Model: Length: Hull Weight: Beam: Max Payload: Rowing Draft: Sailing Draft: Sail Area:
Gislinge 25' 3" 975 lbs. 67 in. 800 lbs. 11" 11" 117 sq ft.

In 1993, archeologists excavated a boat near the village of Gislinge (GISS-ling-ah), in Denmark. Dendrochronology established that the boat was built around the year 1130. Apparently, the boat saw hard use fishing and hauling cargo before being abandoned in a marsh 50 years later.

The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark reconstructed the Gislinge Boat. In 2015, the Museum released the working drawings to the public, launching the Gislinge Boat Open Source Project.

At an overall length of 25'4", John Harris and the team at CLC thought that a replica Gislinge Boat was small enough to be an accessible amateur boatbuilding project. But not if we stuck with the 12th-century original's split-oak planks and iron rivets!

In 2019, Chesapeake Light Craft began developing a computer-cut wood-epoxy replica of the Gislinge Boat. Using only materials and techniques available to 12th-century Danes CLC's pre-cut marine plywood kit, assembled using ordinary "stitch and glue" techniques, makes the construction of this ancient design accessible to serious amateur builders and organizations. The structural epoxy coating will ensure durability, keeping upkeep to a minimum. (Fiberglass cloth is used only sparingly in CLC's replica, in high-wear spots.) The discreet addition of built-in positive buoyancy will make it much easier to recover from a swamping.

The structural "apron" around the cockpit perimeter at thwart level that conceals the foam buoyancy, and the
switch from a square sail to a dipping lug are the only obvious deviations from the look and feel of the 900-year-old original. The dipping lug is a lighter and simpler rig. John Harris remarks: "Handling a boat like this, side-slung rudder and all, is already a lot of new stuff none of us have done. I don't like to have to try too many new things at once. A dipping lug looks right on the boat—only the serious academic types will even notice that it's a different rig—and it's only three strings to pull on instead of five or six. It's also a great upwind sail...because all sailing on the Chesapeake is upwind."

CLC designer Jay Hockenberry was responsible for the CAD/CAM engineering and has project-managed this ambitious undertaking.

In January 2020 we built a 33% scale model of the Gislinge Boat to test the assembly sequence.

Gislinge Boat by Chesapeake Light Craft
CLC designer Jay Hockenberry with an early
mock-up of the bow of our Gislinge Boat.
Preserving the look and feel of the original,
while making it easier to build, has always
been the goal. 

Preserving the essential, elemental beauty of the Gislinge Boat's lines, without making the thing impossible to build, took months of study, iteration, and mock-ups. "Screwing up the lines of this boat was just unthinkable," says Harris. "Other than taking some 'stealers' out of the planking line-off—a planking feature neither necessary or desirable in stitch-and-glue—you can overlay our lines and the lines of the museum original. The body sections, especially, are very close. It's stitched-and-glue marine plywood, but this boat will have both the look AND the feel of the 12th-century original."

COVID spoiled plans to assemble Hull #1 in a boatbuilding class during the summer of 2020. Instead, CLC staff in Annapolis began assembly of the full-sized stitch-and-glue Gislinge Boat in November 2020, masks clamped over faces.

As of this writing, CLC's kit-built Gislinge Boat protoype has been launched and is undergoing sea trials. Watch our social media channels for the latest on-water pictures!

Absent an official sponsor, the project has unfolded more slowly than we'd have liked, but the meticulously designed and tested CNC-cut kit will be the only one of its kind available, anywhere!

We do not have a release date for plans and kits, but look for those as soon as the prototypes match or exceed our expectations.

Our thanks for the technical support, feedback, and enthusiasm from the folks at the Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde, Denmark