Established in 1966, Viksund Boats ( in Norwegian, Viksund Båt AS) was among the first fiberglass boatbuilders in Scandinavia. The company builds boats in Norway, Sweden and Sri Lanka. It has now produced 6000 boats, including boats for Asian and African fishermen, power yachts for European owners, and rescue vessels for the Greenland coast guard. American and Canadian boatbuilders have come and gone, but Viksund just keeps rolling. So does Selden Mast, the Swedish company which built the husky rig.
The Viksund company’s web site is http://www.viksund.no/. When I wrote the company to inquire about the boat I had purchased, I got the following email back:
The name of your boat is Viksund 31 Goldfish, a ketch rigged motor sailer. The boat was produced from 1971 to 1980. I do not know exact how many of these boat it was build but I presume about 200. Approx 25 of these was exported to the US. The design was the yard’s own.
There is no owners manual to this boat, we did not use this in those days.
The hull for this type of boat was used as a motorsailer and as a fishing boat. In 1975 a Norwegian explorer (Ragnar Thorseth) sailed one of the boats from Norway to Iceland, Greenland, Labrador (Baffin Land) and to New York.
With this boat you can go where ever you want to.
Rune Viksund turned out to be the owner of the company and the son of the founder. His brother Jostein owns the division in Sri Lanka.
Rune told me that Ragnar Thorseth had written a book about his voyage. After much sleuthing and pleading, I got a copy of Alone Across the North Sea, trans. J. Basil Cowlishaw (Alesund, Norway: Nordvest Informajon, 1980). Thorseth’s Viksund was named Cling Peerson, in honour of the leading Norwegian emigrant to the US. His was not the MS-33 motorsailer but the fishing boat version – and his voyage had been truly remarkable. He spent days in howling gales off Greenland, and more days poking through drifting ice. At one point he ran his boat on the rocks far up an uninhabited river in Baffin Island. Using winches, anchors and engine, he put an unbelievable strain on her to get her off. He had no choice, since the nearest human beings were perhaps 500 Arctic miles away. The boat came through just fine.
After I published an article about Magnus in Good Old Boat magazine, I got a phone call from Norway. The caller was Erling Viksund, Rune’s father, the founder of the company. He had seen the article, and wanted to have it published in Norway. He was now 68 and retired – though he had actually begun a new company to distribute Jostein’s small Sri Lankan-built boats in Europe.
Erling wanted me to know that of all the thousands of boats he had built, his favourite was the MS-33 – so much so that he had gone hunting for a used one, and had recently bought Solvik, a sister to Magnus. He had done an upgrade similar to ours, and now proposed to sail from Norway across the North Sea, down the Irish Sea and south to Portugal and possibly Madeira. When I told him we were the same age, he was delighted, and sent a little poem:
Same age and same boat,
Same hope to stay afloat!
“Let me tell you about one retired engineer,” he wrote later, “who last year sailed with his Viksund 33 from Bergen up the Norwegian coast and all the way along to Murmansk. Down the old waterways to Finland and home to Norway over the Swedish waterways.” And he sent another little poem:
It’s blooming and high summer still.
At sea we fare, enjoy we will.
Who wouldn’t want to own a boat built by such a jaunty and adventurous spirit – and a boat with such an inspiring record?