Building the Caledonia Yawl

caledonia yawl

The Caledonia Yawl

Under way with Geoff Kerr at the helm at Mystic Seaport, the Caledonia Yawl moves along nicely in light air. Geoff specializes in these double-enders at Two Daughters Boatworks in Westford Vermont. Also, he teaches a series of hands-on classes at the WoodeBoat School in Brooklin Maine.

The Caledonia and Ness Yawls are Iain Oughtred designs inspired by the Shetland Yoles And Sixareens. The hull forms of these sailing craft depart significantly from their Norwegian ancestors. Leaner, and at just 300 pounds, these contemporary glued lapstrake boats are more perfectly suited for recreation.

The Oughtred yawls have gained a lot of attention principally because of their successful sea trials and competition in "raids" held in Europe. They handle well in all sorts of weather and seem to ghost along in the lightest breeze. If the wind does fail, or for navigating in tight quarters, Oughtred's plans allow for a motor well for auxiliary power.


Shetland Yoles
Shetland Yoles
Photograph courtesy of the Shetland Museum

The Shetland Island boats were more heavily built and burdensome for their work in the fisheries. The first yoles arrived from Norway in pieces for local boatbuilders to finish. From about 1860 on, these boats were built on the Shetland Islands. Averaging 21 feet overall, they were either foureens or sixareens named for the number of oars. They won favor for their shoal draft and seakeeping ability.

The Shetland Yoles, or Yoals, can trace their lineage to the Norwegian Faerings and further, back to the Vikings. It's interesting to note that the Vikings are known to have ventured into northern China, and that lapstrake boats seemed to have a great tradition in both parts of the world.

Norwegian Faering
Heroy Coastal Museum


Boat Plans

Building plans for Iain Oughtred's Caledonia and Ness Yawls are available from WoodenBoat or by requesting plans directly from Scotland. There have been some updated versions of both designs. These include a seven plank Mark III Caledonia Yawl and the JII eighteen foot Ness Yawl. Ougtred also has plans for two versions of faerings.You may contact us for the address.

Have a look at the Ness Yawl

Download a PDF of the Caledonia Yawl

Download a PDF of Norwegian Faering "Elfyn"

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