S30 cruising Skärgårdskryssare

S30 Model of the initially built version with Skeg-guided Rudder
S30 Model of the initially built version with Skeg-guided Rudder – Section of Photo by Karolina Kristensson CC BY-SA 4.0 Sjöhistoriska Museet

At the end of the sixties, Swedish square metre boat sailors are thinking about a yacht being easier to keep and a bit more comfortable. They like the elegant wooden square metre boat and its delighting pleasure under sail. But the maintenance of the aged vessels seems to much. And many sailors now have families who cannot find enough space on the narrow, flat-hulled classics. A bit more comfort would be nice during summer holidays spent in the Skärgård, as the Swedes call their archipelago. And ot a single square metre boat was built in Sweden in the 1960s. So it’s time for a new type of boat, the so-called cruising square metre boat, also known as cruising Skärgårdskryssare.

Seventies compromise between elegance and comfort

To be built from the then new material, glass fiber reinforced plastic (GRP). As a series product, inexpensive and easy to keep. At that time, several designers and boat builders try this 1970s compromise of a traditional and attractive line, suitable for cruising and tolerable maintenance effort. The most successful of this type is the S30 with around 300 built. It is the only boat in the approximately 12 m long cruising square metre boat range, that offers almost headroom. This boat is available in two versions. This page is about the first variant.

S30 Forerunner: Reimers' 22 sqm design for a Chigaco yachtsman
S30 Forerunner: Reimers’ 22 sqm design for a Chigaco yachtsman © CC BY-SA 4.0 Sjöhistoriska Museet

S30 precursor Udell 22 for Lake Michigan

After the first ideas and sketches are displayed at the Stockholm boat show in the winter of 1969, Sven Ejdestam and Göta Segelsällskap proceed. At the Swedish Sailing Convention in Malmö in 1970, they propose the development of a well-sailing family boat based on the square metre boat rule. The Swedish Sailing Association gets things going with a donation of a thousand Swedish kroner.

Reimers-drawing 1967 for glass fibre construction of the 22 sqm Udell Onedesign for the Great Lakes
Reimers-drawing 1967 for glass fibre construction of the 22 sqm Udell Onedesign for the Great Lakes © CC BY-SA 4.0 Sjöhistoriska Museet

S30 as seventies compromise

Knud Reimers is commissioned to design the so-called Göta 30. As described on page 272 of the excellent book The World of Square Metres, Reimers already has a template for the task, his design of a 22 square metre boat for a customer in Chicago from 1955, later modified as Udell 22 sqm Onedesign for Lake Michigan.

Reimers' first O30 proposal with traditional raked stern August 1970
Reimers’ first O30 proposal with traditional raked stern August 1970 © CC BY-SA 4.0 Sjöhistoriska Museet

For the windy waters of shallow Lake Michigan with short and steep waves, he designed a boat measuring 11 x 2 m with a raised freeboard and a long cabin. In 1963, this became the American Udell 22 Onedesign. In 1967, Reimers revised his plans for GRP series production with a slightly raised cabin. It is obvious that Reimers used this concept to develop the S30 with a little higher deckhouse. Even the windshield-like splash cap at the end of the stretched structure appears in his S30 design.

O30-draft with next alterations
O30-draft with next alterations © CC BY-SA 4.0 Sjöhistoriska Museet

Compared to the classy 30 sqm boat the new design gets 6 Inch (15 Centimetres) more freeboard. Reimers accommodates the desired height at the companionway in the aft raised superstructure. The stepwise cabin with large rear windows is a feature of Reimers’ cruising boats, of his 75 sqm Bacchant, as well as the larger sisters Jubilee S40 and Swede 55.

Different to the classy square metre boat and crusing derivates like Lotus, Reimers gives the S30 more width, namely 2.50 m. This provides space and more stiffness. The boat has a center cockpit and also a comfortable aft cabin. The latter is popular with children and guests.

Drawing dated August 1971 now with stepped deckhouse and modern raked transom
Drawing dated August 1971 now with stepped deckhouse and modern raked transom © CC BY-SA 4.0 Sjöhistoriska Museet

The drawings reveal another Reimer feature, namely the mast standing on the cabin roof. The pressure is distributed into the boat via two bulkheads. Reimers had previously implemented this solution on many of his square metre boats and large boats such as Agneta. It saves space below deck, which is interesting on narrow boats. Also, the solution avoids common leakages with water getting down the mast into the boat.

S30 design being finished October 1971
S30 design being finished October 1971 © CC BY-SA 4.0 Sjöhistoriska Museet

Neglinge yard near Stockholm builds the first boat in 1971 and molds were made for series production at the Fisksätra Varv in Västervik.

Series construction by Fisksätra Varv

Fisksätra Varv has made a name as a Swedish fiberglass pioneer with ships for the navy, customs and pleasure boats. A five-member consortium, including Jacob and Marcus Wallenberg, has pledged a considerable sum so that Fisksätra can begin building the boats. A series of hundred boats is initially being considered. The prototype is soon tested and series production starts in 1972. At that time, an S30 without a sail cost 59,700 Swedish kronor including VAT.

S30 with alternative Deckhouse
Alternative with wooden deck and stepless mahogany cabin dated March 1975 © CC BY-SA 4.0 Sjöhistoriska Museet

The boat is initially delivered with a shaft and later with the then new Saildrive 100 S drive from Volvo Penta. With the separate rudder, which is guided by a skeg over the entire length, Reimers tries to get his design recognized as an square metre boat. The Square metre boat rule requires that the rudder is guided along its entire length at the front. However, this meant the keel, which is why the trick ultimately didn’t work. The skeg was soon shortened – and some long-time S30 sailors later removed it entirely in favor of a free-standing rudder.

Driving forces behind S30

The S30 was initiated by Sven Ejdestam and the Göta Segelsällskap, who at the Swedish Sailing Day in Malmö in 1970 suggested the development of a well-sailing family boat based on the square metre boat regulations. With a donation of one thousand Swedish kronor, the Swedish Sailing Federation gets it going. Knud H. Reimers is commissioned to design the Göta 30. The well reputed Neglinge yard near Stockholm provides the plug to take the moulds, which are manufactured at Fisksätra yard.

The square metre boat version has 15 cm more freeboard. Further Reimers accommodates the desired headroom in the companionway and galley area in the raised aft superstructure. The stepped cabin with larger aft windows is a feature of Reimers cruising boats, such as his cruiser Bacchant and the larger S30 sisters S40 and Swede 55.

How Reimers incorporates comfort

Different to the classy square metre boat and the cruising variant named Lotus type, Reimers gave the S30 a wider beam of 2.50 m. This provides more space and sail carrying ability. The boat has a centre cockpit and comfortable aft cabin. The latter is appreciated by children and guests.

Fisksätra Varv obtains the order to build the S30. The yard has made a name for itself with the construction of workboats and numerous leisure boats, and has some experience working with GRP. The boat is initially delivered with a shaft, and later with the then new Saildrive 100 S drive from Volvo Penta.

Saildrive propulsion introduced 1974
Saildrive propulsion introduced 1974 © CC BY-SA 4.0 Sjöhistoriska ©useet

The S30 is built between 1972 and the end of 77 in the first cabin version shown here, with construction and sail number 229. The boat is popular in Scandinavia, northern Germany and on Lake Constance. Further there are boats in England, the USA, even Southafrica and Australia. At that time, the Kiel sailor Jürgen Budzyn is initially responsible for North German sales, while in South Germany Friedrich Winterhalter from the Beck & Söhne yard, which already had good connections to Reimers via the Bijou-type racing 30-year-old.

The S30 is kept by many owners for decades. Some boats even stay in the family for generations. As a permanently interesting ship that allows further sailing development, many enthusiasts optimize it with larger inland rigs and high-quality equipment. There are basically two groups of owners: the seniors who have been sailing their boats unswervingly for decades, including some sailors with a classic racing 30 sqm boat previously, and the next generation of young people who take over the used boatsnow for quite reasonable costs.

Two opinions on the S30

Some sailors disagree due to the obvious abound of plastic and prominent cabin height. Added to this comes the weakness in light winds. Demanding sailors complain that the S30 is teder in a breeze due to its low ballast proportion of 1.45 t compared to the actual weight of over 4 t. Others like the antiquated Reimers cabin structure with the cozy rear windows and enjoy having an all-round low-maintenance boat. You can sail the S30 as it is for decades.

S30 Whisper in Newport/USA
S30 Whisper in american sailing Mekka Newport/USA – Foto private

Another interesting thing about the S30 is that it can be trailered with a width of just 2.50 m. With a braked trailer and a suitable car, the most beautiful waters in Europe such as the Baltic Sea, Lake Constance, Lake Starnberg, Lake Chiemsee, Lake Geneva, the Adriatic and the Mediterranean are accessible. You have a seaworthy boat for remote and beautiful coasts without having to pay the high mooring fees all year round.

Knud Reimers obatins an S30 for his design and uses the boat with great enthusiasm for many years well into his old age in the Stockholm archipelago with his wife Effi, his sons and friends.

The S30 was built in the initial cabin version up to construction number 229. From 1978 to the end of 79, the boat is produced with an angular and more voluminous superstructure (construction numbers 230 – 304).

Boat data S 30

Length over all12,50 m
Waterline≈ 9,30 m
Beam2,50 m
Draft≈ 1,47 – 1,50 m
Naval architectKnud Reimers
YardFisksätra Varv/Västervik
Construction period first version1972 – 77
Construction period second version1978 – 79
Planned displacement3,1 t
Ready to sail displacement with empty tanks3,3 t
Actual displacement today with add ons≈ 3,6 – 4 t
Ballast (lead) accoarding class association1.445 – 1.495 kgs
Weight of mast with standing rigging60 kgs
Nominal sail area, mainsail triangle + 85 % headsail triangle (thus the type name S 30)30 sqm
Actual sail area (main & jib)37,6 sqm
Main sail22,25 sqm
Jib15,3 sqm
Genoa27 sqm
Spinnaker80 – 100 sqm
Engine Volvo Penta two cylinder MD 6A10 HP (7.35 kW)
since ≈ 1976 Volvo Penta MD 7A13 HP (9.56 kW)
Propulsion initially with shaft, since ≈ 1976 Saildrive 100 S

Like most boats, the S30 becomes heavier than planned. In the second version, additional weight is added due to the more powerful engine and larger tanks, as well as extras that owners install aboard over time. An experienced S30 sailor reports that his boat already weighs 4.1 t without rigging and upholstery. The boat sits about 7 cm deeper in the water, the minimum freeboard height is 63 instead of 70 cm. And it has a draft of more than the planned 1.47 m. In fact it should be 1.55 m.

More sail area since 1995

The weakness of the boat in light winds is initially remedied by careful, and later significant, enlargement of the sail area. In fact, according to the nominal sail measurement (mainsail triangle + 85% of the headsail triangle), the S 30 cruising sqm boat has 32 square meters. A look at the sail plan shown here shows how Reimers calculated the area.

S30 Sailplan by Knud Reimers of 1972/74 with nominal 32 sqm
S30 Sailplan by Knud Reimers of 1972/74 with nominal 32 sqm © CC BY-SA 4.0 Sjöhistoriska Museet

The S30’s weakness in low wind conditions is remedied again in 1993 with a slightly larger sail area. A 25 cm longer mast with a 6 cm longer baststay arm in the mast top is permitted. The mainsail now has 26 instead of 22 square meters, the jib 16 instead of 13, the genoa 30.5 instead of 28 square meters. The now longer forestay sits further forward in the bow and higher on the mast. This means that the headsails overlap 30 cm less and the boat is sailing with 7-8 square meters more fabric with the standard sails (main and jib).

S30 boat register

This table tries to document the fleet of 229 boats similar to the S30 second version, the Jubilee S40 and Swede 55. The sail numbers probably correspond to construction/hull numbers and were assigned consecutively international. The information comes from various, partly old sources. Identified sail numbers are marked bold. If you know more, please send a message. Last update June 10, 2024

Year of construction Sail #Hull colourNamewhere locatedRemarks
1972 S 2whiteSweden
1972 D 2mediumblue Gelcoat, painted dark blueMilongaKiel/GermanyKieler Yacht Club
1972 GER 3whiteFass ohne BodenReichenau Island, Lake Constance
1972 AUS 5, R 33redMadame Flame, Lady in RedPerth/Australiacame 1972 to Australia, large dark windows
1972? S 9?white, red covelineVästeras/Sweden
St. Maarten/Caribbean
1972 SUI 12paint dark blueLake Constance (Arbon)
1972 Z 16redLesteLake Costance, since 2023 Lake ZürichTeakdeck
1972 20AmandlaGöteborg Skärgård
1973 G 22painted dark blueKaurinorthern Germany, now Radolfzell/Lake Constancerefurbuished, longer Carbon spar
1973 Z 23red GelcoatLake Constance
1972 S 25So Long
197? G 29VindematrixLake Constance
197? unknownwhite paintedWhisperNewport/Rhode Island USA
197? unkownmedium blue paintedBlå TågetStockholm Archipelago
197? unknwnredLake Zuerich/SwitzerlandTeakdeck
197? unknownLake Zurich/Switzerland
197? unknownpainted dark bluenear Capetown, South Africa
197? G 30redRed RunnerTravemuende (1978)Teakdeck, lots of Extras
1973 G 32Pat & PatachonLake Constance
1973 S 33AfroditeNynäs/Swedish east coast
1973 G 40redGerman Baltic Sea
1973 SWE 43redCallunaSchwedendeeper keel, longer spar
1973/ S 45dark redRöde Orm, LeiaSaltsjöbaden/Sweden, Helsinki/Finlandfilm coated hull
1973 GER 48Sralim
1973 GER 51whiteAnn Mai
1973 Z 54, SUI 54red Gelcoat, painted dark blueChichesterAltnau/Lake Constance, Stäfa/Lake Zürichmany races Lake Constance, extensively refurbuished, 2nd swiss owner
1973 SWE 63red GelcoatSusrear end of superstructur changed 2003
1976 SWE 73JaleiaLake Vättern/Sweden
197?/ S 76
1976 Z 77Pliline IIIKreuzlingen/Lake Constance
1976 G 82blueKarlson, LittraRadolfzell, now Langenargen/Lake Constancerefurbuished and painted blue
GER 88red, blueÜsernReichenau/Lake Constance
1976 S 90whiteTom & JerryVästerås/Swedenred stripe in superstructure
197? S 93whiteSweden
197? S 95white
197? SWE 97whiteeast coast of Sweden
197? GER 100
whiteHopfenbitterLangenargen/Lake Constance
197? G 102medium blueBlue Starprobably Lake ConstanceTeak deck
197? GER 106whiteFarnienteReichenau Island, Lake ConstanceTeak deck, Mahagany cabin
197?/ GER 108dark blueKing of See, Maui, Szent AntalGermany, now Lake Balaton/Hungarysince 2007 in Hungary, different superstructure
197? Z 110Dukeswiss shore of Lake Constance
197?/S 111AlexineShockholm Skerries
197? G 114red GelcoatShadow
1973? S 121white GelcoatSweden
1973 S 123white GelcoatHiminglävaStockholm/SwedenReg. no. BOL 61
1973? D 126painted RedMyladyHestehovedet/Lolland, Denmarkadded rubrail, mostly original
197? S 140CapellaSweden
197? SWE 148weißBlatunga, DopffStockholm/Sweden, Lake Balaton/Hungarymostly original
1976 S 149Sweden
1976 Z 151SantoriniLake Constance, Altau/Switzerland
1976 G 154whiteNauta III, IpanemaFriedrichhafen/Lake Constancewooden cabin as designed by Reimers, Teak deck
1974 S 157whiteSwedenconventional propeller strut
197? unbekanntpainted blackAleriaMaine/USAdifferent cabin and deck
197? G 165Sweden
197? 171whiteVajaSwedenS30 Special with Teak deck & wooden superstructure
197? G 177white GelcoatVivikaLemkenhafen/Fehmarnmostly original
1976 2763red GelcoatRödtuvanGustavsberg/Stockholmmostly original
1977? S 187dark green Gelcoat
1977 G 194whiteMy DreamKressbronn, now
Radolfzell/Lake Constance
Teak deck and Mahogany cabin
1977 G 196red GelcoatSix-PackReichenau Island/Lake ConstanceTeak deck and mahogany cabin
1977 S 197white GelcoatKaparenVästervik/SwedenBoat of local Sailmaker
197? unbekanntwhite GelcoatTijuana, Treuer GesellHelsinki, northern germany2020 from Finland to northern germany, mostly original, cream colored cabin walls & roof
197? unbekanntwhite GelcoatMerilokkiLübeck/northern Germabymostly original, seen in winterstorage, with Saildrive
197? unbekanntred GelcoatTintomaraSweden
1978 G 216white GelcoatAngelinaBurgstaaken/Fehmarnmostly original
1978 G 217SparnocchioLake Constance
1978 SWE 220
1978 S 221Aiolosgerman baltic sea
1978 G 223white pantedPolarlysgerman coast of north sea & baltic seamostly original, a lot done aboard, extensively sailed, long cruises
1978 G 228Sweden
Active S30 class association

Svenska S30 Förbudet Logo

Svenska S30 Förbundet is active since 1974. It documents the construction/class regulations, takes care of modifications and organises meetings of S30 sailors. Find out more about the S30 in the literature list, with publications, brochures and articles compiled. In 1978 and 79 a remarkable fleet of 74 boats was built by Fisksätra in a MK 2 version with a more roomy and boxy superstructure. Here you find more about this variant.

As the boat register shows the S30 was instantly popular and still is enjoyed today. Further it became the prototype for other cruising sqm boats by Knud Reimers. It initiated partly the development of Swede 55 in 1974 and of the Jubilee S40 in 1981, a lesser-known version with similar charakteristics and appeal.

Thanks to Angelika Hardtke and Wolfgang Rottner, Dieter Rinkenburger, Maria and Paul Rutishauser for contributions to the boat list. Subscribe Newsletter and you won’t miss future articles.

S30 Chichester, S30 Kauri, S30 second version, Swede 41, Swede 41 Classic