Boats I grow up in


I was born on the windward side of a small island on the Swedish west coast, not far from the North Sea:
Lat N 57° 37’ 58’’
Long E 11° 46’ 51’’

Our house is marked as VÅRT HUS

The piece land consisted of a peninsula that my grandfather and my grandmother’s brother had bought in the 1920’s.

That long time ago it was uninhabited wilderness.  The two families each built a house. Ours was quite big with a second story for mother, father and me.

My grandfather was a sea captain as was my father. When mother, grandfathers only child finished school grandfather took her on a voyage to Japan. This was in the 1930’s then such a trip took ten months out and ten months back. They’re where many ports to visit and much cargo to load and unload. It took time before the work was mechanized.

At that time my father was first mate on the ship. Back in Sweden after twenty months on the same small ship, father and mother married and I was born two years later on 22 April 1939.

Father left Sweden on 15 January 1940. 11 December 1941 in Hong Kong, the British order her to be scuttled, good for the war was their comment.

I never saw father again. However 21 of September 1940 I got a sister.

During the war the islands was declared a military zone. Blackouts were ordered. Only authorized persons where allowed access. Fuel was rationed.

From my point of view, being a child with limited understanding of the world, life was good.

The air and water was clean. Food was real. A fisherman came twice a week with freshly caught fish and we grew potatoes and some vegetables.

And there I was with mother grandmother and sister. Mother’s uncle did not have any children. Water and boats surrounded me.


The harbor of grandmother’s brother. He had a powerboat and a rowing boat “Eka”. When I could swim and tie knots I was free to use Ekan. At Styrsö Tången the village across the water ¾ of a mile away there was a grocer’s store. To help the grown ups I rowed there to purchase milk bred and other foodstuff.


The house we lived in.


I learned to scull at an early age. Here at Styrsö Tången.


The fisherman Gustav from the neighboring island Asperö that came twice a week with live fish that he kept in the corf, the on purpose leaking mini boat that can be seen to the left. Grandmother knew that you became intelligent by eating fish. I had to eat plenty.


Grandmother doing the laundry. I helped to find driftwood and drying it for heating the water.


Sister and me on the foredeck of the boat of my grandmother’s brother. Its he at the steering wheel. He kept a logbook. Every trip was documented in detail for more than fifty years.


I did build rafts.


Another picture of the same raft. Mother being a widow after father died had to find work. She found work in Göteborg on the mainland at Hasselblad camera factory. At that time they did cameras for military airplanes. It was wartime. The factory was quite small at that time. To communicate to Göteborg on the mainland, three nautical miles distant she purchased a small motorboat with an outboard engine. An inboard engine would have been better but for that she did not have enough money. This was in the 1940’s and the men on the island did not really approve of a woman seaman.


At the Göteborg Navigational school she got a license. The printed text says the license is given to him.


It was a big day when mother arrived in her brand new boat.


The first docking.


We spent a lot of time in or near the water. Here grandmother and me. My sister is sitting on the dock, mothers boat behind our house in the background.
This is many years later. We are taking the boat out of the water.
The boat goes into the boathouse.


Every year in August there was a fair on the island “Brännö Marknad” one of the attractions was a lottery. First price a rowing boat. Most people bought a ticket. Every year it was speculations as to who would win. Grandmothers brother kept telling me “when I win I give you my old boat”. In fact I used it much more than he.

Against all odds one year he did win. Of course I was as happy as he. Unfortunately he had forgotten his promise. Luckily there were plenty of other grown-ups with much better memory that was my witnesses. A bit embarrassed he gave me the boat. It was my first boat and I was very happy and right away started to improve the boat.

Unfortunately during the winter it was stolen. I only had the use of her a few months. It was sad but I was a child no longer and had left the island for the big world.