Reconstruction of HELMA.
WoodenBoat Magazine 296

January / February 2024

Editor's Page

One World

On the cover of this issue is an exquisite 26' spidsgatter, a small double-ended cruising sailboat. HELMA, as the boat is called, was built in 1938 in Denmark, and later shipped to the U.S. West Coast where, recently, she has undergone a thorough rebuilding and refit. Tom Jackson tells the story of that project beginning on page 54. The image on the cover, taken in the workshop of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, is testament to the extent of the job.

The story of the Dutch boatbuilder Pieter van der Aa (page 62) in a way begins in Port Townsend, though takes place in The Netherlands. Pieter has built, singlehandedly, two significant reconstructions of sizable Sparkman & Stephens–designed yachts. The first was a New York 32-class sloop, which began with the mortal remains of an original boat of this class that he purchased in Port Townsend and had shipped home so he could harvest the hardware and ballast keel for his new yacht. His second project, a wood-composite interpretation of the S&S yawl AVANTI, was launched last year and sails the southwestern Dutch waters of the Oosterschelde.

Just a 10-hour drive from the Oosterschelde lies the Danish island of Strynø, where David Nash and Ea Lassen have their former Danish fishing vessel, YUKON. The rebuilding of that vessel was featured in an article by David back in 2011, in WB No. 220. In the issue you hold in your hands, we present a sequel to that earlier article, detailing the preparations, alterations, adaptation, and maintenance required to sail this vessel around the world. About five years ago, I met David and Ea in Tasmania, where they were on an extended stay during their voyage, offering trips in YUKON from the township of Franklin. I spent an afternoon sailing with them, and on that outing we hatched a plan to tell the rest of YUKON’s story. The result of that discussion begins on page 38.

Meanwhile in Australia, the tale of the diminutive sloop MALUKA was fermenting. She was launched in 1932 and hails from Sydney; she was shipped 11,000 miles to England to compete in the Fastnet Race (see page 24). At 28' and 91 years old, she was the smallest and oldest boat in the most recent Fastnet fleet and was staffed by a crew of veteran ocean racers. Although she has had significant structural upgrading, her planks are held to her frames by copper rivets—an ages-old method of fastening since Viking times.

Which brings us to the Gislinge boat, a just-post-Viking-era type, of riveted-plank construction, dating back to the 12th century. The boat was discovered and documented in Denmark in 1993. The staff at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark, made their documentation available for free in an open-source project, which has led to replicas built around the world. Two notable recent ones appear in this issue. The first presents a boat built to the original
labor-intensive specifications (page 68), which include massive carved stem fabrications and white-oak planks that are split, rather than sawn, from whole logs. The second was likewise labor-intensive, but for different reasons: it required considerable time on a computer to develop the flat shapes that could be cut, bent, and assembled in plywood and epoxy (page 74).

And so we take a little trip around the world in this issue, from Denmark, to the U.S. West Coast, to The Netherlands, back to Denmark, to Australia, to England, and back to Denmark again. It’s a small but inspiring reminder of our interconnectedness—and of the power of continuity and collaboration across time and distance.

Matt Murphy

Editor of WoodenBoat Magazine

MALUKA in the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race
Page 24


by Nic Compton

It was a wild and windy start for the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race last July. Winds of over 40 knots screamed down The Solent as a fleet of 430 yachts battled across the starting line off the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

Preview Article
54-ton ketch YUKON.
Page 38

YUKON in Tasmania

by David Nash

In 2008, my wife, Ea, and I, along with our sons, Kristopher and Aron (eight and five at the time), decided to circumnavigate the globe. I had been in Denmark for 16 years, during which time we’d restored our 54-ton, 60′ ketch, YUKON (see WB No. 220).

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The 30’ sloop DOROTHY.
Page 46


by Marianne Scott

On a warm, sunny May 27, 2023, a truck pulling a trailer bearing a gleaming vintage sailing yacht drew into the Ladysmith Fisherman’s Wharf in Ladysmith, British Columbia. The yacht’s temporary mast was dressed with signal flags, a maple- leaf ensign fluttered from its top, and a flowery wreath festooned her bowsprit.

Preview Article
HELMA sailing.
Page 54


by Tom Jackson • Photographs by Neil Rabinowitz

Imagine a boat of such a right size and type that she seems to speak to you personally, one whose many needs could also be interpreted as opportunities, one that calls siren-like for bringing to her all of the craftsmanship you possess or can acquire.

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55’8” yawl SCARABEE.
Page 62


by Text and photographs by Kees Stuip

Pieter van der Aa has a seemingly genetic passion for wood. His great-grandfather, grandfather, and father all worked with the material. As a young boy he spent much time with his father at his factory, which built wooden doors and other components for houses. He also spent time at the small boatyard operated by his uncles, who built lifeboats.

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A 900-year-old boat re-created.
Page 68

On the Edge of an Axe

by Matthew Barnes

During that summer, I spent 16 weeks as an apprentice working on the museum’s third reconstruction of a type of boat that had become known as the Gislinge boat, the 12th-century original of which was documented by archaeologists after it was unearthed in a municipality by that name. Its construction was right in line with the Viking tradition, but it was relatively small at 25'.

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A plywood gislinge.
Page 74

The Plywood Gislinge Boat

by John C. Harris

Some years ago, I watched a traditional Norwegian faering take shape in an adjacent classroom. Driven half-mad by the beauty of those singular lines, I thought, “Aha! Next year’s stitch-and-glue class!”

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Somes Sound 12 1/2

Somes Sound 12 1/2 designed by John Brooks of the WoodenBoat School.