I am Erdmann Braschos, grown up with racing dinghies, sailing open keel boats and speedy cruises to Norway, Sweden and Finland aboard 5,700 lbs spread over 39 feet. The 30 sqm cruising boat type Lotus was a modified Harry Becker design, adapted to cruising by few inches of freeboard and modern appendages. Crossing the Skagerrak and sailing around the exposed southwestern coast of Norway via Stavanger to Lysefjord was challenging, wet and the right adventure for a seagoing teenager.
Lotus was lightweight, just 7 feet wide, nice to look at and fast. 12 x 2,15 x 1,50 m draft, 2,5 t. My job was to replace headsails on the slim foredeck. There was no pulpit or lifeline. Ports were approached with a sometimes running, often quiet outboard. At least the cockpit offered full headroom for the grown-up. The last cruise with Lotus took us 1979 in just three days nonstop from Germany to the Åaland Islands in a steady breeze from the east. Three weeks were necessary to return in adverse conditions. Lotus was so basic that it was high time for a lavatory, a galley, a charttable and cabins with full headroom. Swede 55 contained all this, with a nicely crafted interiour spread over 39 feet (12 m). The remaining 13 feet (4 m) of the hull went into the charming spoon bow and elegant counter ending in a curved transom – giving this Reimers design class, beauty and speed.
I am influenced by a book bought as teenager with carefully saved pocket money: The 1973 german edition of Carlo Sciarrellis Lo yacht. Origine ed evoluzione del veliero da diporto. In „Die Yacht: Ihre Herkunft und ihre Entwicklung“ Sciarrelli gives an overview of yacht design from its origins up to the days when the International Offshore Rule (IOR) replaced the Royal Offshore Racing Club (RORC).
There I read about the J-Class, the last edition of big class cutters and schooners, vessels I would later see as Endeavour modernized, new built as Ranger in Skagen, or to steer as Velsheda during trails in Southampton waters. Ambiance, aesthetics and class mean a lot to me. In the nineties I began to publish about squaremetres and metre class boats. The influence of a journalist should not be overestimated. But I heard that famous Tre Sang for example came to Germany thanks to my repeat publications on squaremetre boats.
Inspired by the elegance and performance of Swede 55 I founded the yacht servicing company Swedesail in 1991 to work for a swedish boatbuilder relaunching Swede 55 and her smaller sister, the S30, then named Swede 41. Presenting Swede 75 in Kiel I was impressed to see her light air performance similar to empty grand prix raceboats during Admirals Cup preparations.
Yachting derives from hunting
I sold newbuilds to Germany and the Mediterranean, secondhand Swede 55s and a Super Swede 53 to german customers. I even set up a branch in 405 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan, downtown New York which I modestly named Swedesail North America. It was a good adress in the 71st floor of the Chrysler building where a real estate man conducted a slightly more profitable business.
To fire up the enterprize I pushed a pimped version of the Reimers designed S40 named Swede 47. One lesson learned among others was that this type of boat is to extravagant to succeed. So I stopped marketing and selling these boats in 1997 and focused on my profession as writer and passion for Gamle Swede.
A good lesson learned at that time: Finishing and servicing the boats delivered on behalf of my clients and the yard was a good hands-on experience to maintain, keep and upgrade Gamle Swede. Since 2003 I am sailing her with a permanent crew. My sailing friends share the fun of classy and versed yachting. In return they support me at the annual maintenance routine and refurbishments. We are cruising from Fehmarn island to the nearby waters on Denmark and occasionally join races.
I am sailing Gamle Swede with unbridled enthusiasm. There are few boats being equally fast. If we meet one there are options to get them or keep behind. If we manage, we do so with boyish fun. Yachting derives from hunting. You are welcome to join me aboard for continued hunting.
More about my profession www.braschos.de