With all the recent talk about Last Gasp and remembering the year of classic boating here in America, fellow Woody Boater Anders Værnéus from Sweden thought it would be fun to share some photos and a video from one of their annual classic boating events from across the pond. Anders has been involved with the classic boating hobby in Sweden for many years and notes that the hobby there continues to grow in popularity – which is great. Here’s his report from “Fri Fart” on the Göta Canal in Sweden. – Texx
Classic Boats Take On The Göta Canal In Sweden
Story by Anders Værnéus – Swedish Classic Boats
Photos by Mikael Pihlgren
I’d rather be flying! No, no, no – just kidding. But this summer I’ve been closer to flying than ever before, thinking that a nice float plane would have been more than useful for those of us who want to be at every boat show in Scandinavia. The tempo in the Swedish classic boat hobby is higher than ever before, with more local boaters participating in events, and enthusiasts turning out to see every show and event, to enjoy every little moment of classic boating joy.
I normally save the best to last. But this time I can’t. I’ll go right on, telling you about the biggest high speed event we have in the classic boat hobby here in Sweden. The name of the event is “Fri Fart”, and to all of you that enjoy your morning laugh – feel free to laugh now. Done? So – let’s continue. I’ll translate it for you – in English it means “Free Speed” – an event that we organized at three different locations this summer; In Sölvesborg, Ronneby and the biggest show on Göta Canal, just outside the Motorboat Museum we are running.
On the early morning hours of July 27 – 26 boats were launched in the brown canal water, all of them classics in one way or another.
From old wooden runabouts from the 1930’s, to post war wooden Chris-Crafts, to more recently built replica boats…
To small wooden outboards, plywood outboards, outboard racers to magnificent record breaking hydros.
And yes – the last one was “Sverige”, the newly built competitor for the once legendary Harmsworth trophy. This boat that was designed by Ruben Östlund in 1929 to compete with Gar Wood back in the day, with the objective of bringing the Harmsworth trophy back to Sweden. The race boat that never was built in 1929, was recently completed, tested and is now ready to rock. (You can see the original story of “Sverige” we did a few years ago by Clicking Here.)
The spectators were thrilled to see “Sverige” participating in the “Fri Fart” speed event. Imagine the sound from two Rolls Royce Meteors roaring at 57 knots in a lovely low mahogany hull in the middle of the flat lands of Östergötland. And all this on just a 20 meter (65 foot) wide canal with rocks on the canal banks and fields of weeds just waving outside.
And a crowd of people that never has been seen on the shores before this event was impressed. It was one of those memorable days, with all the lovely speedboats from all over Scandinavia. Roaring V8’s mixed together with a gang of classic Mercury Marine “Towers of Power.”
Glittering gelcoat and fresh coats of varnish made for an outstanding day of classic boating fun. Next year will be the 10th Anniversary of the “Fri Fart” event, and plans are now in the works for an “over the top” celebration. The folks in Sweden absolutely love their classic boats. For more info – please enjoy www.frifart.se.
Here is great video of “Sverige” running on the canal during the 2013 “Fri Fart” event, with the beautiful sound of those twin V-12 Meteors purring away.
Special thanks to Anders and Mikael for sharing their story with us today. For those of you who don’t know, Anders wears many hats in Sweden including Editor of the magazine Klassiska Båtar (Classic Boats in English) Scandinavias largest classic boat magazine, Editor and Publisher of Swedish Classic Boats, Project Manager for a number of significant wooden boat restorations (including Sverige) and he is also the Co-owner of the largest motor boat museum in northern Europe which you can see by Clicking Here.