The J-boat Svea Sails Under the KSSS Flag
Over the years, Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS) has been presented with medals, achievements, and exciting projects, but they now have the opportunity to report a spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime event. Now sailing under the KSSS flag is the J-boat Svea, which was the dream of boat builders Tore Holm and Gustaf Plym when she was designed in 1937.
Maybe it is unwillingness to fully embrace many newer boat models, or perhaps it is the scale and elegance of these ships that result in it being unchallenged in sailing. Few would argue against the 1930s J-boats being the pinnacle of sailing perfection. Svea, one of the J-boats designed between the years 1930 to 1937, is not only the longest, newest, and theoretically, the fastest – but she has one of the most mysterious pasts.
In the basement of the home of Birgitta Holm, daughter of the boat designer Tore Holm, a leather portfolio was found that contained drawings for the then-nameless boat that was intended to take the sailing’s biggest title to Sweden, the America’s Cup. In 1937, Tore Holm, together, with his compatriot and boat builder Gustaf Plym, had designed the J-boat, which 80 years later would be completed under the name Svea.
Little did they know then that the America’s Cup would not be held for the next 21 years, and never again featuring craftsmanship as grand as J-boats. Even less could they have imagined that J-boats in a new millennium would explode in popularity, and that a Dutch man named John Lammerts Van Bueren, would come and knock-on Tore’s daughter’s front door and ask to see those old plans under the stairs, six decades after they were drawn.
Birgitta did not fully know the treasure that was all the drawings, but helped John to take them to the Swedish Maritime Museum, where they were carefully restored. Among all the documents were found the drawings for Svea which were marked “KSSS J-boat.”
The project to build Svea faced several starts and stops, including an initiative by several KSSS members in the early 90s, before a complete aluminum hull was built by the Dutch shipyard Bloemsma. 20 years after the start of construction, Svea was completed at Vitters Shipyard in Holland, where she was launched in January 2017, eight decades after Tore and Gustaf’s first drawings. You could say that the circle is now closed, the “KSSS J-Boat” had come to life and Svea had found her home
The dimensions of a J-boat are enormous. Svea measures 143 feet (43.6 meters), has a gennaker of 1000 m2, the mainsail is 450 m2, which only leads to the power of the mainsail being 14 tons.
Magnus Woxén, who has sailed on the J-boat Topaz in recent years, will be a strategist on board and has been involved in recruiting the crew. In total, there will be around 35 people on board. Magnus says: “Many talented Swedish sailors will now have the chance to participate and race on this fantastic boat. A large part of the crew will be from Sweden, but we have picked up some key positions from previous J-boat crews. The program is set for this year with the first training and racing in June in Palma and then Maxi Worlds in Sardinia this autumn. We look forward to having four boats on the starting line this year and hopefully a few more next season.”
In the planning for the coming years, there is also racing in the Caribbean and America’s Cup in Barcelona 2024.
We are very happy to welcome Svea into the KSSS sailing family.