Solveig's return to the CYCA for Australia Day long weekend

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  • By Damian Maclennan
  • 25 Jan 2018 16:17:03

Solveig in the CYCA Pond


The famous Halvorsen yacht "Solveig" returns to the CYCA for the Australia Day long weekend, a seminal piece of club history on display.

"Solveig's" return came with a gathering organised by the boat's owner, Commodore of The Halvorsen Club, Bob Allan, to celebrate the return of the brothers' first Hobart winner's to Australia. Amongst the guests invited by Bob were Magnus Halvorsen's children, Anders and Niel, along with Trygve's daughter, Nina, who shared some great stories and insightful images from the family's remarkable history.

"Solveig" can be viewed in the CYCA pond with further detail on the boat's history below. The CYCA would like to acknowledge the time, effort, expense and risk which Bob Allan has given to bring Solveig home and then to repair and lift her presentation to be closer to her original look.

“Solveig” is a timber racing yacht built in Sydney in 1950. It was designed and built by members of the famous Halvorsen family, and represents their first offshore yacht where the design combined speed with safety. It was also Trygve Halvorsen’s first offshore racing yacht design, his older brother Magnus had planned their previous yachts.

The Halvorsen Brothers particularly Magnus, were yachting pioneers. Their name was synonymous with the CYCA and the Sydney Hobart as designers, builders and hardy, winning yachtsmen. Trygve Halvorsen designed “Solveig” in 1950 at 36’, “Anitra V” in 1956 and then “Freya” in 1962, both at 38’ LOA.

“Solveig”, built at Lars Halvorsen Sons Ryde, is the only Halvorsen yacht to have achieved a Sydney Hobart line honours win, doing so in 1953. She is the third smallest yacht to have achieved this result. “Solveig” won the Sydney Hobart overall the following year.

With the design of “Solveig” the Halvorsens decided to go for a lighter vessel than they had done previously but retaining the seaworthy double ended shape, and using a spade rudder as it gave them a vertical leading edge and balance to the rudder. They were not keen on the raked rudders as this type did not steer as well as a vertical rudder.

The boat had a masthead sloop rig and was well fitted out. Trygve always maintained their philosophy was to design a good fast cruising yacht that could be raced as well, as this would give them a safe and fast yacht that they could still sail hard in rough conditions. 

“Solveig” raced in the 1950 Sydney to Hobart race and finished 5th on handicap and after this event crossed the Tasman Sea to Auckland New Zealand to race in the 1951 Trans-Tasman race. The Halvorsens were impressed with its good speed downwind so they then took it over to Los Angeles to sail in the 1951 Transpac ocean race to Honolulu, a race known for consistent downwind sailing throughout each event. At one point “Solveig” was 6th on handicap but did not take a place at the finish, as they experienced two days of unusual, adverse southerly conditions. In July 1951 it was offered for sale in Honolulu, but no sale eventuated, and it was sailed back to Sydney by three crew leaving in mid-August. 

In 1953 “Solveig” participated in the ocean race to Noumea, New Caledonia but retired with mast head damage, a rare thing to happen to a Halvorsen yacht.

The boat recovered to take the line honours win in the Sydney Hobart yacht race that year.

Although second across the line, “Wild Wave” skippered by Jock Muir, was disqualified for “an incident on the starting line”.  Notably neither Trygve nor Magnus Halvorsen were on board for this race.

In 1954 “Solveig” became the first Halvorsen yacht to win the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race overall, leading the fleet off the coast of Tasmania at one stage. The feat was then repeated by the Halvorsens later designs, Anitra V in 1957 and three times in succession by Freya from 1963. 

In 1955 “Solveig” was sold and rehomed in Honolulu, Hawaii, it raced once again in a Transpac event and remained in Hawaii for many decades.

After a 5-week voyage on board a Hamburg Sud container ship from Honolulu via US West Coast ports, “Solveig” returned to Australia in late March 2017.

She joins Anitra V on the harbour, her sail number will change from her original CYC54 to A50.


Niel, Anders and Nina Halvorsen Image:

Niel, Anders and Nina Halvorsen


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