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.

Original Conceptual Rendering Of Sverige - Circa 1929

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…

Yieeeehaaaa!!!

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.

Special thanks to Anders Værnéus from Swedish Classic Boats and Harry Wilson from Miss Canada IV / Harold & Lorna film for helping us with this story.

Texx

« « Previous Post         |         Next Post » »
18 Responses to “Sverige – The Meanest Dog In Sweden Is Alive And Ready To Rumble!”
  1. Greg Lewandowski

    What a great boat! The challenge with Miss America Vlll or maybe lX is a very exciting idea. Maybe a few of the guys in the Michigan Chapter and the DYC need to talk about that over a cold one. A good topic to discuss at the Algonac show.

  2. Harry Wilson

    Great article, Texx and Anders!

    The boat is a beauty, the story is a marvel,and oh… those 24 stacks! I’m all for staging that 1930 race. Better late than never!

    • jimmuh

      Mr. Wilson –
      I’m in for VIP box seats for this event!

      Miss Canada V12
      Sverige V12x2
      Miss America V16x2 (!)

      68 cylinders!!! & how many cubic inches?

      Bringin’ my HD camcorder too!
      (I’d be happy for a sound-off to get started…..)

      • Rolf Zale

        Sverige will contribute with two times 1650 cubic inches…

  3. floyd r turbo

    got diesel, will travel, name the time and place. I’m sure Paul Harrison’s in for a road trip, lol although he may have had enough for a while after the Keels to Wheels trip, yikes. That a hell of a carbon footprint, almost 1 percent of Al Gores jet jaunts.

  4. floyd r turbo

    Oh, and where’s the video and sound, its got to be like listening to Andrea Bochelli.

  5. floyd r turbo

    OMG, Don, that was awesome. That was as cool as the 33′ Garwood (I think) at Weirs Beach Winne Show that I saw in person with V12 Allison with air starter and wet exhaust through the transom the size of Maxwell house coffee cans.

    It was a symphony of pistons in the best acoustic environment one could imagine.

  6. Harry Wilson

    All this talk of exhaust notes leaves me incredibly impatient for the sound of the Miss Canada IV Griffon’s symphony, piped through two tuned 12′ long pipes running through her hull…

  7. Bill Hutchens

    It looks and sounds like everybody did a terrific job. Congratulations. Great story. I have a couple of questions for the mechanic for Rolfe Zale please. Do both Meteor engines crankshafts turn (rotate) as original and are the output/propellers set up for “standard” and “reverse” rotation? Also what is the beam on Sverige – particularly at the engine compartment?

    I only have one experience (so far) with the conversion of these engines (see “Hornet II” at http://www.homewoodboatworks.com), but I look forward to learning more.

    Thanks very much,
    Bill Hutchens

  8. Rolf Zale

    Sorry for the very late answer!

    Both engines turn the same way as they do originally, but the Twin Disc marine transmissions are set up so that the propellers are rotating in opposite directions. This is possible since the transmissions do not have a “preferred” rotation and work equally well no matter if the propeller is turning left or right.

    The beam of Sverige is about 250 cm at the engine compartment, so there is not much space around the engines.

    I looked at the website and I must say that I am very impressed with Hornet II and the marine conversion of the engine! A very good work!