Ketch Rig SOLVIG, an original gouache painting by Fine Art America artist James Williamson. Reproduced as a fine art print. I enjoy the ability to 'control' gouache as a water-based media. The medium has similar handling as acrylics and oil paints. Gouache allows a broad range of techniques and the ability to change, remove and replace, colors and rework various aspects of the painting.
Ketch Rig SOLVIG
Swedish galleas SOLVIG
TM 100 tons approx.; LOA 67 ft 8 in; Beam 20 ft 4 in; Draught 6 ft 6 in; Engine 2-cyl. 86hp June Munktell semi-diesel
Sailors all around the world are reviving the use and traditions of the GAFF RIG. Many Cruising yachtsmen (and women) prefer gaff rig for practical conditions of sail handling and lying more easily at anchor in a breeze. A well-built wooden craft of superior traditional design, with a gaff rig, is a thing of beauty, apart from its functional utility. Vintage aficionados are attracted by the rig’s connection with working craft of the past.
Gaff rigged working vessels were built and sailed with remarkably skilled sailors. Their memory, and that of their crews, commands respect as they earned a hard living from the sea and demonstrated the best qualities of seafaring. Sailing as an art of pride, excelled from competence to perfection by seamen (and women).
Gaff rig propelled types of sailing vessels as widely contrasting as great racing cutters setting 1400 square feet of sail on one mast, to the humble 18 foot waterman’s boat. There have thousands of types of gaff rigged vessels built. Traditional rigs were evolved by sailors, guided by precedent and always with an awareness of the dangerous power of wind and waves, and of the seas’ contempt of radical rigs and extreme gear; so strength and safety came first.
Changes in sailing rigs were usually the work of unrecorded individuals seeking to increase sail area, obtain greater windward ability or ease of handling, and often influenced by rigs and gear seen in crafts and ports of other countries.
Gaff Rig offers great opportunities for experiment. However, as most craft so rigged are, at present, maintained out of sentiment, convenience of working and speed are usually balanced against budgets, but the rigs’ handiness and traditions will ensure its survival in various forms for years.
The galleas is the traditional small trading vessel in use in the Baltic; Chapman shows a ketch rigged galleas in his Architectura Navalis (1775). The main difference from the modern sailing galleas is a very long pole bowsprit and a square topsail on her mainmast. As a result of some relaxation by certain Scandinavian countries of the rules about the need for serving in sail, which governed entry into their mercantile marine, a number of galleases have come on the market over the years.
SOLVIG is a galleas built at Raa in Sweden in 1926 and registered at Gothenburg. When Peter and Janet Light found her she was still trading. She had a bald-headed ketch rig and a short bowsprit, but for propulsion in her later years had relied on her massive June Munktell semi-diesel, built by A. B. Jonkopings Motot Fabrik. To start its enormous flywheel, it needed compressed air cylinders and a Calor gas blowlamp to heat up the hot bulb. Sometimes it would start spinning the wrong way, so at a critical point it had to be caught and reversed. The engine has no gear box but drives a variable-pitch two-bladed propeller, a common practice among Baltic Traders and fishing boats. Her fuel tanks carry 500 gallons of diesel oil, giving her a cruising range under power alone of over 800 miles.
SOLVIG, in spite of her diesel engine and her inadequate rig, was still an impressive vessel. With her bluff bows, deep bulwarks, catheads and stern davits, she certainly looked as if she belonged to the 19th century. From her davits, she carried a fourteen foot clinker built boat. There was one oddity and that was a wheelhouse built of wall board that looked like a beach hut.
August 11th, 2017
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