Nordfjord Folkemuseum’s largest artefact is located and exhibited on the north side of Gloppefjorden, approximately two kilometres from town. As the only ship of its kind, Holvikejekta is an important maritime cultural memory both in Norwegian and European context.
A ”jekt” is a wide, yet small sailship, equipped with a mast with square-rigged sail and no fixed deck. The size of the ships has varied from under 10 meters to over 20 meters in length. These ships were used as cargo ships along the coast; from Hardanger in the south, to Finnmark in the north. Bergen was the destination for most of the journeys. Along the coast, fish was primarily what was sold, whereas in the fjord firewood accounted for most of the income. This type of vessel most likely originates from the Vikings’ cargo ships, the “knarr”.
Holvikejekta was built in 1881 in Krånafjøra in Sandane by the brothers Jakob and Andreas Apalset. The blacksmith work was done by Elias Andenes. The ship is 20 meters long and 8,6 meters wide. Originally, the mast was 26,5 meters long and the horizontal spar was 14 meters long. The anchor was kept on the bow (”pletten” = the front part of the ship) and in the back part of the ship was a room (”vengen”) with tables, a cooking stove and beds where the crew slept. Above this room we find the bridge, the part from which the ship was controlled by the captain. The sail was raised by using rig which was fixed to the ship construction itself.
Holvikejekta has had four owners: Abraham Pedersen Holvik (born 1849), Ole Jensson Austrheim (born 1856), Ola Larsson Eide (born 1865) and Reiel Andersson Andenes (born 1844).
Holvikejekta was used to carry firewood and timber to Bergen where it would be sold. If the wood was processed and cleaved the year in advance, it would consequently be lighter and the ship could carry more wood. In order to carry larger loads, one would attatch stakes in the horizontal planks of the ship and build supporting walls on the inside of these stakes. On the top of the stakes, ropes would run across the ship to the stake on the opposite side.
In addition to firewood, it was common to bring materials such as barrel hoops, birch bark, barrels, woven clothes and other homemade products one would sell in the city. Children would collect and sell cones, tinder and kindling. The ship also carried larger objects, for instance small boats and mast poles. Even animals were transported!
In Bergen the cargo was sold and delivered, and items which they needed at home were bought. One could also make formal visits, visit relatives and friends, as well as attend to parties and nightlife in Bergen. It was the captain’s responsibility to keep track of the accounts with both the buyers and the suppliers for each visit. From Bergen, the ship could bring flour, sugar, salt, sharpening stones, clothing and roofing. Two to three trips to Bergen annually were common, and the crew consisted of five to six men.
Out of use
At the arrival of steamboats, the ”jekt” could not compete. Some ships were reconstructed; others were adapted with motors. Still, most of the original ships were either sunk, deteriorated, burned or disassembled. Holvikejekta received a different fate when it was put ashore on Øyrane in 1906. The mast, the sail, and the anchor chain was sold before Nordfjord Sogelag showed interest for the ship - and later bought it in 1909. At the establishment of Nordfjord Folkemuseum in 1920, Holvikejekta was the very first artefact in its collection.
The only preserved riveted ”jekt”
Of the hundreds of ships that sailed to Bergen, Holvikejekta is the only preserved ship in which riveting was used in the construction. Riveting is an old technique whereby metal parts are fixed to each other using metal pins known as rivets, and was used in the building of this ship.