleg on the top either side sorta L shape down 2in and in 2in that would give me the initial 2in thickness Atkins ask for which would mean I could leave the rest of the building the same and just the keel would be bigger under her bum... mmmm how to explain?


The X are the timber keel while the ** show where the cut in 2inch is while the I and L are the lower corners of the cut... this would mean that above the cut is to what Atkins asks while below gives the added weight of a larger chunk of timber... what say you and is that written clear enough?

okay I have more questions!! :D :cool:

[ 01-11-2004, 10:40 PM: Message edited by: Wild Dingo ]

Todd Bradshaw
01-11-2004, 09:47 PM
I've been interested in this boat ever since it first showed-up in the "Designs" section of WB, probably 20 or more years ago. It seemed at the time to be the best shot for an unskilled lapstrake builder (me) to produce something with the classic lines of a Norwegian faering (this one was designed as batten-seam, but could be built lapstrake or glued-lap). But - the more I look at it, the less I like it. I'm generally a big fan of Atkin's boats, but this one is actually his modified interpretation of a real Norwegian boat and I'm not sure his changes did it any favors.

What was originally a combination sailing/rowing boat has probably lost much of it's rowing appeal by the addition of the deeper, weighted keel. I'm also not fond of the sailplan. That long-headed, short-boomed lug bugs me. I find the proportions pretty ugly and it really crams the C.E. up high. Perhaps this is why he felt the need for adding the lead in the keel. I'd much rather see a longer foot and if needed, a shorter head to lower the C.E. and improve the looks of it.

If you take a rowing/sailing boat and modify it to become more of a sailboat that you only row when you have to, it should have a well thought out sailplan that will produce some performance. It's a pretty hull that grabs your eye, but I'm not sure any of Atkin's modifications made it a better boat.

01-11-2004, 09:51 PM
Nice looking design Dingo, but have you considered building one of Iain's open double enders? Same designer, same buliding method - better practice for Grey Seal?

Bill Perkins
01-11-2004, 10:20 PM
I've noticed that Atkins spec'ed 1/4 in. ply for the planking , while Joel White spec'ed 3/8th in. ply for his smaller (16 ft.) Shearwater . Has a Valgerda been built with the 1/4 in.,and was it found to be too light ? Is Shearwater slightly over built ?

imported_Steven Bauer
01-11-2004, 10:38 PM
How about ELF? :D Same hull shape except the keel. Daggerboard for sailing, just a little smaller, she's 15'. I think Iain got the sailplan right, eh? Todd. ;) Think about it. Plans were $100.


I just saw that last post - ELF is spec'd for either 1/4" or 3/8". We'll use 3/8" for the first plank and 1/4" for the other two.

[ 01-11-2004, 11:41 PM: Message edited by: Steven.Bauer ]

Jack Heinlen
01-11-2004, 11:54 PM
Back to the keel. Todd thinks I'm not totally out of my mind to question it.

I'm trying to imagine the boat reacting in the water. The way of this boat is to not have a keel. It is meant to slip the water, not catch it. That bit of lateral plane will make the boat go into the wind a bit better, but it is going to trip it in a cross sea. I think.

Ya know what, this boat, its close cousin, has been working Norway's waters for a thousand years, never with a keel. Good enough testimony for me. Build Sheerwater if you want this sort of boat. My 2 cents.

Todd Bradshaw
01-12-2004, 12:22 AM
Like it or not, there is no question that it would be a real head-turner.

...the rig still bugs me though. It just doesn't have the same grace that you find on boats like the Ness and Caledonia yawls. It also wouldn't be easy to fit an effective jib into that limited foretriangle. Most of the Norse boats that I have seen in this size range had spritsails and jibs. This would eliminate the yard poking out into the space where the jibhead would want to be.

Wild Dingo
01-12-2004, 04:09 AM
Your mission if you choose to take it Todd is to... :D

Steven AUD$235.40 is over what the missus will allow for any more plans... I do like the wee elf but one thing I do like about Valgerda is the way she's put together ergo no poxy and glass

Im still waiting on a response from Iain about doing Grey Seal either strip planked or or with timber in a more traditional manner... long distance mailin being what it is could take a wee while.

Its just that keel area that at present bothers me... and of course now thanks to Jack young Todd has thrown more mud in the waters hence "the mission" ;)

Now reverting to that keel area... do I change it as above with a larger lump of timber under her or make the whole keel to the same demensions as quoted in the drawings less the lead?

01-12-2004, 06:35 AM
Well Dingo, SWMBO must be obeyed smile.gif

lol - I'd ditch the 'keel' altogether and whack a centreboard in the guts of her - but I'm an irreverent bugger. A couple of eskies in the bilge and she'll stand up to her sail ok smile.gif

And I'm with Todd on the rig. Do a bit of research and design a rig yourself to suit your own prejuduces. You could even use Iain's designs for um...'inspiration' ;)

With regard to building Grey Seal using only traditional materials, it's might not be the best idea. The lightest is lapstrake, and it's probably still going to be a fair bit heavier than designed. Her carrying capacity isn't too flash to start with, so increasing hull weight would also require more ballast and you might be left with her sitting on her lines with just you in a damp hat smile.gif

If Iain did redesign her for lapstrake he might need to increase displacement, ballast and sail area to counter the extra weight. Not a lot mind, but he probably wouldn't be able to whip it out in an afternoon. It's a great idea though - then she'd truly be a double ended folkboat.

On the other hand, by keeping the structure simple and eliminating everything but the bare essentials, you could probably bring a lapstrake Grey Seal in on designed weight. With that beautiful solid timber interior, who would want to clutter it up anyway?

If you wanted to do the conversion yourself then it shouldn't be hard to find scantlings for lapstrake. Give it a go and learn something in the process. My first attempt was a 150m bulk carrier to DNV, and I managed to muddle through. A lapstrake Grey Seal should be a doddle.

Good luck getting the long wide boards for planking - and please tell me you're not using jarrah! smile.gif

Speaking of wood, what are you going to use to build the faering? Even with her you still have the wide board problem.

Wild Dingo
01-12-2004, 07:12 AM
Aramas good response mate much food for thought eh! ;)

Centre boards give me the heebie jeebies... yes Im aware theres been a lot of boats built with them and many designers incorporate them as an alternative including Iain with Grey Seal but the thought of a bloody great hole slit in her bum worries the buggary out of me! pretty illogical I guess but the Grey Seal has the option of full keel and thats how she will be... this one I will do the weight thing with sandbags to start and work from there.

The reading of the drawings above shows shes planked with ply which satisfies the wide board issue but shes not epoxied and glassed...

plank Valgerda with 1/4-inch waterproof plywood {note Im guessing they mean marine as they make no mention of epoxy or anything along those lines anywhere in these plans drawings}

The fastenings should be copper rivets, heads outside, burrs inside, laid in paint or varnish... the edges and the inside of the plywood strakes must be given two coats of paint or varnish before it is permanently fastened in place; and, of course, the edges...

The fastenings from plywood to frames battens stem and stern will be bronze screws; number 8, 1 inch long...

It will be noticed that the edges of the planks butt together without excessive bevel. It would be good practice to allow about 1/16inch outgauge along the chine seams.

This small opening should be carefully caulked with cotton wicking payed with varnish or paint and stopped, with white lead putty.
Jarrah would be like building her hull with the Tuart!! extremely heavy! :eek: I was thinking about Kiri {or pauliwana} which is light, good for boatbuilding and locally available. not to crash hot in the good looks stakes but a damned sight better priced than WRC or any other light tough wood around here.

HA!! a 150m bulk carrier??!!!! :eek: not a flamin wonder yer reckon it would be a "doodle" :rolleyes: :D

The sail plan I will leave with Todd for now as he may just enjoy the challenge and who am I to deny a fella a challenge? mmmm? ;) If not then Im game to have a go no worries :cool:

I was thinkin about the drawings Ive seen by Iain and wondering how to bring those down to this wee boat... maybe Steven might like to zip a scan of the elfs sail plan over and we can go from there eh?!! :cool:

[ 01-12-2004, 08:15 AM: Message edited by: Wild Dingo ]

Keith Wilson
01-12-2004, 08:44 AM
Valgerda is very pretty, but she always seemed to me one of those "neither fish not fowl" designs, like a sailing banks dory - heavy for rowing with the ballast keel, but without a good underwater fin for sailing. Didn't the traditional boats of this type have a squaresail, and row to windward? Valgerda was designed pre-epoxy; you could certainly glue the lap seams, and probably should.

Shearwater is a great rowing boat, not much of a sailboat, and smaller than she looks - two adults max. And yes, 3/8 planking is a little heavy IMO.

I think, particularly if you want to build Grey Seal later (and we all know you'll change your mind at least six times before you actually cut wood for her ;) ) you should look seriously at Oughtred's Elf, or perhaps one of the larger double-enders. The construction methods are similar to Grey Seal; better practice, and I think they'd be better sailing boats. And don't be afraid of centerboards - if built carefully they're a wonderful thing in thin water, and for beaching.

Elf, with the designer at the oars:



As far as planking Grey Seal in "real" wood, you can work out the weights pretty easily to get an idea if it's reasonable. If you used cedar planking (or the equivalent from those wierd trees you grow down there) with not-too-large steamed frames, it might not be all that much heavier. If you know the density of the different wood species, the math is easy.

[ 01-12-2004, 09:55 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Jack Heinlen
01-12-2004, 09:20 AM
It's a very pretty boat, but would be made no less so by building the way they've been built for a thousand years, WITHOUT A KEEL. :D

It will be interesting to watch Shane's progress in these matters. smile.gif

imported_Steven Bauer
01-12-2004, 12:06 PM
Shane, I had Todd build Gavin the standing lug rig that Iain shows as an alternate to the one pictured above. I'll try to post a pic tonight, back to work now.


01-12-2004, 02:32 PM
Or with a side order of mizzen...


01-12-2004, 02:38 PM
Link to Valgerda Plans page:

Atkin's Valgerda (http://www.boat-links.com/Atkinco/Sail/Valgerda.html)

Todd Bradshaw
01-13-2004, 04:33 PM
And here's one you can practice on.
You see a lot of Viking ships, but not many regular boats.

01-21-2004, 03:43 AM
Beauty Shane! Forget the lead , just a couple of sand bags, easy to get rid of should you decide you're getting tooooo wet.That tuart weighs as much as iron bark.... you're not going to need much ballast !! If you don't like the rig ( or Todd doesn't)...talk him into drawing something prettier ! and for heaven sake don't use tuart for everything, try some lovely light pine. :D :D

Tim Mooney
09-21-2004, 08:42 PM
Well, here's what I think. I built one of these Valgerda boats, and sailed it from Mystic to Annisquam, MA; up the coast of Maine and in the Great Lakes. I lived aboard for up to six weeks at a time and I think the boat is great. The rig is great. and the ballast is great. No you don't row this boat to windward. No you don't want to sail her unballasted (flotation is a good idea).
This is the driest small boat I've ever been on. I know why the Norwegians use the verb swims, as in "she swims well," to describe their craft; if you get wet sailing to windward in under 15 knots of wind in open water it is because of gross inattention misdirecting the tiller. Normally she seems to try to attack waves like she knows where she wants to go and the spray stays down low. The rig may not look like much to you, but sailing I liked it. I added 8" to both luff and leach and had two deep reefs; wouldn't change anything else. I wouldn't want a less high aspect sail, since I like getting to weather.
Since there is a keel and the center thwart is not structural, I'd take it out, stick it in the back with the furled rig, the oar that wasn't holding up my tent and live with a big comfortable space. I could go on. I love this boat. I had the most fun of my life with her.

Tim Mooney

John Kohnen
10-07-2004, 12:09 AM
Originally posted by Tim Mooney:
Well, here's what I think. I built one of these Valgerda boats, and sailed it from Mystic to Annisquam, MA; up the coast of Maine and in the Great Lakes. I lived aboard for up to six weeks at a time and I think the boat is great.Well, finally somebody who's actually tried a Valgerda pipes up! :D "Now do not be tempted to pull the ends out, raise the sheer heights, swoop up the bow or stern, or do the many things a boat plan always impels one to do. Just put this... boat together and see how well she performs," Billy Atkin wrote once, long ago, and Tim took his words to heart and was amply rewarded.

The original Norwegian Hardangersjektes (now that I've got one I'll have to learn how to say it...) did have external keels, just not as deep as Valgerda's, and with a load of fish they had some grip on the water. For those of you too busy to look in the Atkin catalog, here's a bit of what Wm. had to say about Valgerda's design:

"The "working boats" were fitted with an old-fashioned standing lug and they depended for stability on a cargo of fish. Because of their lack of initial stability, I designed a new keel - the original boats had a long, shallow keel approximately 4 inches deep. When loaded, they had sufficient lateral plane to hold the little craft on the wind. With expert handling, they had little difficulty in reaching port. In many respects, the Hardangersjekte has the same basic characteristics as our Bank dory, the Maine peapod, and similar workboats. Present-day Coast Guard loading rules would not give the Hardangersjekte a very good rating, but they have tremendous reserve stability and are excellent sea boats.

"I've shown the standing lug rig -- solid spruce mast, yard, and boom. Sail area is 72 square feet, which will be sufficient to reach and run as well as to work to windward after a fashion. I'm fond of the simplicity of the standing lug rig, and I feel that in a boat of this type, a low aspect ratio is more effective. I prepared the rather shoal fin keel, fitted with lead ballast of approximately 106 pounds, because of her lack of initial stability and the unlikelihood of her carrying a cargo of fish."

I too have thought that the deeper keel on Valgerda would degrade her rowing performance, and Billy's talk of her going to windward "after a fashion" is rather off-putting, prompting thoughts of dragging that keel along as one rows upwind. It's good to hear that Valgerda as designed goes to windward just fine.

An alternative to rowing is motoring. On the way home from the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival I stopped in Lower Hadlock at the NW School of Wooden Boatbuilding, where they were having a "garage sale" of donated boats and boats they'd built. A motorized Valgerda caught my eye, and now it sits in my front yard. The engine, shaft, decking and added interior furnishings add up to a pretty good load of fish! But the Norwegian boats are meant to carry a load. A previous owner thought her sluggish under sail, so he added a keel extension and a tall sloop rig. :( I'm going to take my Sawzall to the keel extension and give her a lug rig somewhat larger than the Atkins drew, to push the extra weight in light breezes. Photos can be seen here:










Tom M.
10-12-2004, 11:02 AM
Very nice John. I don't recognize the area. Possibly River Rd. area? What a score! Did you pick it up last month?


John Kohnen
10-12-2004, 04:25 PM
Originally posted by Tom M.:
Very nice John. I don't recognize the area. Possibly River Rd. area? What a score! Did you pick it up last month?Most of the pictures were taken at a friend's trailer in Irondale, right next to Port Hadlock. An area sorta like River Road. Pretty nice actually. The last was taken at another friend's place off Cape George Rd. out by Port Discovery, where I spent the night. I live not far from Four Corners in NW Eugene.

I saw Reinsdyr on the way home from the PT Festival and went back and got her a week later. I finally got a shelter built for Reinsdyr and got her out from under the tarp in the front yard, so now I can get to work on her. I haven't got a look under the floorboards yet, but so far it looks like she needs mainly cleaning, scraping, sanding, varnish and paint -- plus getting rid of that ugly keel extension and building a new rig... I'm sure looking forward to getting her in the water! smile.gif

Do you know about the Western Oregon Messabouters, Tom?