She’s rather advanced in age, and yet she can endure more than any one of us. She has worked hard most of her life and is now enjoying the pleasures of cruising the world – preferably in inhospitable areas. DAGMAR AAEN is her name, and she chose Arved Fuchs as her owner to get the extra dose of adventure in her sailing life.
I cannot really remember the first time her name came to my attention. Maybe it was while reading articles about Arved Fuchs’ “ice sails”. Or maybe it was when checking on the details of the “Arctic passages”. Whatever it was, she has since then been a synonym for me with regards to seaworthiness, tradition, adventure, challenge and reliability – an old school sailing boat.
A book has been dedicated to DAGMAR AAEN, and when quite unexpectedly I saw her “for real” in Flensburg (Flensburg museum-harbour) and laid my hand on her planks, all I wanted to do was sail and live on board. Phew.
DAGMAAR AAEN’s history
DAGMAR AAEN was built as a fishing cutter in 1931 in the Danish city of Esbjerg. The local N. P. Jensen shipyard constructed her as top of her class, with her hull built out of six cm oak planks and oak frames. The space between single frames is so small occasionally that a fist can hardly fit between them. Because of this and due to the addition of extra waterproof bulkheads the hull is now incredibly strong. The ship was often used in the Greenland region because of its solid built and its choice of building materials. Journeys through ice fields and months of overwintering in frozen fjords and bays is nothing but daily routine to a ship of this type.
The famous Greenland explorer Knut Rasmussen chose just such a ship for one of his expeditions in the Arctic regions. DAGMAR AAEN had been busy in the fishing industry from 1931 up until 1977. Niels Bach purchased and transformed her to go on sailing trips with youth groups. In 1988 her new owner became Arved Fuchs, and those two have been inseparable ever since. Together with Peters Shipyard in Wewelsfleth, Germany, and Skibs & Bædebyggeri Shipyard, owned by Christian Jonsson in Egernsund, Denmark, Arved transformed DAGMAR AAEN into an expedition ship with ice reinforcements.
Some technical data
Length over all: 23,90 metres
Beam: 4,80 metres
Draught: 2,50 metres
Sail area: 220 aq. metres
Sails: mainsail with 3 reefs, staysail, jib, flying jib, topsail, trysail and storm jib
Engine: Callesen Diesel, 3 cylinder, 180 hp at 500 rpm
Capacity: fuel 4.800 litres, water 500 litres
Current expedition OCEAN CHANGE
DAGMAR AAEN, together with Arved Fuchs and quite a few other folks, is currently on her way sailing to Tierra del Fuego. The name “Ocean Change” stands for the many changes taking place in our oceans. Urgent topics are overfishing, the high level of acidity in ocean waters caused by the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere and its consequences for the ocean’s fauna and flora, the increase of ocean water pollution, plastic waste and the effect it has on the dramatic changes in species decline. The latest expedition has set its goal in finding these changes, in examining and in documenting them.
More details on this expedition, the individual projects running with it and a lot, lot more you can find on Arved Fuchs’ website.
Book about DAGMAR AAEN
She does get her fair share of fame in various other books by Arved Fuchs. This one, however, has been dedicated to DAGMAR AAEN and is all about her. I have read it twice, at least, and do not really know how often I have simply thumbed through it to have a look again at those wonderful pictures. This book is absolutely great for winding down, becalming an agitated brain, a wonderful read (look) before dozing off. The only setback might be that it is in German, however, the pictures are multilingual…
So, this was a little background information on DAGMAR AAEN, one of the ships that has touched and talked to me most. And here are the questions for you:
Do you know DAGMAR AAEN? Or boats of a similar type?
Do you have a similar experience (I do not want to call it a positive obsession)?
Is there a boat, ship, yacht out there that has taken your heart?
I’d love to hear about it…