The Journeying Men

Have you ever come across a young man or woman, clad in black ornamented bell bottom suede pants, matching waistcoat, and a broad rimmed hat?

If he or she furthermore emits a distinctive aroma of wood, metal or masonry, you can consider yourself privileged, because you have very likely met a journeyman.

But there are much more interesting things about journeymen besides their distinctive and aromatic fashion.  

Here’s their story and how it intersects with Hawila’s.

A centuries old tradition

The tradition of wandering craftsmen emerged in the late Middle Ages, in 15th century Germany. At that time, cities had grown to be a third factor in the balance of political power in the traditional feudalistic societies of Europe. Before, absolute political power was shared only by the nobility and the Catholic Church.

All technological and humanistic knowledge had been concentrated in, developed and exclusively owned, by the many monasteries. The monks were not only the guardians of religion and spirituality but also scientists, craftsmen, engineers and teachers.


When cities became economically independent, and politically powerful, all this changed, leading to a new world order. Feudalism was based on agriculture, where few owned all of the land and 95% of the population were forced to work in slave-like conditions for their noble overlords. This new world order led to the end of serfdom, the emergence of industrialism and, eventually, democracy.

Until the early Middle ages, 99% of the population of Europe lived in the countryside. Today, after almost 1000 years of urbanisation, 75% of the population on the European continent live in cities.

The Guilds

Soon merchants and craftsmen in the cities of Central Europe began organising themselves into associations, called guilds.  

The guilds soon established their own professional standards, education systems and rules of conduct. If one wanted to learn a profession, he (women were not yet allowed to learn crafts) had to approach the local guild and apply for apprenticeship with a master craftsman. After a basic education of 3-5 years, the apprentice would, upon successful completion of an exam, gain the title ”Geselle”, or Journeyman. 

Being a journeyman entitled you to seek employment with a master craftsman, but only in the town where you had learned your trade. In order to become an independent craftsman, you had to gain the title of ”Meister” – Master Craftsman. But it was required that the Geselle had to travel for a minimum of 2 years, the exact duration determined by the guild before they could call themselves a Master.

Sending young craftsmen on year-long journeys made sense: Travelling journeymen were the primary bearers of cultural exchange, from the Middle Ages until the end of the 19th century. By travelling and seeking employment in foreign countries, they not only could enrich their professional knowledge, but also gain valuable life-experiences.  

Sending the young professionals away for a couple of years was also a convenient way for getting rid of undesired competition for the established master craftsmen. So that is why Journeyman where organizing themself in special guilds to have more power in negotiations with the master guilds, it was the begining of getting more workers rights. Although journeymen enjoyed international legal and political protection, travelling in the Middle Ages was still perilous. Food was scarce and there were robbers and highwaymen. One condition for the sanctuary state of the journeymen was that they were not allowed to carry arms. 

After the wandering years, the journeyman could return home and apply for the title of Master craftsman, subject to passing the master exam before a committee of the guild. Then he would become a member of the guild and get permission to start his own business.

By the end of the 19th century this century-old tradition began to disappear, as the power of the guilds was broken by political changes and the transition into the industrial society of the 20th century. 


In the 1990’s the tradition of travelling professionals began to resurface on the periphery of a ”back to the roots” movement. Young professionals, now both men and women, would rediscover these traditions and cherish the romance and adventure that came with them.

Today, journeymen, adhering to the ancient rules and traditions, are again travelling all over Europe, even all over the world. They have formed their own local and international organisations and enjoy growing respect for their high level of craftsmanship and work ethics.

Travelling was never about making money, but gaining experience. That’s why you today can find many journeymen and women working as volunteers in non-profit projects – like Hawila Project.

Journeymen on Hawila

We had the pleasure of recently hosting four talented journeymen and -women on Hawila. The reason being, originated from last summer, where we had the privilege to witness a journeyman being pierced with a long nail to the beam of Hawila in celebration of their rite of passage from the master. Here, everyone came together in a magical moment of song, celebration and tradition, a beautiful moment where the young journeyman was nailed to the beam for the ceremony. After this, the journeyman carved his name in the beam with the agreement that they would return to work on the ship.

This is exactly what he did. Travelling with three others the journeymen and -women made new hatches on deck, prepared the bulkheads and brought a great working spirit with them. The time shared with them made us reflect upon this broader idea of community, it was very inspiring to see the camaraderie, professionalism, skill and dedication of these craftsmen.

Under all circumstances, journeymen have a well-deserved reputation for being competent and highly qualified workers. Their lifestyle enables them to gain experiences others can’t even imagine. For many, this is a sound investment in their own professional and personal development and future. 

We always praise ourselves lucky, when a journeyman decides to join our work, how briefly it may be, and so should you. We learn a lot from them and they can learn a lot of us.

We are proud to be able to support this great tradition and we’re looking forward to meet more of these fantastic and dedicated people.

Set of Iron Clad Rules

In the Wikipedia article ”Die Wanderjahre” you can learn more about their set of rules and code of conduct.  

The bulkheads on Hawila

Hawila was originally built in Norway as a small cargo ship in 1935, and converted afterwards for sailing in coastal waters, long before bulkheads were a requirement by law. Soon her purpose will evolve to a completely new level: crossing the Atlantic, either laden with about 25-30 people onboard, or a full load of cargo. The world is now very different compared to the day her keel was first laid, and Hawila shall therefore fight her way through stringent international safety rules and regulations which were written for giant steel ships, a dozen or hundred times bigger than her, yet, we still have to comply with the same rules to be able to sail cargo.

For the first time in this refit, we go beyond the restoration and start modifying Hawila into something completely new. We have always been able to visually read what needed to be changed or modified, but now we get to build something which was never there, that gives us a new and exciting building challenge, while complying with new, up-to-date regulations.

Why do we need bulkheads?

We need bulkheads in order to divide the ship, separate cargo and living areas, and contain potential localized flooding, and, or fire. To meet the present regulations, four bulkheads are being built onboard. Each bulkhead needs to be water tight and act as a fire retardant. Originally, our surveyor wanted these in steel, but steel generally doesn’t work good with wooden ships as it is stiffer than wood and can rip itself from the hull when the vessel naturally deforms through the waves.

We try, where possible, to adapt the bulkheads’ location to our needs, and these should enable us to carry at least 50 tonnes of cargo and possibly a maximum of 65, split over two cargo holds. Each of those cargo holds will be convertible, and can be used as a dormitory with 8 sleeping spaces bunks for trainees. This will ensure that we will continue to sail with members, host cultural, and educational events, keeping Hawila’s heritage as a training ship, alive.

We have fitted two very large bolted doors panels on the central bulkhead, separating the two cargo holds. While being watertight, removing those doors, once open, will allow us to open the space entirely between the two cargo holds, to perform loading-unloading, as well as host cultural events in harbours. In addition, the bulkheads strengthen and make the ship rigid to be able to sustain enormous weight and force from both heavy cargo and heavy weather.

The aft bulkhead will be completely sealed, hatches are being built parallel to the mizzen mast for the crew to enter the engine room and the port aft cabin. While sailing with cargo, about 17-16 persons will be able to stay onboard, up to 10 in the forward part of the ship, split in 3 cabins, and 7-6 in the aft in 3 crew cabins. Then, with no cargo we can host a maximum of 8-16 additional trainees.

Each bulkhead structure were made with 15cm oak beam assemblies, reinforced and sealed with 45mm x 40mm pine cladding. The cladding is made with tongue and groove, and screwed to the frames, the keelson, the bulkheads beams and the deck beams. Joints will be tarred and/or caulked whenever necessary. Well-adjusted coamings are running along the inner planking to support the bulkhead cladding, while plugs are inserted into joints between the inner planks to prevent water circulating through these. Watertightness between the existing frames and inner planking will be improved by injecting material, or by working from the outside when replacing the planking. If necessary, concrete sealant will be poured in between the two frames next to each bulkhead location, acting as ballast and ensuring watertightness in this area.

With a combination of a naval architect, surveyor, and a team of professional boat builders, we look forward to finishing the bulkheads, getting ready to sail and transport cargo!


[English below]


Er du tømrer, bådebygger, smed, mekaniker eller sandhedssøgende eventyrer med mindst 1 måned til rådighed?

Du vil blive en del af et stærkt og godt fællesskab
Få unikke oplevelser
Lære Håndværk af dygtige fagfolk, så vel som selv at få mulighed til at lære fra dig
Være sammen og have det sjovt med ligesindede fra hele Europa
Få 200 år gammelt egetræer til at blive en del af et stort historisk sejlskib I Danmarks største træskibshavn
Bruge din erfaring, viden og kærlighed til den store renovering af en 86 år gammel norskfødt dame.

Du vil blive indlogeret med fuld forplejning i vores hyggelige kollektiv i Holbæk med dine kollegaer. For dit arbejde vil du også optjene sejldage med Hawila.

Hvis du vil lære mere om denne enestående mulighed, skal du kontakte Hawila-teamet på eller ringe til Johan Bech på +4522891802



Are you a carpenter, a boatbuilder, a blacksmith, mechanic or truth-seeking adventurer with at least 1 month to spare?

Being part of a great team
Gathering unique experiences
Learning from each other, teaching one another
Having a great time with like-minded people from all over Europe
Transforming 200 years old oak trees to become parts of a great historic sailing ship
In the largest wooden ship harbour of Denmark
Putting your experience and knowledge to good use
For the grand refit of a 86 year old, Norwegian-born lady

You will be hosted and fed in our house near the ship in Holbæk. In exchange for volunteer time you will get sailing time onboard Hawila.

If you want to learn more about this unique opportunity, contact the Hawila team at or call Johan Bech on +4522891802

Why is sailing cargo important for Hawila?

Hawila was built in 1935 as a cargo freighter to carry ice. The ship would be run by a single family and sail from Sweden to Norway. In the pits, they would harvest the ice, load it onto Hawila’s belly (up to 100 tons), and then sail it back to Sweden where it would be sold to fishermen to keep their catch fresh.

When we started the Hawila Project in 2015, ice did not need to be shipped anymore for many years – today it can be locally sourced in the nearby factory or goods kept fresh in a fridge. Even if today, most of our goods can be produced locally, globalisation makes it cheaper to produce things thousands of kilometers away from where they are consumed. It is an economic solution but an ecological disaster.

How can we deal with this in our daily lives?

What does really need to be shipped, and what not?

How can we transform such an ecologically damaging supply chain?

The Sail Cargo movement and all the people involved in it are trying to answer those questions with their actions.

For those curious about sail cargo around Denmark check out #Fairtransport who today, depart from Bornholm, arriving in Copenhagen and bringing beer from our friends at the wonderful brewery of #Svaneke and a huge amount of curved, dried oak for our refit, by sail!!! #Grayhoundventures are currently laying alongside Hawila in Holbaek Harbour ahead of schedule. She will stay a couple of days before departing for Odense, then to Göteborg to load her cargo of beer which she will sail to Germany from Feel free to drop by and say hello!

Grayhound Lugger Sailing


New Dawn Traders



Sail Cargo Alliance


Blue Schooner Company

Les Caboteurs de Lune

TOWT – Transport à la voile

Hawila LIDAR 3D Scan:

(English below)

Vivien, vores skibsarkitekt arbejder ustoppeligt på Hawila’s indledende og fremtidige tegninger. Han baserer det meste af sit arbejde på LIDAR 3D scanninger, der er blevet lavet tidligt i ombygningsprocessen og er produceret af vores kære ven “Stig Anton AN” fra

3D scanningerne viser de fleste elementer i skibets skrog, og giver os et nøjagtigt billede af skibet – på den måde kan vi bestemme den absolut bedste måde at designe vores fremtidige skib. 3D scanningerne tjener flere formål: det giver os ikke blot overblik over mål og dimensioner for skibstømrerarbejdet, men hjælper os også med at planlægge hele layoutet af rør- og kabellægning, tanke, inventar og skotter og giver os forståelse for skibets masse og stabilitet indtil den endelige ballastning og hældningstest. Scanningerne giver os mulighed for at forberede Hawila på de forhøjede sikkerheds- krav og reguleringer, der følger med i hendes nye transatlantiske liv. Desuden giver scanningerne os mulighed for at undersøge deformationer i skroget, og endeligt, giver de os mulighed for at dokumentere arkitekturen og transformationen af et historisk skandinavisk skib. Hawila har den første halvdel af sit liv været et fragtskib, og senere hen været et øvelsesskib – vi håber at kunne bære hendes stolte traditioner og historie med ud i fremtiden.

Se her de indledende tegninger af skibet – vi vil løbende dele flere, som processen skrider hen.

Vivien – our volunteer naval architect – is working relentlessly on the actual and future drawings of Hawila. He bases most of his work on LIDAR 3D scans kindly made by our friend “StigAnton AN” from at the early stage of the refit and showing most of the elements of the ship’s hull.

From this, we have an accurate mapping of the ship used to determine the best possible way to design the new vessel.This serves multiple purposes: not only to provide dimensions for carpentry work in the current refit, but also to plan the whole layout (including piping, cabling, tanks, furniture, equipment and bulkheads), to assert the ship’s mass and stability until the final ballasting & inclination tests, to prepare Hawila for heightened safety requirements and regulations that will come with her new transatlantic life, to study the deformations of the hull, and as an extra, to document the architecture and transformations of an historical scandinavian ship. Hawila spent half of her life as a cargo ship, the other half as an educational sailing ship, and we hope to retain both sides of her history in her future.

Have a look at the preliminary drawings, there will be more details later about the whole mapping process and the design of the ship!

Hawila needs your vote to get support for the refit!

//For dansk, scroll under//

Hawila Project is applying for Realdania Funding to finish the refit of the ship so she can continue being a platform for culture, education and trade.We need 500 votes to be considered for this fund – and that’s where you come into the picture! Click on the link and give your vote to us by pressing the heart and write a comment about why Hawila is an important project for culture and community!

Hawila Project søger Realdania Fonden for at kunne gennemføre vores ønske om at ombygge skibet, så det kan fortsætte med at vores en platform for kultur, uddannelse og fragt.Vi skal bruge 500 stemmer for at blive valgt til puljen og det er dér, du kommer ind i billedet. Klik på linket og afgiv din stemme ved at trykke på hjertet – og skriv en kommentar om, hvorfor Hawila er et vigtigt projekt for kultur og fællesskab!

What did we do to Hawila’s keelson?

The keelson is of primary importance in the structure of a wooden vessel. It can be seen as the mirror of the keel, inside the ship, going from the stem to the stern with frames and floor timber sandwiched in between. On Hawila, the central keelson is also strengthened by sister keelsons on both sides, bolted through the frames and through the keelson, making a coherent structural unit.

We replaced 2 of the 3 central oak pieces making Hawila’s keelson -joint between them with a 2,5m scarf- in addition to the two sister keelsons. The original Keelson was about 25x20cm, we increased the size to 50x25cm over a length of 18m. The aft keelson was very well preserved and left in place. We integrated the keelson in the bow, sandwiching it between two deadwoods at the apron.

Before starting to work on the new keelson, we had to dismantle the old keelson and sister keelsons, which were firmly bolted in the keel and the frames. In some places the wood was well rotted, in other places, it seemed to have started a fossilization process making it unbelievably hard to cut and drill. After removing the whole keelson, we did a comprehensive bolt mapping to track each bolt hole and plan the fastening of the new keelson. In the 1980’s a second keel was bolted underneath Hawila’s original keel, trapping the old keel bolts which we could not remove and preventing us from doing much work on the old keel. As such, we chose to keep as it was and to accommodate the keel deformation on the new keelson.

To take the measurements, the center line of the ship was established, we then made a level to work and map the future keelson shape. Multiple measurements were taken in the ship to guide the future fairing of each frame and the cutting of the keelson. We used a string which represents the top of the new keelson and took measurements to establish the way of cutting the wood. The shape of the new keelson and sister keelsons were then traced on the new pieces of 200 years old oak. Tracing is a crucial part of the process and the features had been checked with particular attention, because the dry fitting process has to be as efficient as possible. Only after accurate checks of each measurement can the timber be cut, first with power tools, then with more precise and tools. All knots and damaged parts were then plugged with dutchman.

We brought the circa 1 ton central keelson with a crane using a hole made in the frames on port bow. The whole process had to be well thought in advance as with such a heavy piece nothing can be left to hazard. With serious preparation and great teamwork, the lifting went smoothly. The smaller forward keelson and the two sister keelsons were lifted only with straps and chains block.

Once inside, it took less than an hour of local adjustment to dry fit the keelson which fitted perfectly, not a millimeter of error, very impressive on such a large piece with difficult assemblies!

Once dry fitted, they are ready to be fastened !

How do we replace hull planks on Hawila?

Hawila was built in 1935 as a coastal sailing cargo vessel, planked in 50mm oak with length up to 6m. Planks were fastened using treenails going through the frame and wedged on both sides, the seams were then caulked with hemp, and later filled with pitch.

The last month we replaced more than 260m of the old Hawila’s planks, some of them in still good shape of preservation and still holding strong to their treenails! On those oak planks we replaced, we chose to increase plank thickness from 50mm to 65mm, with length of 11 to 14m, this in order to add more strength and durability to the vessel. The Danish oak we used was planted 200 years ago, and air dried outside for 2 years before being fastened to Hawila. In addition, we increased the thickness of the galbord to 85mm, nearly twice the original thickness.

In this short video, we present a sum-up of the processes used to replace a planks.

Stay tuned, more video will follow!

How to make treenails?

When Hawila was built in 1935, frames and planks were fastened using treenails: a traditional and reliable fastening solution on many kind of wooden ships and constructions. From our experience, treenails present a longer lasting fastening solution than galvanised bolts in oak as they won’t deteriorate with time, but are longer to produce and harder to use.

In this short video, we present the process we used to produce and insert oak treenails in our oak planks.

How to fasten our frames on Hawila?

After being cut to specification, each frame futtock is dry fitted in position: the final adjustments can be made before the futtock is fastened to the other frame.

Before fastening, all future wood-to-wood contacts are painted with anti-fungal paint, and later coated with putty mix. This putty, also known as linseed oil putty mix- is a homemade blend of linoilkit, pine tar, linseed oil, and hemp fibers. The putty is used to smooth the irregularities remaining between new and old frame futtocks and also act as a strong anti-fungal agent.

To fasten the frames together we use treenails: a long wooden nail made of dry oak and wedged on each side. The concept with treenails is to use the expanding properties of the wood to fasten pieces together. We use well-seasoned timber with a moisture content below 14% to make treenails of 25,4mm (1 inch) diameter. We then hammer them into a 25mm drilled hole, and finish by wedging each end. By using green timber for framing, our treenail will expand to stabilise at a higher moisture content, ensuring additional friction (measured timber moisture content in Hawila’s bilge is stable at about 18-20%). This technic has been used traditionally as a reliable fastening on all kind of ships and construction and from our experience, presents a longer lasting fastening solution than galvanised bolts in oak.

To produce the treenails, rectangular lengths of 26x26mm are cut from well-seasoned oak planks, following the grain and avoiding knots and cracks. The wood pieces are then planed, thicknessed, and the edge of the square pieces are cut with our Felder table saw and a homemade jig. The treenails are rounded to 25,4mm using a drill with welded metal support and a Veritas 1″ tenon cutter cut at the end.

Before inserting the nail, we coat the holes with pine tar to lubricate the insertion and act as anti-fungi.The new futtocks are now ready to be faired!

Hawila’s new stem assembly

In a wooden sailing ship, the apron nd astem deadwoods are often difficult to access. The stem is the part of the ship located at the very front, the “near vertical” continuation of the “horizontal” keel.

The stem on Hawila is composed of two pieces : the outerstem -the above water part- and the forefoot -the curved junction between the outerstem and the keel-. Inside the ship, the stem is reinforced by deadwood pieces and the apron right behind the stem. The role of this structure is to add strength to the stem and make the connection between the stem, the keel, the keelson and the frames. Frames are bolted to those pieces and often deadwoods have assemblies above and below the keelson, making them hard to remove without removing planking, frames and keelson.

Leif and Marvin, two german boat builders, came especially to help us with the rebuilding of the entire apron and modifying the stem assembly. The only piece we chose to keep, is the actual stem, which is in a very good state of preservation.

First, Leif and Marvin had to remove the metal casing covering the forward keel/forefoot and take off the bolts that were holding the deadwoods to the stem, keel and keelson. After cleaning the surface, they used plywood templates to mirror the shape of the future deadwoods and apron. In a similar way as for framing, they chose the timber showing the best grain direction, ensuring strength to the piece.

Pieces are cut, planed, and placed in position one by one, helped with tackles and blocks to ease the lift. Once fitted, we lift them again and use anti-fungal paint and pine tar at each wood to wood surface. To finish, the pieces are clamped firmly before being bolted with galvanised 20mm steel bars, threaded in each end by our local blacksmith. Later, when the keelson will be sandwiched with the last overlying knee, 24mm bars will be used to bolt the pieces to the keel. And finally we will carve a new rabbet all the way on the keel and the stem.

Hawila was built as a motor sailor in 1935, and in the 80’s was heavily refitted with a larger rigging and a big bowsprit. Today this whole assembly seems too weak to withstand the forces of the foresails, and the crew had noticed a slight and slow move aft of the stem and bowsprit over the years while sailing. As a result we chose to increase the sizes of the deadwoods and apron and add a large overlapping knee to add more strength to the all assembly. Later in the process, this knee will be incorporated into the forward impact bulkhead to ensure even more stability over the years and the seas to come…

Thank you Leif and Marvin for your amazing and efficient work !

Stay tuned for the next chapter!

How to change a frame on Hawila?

After two weeks of holidays break, we are all back at the shipyard! The carpenters of the framing team started their work right away on the many frames that need to be replaced.

Our frames are made of several oak futtocks. On Hawila, some of the futtocks are still in good shape -even after 85 years of use- and some have been replaced more recently. Therefore, we replace the ones showing rot or structural damages due to many years of service.

One by one, the fastenings are removed and the futtocks are taken out. The old surfaces are cleaned and planned to welcome a template that will be used to represent the new futtock. The plywood template is placed against the remaining frame and cut at the right dimensions. All the necessary measurements for the new frame are written on this plywood template (angles, length of the piece, frame number, location in the ship etc).The template is then used to find a suitable piece of oak from our timber supply, we also check to ensure that we have the desired grain in the wood ensuring strength. We then can mark the contour of the frame as well as the edge angles on the fresh timber piece before cutting.

We use a chainsaw mounted on a jig allowing us to change slowly the cut angles along the frame cut line. The chainsaw jig was welded by Sam using scrap metal from the yard, inspired from the jigs utilized by the ships Ceiba and Tally Ho. The cutting process is done by a team of two: one pulling the jig and following the cut line, the other adjusting the angle along the way. After that, the final frame surface is planed more precisely in the workshop according to the same angles reported on the template. The piece is now ready to reach its place in the ship where final adjustments are made.

Next chapter coming up soon!

Hawila is out of the water again, this time until the end of March!

After cleaning and stabilising the vessel, we started right away to look at accesses to remove the first two planks and our keelsons.

Our ambition is to replace the keel bolts, as well as galbord, ribbord, keelsons and side keelsons.

Thank you Den Gamle Bedding Holbæk for your dedication to hoist us up.

The whole process took two tries over two days, and a total more than 8 hours on a light south-west wind, including a night time repair of the slipway in between trials!

Thank you all for the amazing teamwork!

Hawila’s refit in Holbæk has begun!

In the second half of September we started a large refit of Hawila in Holbæk that should last until October next year. A group of skilled volunteers joined the permanent crew and started to take down sails and rigging.

We gathered all our local friends over a long weekend to remove together the 30 tons of ballast put in the bilges in the 80’s by our predecessors from MBV. The pieces of iron varied in size and weight, oscillating between 30 and 300 kilograms. The smaller bits were carried by a human chain, the bigger ones were removed by crane. Thank you all again for this collective effort, after all this mass we removed, Hawila has raised nearly one meter above the water!

The work of the crane gave us thrills also when removing the masts. We gathered to watch this breathtaking moment amazed to find an impossible to read all rounded luck-coin under one of the masts- a maritime tradition dating as far back as the Roman times.

We are now dismantling the inside cabins to access the bare hull. During this week Hawila will be covered and we will remove all the midship and forward deck to assess properly the state of the vessel.

We are very much looking forward to being hoisted on the slipway on the 9th of November. The next challenge will be the necessary work on our keelson, galbord, keel bolts and frames.

Stay tuned, there will be way more to come in the coming weeks!

Fair winds

The fascinating story of Hawila’s wood for the refit 2020/2021

The decision to plant thousands of ship oaks in 1810:

In 1810, after events of Napoleonic wars, the king Frederik made the decision to plant thousands of oak trees between Hillerod, Esrum and Helsinge, an area since known as the Gribskov (Vulture forest) to make it possible to rebuild the Danish fleet 200 years from then, since that is the time oaks need to mature into ship oaks.

In 2010 the time had come. In a public announcement, the Royal Forestry Commissioner of Denmark informed Queen Margarethe II that the oaks were now finally ready to be used for the rebuilding of the Danish Navy. Of course, this announcement sounded odd in our modern times, but the legal obligation from 1810 for the Royal Forestry Commissioner to announce to the reigning King (or queen) the day when the oaks officially would become ship oaks, was still in force.

The obligation was duly fulfilled.

Hawila’s incredible luck (based on a good deal perseverance):

Now, at the antique sawmill of Kagerup, 15 of these matured ship oaks finally are waiting to fulfil their destination. Not by becoming ships of the Danish Navy, but by becoming a part of Hawila during the Great Refit, starting September 15th in the Isefjord town of Holbaek.

It took several months of negotiations until 15 of those beautiful 200 years old oak trees were ready for Hawila to purchase them.

On February 20, the trees were felled and transported to the sawmill in Kagerup, soon to be milled into planks, ribs and deck beams for Hawila.
The final comment when we thanked Peter Chrois Moeller, the sales manager of Naturstyrelsen, who made it possible was:

“It makes me happy that at least some of our great ship oaks can fulfil their destination and become part of a great sailing ship.”

We feel privileged and grateful to Peter Chrois Moeller (Naturstyrelsen) and Gribskov’s forester Jan Erik Løvgen, for making this happen!

Without their support it would not have been possible.

LAG Midt-Nordvestsjælland supports Hawila’s refit

We are happy to announce that Hawila has received financial support for the refit in Holbæk from LAG (Local Action Group) Mid-Northwest Zealand. LAG is an association supporting projects that contribute to the development of projects and activities in Lejre, Holbæk, Sorø, Odsherred and Kalundborg municipalities. In 2020 LAG has a focus on sustainable development and green conversion. Its funds come from the Danish state and the EU’s Rural Fund.

We feel honoured to be recognised by the local actors as a desired element of the sustainable development of the region.We are looking forward to becoming part of the local community, contributing to the development of the area with innovative and green approaches to maritime transport, maritime cultural heritage and sustainable tourism development of the region.

We eagerly anticipate further collaboration with the local community as well as getting to know the people of Holbæk and the surrounding area to co-create activities and work on sustainable entrepreneurship development.

Hawila needs YOU!

Join a one year refit in Denmark

Hawila is looking for volunteers from October 2020 to October 2021 for major refit in Holbæk, Denmark.

The refit will last up to a year to convert Hawila into a commercial registered vessel with a transformation of the mess-room to allow the transport of cargo.

The team will consist of 8-16 people. We aim to keep an enriching working atmosphere that sustains a good community life.

You will join as a volunteer. In addition to becoming part of the Hawila community, being hosted and provided wholesome meals we will make specific arrangements with each volunteer depending on the length of their volunteering period, their skills and previous experiences.

As a common reward, all volunteers will be offered days of sailing in exchange for their time and commitment. Specific details and arrangements will be explained once the application round will be closed.

Tools and working clothes will be provided by Hawila but you are welcome to bring your own beloved toolbox.

A minimum commitment of 1 month is required for all volunteers; we believe that’s the minimum to integrate within the community and sustain a continuous, efficient and interesting learning/volunteering experience.

Needed from October 2020:

woodworker, carpenter, boatbuilder, jack of all trades. Later in the refit (from spring 2021): Sailmakers, Riggers, Electricians, Mechanics.

Refit plan:

Framing and planking below and above water line, keel work (mid-ship keelson, keel bolts), caulking, decking, rigging work, 2 additional bulkheads, new sails, new electrics.

How to apply?:

If you are interested, send us an application email with a few words about you, your motivation to join the adventure, your experiences and possibly a CV to

We will be receiving applications until August 15th.

Fair Winds!

Hawila Crew

STEAM [science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics] workshops for kids in Isefjord

Are children interested in building a robot or studying marine electronics?

We have a chance to find out when spending a week with amazing boys and girls and their guardians in Isefjord. Together with kids and parents from the French-Danish school Hawila Project organised STEAM [science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics]- a week of non-formal education workshops for kids taking place in breathtaking nature onboard Hawila and on a farm inland.

Our little fellows have a chance to immerse themselves in practical knowledge on how to weld, make print on a T-shirt, program a robot, work with analog photography and sound.

Amongst the workshops there are also possibilities for adventurers to try sailing with Hawila, tree climbing, steering a little boat or challenge themselves when climbing the main mast.

Our amazing chefs provide delicious meals prepared from organic ingredients to fuel the body and spirits of the kids crew.

We are looking forward to the last days of workshops!