Europe Week 2014 sails into Oslo

Photo: Robert McDermott
The Erna Signe was also part of Europe Week 1914, commemorating the Constitution’s 100th anniversary.

Robert McDermott
San Francisco

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of Norway’s constitution and building on earlier classic yacht regattas, the Royal Norwegian Yacht Club (KNS) and the Norwegian Classic Yacht Club (KTK) organized Europe Week 2014, held in mid-July on the Oslo fjord.

Eighty-two magnificent boats from ten European countries took part: 13 in three racing classes; 69 in five cruising classes. These were mainly beautifully restored meter class boats (6mR, 8mR, 10mR, 12mR and 15mR). The overall lengths ranged from 33 to 75 feet. The largest boat in the fleet was Eileen II, a 92-foot gaff rigged ketch built in Scotland in 1934. Erna Signe, a 12-meter yacht (LOA 63 feet) designed by William Fyfe and built in Sweden in 1911, also took part in Europe Week 1914, the regatta commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution.

Photo: Robert McDermott Yachts in Sandefjord.

Photo: Robert McDermott
Yachts in Sandefjord.

The fleet gathered in Sandefjord on July 15, where HM King Harald V, a keen 8-meter sailor, opened the event. Weather conditions in the outer Oslo fjord provided two days of lively sailing, virtually ocean racing, with winds up to 25 knots, corresponding seas and a bit of rain.

But then the high pressure moved in, bringing higher temperatures and lower wind speeds for the long cruise and race up to the picturesque village of Son. The Mediterranean-like conditions continued to provide a good day of racing on the fjord outside of Son, but with even less wind for the race up to Oslo. The wind in Oslo was so light that the cruising classes’ race on Monday had to be abandoned and Tuesday’s cruisers race was cancelled, but the racing classes got in their final licks.

Photo: Robert McDermott Eight-meter boats Wanda and Sira race during Europe Week 2014.

Photo: Robert McDermott
Eight-meter boats Wanda and Sira race during Europe Week 2014.

The German entry was especially strong, with Anitra winning the international 12 meter racing class, while Sira, the yacht owned by King Harald, won the 8 meter racing class. The single British entry, Kelpie, a 58-foot gaff rigged cutter, did very well on the water, winning the Cruising Gaff Class while her crew provided plenty of laughs on shore. Also of note, a Russian yacht won the King’s special prize for sailing all the way from St. Petersburg.

To top off a great week of sailing and camaraderie, sailors, friends and families, enjoyed evening festivities in Oslo, with a 1914-style party hosted by KNS, a beautiful reception with greetings from Oslo’s Mayor at the Rådhus (City Hall), and concluding with King Harald presenting the trophies at the Maritime Museum.

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 22, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.