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Thread: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

  1. #1
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    Default The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    This thread is a delayed presentation of a trip from last summer. A nice warmup for this years adventures I hope.


    The Norwegian Coastal Federation has an annual gathering at a new location each year. The 2017 gathering was in Kristiansund (find yourself a map of Norway, and join the trip). We decided to sail one of our groups boats from Bergen to join the fun. As this is quite a long trip, we split it in three legs. One crew sailed from Bergen to Kristiansund, while the trip back was made extra long, and split in two legs. I Stayed onboard for the two weeks from Kristiansund to Bergen, and will present that trip here.


    The boat we sailed is named Den Gode Hensigt (Good intentions). This is a traditional boat type from the west coast, mainly used for cargo freight. She was built in 1991-92 after measurements taken from a boat built in 1840. She is 10.5 m long, 3.4 m wide and flies a square sail. The square sail survived several places in Norway because of the wind conditions. In some of the fjords, the wind typically follows the fjord in or out, and a square sail is a sensible design.


    The annual gathering is heaven if you are interested in traditional boats.














  2. #2
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    We left Kristiansund on a calm and misty morning, headed for Ålesund. We were four people onboard on this first week of the return trip.



    As we left the sheltered harbour of Kristiansund, we found a steady wind from the north, and had a great morning of sailing between islands and narrow sounds at full speed of about 8 knots. This is the most fun sailing I have ever done, and I think we were all smiling constantly for hours. I have no pictures of it though, as it was quite busy sailing.



    It was great fun sailing together with so manny other old boats of various types and designs.



    As the seas became quite heavy during the day, we chose to take the inner, longer route to Ålesund, and anchored for the night behind a small island in Midfjorden.





    The boom tent is quite spacious for four people.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    The second morning we awoke to dead calm weather. After a cold swim and a hearty breakfast, we lifted anchor and continued towards Ålesund.









    The whole day was to calm for sailing, so we spent the morning tightening up the rig a bit.



    After shopping and a good fish soup in Ålesund, we motored towards Sandsøy, that was our goal for the day.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Days like this makes you think of the pace of life just a couple of generations ago, when there was no outboard engine available and all you could do was wait for the wind.



    We were never far enough north for midnight sun on this trip, but the northern summers offer these fantastic nights where the sunset just goes on an on four hours.









    In case you were wondering what the barrel contained, the answer is raingear.

    We arrived in Sandshavn on Sandsøy late at night, and turned in as soon as the boat was moored.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    How do you find out when and where this event is held? Maybe my next trip to Norway.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Beautiful!

    We visited the Coastal Culture Centre in Bergen in 2004, and the Small Boat Hall at Oslo, and lots of other maritime places!

    Ian
    "Kotik, Kotik,Kotik!"
    Old Joke: ‘A bench fitter works to the nearest thousandth of an inch. A loco fitter (steam) works to the nearest inch. A shipwright works to the nearest ship’.”
    Alan Byde, Canoe Design and Construction, Pelham Books, 1978

    “...old maxim, 'A fair line supersedes any given measurement'.”
    Allan H. Vaitses, Lofting, International Marine, 1980

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    The next morning I explored the small harbour of Sandshavn a bit, and found several old boathouses clad with old hull planks. As boats were too worn out to be useful any longer, the hulls were often reused in boathouses like these.







    This was another calm morning, and we motored out from Sandsøy towards Stad. The area around Stad is one of the roughest stretches of ocean along the Norwegian coast. It is actually so bad that the Norwegian government has decided to build the worlds first ship tunnel to bypass it.

    We were lucky this day, and had calm seas and the wind in our back as we got out there.






  8. #8
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    How do you find out when and where this event is held? Maybe my next trip to Norway.
    These gatherings are always held the third weekend of July. This years event is in Haugesund, and 2019 is in Trondheim.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    I didn't have time to get north this first visit to Norway, so Trondheim would be really cool. I'll see what I can work out from this end. Meanwhile we are doing a little viking thing at Mystic Seaport in June the 16th. We will have my faering there as well as three others and the Draken will be underway. Should be fun but not as much as the full on Norse coastal celebration.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Fantastic photos!! Thanks for sharing

  11. #11
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    In clear weather like this, navigating along the Norwegian coast is very easy. The jagged coastline has plenty of landmarks.
    The weather was so nice this day, that we stayed out in the open ocean the whole day and covered a good distance.





    Sailing a boat like this gives you plenty of time to slow down and let your mind drift.



    Around midday the wind died down completely, so we took down the sail and had a little nap in the sunshine.



    After an hours time, the wind picked up again, and we kept cruising south. The goal for the day was the island Kinn. It has a very characteristic profile, with two humps, whereof one has a cleft in it. You can se it over the starboard bow on the picture below. This is one of the main navigational markers along the coast if you are sailing old school.




  12. #12
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Fantastic!!!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    One thing I find interesting when sailing like this is how population patterns have changed over the centuries, and how central locations today were the backwaters at other times. Today Kinn is the outermost Island to the west from the city of Florø, and has only two permanent residents. Go back a few centuries, and this is where it happened. When pretty much all transport of both cargo and people happened on the water, this was as central as it could get. The wealth of burial mounds, and remnants of houses and boathouses going back to the stone age shows that this was historically an attractive place to live. We arrived at Kinn late in the evening, had a short sunset walk and turned in.

    The morning after we awoke to bright sunshine and a mirror flat ocean. We decided to stay on Kinn for a while and do some hiking.

    One of the main sites on the island is a large 12th century stone church. This is a testimony to the importance of the island in past times.



    The church is placed on the northwest side of the island and is very visible when you arrive by boat from the north. The history of the building is a bit blurry unfortunately. The bubonic plague killed approximately 60% of the Norwegian population between 1348 and 1350. In some areas everyone died, and because they were usually involved in treating the ill and burying the dead, members of the clergy were pretty much wiped out entirely. This meant that a lot of folklore and history that existed only in the oral tradition was lost. Because of this, the history behind the building of the church was lost. Archaeological evidence shows that the current church replaced an older one at the same site.

    If you are ever at Kinn, a hike around the island is highly recommended.



    We started by hiking up to the cleft, named Kinnaklova.





    The island has a lot of caves.



    After hiking around the island, we decided it was time to get moving. The water was stil mirror flat, so we left the sail packet and motored away.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    From Kinn, we motored towards Alden. This is another island with a distinct profile. You can see it on the port bow in the picture below.





    Alden is also sometimes called The Horse, as seen from the right angle, it looks like a horse. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture from that side.



    The island is uninhabited now, but has a nice, sheltered natural harbour. We had a bit further to go, so we didn't stop here on this trip.





    We were headed for the islands at the mouth of Sognefjorden as the clouds grew thicker.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Our destination for the day was this little farm on Litla Færøy. The farm is owned by a group of friends, and run by one of them as a platform for teaching people about old style farming on these islands, and sustainable living in general.





    Another boat sailing from Kristiansund had also found their way to Litla Færøy this evening, and as the rains crashed down, we had a lovely evening in good company in the old farmhouse.

    As we were running a bit low on food (in terms of diversity, not amount) next mornings breakfast consisted of fried potatos.





    Last edited by Haabet; 05-29-2018 at 01:58 PM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Sounds like an incredible journey. Love it. So far from home though.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Makes me want to move to Norway.

    (3rd photo from top, what are those things hanging to the left of the door?)
    basil

  18. #18
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Quote Originally Posted by goodbasil View Post
    (3rd photo from top, what are those things hanging to the left of the door?)
    They are shingles that will eventually cover the entire building.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Majestic scenery, coupled with exquisit photography!
    Haabet you should come out more to chronicle this kind of stuff.
    Its Fantastic! Thanks a lot for this thread!
    And I should definately visit up North Some time to sample some of those sunsets...
    Please continue...

  20. #20
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Wonderful images and it sounds like a great trip!

    Thanks for posting.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  21. #21
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Thank you for the kind words.

    After a breakfast at Litla Færøy, we set sail for Eivindvik to replenish our food chest, before we headed for the mouth of Sognefjorden, the worlds longest navigable fjord. This was a solid detour if getting to Bergen was the main goal. We were headed for the village Arnafjord, where we were joining a celebration set up by one of the other club members to mark that his boat turned 100 years old. This was combined with the traditional mid summer celebration of Olsok.



    These are the waters this boat was originally designed for, and as usual, the wind was following the direction of the fjord (luckily in the the right direction). Though the scenery is nice, the sailing is not the most exiting, as you just follow the fjord straight east for two days inland.

    We had been blessed with nice weather most of the trip, but as we headed inland, heavy rainclouds were gathering around the mountains. For a long time we were sailing in a sunny hole, suronded by rain on all sides.





    As evening drew closer, so did the rain, and we got the boat properly cleaned. As most fjords, this one is also steep and deep, so anchoring can be problematic. We opted for a small sheltered dock that belongs to a hotel by the water. While we were tidying up the boat for the evening, a guy came over and was very enthusiastic about the boat and our trip. When he learned we were sleeping under a canvas tent on deck, he presented himself as the owner of the hotel, and promptly offered us a room and a meal at the hotel.

    The hotel (Brekkestranda) is quite nice, and blends beautifully with the terrain. From the seaside you can hardly see it at all.



    As the rain got ridiculously intens that night, we were quite happy to be under a solid roof.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Beautiful Haabet just beautiful. And quite a trip though in times past just another day in the life of a seaman trader.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Fantastic photos and a great story.

    Thanks for sharing.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

  24. #24
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    I am joining the chorus in singing thanks for sharing this!

    I see in the photos that you are all usually well dressed for chilly weather. Yet, many are wearing sandals. Are you all hot-footed or is the air temperature moderate?

    Jeff

  25. #25
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Beautiful. I want to cruise these waters before I die.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    i just finished your boat building saga and now this! both filled with great pics and interesting history and tales. thx for this and please keep us updated on your journey thru life.

    jim

  27. #27
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    I see in the photos that you are all usually well dressed for chilly weather. Yet, many are wearing sandals. Are you all hot-footed or is the air temperature moderate?

    Jeff
    Haha. That was a question I didn't expect :-). What can I say. I guess we are all different and have very individual perceptions of temperature. I rarely get cold, so you can find me in shorts while others are wrapped in wool. As for being barefoot in a wooden boat, that just feels right. Temperatures on this trip probably varied between 10 and 18 degrees C.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    Beautiful. I want to cruise these waters before I die.
    Any time :-)

  28. #28
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Ok I'm sold, adding another place to my ever growing list of cruising grounds to visit. Thanks for posting your mesmerising photos.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Superb...just superb. Not sure about barefoot in 10-18 degrees C though.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    After a good nights sleet at Brekkestranda hotel (quite a contrast from the previous week), we emptied the boat of rainwater an set sail for the last leg to Arnafjord.
    The wind was stil on our side.



    As we turned into Arnafjorden, that branches of to the south, we lost the wind and had to motor the last bit. Some of you may have noticed that we have oars onboard. This is not a boat built for rowing though, so they are only for fine maneuvering in port.




    Arnafjord was all decorated and ready for the celebration the following day. Several other boats sailing from Kristiansund had also arrived for the festivities. We spent the evening tidying and cleaning the boat before the second week of the trip.

    The 29th of june was Olsok, and celebration day. The weather was great, and we started with a small musical cruise before noon.



    The sail was mostly for show, as the air didn't really move.



    The two boats Arnefjord and Arnafjord did little cruises on the fjord with everyone who wanted. Roads are a pretty modern thing in these areas and before that, boats were the only way to get around. Both boats were used as so called "agent boats", that transported traveling salesmen around the coast. They also took passengers, cargo and mail. As they were also the only form of ambulance service, people were born and people died onboard these vessels.


    The birthdaygirl Arnefjord from 1917 to the left, and Arnafjord from 1937 to the right.

    Last edited by Haabet; 06-01-2018 at 03:41 PM.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    thanks for sharing this! looks amazing!

  32. #32
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Olsok proceeded with lots of food, song, dance and bonfires, both on land and water. Arnefjord was given a new bell as a 100 year birthday present, as she originally didn't have one.





    The following morning we loaded the boat and got going on the trip back to Bergen. From Kristiansund to Arnafjord, we were only four people onboard. I was the only one of the four that stayed on for the rest of the trip, and was joined by 7 others.



    We left Arnafjord in beautiful weather.






  33. #33
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    We started the day by motoring in the neighbouring fjord arm to Finnabotn.





    This fjord arm narrows to a small, shallow channel, that opens up again into a large basin on the inside.

    In most of Norway, you will find a farm, or remnants of one, on pretty much every speck of land horizontal enough to build a house. For manny of them, the sea is stil the only way to get there besides walking over the mountains. Most of these farms are abandoned or used as summer houses by now.





    I got two of the others to row me the last bit, so I could get some pictures of our boat from a different angle. It's a bit hard to vary the photography when you are stuck on a boat. The first week we didn't have a smaller boat available, but two of the others had rowed to Arnafjord, and we now had the Oselvar they used in tow.



    In Finnabotn we had a good lunch onboard Arnefjord, and a stroll around the farm.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    Thanks for posting these wonderful pictures....looks like a great trip.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: The Norwegian west coast in an open boat.

    It certainly was a great trip, and I'm fortunate to have such a wonderful coastline to cruice :-)

    A few more pictures from Finnabotn.









    Leaving Finnabotn, the clouds grew denser and it was time to unpack the raingear.



    Soon we had torrential rains, and the waterfalls from the mountains were visibly swelling.

    Last edited by Haabet; 06-05-2018 at 01:36 AM.

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