Determining a boat’s method of construction


The majority of Zeeland boat types are clinker-built boats. The construction sequence for clinker-built boats is completely different from carvel-built boats. For the latter the frames are put in place first. The strakes are then fixed to the frames. These boats gain their strength from the heavy frames – the strakes are relatively thin.

For clinker-built boats the bottom and sides are built first and nailed together using copper nails, after which the ribs are fitted. The planks are fastened to each other along the seams, whereby the strakes become uniformly sealed and the lines of the boat are determined at the same time. The strength of clinker-built boats comes from the use of wide and thick planks.

Materials and tools

Archive material. Verbal information from retired skippers or family members. Books about boat types. Where possible: books about building the type of boat to be restored. Photographic records remaining from the time when the boat was still sailing. Scale models of boats of the same type. See the Bibliography in the Annex for further information.


Using books, photographs and stories from retired skippers, the boat builder researches the history of the boat that he wants to restore. The history of the boat tells a great deal about the way in which the boat was built and serves as a handle for the restoration. In the case of the clinker-built mussel boat ‘Nieuwe Zorg’ the boat was built for transporting mussels and mussel seed from the mussel banks in the vicinity of the harbour. It was not necessary to cover long distances but it had to be possible to carry a lot of cargo. In reality it had to be a cargo boat, a strong boat that could carry a lot of weight. The ‘Nieuwe Zorg’ is therefore a sturdy little ship with a lot of volume. The boat (a scow / barge) sailed well and could be sailed single-handed up to wind force 6. The ‘Nieuwe Zorg’ can carry approximately 10 tons of cargo and its unladen weight is approximately 8 tons. The boat builder records the details of the build method (image 1) and uses these in the restoration plan.

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Tools Required

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Materials Required

See 'Materials and Tools' in main text