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MSFV Stalet

In 2013 I purchased a wooden Norwegian fishing boat with the intention to live aboard. The previous owner had spent a lot of time and money repairing her timbers to keep her seaworthy but the time had come to let her go and that’s where this story begins.

IMG_0003Late October 2013.

After taking even a cursory look around the boat it was obvious that she still needed a lot of work doing to her, the  frames ( her ribs ) which ran through her deck planks to hold the bulwarks ( sides of the boat above the deck ) in place were mostly showing signs of rot and various other tired looking aspects of the boat  that gave some pointers to the  overall condition of the timbers but it was love at first sight and that meant trouble! so in between an extensive conversion, an extensive repair program will also take place.

Order of work.

  1. Inspect upper sections of fames for rot and remove
  2. Removal of existing deck up-stand and sliding hatch
  3. Removal deck boards
  4. Install new carlines
  5. Install steel corner braces and steel stub beams
  6. Remove deck beams x2
  7. Remove engine bay bulkhead
  8. Removal of existing steel diesel tank.
  9. Remove engine
  10. Remove forward bulkhead
  11. Remove forward cabin sole-boards
  12. Remove existing water tank
  13. Remove ballast
  14. clean detritus off timbers
  15. treat timbers
  16. Removal of relevant ceiling boards (inner hull planks) for inspection and repair

This old lady was built in 1931, the builders yard unknown ( but I hope to remedy that before too long ). The Norwegians, practical people that they are built from pitch pine and larch. Anyone who knows  timber, knows the value of Pitch pine, its very heavy, very strong and very durable. In 1931 Norway must have had plenty of pitch pine as the sections of the timbers are to say the least overkill. I don’t want to sound too technical when talking to you the reader because I’m not with you to explain all the jargon  of the construction of boats, so to put it simply for those who would otherwise stop reading after a few paragraphs . The boat builder has tables to work by, these tables state the size of the  timbers for the length and use of the boat, so when a boat has timbers that are greater than the tables state there is a good reason for the extra cost. In the case of Norwegian fishing boats it was the north sea, these old wooden vessels were built to take the punishment that particular ocean can dish out and do that on a day to day basis over a long period of time.

Stalet is a 44 foot gaff rig ketch, this means she has a classic sail plan which was common in 1931 and used on fishing boats for its practicality (I could say more but libraries are great places to find books that would explain sail plans much better than I and save me possibly boring you) and two masts. When she was built she would have been powered by a single cylinder engin e but now she has a six cylinder Scania diesel and  a 36 inch propeller to push her through the water. At a point in her history she made her owner / owners a lot of money fishing for herring, so much so that it was deemed  viable to modernise her by giving her a new aluminium  foredeck and raised  forward  bow sheers  and prow.  Which meant a  raised deck level, giving greater headroom in the area under the forward deck.  Aluminium also replaced the original timber bulwarks around the rest of the boat, a new wheelhouse  finished the refurbishment off giving her a more modern look and a longer working life.IMG_0052IMG_0004


Forward deck.


Unfortunately because of a gap in my photography due accidentally deleting files I can’t show an up-stand that was built over the original fish hold cover, it had a sliding hatch which allowed entry to the now forward cabin. The photo’s I do have show the hatch up-stand in the process of deconstruction.