Our Colin Archer Dream

Saturday had finally arrived after a long workweek and my wife – Viola – and I decided to go for a drive down to the local convenience store. It was time to make the weekly purchase of a few magazines, a habit we had back in the mid – 90’s. She bought interior design magazines and I tended to either get a car or a boat mag (or both!). This Saturday I ended up investing in the American magazine WoodenBoat. Little did I know then that I also invested in a new dream.

After I read a book about the famous boat designer Colin Archer and the Norwegian rescue boats back in the 70’s I became quite keen on buying a Colin Archer design, however, for various reasons (i.e. lack of time and money) that idea faded. Browsing through my newly bought WoodBoat mag I came across an article called ‘Building CHANTY’ describing the whole building project and of course showing off the beautiful end result. Then it hit me, I didn’t want to buy a Colin Archer, I wanted to build one. A new dream was born.

My wife didn’t have the same dream though, yet, and I had neither the time nor the money to start such a project. Not that it mattered, building a boat require the wife’s buy-in. Instead I kept buying magazines, dreaming, and of course talking about it constantly with my wife. And then – on another Saturday about 10 years and many magazines later when we were loading our little motorboat for a day cruise – it finally happened. Next to us a couple was loading their big sailing boat and it was clear to me that they were packing to go away for a lot more than a day cruise. Viola must have thought the same and she asked the couple how long they were going away for. “The whole summer” they replied and then it hit my wife. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be out on the water the whole summer? Let’s build a big sailing boat that we can live in the whole summer. Now my wife and I shared the dream.

Building from scratch was out of the question so instead the search started online for a vessel that someone had made a start on, but not quite finished. It didn’t take long until we found an ad posted by a sailor in southern Sweden, 1,100 km from our hometown Piteå. As soon as the weekend came around we got in the car and we reached our destination on Sunday. The decision was made fast and a few months later the beauty-to-be arrived on a big trailer.

At the time I estimated that she would be ‘finished’ in about two years (yes, I’m an optimist and no, I wasn’t able to stick to that timeframe). Breaking down the big project into many small ones it took me over six years before we finally got to put Esmeralda af Piteå in the water. Even now, eight years after we made the purchase she’s still not finished, and to be honest, I doubt she’ll ever be. After all, the dream was as much about building as it was about sailing. 

/// Ulf Vikström

Photo: Rickard Vikstrom

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