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

January 2024 Update:
On-water testing of the prototype is complete and we're delighted with our Gislinge Boat replica. Our fealty to an authentic hull shape, combined with modern wood-epoxy composite construction, results in a boat that looks, and—especially—feels, like a Late Viking Age working craft. Yet she's a practical choice for ordinary folks to build, use, and maintain. The boat is a joy to sail, with surprising stability and acceleration like a racing dinghy.

Also new: FAQs for the CLC Gislinge Boat.

We are in the final stages of preparing the Gislinge Boat kit for release. We really need to hear from you—yes, YOU!

Is your reenactment group looking for a Gislinge Boat that can be built quickly and is light enough to tow with an SUV? Would your organization be interested in building a boat with our guidance at CLC's classroom in Annapolis?


Please contact us at [email protected] with questions, or fill out our interest form below!

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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!




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

Frequently Asked Questions:


How big is the CLC Gislinge Boat? 25'3" (7.7m) long and 5'7" (1.73m) wide. If you're comparing her to the the last 25-foot-long boat you were aboard, you might think that this is a large boat. She is not, as "length" is not "size." She's narrow and low-slung. Tied up at the dock, she resembles a rowing wherry.

What is her carrying capacity? About 700lbs (318kg) while sailing or 900lbs (408kg) while rowing. Why the different numbers? For sailing you need more freeboard. Call it 3-4 average adults for sailing and 5-6 average adults for rowing.

How does the CLC Gislinge Boat sail? Like a thoroughbred. We've seen 7-8 knots on the GPS many times, and in surfing conditions this could multiply.

Wait...no centerboard...will she sail upwind? Yes, but not as well as modern sailboats. The sea state, wind speed, and skill of the crew are major factors. With thoughtful planning, between sailing and oars you can get anywhere you want to go. But you won't be short-tacking up a narrow channel.

Can I use a traditional, 12th-century-style square sail instead of the 19th-century-style dipping lug? Yes, absolutely. It's a more challenging rig to sail, but some folks will prefer the authenticity. You can even use the same mast and yard that is standard in the kit.

Is the CLC Gislinge Boat easy to sail? This is a pure sailing machine and not ideal for beginners. She's not been dumbed down from the boat the 12th-century Danes sailed wherever they needed to go. You want a skipper versed in small, high-performance sailboats (such as racing dinghies), who is also familiar with (and/or sympathetic to) traditional smallcraft.

How does she row? A single oarsman (one pair of oars) can move the boat around easily in calm conditions. Two oarsmen (two pairs of oars) can maintain a fast walking pace. Stow the mast, and with three oarsmen (three pairs of oars) you can row upwind, or up rivers to Viking events.

How authentic is the CLC Gislinge Boat compared to the 1130AD Gislinge Boat in the Viking Ship Museum? The hull shape is very, very close to the original. The interior includes some modern updates (such as flotation), but at 10 paces only a trained eye could pick out the differences between the wood-epoxy composite boat and the traditional oak-built original. It was very important to us to replicate the look, feel, and handling qualities of the archeological original.

Who can build the CLC Gislinge Boat? Working from a kit, there should be at least one builder on the team who is familiar with epoxy and fiberglass, and if possible, stitch-and-glue-style boatbuilding. There are no tricky steps, but the parts-count is high and the process needs to be methodical.

Wait...there's fiberglass? Yes, but not much. The lower strakes of the hull are sheathed in fiberglass for strength and durability in beaching and trailering. There is very little structural fiberglass above the waterline.

How long will the boat take to build? We estimate between 650 and 750 hours, depending on the experience of the builders and the level of finish detail. That's about six months of evenings and weekends.

How much will the CLC Gislinge Boat kit cost? The kit is divided up into packages to give builders the option to fabricate some components from scratch if desired, or to spread out the expenditure.

Preliminary pricing:
$4,995—CNC-cut Plywood Parts and Milled Timber: Solid wood parts are milled to spec and shipped with scarf joints. Okoume marine plywood components and timber are packed on a pallet. This is a "ProKit," and comes with construction drawings
$1,350—Sailing Component Kit: This includes the timber for building the hollow mast and the yard, mast step, and the rudder assembly.
$2,390—MAS Epoxy & Fiberglass Kit: Includes resin, hardener, pumps, fillers, fiberglass cloth and tape.
$1,950—White Dacron Sail
$2,200—Tanbark or Cream Dacron Sail

Is there provision for an engine? No. That's not really in the spirit of this kind of boat, and (see above) it's really a narrow, lightweight vessel, easily rowed. In the future we may investigate the installation of a well for a small gas or electric outboard.

What is it like to trailer the CLC Gislinge Boat? With a dry weight of less than 1000lbs, the CLC Gislinge Boat is identical in weight to a 13-foot Boston Whaler (!). Thus, a mid-range SUV will have no trouble at highway speeds or at the launch ramp.

What kind of building space will I need? You'll need a dry space that can be maintained at room temperature in order to work with epoxy. A space 30 feet by 15 feet (9m x 4.5m) is probably the minimum.

Can I build this boat in a class? We are working on a program to host building classes at our facility in Annapolis, for clubs or reenactment groups. This would be a two-week class at our facility during which all construction is completed, and the boat leaves ready for the final finishing stages.