This blogg is all about sailing in general, sailing in Norway and Ryfylke in particular.
I have been sailing close to all my conscious life. That makes me an avid sailor, but I am sorry to say – not a particularly gifted one. It don’t matter – I still love it. And that’s what I plan to share with anyone who cares through this blog.
45 years behind a tiller
I bought my first sailboat, a pram called A-jolle, the poor cousin of the Optimist, at the tender age of 5 1/2. The following 45 years I have sailed any boat I could afford or yachts willing to let me come along. While the kids was small and income scarce I sailed sailboard and spent hours waiting for wind at the beaches surrounding Stavanger.
My current love, the yacht I have found to grow in my love and admiration, is the doubleender “Salt”. She’s 34 feet (10.30 meter o.a ), 3.30 meter wide, 1,90 draught and weighting in at somewhere between 7,5 and 9 tons – while her displacement is given at 6300 kg.
She looks old-fashioned, low, solid and slow – while she is in fact fast enough to do well among fellow handicap racers 20-years younger.
She has a modern hull with a rather strange backward swept fin-keel. As lore goes – Peter Bruun, the Danish constructor, is totally fascinated of whales and he took the word fin-keel literary – so the keel has the form of a whale-fin. When the boat is out of her element, you can see how she resembles a whale upside-down with the rudder flickering as a tale. Her hull is all curved and rounded. There is no flat bottom slapping the water. Even in heavy seas she moves quiet and efficiently forward without crashing and splashing
All Bruun constructions has whale-names. The Kaskelot is a Danish/Norwegian form of the old Cachalot – which was a word in common use among Newfoundland whalers – about the spermwhale (the Moby Dick-whale). If you look at the “Salt” bow and compare it with the blunt nose of the blue-whale – you can’t miss the whale-inspiration. If you want to know more about the Danish whale-yachts from Bruun check out the Grinde page – Grinde is the pet sister of the Kaskelot.
“Salt” is one of two Kaskelots with the whale-deck. The other is the original plug from the Bruun-wharf Flipper Scow. The rest of the 40 or so Kaskelots produced is with the more traditional small deck-house, 10 centimetre lower free-board and normal flat deck. The whaledeck gives “Salt” a tremendous strength and hull-stiffness, headroom down-below and a vaulted ceiling. The downside is the missing portlights. When you go below, you literally go down below and into the cellar. However, she is less dark than expected thanks to two through-deck Dorado vents made in clear plastics and two large see-through hatches. And the missing portlights has its advantage. Years ago, while sailing through a North Sea gale on our way back home from the Orkneys in our old Nicholson 35, we were twice thrown violently sideways and down a deep gully opening up in some seriously heavy seas. I then swore that I newer will have a yacht fitted with hull-through portholes or vulnerable large windows in the deckhouse. In bad weather the cabin feels safe and solid against the elements. And it is a relief not to hear or see the waves and wind after hours at the tiller in bad conditions.
“Salt” is not fitted with a race-rig – her mast is a masthead, a meter shorter and the boom/sailfoot is at least 1/2-meter shorter than the race version. This is rather annoying. Not that I think a longer mast and a wider mainsail would make significant improvements – but during next-to-no-wind-races, more sail to set sure would be nice.
She’s at her best when others has to reef and she hardly carries her Genoa 1 of well 60 square meters, which must be changed at 16-18 knots. I used to have a Genoa 2, but was advised to change to a 100% jib. But the gap is to large, so I am currently considering a new Genoa 2 – a littel narrower and much more solid than the Genoa 1 and constructed flat for upwind performance.