More about Shetland boats

Much has been researched and written about Shetland boats.

Maybe it’s something to do with the combination of their aesthetically pleasing shape, their legendary seaworthiness, their long history as working boats in Shetland, and their obvious evolution from working boats in Scandinavia.

The Shetland Isles are too far north for trees to grow, and from the 18th century, possibly earlier, ‘kit boats’ were sent from Norway.

Today, the Unst Boat Haven has the largest collection of Shetland boats and memorabilia and is worthy of a visit by every boat lover visiting Shetland. Three buses and two ferries north from Lerwick, the round trip can be made in a day. I visited in July 2023 and highly recommend it.

Boats in a shed
The Unst Boat Haven

The Shetland Amenity Trust also maintains a museum in Lerwick with many fine examples of Shetland boats.

For more detailed study see Dr Adrian Osler’s book, ‘The Shetland Boat’

Also see ‘Shetland’s Boats: origin, evolution and use’ by Dr Marc Chivers.

Another is ‘Small Boats of Shetland, a delightful book by Alison Munro,

All are available from the Shetland Times Bookshop.

To see Shetland boats sailing, have a look at this Shetland Regatta Week compilation on YouTube.

For another great video with more on clinker boat construction, see the Nordic Clinker boat tradition

Small boat designer Iain Oughtred has created relatively easily built designs that draw heavily on Shetland boats, such as his 19’6″ Caledonia Yawl, the design of my last boat, Crazybird.

Crazybird an Iain Oughtred Caledonia Yawl

Crazybird an iain Oughtred Caledonia Yawl

Return to Home page

Subscribe for more background; buy the book for the whole story.

Verified by MonsterInsights