Tell Tales: The story of Kinship
19 May 2022
The, soon to be, 50 years of Baltic Yachts existence have been extremely interesting and has given me and many others, in our company, an interesting life including many interesting clients and projects that has resulted in valuable and appreciated memories in our memory banks. One thing that I have valued, very much, during these years, is the personal contact that I have had the fortune to have with many of our clients.
Sometimes we have been contacted in order to assist and/or give advice regarding some issues on their yacht but also many times clients have contacted just to let us know that they had a great sailing season and enjoys their yacht. And the most interesting and fascinating has been to participate in the development of client’s visions and dreams.
A while back I received an, very appreciated, E-mail from one of our clients with a full story on the development and construction of their yacht. This E-mail took me back along the memory line reminded me of many appreciated discussions and stages, which took place, in the process of creating and building their yacht. Some really nice memories came back to me from a very good and appreciated project.
The Baltic 52, Kinship, was a project that suited us. A client with experience and with specific ideas on what his new yacht should be like. A number of modifications and challenges. Interesting discussions. Good cooperation between the client and the yard. A project with a good spirit. In other words, a kind of project that we like and enjoy.
Thank you, Tom, very much appreciated!
In conjunction to this I would also like to say that if anyone else has some nice stories, preferable with pictures, based on sailing one of our yachts, we would very much like to receive them and possible include in some of the future Tell Tales. If so, please send to: Elisabet Holm, E-mail: email@example.com
The following is Toms Selldorf’s Kinship story:
The story of Kinship
It was the fall of 1999 and our son Frank had just sold the software company he’d started in our third bedroom a few years earlier. To celebrate, he and I decided to build the racer/cruiser sailboat we’d always yearned for.
Having sailed most of my life in both small and larger boats, I had a pretty good sense of what we wanted in a boat…speed, quality and comfort. We visited three top boat builders in Europe, and all built strong, fast boats. However, Baltic was the by far the most impressive and accommodating to our ideas which included twin wheels (still a rarity then in boats under 60 feet), a reasonably shallow draft since we sailed in Buzzards Bay in the south coastal waters off Massachusetts and a large, comfortable aft cockpit.
After some discussion and debate we chose Baltic and the Baltic 52 semi-custom design by Sparkman and Stephens. Semi-custom meant that Baltic had an existing hull and rig design, but the rest of the boat could be modified to suit. Rob Ball, who had been the chief designer for C&C and had designed many of the early Baltics also happened to be a friend and agreed to help. To be sure that the twin wheel layout would provide easy access to the transom and the swim platform we built a mock-up…and found that the stern in the S&S design was not wide enough for comfort. Not a problem, said Rob, “when the hull comes out of the mold it’s pretty flexible, so just ask Baltic to push the sides out 6 inches.” Well, I did just that and PG and his team, after some mumbling and grumbling, agreed to do it that way. The S&S design also called for a 9-foot draft keel, too deep for our sailing area. We asked for 7 feet, and PG came up with a compromise: he personally designed a fin-and bulb version which, based on his computer models, gave virtually equivalent performance to the 9-foot keel, but with an 8-foot draft. Rob Ball and I also suggested a more open interior with a nav station facing aft…and Baltic engineers managed that too. All that just illustrates how much the “Baltic way” is dedicated to accommodating the client.
Finally, when we signed the order in December 1999, we had wanted to be sure the boat would be delivered to Boston in time for the summer 2001 sailing season. This was just at the time when Baltic was shifting over to much larger custom-designed boats, and they were building Visione, a beautiful 147 foot design for a German owner that, understandably, was receiving priority attention.
When I visited in the fall of 2000 and asked for a schedule, there wasn’t one. I insisted, and finally was given a piece of paper that showed completion in May 2001, but with the headline: “impossible schedule”. By the fall of 2000 little progress had been made. When I visited in early 2001 the hull and deck were ready and work was under way on the interior, but most of the Baltic team were still occupied with Visione, and it seemed very unlikely that Kinship would be on board a freighter for Boston in May.
So, in order to provide an incentive to meet the “impossible schedule” we announced that we would sponsor a party for the families of the build team in April when the boat was supposed to be complete. Arrangements were made to rent the local Yacht Club in Jakobstad and to engage an orchestra. Initially we were told to expect only a dozen families…but in the event some 75 people showed up, there was a nice dinner and some dancing, speeches were made, small tokens of appreciation handed out, and indeed our boat made it to the freighter in time.
Kinship has met our expectations in every respect: she’s beautiful inside and out, strong, fast and comfortable, and has been very successful on the racecourse. We’ve won many races locally along the south coast of Massachusetts. She’s done a number of Newport-Bermuda races with good success, participated in the Marblehead-Halifax race (2nd) and Miami-Havana, and recently took 4th place out of 19 in Class 1 in the Caribbean 600 with me (92) and Don Street (90) on board.
Thank you, PG and the whole team at Baltic.
There can be few yacht builders like PG Johansson, who can boast an unbroken career with the company he co-founded almost 50 years ago. In that time PG Johansson has witnessed every twist and turn of a colourful, exciting and technically pioneering industry accumulating a wealth of fascinating stories, some familiar, some still untold. In this blog PG will be recalling his experiences of the yachts he has built, the people he has met and some of the more unusual events on the journey to turning clients’ dreams into reality.
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