Best laid plans...

Published 28th Oct 2015

Things haven’t gone quite as planned with the Gislinge Boat’s sail – but not all is lost!

The initial plan was that the museum’s weaver, Anna Nørgaard, would weave one of the five panels required to make the sail on a reconstructed warp-weighted loom. The other four panels would be woven by weavers from IBOS. Unfortunately, there was a set back with the initial panel woven by the weavers at IBOS. The finished cloth is always soaked in water once woven, as the thread has a naturally tendency to shrink slightly. The panel shrank more than was expected, which created a problem: the next panels would need to be slightly longer to allow for the shrinkage and they didn’t have enough yarn to complete all three panels. An attempt was made to source the yarn but it would take three weeks to be delivered.

So we had a dilemma: do we wait for the weavers from IBOS to start again and have no sail for the Gislinge Boat come launch date or do we order new sailcloth for the Gislinge Boat and continue with the flax sail project next year? After much deliberation, the decision was made to order new machine-woven sailcloth so we could equip the boat with a sail for the launch date on October 31st, which was looming large on the horizon.

This doesn’t mean that the project with the handwoven sail has been abandoned, however – quite the opposite in fact. From a research point of view, there are a number of advantages to this turn of events. The Gislinge Boat will also be ready to sail when it hits the water on Saturday and the boatbuilders will be able to get the first impression of how their reconstruction performs. The panel Anna has completed is still hanging on her loom for Museum visitors to see and the weavers at IBOS are now almost finished weaving the remaining panels with the new yarn. The machine-woven sail will function as a test sail: Anna can experiment with the exact shape and dimensions of the sail and how it performs in relation to the boat itself, so that next year, they can sew the optimum sail out of the handwoven material.

Only two days to go…