Knörrinn: The First Boat of North Sailing
Today North Sailing owns and operates 6 boats. All of them are traditional Icelandic fishing boats, they are all oak boats, built in the 60’s and 70’s. Knörrinn is the oldest one, built in 1963 and is also the first boat North Sailing bought.
First years of Whale Watching
Two of the company’s owners, brothers Hörður and Árni, had always been enthusiastic about Icelandic oak boats, and in 1994 they decided to make a dream come true. They bought an old fishing boat with the objective of converting it into a passenger boat for whale watching. But that proved to be a struggle. Back then the Icelandic law stated that all fishing boats with out a fishing quota should be disposed, the wooden boats should be sawn down and burnt. So the argument started, the brothers pointed out the fact that these traditional boats where disappearing fast, and therefore a big chunk of the Icelandic coastal culture, so this would be kind of a rescue mission. The government was hard to turn and the legal argument lasted for months, but eventually the politicians saw the light and the plan went through.
View from the Wheel House
The boat was brought to Húsavík, converted and restored in 1994 – 1995 and given the name “Knörrinn” after a type of traditional Viking ships, “Knörr”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knarr. In the summer of 1995 the first passengers went whale watching standing on the deck of what is now the longest serving whale watching boat in Iceland. Around 2.500 trips and 16 years later Knörrinn is still going strong.
Staff safety drill below deck in Knörrinn
The Lucky Boat
Through the years Knörrinn has been a real lucky boat. It survived the infamous “April Weather” in 1963 on its maiden voyage, north of Iceland. The weather was so bad that the crew got separated, half of them closed themselves below deck and the others in the wheel house. For ten hours the boat drifted around the ocean without the two groups of men being able to contact each other. Finally the weather calmed down, all men were well and the boat as good as new. On that day several boats sunk with the loss of 16 fishermen. Later, in 1968, it sailed into an iceberg at full speed, so hard that the crew was getting ready to leave the ship, but the boat was not leaking. They headed straight in to harbour and the boat was taken into the ship yard for examination. To everyone’s surprise the hull was hardly scratched and the boat went fishing the day after. Other stories exist, the boat was always a good fishing boat and in the later years the whales have always been very attracted to Knörrinn.
The Lucky Boat
The Gold Coin
Yet another story of Knörrinn might explain all this luck. This story takes place in the Akureyri Shipyard in 1963 when the boat was being built. Before raising the mast of the boat, the ship builders placed a gold coin under it. The mast has not been removed since and the story has proved hard to verify, but of course we know it is there.
What else could explain all this luck?