Thursday, October 1, 2009
THE HISTORY OF YACHT "SVEA"................
We bought the yacht "SVEA", because we couldn't do anything else. She was just beautiful. Having seen her on internet, we drove to North Carolina with Lauren's daughter ANNE to make the decision..... YES or NO....... but one look inside at the magnificent construction and the beautiful teak interior, and there was no going back. Lauren's daughter was single at the time, and involved with getting her own yacht-detailing business off the ground and this was to become her 'Dream Classic yacht and office'. With the purchase came the incredible story of "SVEA's" history. ANNE is now no longer single but engaged to marry Tony Shiver in March next year in Hopetown BAHAMAS, and it all happened in the cockpit of SVEA, see for yourself. (double-click on the photo on the right). LOVE is a powerful thing. Powerful enough to change things.
"SVEA's" keel was laid down in Denmark in Year 1938, amidst the occupation by German forces during the WW II. She was built with oak frames and stringers and clad in solid pitch-pine built to withstand the Baltic and North Seas. The yacht had been designed as a "Spitzgatter ketch" (a Danish double-ender) by Naval Architect 'Aage Utzon' whose son, Bjorn Utzon, subsequently designed the famous Sydney Opera House in Australia. "SVEA" was hidden from the Germans in a boat-shed till after the war. It was then sailed to America and sold to a California couple who had never sailed before, but were determined to give it a shot. They succeeded in an incredible feat of circumnavigating the World. "SVEA" was then sold to a Florida couple who previously had owned a small fishing trawler, and they again sailed "SVEA" around the World and published their book, still in print under author "Sue Moesly". "SVEA" was again sold to a man from St. Augustine, Florida, who sailed her north but died of a heart attack and so "SVEA" ended up in our hands. Thus began the four-year renovation, first with a journey to Jacksonville, all under her own power, and then everything back to bare wood and removal of the masts. A labor of love, sweat, blood, tears and money........... all mixed up together.
Everything was overhauled. New flexible water tanks added, more large batteries installed, water supply was pressurised, electrics were upgraded, fuel tanks cleaned, the masts were stripped to bare wood, as was the hull, and re-coated. Rigging was checked and spreaders replaced. Old mattresses thrown out and replaced with new. VHF, depthsounder and GPS chartplotter installed. Even an electric anchor winch was added with galvinised chain and stainless steel anchors. "SVEA" became a classic yacht with modern techniques. Even the tiller got an auto-pilot to help with steering. Bit by bit she became a new "SVEA", ready for a whole new adventure and as sound as ever as a 70-year old yacht with more that 70,000 miles under her keel. Even a wind-generator was added to the mizzen mast to provide additional electrical power in addition to the solar panels and the portable generator, and for going ashore an inflatable dinghy and outboard motor. She was even equiped with a 4-man inflatable liferaft and a 406 EPIRB. "SVEA" was truly made cruise ready with an all-weather canvas dodger-canopy over the cockpit.
After five months cruising in the Bahamas, "SVEA" is now back in Florida and here is the really sad part. In growing up, and dreaming of sailing, I would have given my right arm to have been able to sail on such a grand historic yacht as "SVEA". To have been able to fall asleep with the glow of an oil lamp reflected in the sheen of burnished teak, and to have felt that rhythm of 'Motion of the Ocean' as we felt it, when we sailed her back to Florida................. Where can we find such a person, to whom such a magnificent historic yacht can be passed on................. to keep her alive and to keep that spirit alive. Or is it that nowadays everything has to be fast and plastic, sterile and something from a production line put together with payroll and deadlines. What has happened to those people with sailing dreams, who would draw the lines of a would-be 'dream' yacht with no more than the curve of a coat hanger, as I did, when I was twenty. Where are those people today?..................... Here we are, willing someone to come forward, to love "SVEA" as we do, even to finance them with the purchase of the yacht, so that their dream can become 'real and alive'. Someone who still wants to explore new places and sail to unknown destinations.....................and to cruise over the horizon, out of sight of land, to discover another world and in doing so, themselves.
They can't all be wedded to jobs and mortgages and tied to texting and football on HDTV.............................. Surely there are still some for whom " THE OCEAN IS CALLING AND I MUST GO" For surely if you double click on the photo below of "SVEA" in the sunset, you will see much more than just a screen-saver.
There has to be someone out there for whom this is their life's dream. Not an escapist but a realist. For sailing is very real and practical and requires fortitude, patience and endurance and in many ways "McGyverism".
PERHAPS YOU CAN HELP US FIND THEM....................