By Dave Matthews member of Finger Lakes chapter

Lancea’s documented history goes back to the fourth previous owner, Russ Balmer, who sailed her out of the Port Huron Yacht Club in the 1960s. Before that the history is murky but the last previous owner believed her to be the very same boat that was originally built for the Emperor of Annam (now Vietnam) in 1935. That boat is quite well known, thanks to the Swedish Maritime Museum’s collection of documents from the designer, Knud Reimers, and Chapter 36 of Uffa Fox’s book Sail and Power, “22 Square Meter Class”, which focused on it. From the Museum we have Reimers’s original detailed design drawings, as well as his correspondence with the Emperor.

Is Lancea really the Emperor’s boat? Her builder’s plaque says “Knud H. Reimers, Yacht Designer and Broker, Stockholm, Sweden.” Of the dozen or so 22 Square Meters Reimers drew, Lancea’s shape matches the Emperor’s boat as well as any and better than some. Whether she’s the Emperor’s boat or not, Lancea is a fine representative member of the 22 Square Meter Class.

The Square Meter Rule is a yacht measurement rule created by the Swedish Sailing Association in 1908, based largely on sail area. It lent itself to graceful, narrow designs with long bow and stern overhangs and tall rigs. Lancea is 36 feet long overall with a beam of only 6 feet. Other typical characteristics are her tall, narrow mainsail; low-slung, broad genoa jib; and curved mast. In the first half of the 20th century there were racing fleets of 22 and 30 Square Meters on the Great Lakes and the Massachusetts coast, but the majority have always been in northern Europe, where they are still raced. Some great action photos of a 2014 race in Berlin are at https://soeren.zenfolio.com/22qm2014.

Lancea came to me ready to sail and I’ve done little more than refresh the finish. Her hull is Honduras mahogany, deck and mast Oregon spruce. She is close-planked and seals up water-tight without caulk. She sails with a nearly neutral helm at all angles of heel. With her narrow beam, she heels readily before the keel stiffens her, immersing the hull overhangs and increasing her waterline length. Currently she daysails on Cayuga Lake out of Ithaca NY. Lancea has given me five years of great pleasure so far, and it will soon be time for her to move on to her next owner.

7 Comments

  1. Very cool to see this. This was one of my first big restorations starting off my career as a wooden boat builder in 1996.

  2. You ALWAYS get my clicks with the sailboats and this one did not disappoint! What a beautiful boat! If possible for the owner to see some follow up questions… is there an engine? Can more detail pics be posted? What is below decks? Does she stay in the water all summer? Is she covered when not in use?

    • Hi Shannon,
      There is no engine. She has a Torqeedo electric motor for light use. It stows away along with the motor mount when not in use so it doesn’t spoil the look. Below decks she’s very open, lots of storage space. The cabin has two long benches, could be used as berths. No galley or head. Yes, she’s at her mooring all summer. Winters are under tarps outdoors on a custom trailer. There’s no cover in summer other than the sail cover. I’d rather show her off, and deal with the ravages of the sun on the varnished deck in the spring.
      There are lots more photos on Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/dematth/collections/72157647612707584/
      And more details of the history (such things as Mike Corrigan’s restoration) at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4YfhHvguFi2Mmx4ZHRscGYyRVk/view
      You can contact me for more information, e.g. by replying to this comment.

  3. I too am a sucker for old sailboat stories and photos, of which this is exceptional, particularly the link to the extensive photo album. Thanks for submitting this – the Finger Lakes have an honored history in the vintage boating community.

  4. Being a teenager in the 60’s of a family who were members of the Milwaukee Yacht Club I got to be a first hand witness in the transition of wood to fiberglass. As the docks were filling up more and more every summer with new polished Columbias, C&C’s, Cals, Pearsons not to mention traditional one designs like Lightnings and Int 14’s going the way of glass, I was always fascinated with the 22 Square meter owned by friends of a friend of our family. It was on a mooring and kept in good shape. Whenever we passed it on our way out to the race course I found myself transfixed to its’ lines. On one hand it seemed so impractical compared to the 32 footer I happened to be crewing on. On the other hand, it had the most beautiful lines of anything that had a mast and for that one moment as we went by it, I wanted to be on that 22 Square meter instead!

  5. In re square meter boats on Cayuga Lake, do you know anything about Robert Paccone’s 30 from 1971? He lived in Apalachin and worked for IBM in Endicott and sailed out of Ithaca.

    • Hi Kenneth,
      I’ve heard of a 30 being on the lake a long time ago, maybe it was that one. I’ve only been sailing Cayuga Lake since 1980. There haven’t been any Square Meters here during that time, until now.
      Sorry for the slow response. The system doesn’t notify me when there are comments.
      – Dave

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