History of North Sailing
The story of North Sailing starts in the year 1994 when two brothers, Árni and Hörður, bought a 20 ton oak boat and brought it to Húsavík. The boat was named Knörrinn and was rebuilt during the winter. The purpose was originally to save it from the scrapyard but because of new technology the conventional, Icelandic oak fishingboats were being replaced by more practical plastic or steel boats. By finding the oakboats a new purpose important knowledge and skills associated with wooden boat building are preserved.
In the summer of 1995 Knörrinn was ready and started regular whale- and nature watching in Skjálfandi Bay. The first summer 1.700 people joined these trips but one year later they were already 5.000. Therefore, North Sailing decided to buy another boat and Haukur, very similar to Knörrinn, started whale watching. In the year 1998 the number of passengers was around 12.000 and the third boat was bought and this time a bigger one, Náttfari, which has been whale watching ever since the summer 1999.
Restaurant Gamli Baukur was built in the year 1998 where North Sailing opened a new ticket office and a head office but a part of the house was rented out for a restaurant. One year later Gamli Baukur was expanded which enabled the restaurant to welcome even more guests as well as throwing various culture events. Gamli Baukur has from the beginning had on display several objects related to the history of Icelandic coastal culture. In the autumn of 2007 North Sailing started running the restaurant in Gamli Baukur and has done so ever since.
In the beginning of a new century the number of passengers was still growing and had reached over 20.000. In the winter of 2001-2002 a dream came true when Haukur was transformed into a two mast schooner. The shape of the boat was considered ideal for these changes and from the year 2003 Haukur has been sailing on its own schedule, the increasingly popular “Whales, puffins & sails.” On these tours whale watching and puffin watching are combined with sailing on a traditional schooner.
The same year the fourth boat, Bjössi Sör, began serving its new purpose as a whale watching boat but before it had both been a fishing boat and a whaling boat.
In the next years the number of passengers kept increasing and two major changes took place. North Sailing’s head office, Svartibakki, was built behind restaurant Gamli Baukur in the year 2006 which was a great improvement for the company. The same year North Sailing bought an old house in Húsavík which was almost ruined and the town considered destroying it. North Sailing rebuilt it and moved it on top of the head office in Svartibakki. The house is now known as Café Skuld, one of the most popular places to visit in Húsavík during the summertime. From the year 2009 Café Skuld has also been a souvenir shop.
By the end of 2009 two more boats were being rebuilt for the purpose of whale watching. Garðar, the biggest ship so far, was rebuilt in Húsavík and Hildur was transformed into a two mast schooner in Egernsund, Denmark. From the year 2010 a total of six boats are therefore able to take our ever growing number of passengers out searching for adventures in Skjálfandi Bay.