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

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.


  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,
      And more details of the history (such things as Mike Corrigan’s restoration) at
      You can contact me for more information, e.g. by replying to this comment.

      • Dave: this is an old post, are you still there? I’m looking to track down Viking, US33. My great uncle’s boat from Marblehead long ago. I believe she is at Port Huron. Do you know?

        Andy Chase

  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

      • David: I just bumped into your article about Lancia. We sold Lancia to Russ Balmer around 1962 after sailing this wonderful boat for about 7 years out of Port Clinton, Ohio. I have only one faded photo of 22 US 22 but great memories. cell 843 814 4077

  6. Dave and Willy,
    I by chance found your article tonight regarding Lancea, my Dad Russ Balmer’s pride and joy for many years. I believe he purchased her in the mid 1960’s from Willy. He spent many Spring’s getting her in tip top shape at Port Huron (MI) Yacht Club for another season of racing in Lake Huron. I assisted him and sailed with him. She was quite the racing sloop! The boat was still in beautiful condition when he finally let her go to a buyer in Ontario. We were confident Lancea was in fact built for the Emperor of Indochina. That Emperor later replaced her with the 30 Square Meter, Moose, which also sailed out of Port Huron with us back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Lancea looks magnificent. I had heard she fell into disrepair sometime after Dad sold her. Thank you for having her restored and the story about her.
    D Balmer

    • Moose was John S(ilsby) Lawrence’s 30 sq m, 30 US32. It was originally from Marblehead (delivered at the end of April 1936) but later moved to Port Huron where it was known as Mairead (1949-1954). My grandfather raced against Moose in both 30 US40 Arista and in 30 US41 Ellen, from 1946-1947 and then in 1949. Moose was a Reimer’s design from the Motala Batvarv. Irwin Russel “Russ” Balmer owned the ca 1930s Lancea, but also previously owned US2 Diane, one of the first two 22sks in the US (in 1929). Balmer was a PHYC member for 55 years.

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