Ölands Cementfabrik in Degerport - 1950.
One of the first cement factories in Sweden, Ölands Cement AB began in 1886.
Ölands Cementfabrik in Degerport – 1950. One of the first cement factories in Sweden, Ölands Cement AB began in 1886.

Could this be Historic Vessel Vega’s Real Story

The partnership between Nerhus and Carlsson benefitted both until 1904-5 when the Union of Sweden and Norway dissolved. Overnight, Mr Carlsson owned a boat in Norway he could not bring home. Ingenuity came to his rescue. Late that summer Vega loaded cargo destined for Bergkvara, Sweden.

To quote Lars Nerhus, “I was always told “Vega” was the best and strongest jakt he (Ola Nerhus) ever built and all I could find out was that she went to Sweden in 1905 and never returned.  This I would be told in a sad voice by my grandfather and it would make me sad also.”

After discharging her cargo at Bergkvara, the boatyard of Alfred Olsson hauled Vega out of the water for repairs. With a nudge and a wink, the local surveyor condemned Vega as a total loss. That same year she disappeared from the register in Norway.

Over the winter, Vega received a 12 hp single-cylinder engine, a few cosmetic modifications to bow and stern and a new coat of paint. When spring came the surveyor approved for addition to the Swedish register of shipping.

1958 – Unknows galeass at Cement dock, Ölands Cement AB. By 1958 wooden jakts like Vega were still carrying cement.

The following spring Mr Olsson launched a newly built “Vega of Bergkvara” for Johan Carlsson, of Degerhamn. Except for fashion pieces (still in existence) added to her bow and stern that boat was identical to the Vega condemned in his yard only months before. Apparently, Vega was not the only boat repatriated in this manner.

From that unusual re-birth, Vega went on under the Swedish flag to transport cement, building stone, bricks and other heavy loads for AB Degerhams until 1949. In 1928 she received a one cylinder 15 Hp engine, upgraded to 20 hp in 1939. From 1949 until 1983 Vega had various owners.

1951, Fredrik Johansson Shipyard - Jakt Vega of Degerhamn
1951, Fredrik Johansson Shipyard – Jakt Vega of Degerhamn
  • Caulking historic vessel Vega 1952
    Caulking the stern run. The two bladed propeller is clearly shown.
  • Historic vessel Vega in 1952 at Fredrik Johnson Shipyard
    Vega’s clean lines can are shown here along with part of her copper water line sheathing.
  • Historic vessel Vega after slipping in 1952 at Fredrik Johansson Shipyard
    Vega newly caulked, painted & ready for launching.
  • Historic vessel Vega ready for relaunching in 1952 at Fredrik Johansson Shipyard
    Vega ready for launching. Her bottom was most likely bitumen tarred.
  • Historic vessel Vega on the slip in 1952 at Fredrik Johnson Shipyard- Jakt Vega of Degerhamn
    Vega seen bow on ready to go back in the water.
  • Historic vessel Vega on the slip in 1952 at Fredrik Johnson Shipyard
    Vega’s full belly designed to carry heavy cargo and part of her copper water line sheathing.
  • Caulking historic vessel Vega in 1952
    Freeboard caulking and water line copper sheathing.
Stone fishermen in the western Baltic.
Stone fishermen in the western Baltic.

As the demand for small cargo jachts declined Vega was employed as a “Stone Fisher” a profession known as the “Ship Killer”. Stone fishers hauled steel dredges across the bottom of the shallow North Sea bed collecting the glacial stone. The work was hard, the profits small and the wear on the boats enormous. Most stone fishers ended their lives on the bottom, broken by the concentrated weight of cargo they were unqualified to carry.

Designed for exactly that type of cargo Vega survived. In 1979, still carrying a modest sailing rig, Vega became the last wooden sailing boat to work as a Stone fisher. In early 1983, a new owner purchased Vega, and a complete restoration began. My next post will delve into the restoration of Vega between 1983 and 1995.

Stone fisher on unknown boat - 1932
Stone fisher on unknown boat – 1932

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