Interestingly Christoph Rassy arrived from Germany to work at the Anderrsons yard in 1962, the year Skjoldunge was built. He subsequently started his own yard and eventually with the Hallberg yard started the now famous and still operational Hallberg Rassy company.
Before Michael Ainslie she was owned by David Freeman from Lymington. He bought her from an un-named person in Yarmouth IoW, the previous owner being Clive Wiggins from Cowes. Previous to that she had been at Malden in Essex.
David owned her from 1991 to 1998 and completely refurbished her as a single-handed cruiser, with an inboard "Dolphin" petrol engine. A picture of Skjoldunge with David at the helm appears in "Classic One-Designs" by Jack Coote, page 139. The book is out of print now, but I easily obtained a good used copy through an internet search.
He replaced the mast in 1996, the old one having suffered glue failure and terminal splitting of the luff groove.
Michael Ainslie bought her and stripped out all the cruising gear including the inboard engine (much to the consternation of David!) and put her back into pure Nordic spec. A new Honda 5hp outboard on a Folkebadcentralen transom fitting was now the iron top sail.
We bought Skjoldunge in late December 2001 from Michael via the well known classic boat specialists, Gweek Quay Boatyard at Helston Cornwall.
Using the priority list from the pre-sale survey we did the minimum necessary to get her back in the water, 11 April 2002. We stripped the mast of all fittings and re-varnished it. A new Folkebadcentralen hounds fitting and spreaders was fitted to replace the battered old one which also pulled the forestay out of line - potentially dangerous according to the surveyor. This was not a job for the faint hearted as the old holes had to be plugged with wooden dowels to maintain the integrity of the wooden mast and new holes drilled, without the benefit of a jig. Success however after an initial, disastrous breakage of the poor quality s/s bolts provided with the fitting, replaced with proper items from http://www.Sea-Screw.com a company to be recommended, selling small quantities of quality s/s fasteners with a rapid delivery service.
Two days before the launch we stepped the mast, only to find that the shrouds were 8 cms too short! Despite our accurate measuring of the mast using the Nordic Folkboat rigging drawings, we failed to notice that the mounting points for the shrouds on the new fitting are precisely 8 cms higher than the old one! A local rigging company came to the rescue however allowing me to rummage amongst their discarded fittings pile for toggle fittings and pins (in excellent condition and the result of routine re-fits on big boats owned by people with more money than me!), which when daisy chained filled the gap and provided some adjustment on the bottle screws again.
Since the launch we have sailed at least once per week in Belfast Lough getting to know the boat and as novices, learning something new each time we go out. The main thing we have learned is that Skjoldunge is much more competent than her crew and despite our efforts sails herself in all weathers and forgives our discrepancies.
Like all long keel boats however she is a pig to reverse out of her berth in Bangor Marina, not helped by the lack of space for a 25 footer at the poor end of the pontoons. We now use slipping lines to maintain contact with the pontoon while trying to coax her out manually with minimum use of the outboard. Before we used this method, more than once the wind has taken over and turned her neatly round to face the wrong way!
We joined in the Bangor Traditional Sail race in June and would have done well in our class if we had gone round the cans the right way! We repeated our race education earlier this month at the Ballyholme Yacht Club Regatta, again missing out a buoy in our enthusiasm!
Unfortunately the Royal North of Ireland YC Regatta was cancelled last Saturday due to high winds, but the Donaghadee Regatta and my club - East Down Yacht Club in Strangford Lough are still to come.
We could not attend the Irish Sea FB Rally in July as the coastal passage would have taken about three days and was beyond our competence. The reports however make good reading and maybe in future years when I get better qualified and gain more experience we will make the passage. This applies also to our plans to attend the Ardglass Traditional Regatta 23-25 August. The passage from Bangor, with experienced help, is on in a day but the tides (and forecast winds) are against us in the next few days and leave no margin for arriving at Ardglass in daylight.
However, we are going to try for Strangford Lough next week for the East Down YC Regatta on Saturday 31 August as there is a favourable tide window at the end of the week which should allow us to get down the East Down coast and through the Narrows (only possible with the flood tide), wind and weather permitting.