August 18, 2017

Mariska wins the Legends of the Sea trophy awarded by the regatta organisation to the participant that bes represents the spirit of classic sailing. Its lead keel was sold to make ammunition for the World War I and had to be protected so that it wouldn't end up in flames. A Swedish musician discovered it in a place known as "the bay of the dead boats".

The vessel Mariska (1908), part of the Fifteen-meter Class, has been awarded with the "Legends of the Sea" trophy, which goes to the participant that best represents the spirit of classic sailing. The trophy was awarded by a jury of experts formed by Manuel Gómez, president of the Asociación de Amigos del Museo Marítimo de Mallorca; Chema Sans, president of Palma's International Boat Show, and Joaquín Pita da Veiga, admiral of the Spanish Army.

Gómez, spokesperson of the jury, explained that Mariska is an example of preservation of the maritime patrimony because, after enduring many difficulties, "she remains in her original configuration and has been restored with great rigour and original materials". The president of Asociación de Amigos del Museo Marítimo de Mallorca highlighted that, the vessel's state of preservation is impecable and no modern elements have been added after the year of construction. "This is a vessel of almost 110 years old and it looks like it has been newly launched", added Manuel Gómez, for whom the decision by the jury was "very complicated" due to the high quality of the fleet gathered in Palma.

Mariska is one of the four Fifteen-meter class survivors, along with Tuiga, Hispania and The Lady Anne, all of which were present in the Majorcan regatta organised by Club de Mar-Mallorca. She was built in 1908 base on a design by William Fife III and hers is a story of survival. She went through an initial golden era, right after her launch. Under her first captain, the renowned sailor A.K. Shorter, she scored 44 victories in only three seasons. Back then she faced Hispania and Tuiga.

In 1912 she was aquired by a German trader called Gosta Dahlman, who restored her to compete in her original configuration. Between that year and 1939 the ownership changed three times. The last skipper in this period grew tired of the boat and abanoned her for 10 years. After this time, the jazz musician Olof Grafstrom discovered it in a harbor near Stockholm, a place known as "the bay of the dead boats".

In spite of her bad condition, Grafstrom fell in love with the bpat and aquired it, with no papers, for a symbolic price. The legalization and restoration process took six years, but ot was worth it: Mariska sailed with her new skipper on Northern waters until 1970, when it was bought by the Dutch Jacob Jongrey. This skipper kept it over three decades, after which he sold her to his countryman Engar Holtbach, a sailor who was fully aware of the importance of this boat but who was unable to face the high costs of her restoration. That is how Mariska ended up in the hands of her current skipper, the Swiss Christian Niels, who restored it between 2007 and 2009 with the best materials from the shipyard Charpentiers Réunis de Méditerranée (Marseille), placing her again as one of the world's references in classic sailing.


Designer: William Fife III
Year of construction: 1908
Shipyard: W Fife & Son, Fairlie (Scotland)
Length overall: 27.75 meters
Beam: 4.17 meters
Desplacement: 35 tons