Last January, with help from fellow Woody Boater Anders Værnéus in Sweden, we reported on the progress of a very impressive wooden race boat that was being built in Holmsund, Sweden – named “Sverige”. In early 1929, some very wealthy Swedish motorboat enthusiasts placed an order for a race boat that could challenge Gar Wood for the Harmsworth International Trophy. A very well known Swedish designer – Ruben Östlund was commissioned to design the race boat, and came back with a drawing of a 8.9 meter (29 ft) single-step hydroplane powered by two 1000 hp Packards.
At the Stockholm Boat Show that spring, “Sverige” – the name the team gave her was the obvious star. She became the talk of the year in Sweden, in every harbor and in every summer water front house, people were talking about “Sverige”, and her chance to beat Gar Wood for the Harmsworth International Trophy on the Detroit River in America. (You can see the original Woody Boater story from January by clicking here)
But their ambitous plans for the raceboat suddenly changed. In October 1929 the Wall Street Stock Market Crash signaled the beginning of the 12-year long Great Depression which turned everything upside down for the project. The plans for the Swedish challenger were put on hold… Maybe next year or the year after that, they argued. But then in 1932, the economic crisis struck Sweden hard, and “Sverige” fell into oblivion… Until now.
Yesterday, we received an e-mail from another fellow Woody Boater, Harry Wilson (from the Miss Canada IV restoration team) to report the news that “Sverige” had been launched and was being tested in Sweden. – (Thanks Harry!) We e-mailed Anders Værnéus at Swedish Classic Boats and within hours, received this update…
It works, it works, it works! After a long winter project, “Sverige” is finally alive! The dream of waking up the Swedish competitor, designed for the 1930 Harmsworth Trophy, took place in my mind for over a decade ago when we built the replica on the express commuter “Svalan”.
Now, “Sverige” is no longer a dream – She’s a reality and She’s alive! The beast is awake and no one in the Swedish Tupperwareboaterville will never be safe again. Here she is. The meanest, fastest, woodiest wooden race boat built in decades in Europa. Here she is – ready to rock the varnish off “Miss America VIII’s” hull sides.
Because – that’s really one of our goals for this restoration. To some day meet up with the owner of Gar Wood’s “Miss America VIII” for that race that never became reality back in 1930. Now – after 83 years, we’re ready to finally compete.
The twin V-12 Rolls Royce Meteors in “Sverige” are furious. The sounds that resonate from them are like music from heaven for us big cubic-inch-lovers. If you think one Meteror is enough – I can now tell you that two are even better. With the standard cruising props on, and running on half speed, we’re hitting just over 50 knots (yes, welcome to translate it to mph – you better get use to it). (That’s Ander’s version of good humored bench racing – it’s 57 MPH – Texx)
Her maiden voyage took place last Friday in the sunny village of Holmsund, Sweden where she was built at the Johansson & Son boat yard. The crane let her slowly hit the water for the first time, and after some pre-flight checks and some chatting at the dock, Master Boat Builder Christer Johansson took his place behind the wheel and fired her up. And again… The Rolls Royce Meteors seemed to be waiting for this. They just sound amazing. The lines came off and away they went.
After some slow testing, Christer was not able to wait anymore. The pedal hit the metal and yieeehaaddaaahhaa, “Sverige” disappeared in a cloud of water and heated exhaust air.
It was really a fantastic day worth waiting for. Now it’s over. Or has it just started? I believe in the later… Will you follow us? And will the new owner of “Miss America VIII” be ready to meet “Sverige” in a competition for the 1930 Harmsworth trophy? Maybe just outside the Detroit Yacht Club. On the correct place and with thousands of viewers on the shores and on boats. We will be there if the crew on “Miss America VIII” will take the challenge. Deal?
Anders Værnéus – Team Sverige Sweden
As you can see from the boat, these guys are dead serious and prepared to travel with the boat to America to recreate history. You heard it here on Woody Boater first!
You can also see a cool video of “Sverige” on her maiden voyage a few days ago in Sweden on our Woodyboater.com Facebook page by clicking here.