Not all yachting adventures happen on the water. This is the story of the classic yacht Iduna.
The story of the classic yacht Iduna begins in 2007 when Edward Balke took a peek under a tarpaulin. It was hiding a tired wooden boat on the bank of the River Scheldt in Antwerp Belgium. Staring at the legendary pictures of Beken of Cowes was pretty much his only experience with classic yachts. But one doesn’t have to be an aficionado to be seduced by the sexy lines of a Johan Anker designed 8 metre class. He had indeed found a craft with serious pedigree and was about to save her life.
“Twinkle” was how the local senior yachtsmen knew the yacht. She had won several local races in the 1960’s. Somehow she ended up in the wrong hands, or at least she was owned by someone who couldn’t afford quality repairs and maintenance. She was put on the hardstand, mothballed and neglected. One of the “quick fixes” she had received was a layer of glass fibre over the underwater-hull. The wood underneath couldn’t breathe and trapped moist. The boat was for sale for, what seemed to be, a low price but when the seller accepted a bid of half that price with a slight grin on his face, Ed became suspicious for the first time.
He decided he should call in the help of experts and finally met with Jan Van Herck who gave him the diagnosis…
This old lady was very ill and no one could have blamed Ed if he pulled the plug now. Yet Ed decided to press on. No one could tell him how much lighter this adventure would make him and how long it was going to take so it was a bold move sparked by his respect for the craft.
Investigating the history of his newly acquired yacht is probably what kept him going as the bills kept coming in…
Johan, or John Anker is famous for designing the Dragon which was an Olympic class between 1948 and 1972 and still remains popular today. Ed visited Norway where the yacht was build at the Anker & Jensen Yard and met owners with similar yachts. He sailed the Norwegian waters on gorgeous classics and hoped his Iduna would soon look the same. He also found out his boat must have been build between 1912 and 1915.
Now, nearly one hundred years later and back to reality, the yacht was nearly completely stripped. After all the rotten stringers, planks and panels had been removed one could see through the boat from nearly every angle. It was time to give her a second life, a fresh start, a new youth. She would aptly be named “Iduna” the goddess of eternal youth and poetry in Norwegian mythology.
The work progressed slowly but according to Ed the bills came in fast and they were bigger than he had expected at the start of the adventure. He says today that he wouldn’t have gotten into it had he known from the start what the total cost would have been.
But, on June 5th 2011 about 100 people gathered on the left bank of the River Scheldt to witness how a gorgeous and rejuvenated classic sailing yacht was lowered in the water. Her proud owner took the helm and has since then enjoyed many sailing adventures.
Every summer Ed contacts Invisible Crew to provide him with a deckhand to assist him on his three to four week trips to the Ijsselmeer and Wadden Sea in the Netherlands.
Iduna is reluctantly for sale. Contact Invisible Crew for more info.