Before the Vikings invasions in the ninth century, navigation in Normandy was only used for fishing and boats never moved away far from the coast. But they needed resistant hull because they were often left out of the water. That's why the boards using for the construction were placed around the "vertebra" of the boat: the varengas. It is a specificity of the Norman boat.
Normans were inspired from the famous Vikings longships as we can see in this episode of the Bayeux Tapestry depicting King William the Conqueror starting to conquer England in 1066. This type of boat called "Mora" was flat bottom and used the clinker construction became typically Norman.
During all the Middle Age the residents on the coast caught many fishs and shellfish thanks to boats or on foot. Moreover there was a great diversity and richness of aquatic life in Norman waters and especially in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel. The boats started to move away and go fishing farthest and longer, sometimes several days. English Channel was a migratory corridor for some fishs like herring or mackerel. It allowed to fish all the year in the harbors of Normandy
Thanks to the proximity with the English Channel, the Normandy undergo many influences and thus improve the hull, the sails and the rigs with the latest technical advances. Moreover this constant evolution allowed to create a wide variety of these boat’s elements depending on the use. That’s why the small fishing common boats was built differently from one place to another, from one city to another in Normandy.
Nowadays, navigation on sailing boats became a hobby. Yet people continue to preserve the authentic boats and ancient knowledge-how because it’s a big heritage for Normandy. They repair old boats so that they can still navigate. In Normandy there is an organization which has this goal, it’s the Conservatory Nautical. Tous les sports et loisirs nautiques du Calvados en Normandie ... Voile, char à voile, stand up paddle, canoë, kayak, surf, gréements traditionnels, balades et randos nautiques,kiteboard, croisière, sorties en mer... une multitude d'activités nautiques et de formules sur le littoral ou en arrière pays du Calvados.
After World War II, during The Trente Glorieuses which was a period of economic development but also the development of tourism and recreation, navigation ended up as a hobby. It ‘s thanks to the creating of a cheap but modern sailing boat, the Vaurien, which allowed a lot of people to focus and practice of sailing that could be described as traditional.
But thanks to the discovery of America at the XVth century, we founded new fishing areas off the coast of Labrador and the island of Newfoundland full of cod. Gradually, tens and hundreds of boats are sent each year in this maritime sector. From the XVIth century, cod fishing enriched lots of harbours and specially those of Granville and Fécamp. The adventure of Terre-Neuvas, these boats and sailors went to Newfoundland, is part of these harbours identities because this fishing was special. Indeed the sailors went 5 or 7 months between March and October. Until the XIXth century Newfoundland fishery were built and continued to go fishing there, like the Marité which was a famous one.
Where were the Terre-Neuvas fishing?<br />
At the XIXth century appeared a new fishery, the oyster fishery, so were built a new type of ships. Before the invention of boats able to dregded the shells, the oysters were fished on foot. Then, with the construction of bisquines they could catch oysters all the time. Nowadays there are models of bisquines like the Granvillaise as you can see on the picture.

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