Still looking for a new home on the water for us, we looked north. We found two fin keel boats, both solid blue water vessels and both were for sale in Norway. We therefore traveled there for a long weekend to take a closer look at the two candidates:
‘Nordavind’: a 1978 Mikado 56; 17m long with center cockpit and 4 cabins. The cozy rear salon with oven had done us a favor. She was already in the Caribbean and the Arctic – we thought perfect for us.
‘Sheba Queen’: a 1989 Royal Dynamique 62, 19.5m long with 4 cabins and a pirate ship salon.
We stayed in a sleepy town called Svarstad, a former ski area, in a wonderful cottage with sauna in southern Norway. A little relaxation could not hurt.
On the second day of our trip we met Sven Eddie, the owner of Nordavind in Sandefjord on Norway’s south coast, about 45 minutes by car away. She made a good impression: great lines and great deck layout, thoroughly protected cockpit. Sven Eddie was enthusiastic about us, a group of young people with big plans was exactly what he had imagined as new owners for his Nordavind.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get used to the cabin arrangement. There were four cabins, but only in one a couple could comfortably live. Even with a lot of imagination, we did not come up with a clever idea for a conversion to design at least two equivalent double cabins. After all, we didn’t want to take turns using certain cabins. The price was also not in proportion to the work still required on and in the ship: it was all a bit used up. Sven Eddie hoped until the end that we would be the future owners. Sven told us that two other parties were interested in the ship, and that one of them can pay the ship from the postage account without any problems. But we just couldn’t imagine ourselves on this ship… We still had candidate number two.
But: Norway is not exactly a small country. Sheba Queen was located in Florö near Bergen on the west coast of central Norway – an 8 hours drive by car was a little over the top for a day trip. So, we had to organize an overnight stay on site, which was easy with Airbnb. The next morning after visiting Nordavind we left at 04:00 in the morning because we wanted to meet the owner of Sheba Queen in Florö at 14:00. The ride was uneventful and took us through the stunning landscapes of Norway, but suddenly the whole road trip came to an abrupt end.
We wrecked the rental car ONE HOUR before arriving in Florö. In a turn between two tunnels there were large chunks of ice on the road and we couldn’t avoid to hit them because another car came towards us in the opposite direction. So, we drove over the ice chunks and tore open the whole underbody. As a result, we lost oil and diesel. Great. In the middle of nowhere, we called the breakdown service, which picked us up relatively quickly. The only problem was that due to a rally race in Sweden near the Norwegian border, all rental cars were fully booked. Fortunately, the rental car company managed to organise a Volvo anyway – we immediately agreed to take the uncleaned car. So, we exchanged our cool 4×4 hybrid car for an even cooler Volvo. With a few hours late we finally reached our destination.
The owner of the Dynamique 62 greeted us with a pillow print on his face. He must have just gotten up. Sheba Queen was an impressive sailboat with her almost 20 meters, but also in great need of care Even from the outside, you could make out places that could use a little love. We quickly saw that the price-performance ratio was also wrong. When we stepped inside the ship, we were overwhelmed: on the one hand by the insanely great salon, on the other hand by the smell of diesel. Ouch. Apparently one of the diesel tanks had a leak a few years ago, which was now patched up. Only nobody had bothered to clean the bilge afterwards. In general, the entire ship looked very grubby – until recently it was used for a project in which young people collected plastic on the coast of Norway.
Unfortunately, the project lost funding and had to be stopped. That’s why the ship was up for sale. The pillow marks on the face and hordes of teenagers kind of explained the condition of the ship. The visit also brought some bizarre things to light: for example, we found a tennis ball in the bilge together with a cordless screwdriver and expired biscuits. None of us wanted to touch the sweets offered to us by the owner, especially since we had already examined the kitchen and the refrigerators. We also gratefully declined the offer to spend the night on the ship. When the owner showed us the sales documentation from 2 years ago when he bought the ship, we almost started crying. Incredible what could be done to such a beauty in such a short period of time… The ship would have been a dream and perfect for our plans.
Kinked and full of incomprehension, we drove home the next day. At least the weather was great and the landscapes were beautiful. Only our clothes smelling of diesel kept reminding us of the tragedy.
Back in the house we enjoyed the last days of our stay with darts, sauna, good food and walks in the beautiful landscape, before it was time to return home empty handed but with great memories of one of the most beautiful parts of our planet.