Limitless Speed Boating On Göta Canal In Sweden – Part Two From Anders Værnéus

Every now and then here in Woodyboaterville Matt & I get our wires crossed, hard for you to believe – Right? Well it’s true… Some day we will have to do a story about what really goes on behind the scenes to get these stories out on time, but that’s for another day.

Last weekend I received an e-mail from our friend and fellow Woody Boater Anders Værnéus in Sweden. In his e-mail he said he had a story from an interesting annual event in Sweden and was I interested? – and my immediate response was “Heck Ya – Send it in and we will Get-er-Done right away.”

Then a few days later, Matt published a story about a “Speed Event” in Sweden and when I saw it on the Woody Boater site, I just assumed that Anders simply sent it to Matt (rather than me), and never thought anything about it… I was just glad we were able to get the story published so quickly. But that story was actually prepared by fellow Woody Boater Bjorn Bakken. (You can see that story on Woody Boater by Clicking Here)

Then a few days after that, I received another e-mail from Anders to say “Hey Texx – Bjorn Bakken beat me to the punch and sent his story in to Woody Boater faster than me! – Do you still want my story?” I then responded, “Sure, send it to me and let’s see what you have.”

Now normally we would never do two stories about the same one-day event, but here’s the problem… Anders Værnéus is from Sweden and Bjorn Bakken Bjørn is from Norway, and I think there might be a bit of a friendly rivalry going on between those two guys, and we love them both. So to be fair to them both, I decided to also publish Anders story here today, so I’m kind of breaking the rules here on Woody Boater by doing a second story but…

Another thing we normally try to avoid is posting photos that are all taken from the same angle, but it kind of works for this story because one of the messages were are trying to focus on is the wide range of antique & classic boats they have (and use) in this part of the world. Or present the story to you as it may have been seen by one of the spectators up on the bank above the canal, eating Swedish Meatballs for lunch. So let’s give it a shot, and I hope Matt doesn’t fire me (or disqualify me) for breaking the rules like in the Olympics this week!

Limitless Speed Boating On Göta Canal
by Anders Værnéus

It’s a real HALLELUJAH moment in Sweden. Last Saturday in July, the Swedish runabout heaven opened up at Museihuset, just outside Linköping in the southern Sweden, when a number of (circa 1935) classic fast running motorboats were gathering for the most spectacular annual event in Sweden – Free Speed On The Göta Canal.

The soul of the event is easy to understand. Since the canal was opened up in 1832, the speed limit of it has been five knots. No one – and they really mean NO ONE, is allowed to break the strict five knot speed limit. It’s common knowledge here in Sweden and no one is pushing it.

Except on the “Free Speed” day.

That Saturday was the 8th Annual Free Speed event. 34 classic boats was carefully lowered into the canal by crane or trailer by the Musiehuset staff. Then the boats were tied up to the docks outside the museum to wait. Wait for the first shot. The shot telling them that race number one has started.

What a sight. Here they were. Maybe not in that numbers you yankees are used to have in your shows. But here, you have fast going speed boats from the whole classic motorboat hobby… Woodies, fiberglass, oldies, goldies, outboards, inboards, originals, repros and self-mades…

The mix of boats this year was fantastic – a mix that allowed the huge public turnout to get a complete clue of what the heck the classic boat business is all about here in Sweden.

The boats came from all over the country. Far-awayers from Piteå up north to Simrishamn down south. Country-neighbours from Norway brought a fantastic Norwegian built classic plastic with two Merc 800’s on.

High class replicas and rare originals went side by side in the parade while I was telling the truth about them to the folks. Three races down the canal were the schedule and it was once again a great success.

We from the Museihuset-staff are today a proud gang. It’s amazing what we Swedes are able to show up with. Were a small country, but we love to go boating and show you how much fun it is. Who will be first US-citizen in “Free Speed?” Next year? Maybe to celebrate your Scandinavian heritage in a funny way. You’re more than welcome…

Anders Værnéus – Sweden

Thanks Anders… Great story as usual. I have to add that when we were out shooting photos with Chris Smith in Algonac recently, Chris was explaining to us how the Chris-Craft marketing department always prefered the photograhers to shoot the boats from over head when ever possible. The first photo in this story today, shot from above, reminded me of an old Chris-Craft factory brochure shot, similar to the 20′ Riviera brochure shot below.


5 replies
  1. Dave Clyne
    Dave Clyne says:

    Great story from a different location. Of course any time I want to go back and look at the pictures again, it’s a great story. But wait. Any time you work in a picture of a Riviera, that’s a great story too. I am easily pleased.

  2. Rick
    Rick says:

    Rules? On WoodyBoater? There aren’t even rules about spelling here. I think of them more as guidelines. Other than asking if Bjorn Bakken Bjørn is a real name or just an online handle I have to say it looks like fun and wish it wouldn’t take a transatlantic road trip to attend. What’s the story with that Hydro with deck striping? Very cool looking. My guess is that Fri Fart just doesn’t translate well and I’ll leave it at that.

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