Interested in self-sufficiency? Want to help build a community? Love the sea? Our collective, on an organic farm a few hours north of Oslo, is for anyone who wants to learn and work hard. We grow food, boats and ideas, so if you have a knowledge or interest in permaculture, farming, boat building, or sailing, come and help us create a home that is sustainable both on land AND out at sea!
We are building a sailboat (the first of many), with the hope that when she sets sail (hopefully 2012/2013/2014) we will visit other eco-villages around the world, collecting knowledge and travelling in the most eco-friendly way possible. Anyone who helps will have the chance to join our crew, a tribe of floating sea-gypsies! We also need help on the farm, as we build up the infrastructure to form a stable base for our community. This project is relatively new; we began in 2009 so there is still a lot to be done. We live with two dogs, the farm cat and some (very) free-range chickens. We keep bees and make jam; this year we harvested our first crop of potatoes and planted next seasons raspberries. Eventually we hope to grow all our food. We want to create a place that will flourish as our boats start sailing, a place where crops, thoughts, adventures, and of course boats, can grow!
Want more info?
Dear Sea Gypsies
Summer is here, its more or less rain every day but the wwofers order
sun in the weekends so weather is always nice when we go hiking during
weekends, (not sure who they order it from though)
We are now up to full speed on boat and the farm. Last week we
planted another field of rasperries, which will be give us lots and
lots of rasperries in 2 years time. Then another field with potatoes
and even more herbs of all different kind. Its getting interesting
when the weed is coming up. It will be plenty of weeding soon.
The bees are busy collecting honey, and flying all over. they seems
pretty happy now after a quite cold may.
The portholes are more or less finished - that was a long journey. Its
quite a few steps. The good thing: with casting and machining skills
there is no limit to what we can make in alloy. Plenty of blocks for the
boat is already on the list..
We are in the stage of insulating all over inside. Then make ready for
the wood deck and railings. The wood deck is not just to make the boat
look like a boat, but avoid burned feet on hot alloy deck in the
tropics - besides since we are faking everything to look lke wood, so
why not a proper wood-deck.
Lots of sea gypsies are coming next months, both returning ones and
new ones, but we still have some space, so if you have any skills you
think could be useful - drop us a line!
a: sorting out weed in the rasperry field. Then we planted out some
hundreds sq-meter more.
b: metal girls at work moving heavy alloy-plates.
c: casting stuff for the boat. We use sand to mould them.
d: welding guy busy welding up ears on the portholes.
e: dumpsterdiving. one night catch from the bin at the foodstore. Now
we go every weekend to stack up on free fancy food.
Dear Sea Gypsies
December again! This one has has been quite warm. (today is only -10C)
We still have frostbites from the one last year so we are happy as a
fiddle up here. Makes life and boatworking much easier.
Its been a really good year on sailing the farm with lots of stuff
accomplished and its still some more work weeks to go before we can
sum up 2013.
Deck fittings, deckhouse and most of the stuff up there is
finished. We are proud to say that everything is home-made. Not a
single thing is from the the boat-store.. Main reason for this is:
its hard to get stuff in alloy who looks like wood..
We have probably put another 2000-3000 hours into the boatproject this
summer (with the help of all of those nice and skillfull volunteers)
and still some 2000-3000 hours to go until we see her finshed.
This christmas will be a traditional one on the farm with St. Claus
(Julenisse in norwegian) coming down from the northpole with the
sledge, raindeers and ofcouse packets. I usually dont fancy soft
packets, but im in dire need for a new welding overall so if the
julenisse reads this... :-)
ok. I know its a little early early, but we wish new and old friends
of sailing-the-farm a peaceful and quiet christmas and a prosperius
new year and hope to see you all up next year.
Love from Sailing the farm.
A sea gypsy tribe of tomorrow.
a: the boat start to look like a wooden boat now.
b: shaping up the bowsprit. 6 meter long
c: boat from stern. Sexy lines.
d: welding up the bunkbeds.
Dear Sea Gypsies
The winter has been kind to us this year. During Christmas and New
year there was hardly any snow up here, which is kind of unusual at 60
degrees north. January has been mostly down to -10C which is really
good when we work outside. In January we got plenty of snow so skiing
is as close to perfect as it is possible to get and we have plenty of
those old and wooden army skiis around.(we use to call them
NATO-planks) For first termers its perfect skiis. Slow and heavy.
The Boat work is going pretty good . We are working on insulating
inside and we are more or less finished with the aft cabin (named
princess cabin), since its getting really nice and spacious.
We are soon ready to start insulate and plate the main cabin in the
boat. Its a little more tricky due to the galley (kitchen for those
landlubbers out there). and also the navigation station. Then its more
casting. Basically more cowl-vents to get more fresh air into the
We usually run with lower staff during winter but this year we will
scale up in February and aim for getting the boat ready for sea-trial
this year. It will be a busy summer.
So if you think you have some useful skills (welding, mechanics,
sewing, interior wood working) or are really good at cracking jokes
you are more than welcome to join us.
This is hopefully the last year of boat building (Ok, I know we have
said that before but...) so hurry up if you want to be part of the
fun. (Ok, I admit sailing is also fun) But it gives a good feeling
knowing that you have been part of building something moving around
our planet with zero pollution...
Love from Sailing the farm.
A sea gypsy tribe of tomorrow.
a: Plating and insulating inside the boat
b: one of the crew made an icebar! How cool is that!
c: the chicken-sisters is busy hatching golf-balls! Not the most
d: Aft-deck with rudder, and boxes. With wooden deck this will look
like a wood boat.
Greetings to all sea gypsies, past present and future!
The springchickens and bees are active and so are we!
Anotherbusy month for boat building. The gang has been shaping,
painting and fitting the interior panels with plenty of insulation
underneath. The bunk cabins are shaped and even one of the volunteers
has tested one with an overnight sleep - very comfy! English Tony has
been busy designing the wiring and circuitry, and Frenchy has helped
determine the electrical needs and the outputs we can expect from the
solar panels and windmill. Will we be able to boil the kettle often
enough at sea?
Lorna, the English girl has been attacking with gusto and positive
energy the mold-making for the cowl vents, and hopes to start smelting
and pouring some aluminium this week. Frenchy has calculated and drawn
up the sail plan, and has made a 1/10 model to verify his design.
Sarah the token yank is spoiled in the warm indoors sewing up
custom-sized boat mattresses, cushions and curtains. Are Czech girls
sweet? When they've been covered in honey for 2 days like Micha they
are: 60 jars of lovely honey and we're happy to have some at every
meal! Jams as well, lingonberry, strawberry and plum, and some great
banana cakes from Lorna as well.
The weekend was warm spring weather and all volunteers descended upon
the spa and pool at the cloest town for an outing. Happy at work and
at rest. There is still plenty to do in the coming months - have you
the skills to help? Woodworking, electrial and engine skills, sewing
and more. We hope to hear from you!
Love from Sailing the farm.
A sea gypsy tribe of tomorrow.
1. American sewing-lady busy making stuff for the boat.
2. Happy Frenchman and his sails
3. Potato planting.
4. Inventive cat-litter dance. (basically crush catlitter bentonite
to cast the cowl vent) This will be the dance of the summer.
Newsletter March 2015. .
Dear Sea Gypsies,
First, apology for delayed newsletter. The winter has been a busy one
and it hasn't been that much time to keep up with the Newsletter, but
we must say we are superhappy to get so many postcards and hear from
all of you volunteers who have been here.....
To be Norway its been quite a mild winter, the good thing is that
heating has been running minside the boat whole winter so we have
hardly felt the cold outside - a good test to see if our heating
system inside the boat is ready to stand up for sailing in Antarctica.
The sun is starting to heat up the farm and us slowly, the last week
we really can feel the spring is coming. Our chicken is happy outside
during daytime and seems to enjoy the sun as much as we do.
Our metal working skills and diesel engine skills (mostly lack of) has
been put to a test. We are more or less been busy doing brainsurgery
on our 500 kg spare diesel engine to check how it looks inside and
learning how those are working. Those parts we think will stop working
will be brought onboard, (spare waterpumps, piston rings, gaskets etc)
It gives a good feeling to know how that machine is working and even
if we are a sailors, one day we will be happy to be pushed up the
Amazon river or other places with the help of that engine . The one
we will use seems to seems to be ok (we have been testing diesel
injectors, compressions etc on the farm) The good thing bringing such
test-equipment means we can help other volunteer-farms whith diesel
Rigging the boat is also on the list, since we make mostly everything
ourselves we will make our own woodblocks for the rig. Its a classical
gaff-rig with around 105 m2 sails which will be our main propulsion.
It will be quite interesting when we are doing the sea trail to see if
its well balanced.. hopefully our calculation is correct and it wont
sail upside down or backwards as someone is thinking....
If you want to join us sailing around the world or helping up on the
farm please dont hesitate to contact us. Here are some pictures from
last months pluss a nice ones from last summer/autumn which shows how
real Norway looks like. (that is the westcoast)
Lastly we wish you all a happy spring.
Love from sailing the farm
A seagypsy tribe of tomorrow.
a: The woofers hiking to troll-tunga summer 2014 (westcoast norway)
b: Our engine. (sabb 2j) There is a video of it running on youtube.
c: chickens on they way out to enjoy the spring sun.
And plenty more pictures for the last years can be found here.
Dear old and new volunteers,
There are lots of very exciting things happening at Sailing the Farm right
We are happy to report that after many long and character-building years of
boat-building, we're well on our way to sailing later this year.
Here's an overview of what's been happening up here lately:
- Our aluminum Colin Archer sailboat is taking shape. She is starting to
look like a boat, and a good looking boat at that. She is as yet unnamed
and suggestions that we call her The Unsinkable have fallen on deaf ears
(to the disappointment of our Irish volunteer). Any and all naming
- We have begun to machine sheaves for the boat. Our red sails arrive soon
so it's all go, go, go in the workshop these days.
- The heads is progressing quickly and soon it will be possible to take a
shower on board. Our Belgian volunteer has fashioned fancy toothbrush
holders for all future sea gypsies.
- Last week we cut open a section of the boat shed so that we can move the
engine on board. This will be a huge milestone for the project.
- In April, we had our first official government visit. We are happy to
report that she passed with flying colours.
- Our volunteers have started watching movies on deck every Thursday night.
Their 'Movies on Board' programme is limited to sailing movies (of course).
They've watched '180 degrees south' and 'All is Lost' so far. Both come
stamped with The Sailing the Farm seal of approval. If you've any sailing
movie recommendations, please send them on to us!
- Some of our current volunteers/gluttons for punishment are training for
the Lillehammer half-marathon in June. At the moment they are getting up at
6:30 to run in the woods before tucking into a breakfast of hearty porridge
and a day of boat-building. Some even manage to fit in a spot of meditation
- The snow has thawed and we have started to turn the potato field. Our
bathroom has been transformed into a temporary nursery while we wait to
start planting. Our very versatile bathroom is also home to seven chirpy
Our long-serving captain's To-Do-List is diminishing every week, but
there's a lot of hard work still to do. We'd love to welcome more
volunteers (old and new) this summer. A can-do attitude and lots of
enthusiasm are the only skills we require (though more specific skills are
very welcome also). So if you are free and can commit to a month, please
get in contact with us ASAP so that we can book you in to help.
There will be a launch party in Oslo later on this year when she takes to
the water. Watch this space!
Sailing the Farm.
p.s. Now that we're almost there with this boat, we're starting to think
about the next stage of the project (we plan to find a farm base away from
the Polar winds – somewhere sunnier and closer to the sea where we can
build more boats). We are on the lookout for funding ideas and inspiration
so if you have any suggestions or experience in this area, please let us
know - no ideas too small or crazy (building a boat with volunteers is
a: English girl making blocks for the boat.
b: movie night on the boat
c: irish girl silicone up inside the boat.
d: scaffold building
e: early morning mediation (hong-kong girl)
f: first crew is already onboard.
Ahoy Sea Gypsies!
It has been a busy May and start of June on the farm.
Biggest news first: The red sails have arrived! You'll see them in the
picture below. They look fantastic and it's a great help to see them all
laid out so that we can imagine ourselves on the high seas (instead of on
high grass as they are now).
We are also happy to report that we managed to get the engine on board! At
the moment we are in the process of getting it *into* the boat and all
– We had a bit of an unexpected delay late last month as we had to refit
the diesel tanks, but they are all good now and it's full steam (or should
we say 'sails'?) ahead for Oslo this September we hope.
– We also had a close shave with our welding machine. Our last one appeared
to give up the ghost, until an emergency transplant (from another dead
welding machine) got it up and running again. Our skipper's vision of
heaven is a world with nothing but brand new welding machines that never
– Life on the farm continues apace. Since we last wrote to you, the
Norwegian countryside has exploded into summer. The snow is finally gone
and everything is green and dappled with wildflowers. The bees are very
happy. Our baby chickens are babies no longer. They are big and bold and
getting braver by the day. Every morning they expand their wanderings a
little further and yesterday we spotted one looking curiously at the big
aluminum monster in the boat-shed. We'll make boat-builders of them yet.
– There is drama in the hen-house. Our two roosters, who have been at peace
for over a year, have just declared war on each other.
– The volunteers are keeping very busy in the sunshine. At the moment we
have an Irish woman, an English woman, a Belgian man, a Welshman and a
Swede in residence on the farm. A full crew at the moment - but we still
have some space for July and August so get in touch if you've a free month
and you'd like to help out.
– It doesn't get dark until at least midnight now, and even then it's just
for a few short hours. More light to build boats in :)
Thank you for your suggestions for sailing movies and boat names. We have
them all lined up on our summer schedule. In the meantime we've watched
Mutiny on the Bounty (the one with Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson) and
Troll Hunter (not a sailing movie, but a Norwegian one, so it's been
approved on that basis by the captain).
Happy almost mid-summer from Sailing the Farm!
a: happy gang of boatbuilders.
b: sails are ready.
c: welding lady
d: playing guitar in pyjamas.
e: the girls dragging the engine onboard.
Newsletter late July 2015
The bees are busy and so are we. We're hoping to move the boat to the
water this year so it's all go, go, go our boat-building farm these
days. The engine has made it to its final resting place!
Hallelujah. Hopefully we won't have to use it all that much, but its
installation marks a big step in the project.
The rudder is taking shape and looking fantastic thanks to our Welsh
volunteer, Our Hong Kong volunteer has returned for another
boat-building stint, this time with her Swedish boyfriend in tow – a
chef by profession so as well as contributing to the boat-building,
he's been keeping us well-fed with delicious lunches on the porch.
The farm itself has been neglected a little this summer in favour of
the great big aluminum monster in the boat-shed, but we have been
enjoying lots of nettle-based dishes (it helps to have a professional
The volunteers took a well-deserved break from boat-building last
month and went on a road-trip to Galdhopiggen, the highest peak in
Scandinavia. The sun shone for the entire trip (and pretty much hasn't
been seen since) and left some of the fairer-skinned crew completely
sunburned. Highlights included an ice cave, a moose sighting and
unbelievable sunsets across the huge Norwegian sky.
Now that the sea is in our sights, we've started hand-painting guest
flags on the evenings and weekends.
Our latest favourite sailing movie is the questionable masterpiece
that is Waterworld. It's given us lots of ideas for modifications for
We've named the boat! Thank you all for your suggestions. After a lot
of thought we decided to go for Sailing the Farm. It sounds a little
bonkers to native English speakers, but that's kind of why we love it!
We've cut out the letters in aluminium and they are due to be welded
in very soon.
We are still on the hunt for volunteers - particularly those with
sailing experience - and especially those who've worked on gaff rigs
Exciting times, and even more exciting times to come. Thank you all
for your support, it's been a long time coming, but the end is in
Pictures of the month.
- Making letters for the boat.
- chinese weekend visit. checking the boat project.
- Welding lady making more boxes for the deck. Need endless amount of storage.
- Guest flag production. This is the welsh one.
- Rudder is getting installed.
Love from Sailing the Farm
- A seagypsy tribe of
Sailing the farm is floating!
Just found you here - What you are doing is LOVELY ! So beautiful to discover what is happening in Toten ;-D I am amazed!