Fair Isle panorama from Buness

Thursday March 18, 2010



Ian Best


Fair Isle yoal, National Museums of Scotland
Trustees of the
National Museums of

A yoal, built by Ian, on public display in the
National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh.
The design's on the sail were produced
by the Fair Isle school children 

Fair Isle
Shetland  ZE2 9JU ianbest@btinternet.com

Tel:   +44(0)1595 760 229

A craftsman whose Norwegian qualifications provide the foundation for revived local skills building traditional boats evolved for work or pleasure in demanding sea conditions.






In 1981 Ian went to Trelatlygjarskwllen in Norway age 17, learned the language and spent three years gaining the experience and the Norwegian Fagbrev for building a wide range of wooden craft.


The Ness Yoal is a highly evolved craft of Norse lineage, a boat made to measure up to the demands of the stormy and tidal waters. Clinker built from Scottish larch they are light and manageable, bending with the water by oar, under sail or with outboard. 
The recent revival of the Shetland rowing tradition has caused an upsurge in the building and general use of these boats with the communities in Shetland racing every weekend all summer. Besides this local market for yoals for rowing and traditional fishing there is an increasing appreciation of the yoal as a distinctive craft for leisure and Ian has sent yoals as far as the Netherlands.  

Text and photographs 2008 Dave Wheeler except where otherwise credited. (Logo picture courtesy of Sumburgh SAR)
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