Expert advice

The differences between clinker and carvel construction

Carvel built wooden boats and tall ships are made by fixing planks to a frame with all the planks butting up against one another. This creates a smooth hull that’s stronger than a clinker built hull. However, more caulking is needed between the joints in carvel construction than in the clinker method. The framing gives carvel construction a stronger hull, allowing it to carry a full sail plan and have a longer, broader hull.

Clinker built (or lapstrake) vessels are lighter as they have less internal framing – with the planks overlapping along their edges. As they’re lighter, they displace less water allowing them to move faster. Clinker vessels are less rigid than carvel constructions, limiting the type of sailing rigs the vessel can take.

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