The Pomor Karbas (Fishing Boat) was the first project in the White Sea region. People build these sturdy boats with an ancient process that survives to this day. The Karbas is the only class of Pomor ship that's still used.
Viktor Kuznetsov, an expert from the village of Leshukonskoye, built the Karbas. They used to order many Karbas ships not too long ago. However, the last clients will soon disappear, and this experience will become history. Soviet-era specialists used to describe wooden northern architecture in their books. But no one ever talks about Karbas fishing boats, Shnyaka sea-going ships and schooners.
There are no blueprints because this knowledge was passed from expert to apprentice. This is terrible: the last experts are still here, but we don't even have any decent photos showing how the ships are made
While working on our project, we decided to build a two-mast Karbas. We found a model of it at a regional history museum. According to tradition, ship-owners used to order a scale model of their ship and donate it to a church. They believed this would convince the Almighty to keep an eye on the real ship.
The ship builder and I built the Karbas and recorded the process with photo and video cameras. It took us two weeks to reach the Solovetsky Islands aboard this Karbas. We released a documentary on the project and received the Russian Geographical Society's Crystal Compass award in the Viewers' Choice category. To me, this is the most important and objective category. This year, we are planning to sail it down the North Dvina River.