Sunday, March 28, 2010

A visit with Sjogin and Russ

My first impression of Sjogin, from photos on Russ' website, of unpretentious elegance, was confirmed on seeing her.

The surprise was in seeing her generous beam, somewhat apparent here, but more noticeable in the bottom photo. At about 22' loa, her beam of almost 8' is generous, she's shallow with nearly flat bilges.

She's sweet and workmanlike, true to her ancestry. I was impressed with not only her clear and most pleasing lines but also the absence of anything extraneous. Her finish and fit out are pure work boat, very clean and appropriate.

On climbing aboard, I was first struck by her stark geometries.

Anchor stowed in the cockpit.

Looking forward from the companionway.

Quite simple below decks,

Her elegance continues.

Some necessaries, including wood for the stove.

A tidy little bookshelf.

Here's Russ' tall frame enjoying sitting headroom while we jabber. We're both sitting on a berth flat Russ put in recently.

courtesy John Armstrong

Teapot stowed. Notice the interior is finished bright, with no oil, no varnish and very little fade in 50 years, evidence of a dry and well kept boat. Copper rivets throughout, but the backbone is bolted with iron, and showing a bit of "iron sickness", which will eventually need to be addressed.

This lovely little Navigator Sardine keeps Sjogin warm and dry, even on the most bitter days.

courtesy John Armstrong

Russ pointed out the prominent 'F' on the forward chainplate, presumably the makers reminder to himself.

Looking aft from the companionway, simplicity.

Russ allows the only 'bling' he's added recently are these handcrafted Ash blocks from the Netherlands, which "cost the earth" but look great (and function superbly) on Sjogin.

Simply rigged, as well.

Another angle on the block and chimney vent. I enjoyed crawling around topside.

Across the way, an unpretentious little summer getaway.

We head off for a tour of the boatyard, more to come...

Russ give's a wave as we depart. Sjogin's beam is evident here.

all photos Thomas Armstrong unless otherwise noted.

Brother John and I made the trek down to Brick, NJ Saturday for a visit with Russ Manheimer and his tidy little bombshell Sjogin. It was a brisk and sunny day, but rather blustery, so a planned (and hoped for) sail was not in the offing. Guess we'll have to make the journey again, in gentler weather, in order to heave to off Swan point. We'll do that. John will bring lunch and Russ will provide the magic carpet.
We had a great visit nonetheless, sitting in her cabin for hours yakking, and later being treated to a tour of David Beaton and Son's legendary boatyard where Sjogin resides. We met Tom Beaton, the grandson of David and current proprietor and had a bit of a gam there as well. More on that soon.
Sjogin was built, as the story goes, by a retired Swedish sailing captain named Gullberg between 1960-62, to lines typical of Swedish or Danish coasting fishing workboats. Or almost typical, but not quite. There's something different about this boat, something special. Whoever crafted her was an artist indeed, there is something so balanced, so right about this boat, something ineffable. This is not just my opinion. A recent thread on the WoodenBoat Forum evinced widespread admiration for Sjogin. Indeed, it sort of ignited and has resulted in at least four prominent small boat designers stating interest in adapting this boat with her elegant lines into their current offerings. Francois Vivier has made a preliminary drawing of his interpretation available here. The thread was started by a fellow who wanted to initiate the work of taking off her lines. That hasn't happened yet but probably will within the year. This is an exciting turn of events, as not only will it preserve the design, but also allow future development from what is generally acknowledged to be an aesthetic triumph.
Little more is known about her builder and origins, so anyone who can shed some light is invited to do so.
A delightful day and John and I are looking forward to another road trip, and a sail...

Thanks Russ.

...After a brief tour of Mantoloking and Bay Head, John and I headed back toward home, stopping for lunch at a small 'crab shack' opposite the entrance to Beaton's. We both tried the fried Silver Hake sandwich. Excellent. Caught locally by the area's lobstermen, they bring their extraneous hake to this longstanding little business, so it's local and very fresh. Hit the spot.


Wicketywack said...

One of my favorite boats in the internet. I hope to get up to Brick one day and meet Russ. Seems like a very nice guy.

Unknown said...

Russ is indeed a nice person, it took me a little while to become enamored of Sjogin, I profess a love for more skittish boats, but enamored I am.

Russ Manheimer said...


Thanks again for a glowing post. I enjoyed the visit with you and your brother and look forward to heaving to with you all.

And thanks to Lonnie and Gareth as well.



Baydog said...

He is a good guy, for sure, and the boatyard is classic. Just the smell down below in Sjogin is ethereal, a mix of smoke, cedar, and salt. She's a sweet little sailboat and he takes great pride in and great care of her.

will said...

i love sjogin and the "simple getaway." thank you.