Friday, February 18, 2011

Design 1899 - I.W. 31 Class

This sweet looking design was built as a production model for the I. W. Varvet AB boatyard of Henan, Sweden, which is located on the island of Orust, north of Goteborg. This community can trace their boatbuilding roots back to the time of Viking ships.

It is the first of the designs created for Varvet and a fairly early fiberglass production model and was highly successful, with over 350 units produced, starting around 1969. She is designed as an I.O.R. ocean racing (1/2 tonner) yacht but also for family cruising.

Here are the plans.

Thanks to the owner who sent these images.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 30'-5"
LWL 22'-0"
Beam 8'-10"
Draft 5'-6"
Displacement 7,750 lbs
Sail Area 342 sq ft
Ballast 3,520 lbs


  1. Does anyone know the story behind the boat pictured above? It is by far the best looking boat I have ever seen and I would love to know more about how and by who it was brought back to that condition.

  2. Dear Reader,

    After we posted this article we received the following email from another blog follower:

    ATTENTION: Bruce Johnson

    Dear Bruce,

    I saw the pictures in the S&S blog and tried to give my comments there but did not succeed.
    So, this e-mail instead.

    This very beautiful IW31, design 1899, is pure joy to look at.

    The photos were taken some eight years ago after restoration work done in the boat yard of the Jacobsson brothers, one of the oldest and best of the traditional boat yards on the Swedish West coast.

    The boat in the photos differs slightly from the original design:
    she has been given a teak deck and a mahogany deck house. These are great improvements from a visual point of view; the original S&S design was GRP. She was also given a steering wheel instead of the original tiller. This looks very good but moves the weight of the helmsman further aft which does not necessarily improve her sailing performance.

    I saw her in the yard. She was so beautiful that my heart almost stopped.
    And has been beating irregularly ever since.

    Kindest regards,

    Tom Rydberg

    Bruce Johnson wrote: We have a number of images from her owner and I will try to post them in a follow up article later this week.

    1. Bruce,
      If you got the additional images of the re-decked boat, it would be really nice to see them. We are considering to have a similar conversion on our own IW 31.

      Many regards,

      Tapani Hyysalo

    2. Hi Bruce,

      Just found this tread; Did you have a chance to upload more pictures of the restored boat with mahogany dog house?
      Maybe you have her name, or build no. ?
      I am seriously reconsidering an offer i recently had on an iw 31
      after seeing the pictures above. Amazing effect!
      I came from a (wooden) Nordic folk boat, built by Lind in Middelfart-Denmark, to an Olsen Nimbus 26. I was more comfortable with the Nimbus since i have small children, but also because i´m not all-in for GRP everywhere.

      Best regards,
      Mik Jørgensen-Denmark

  3. Hi,

    I'm curious if you have any information about the photo at the top of the page? I think there's a chance it's my boat in the shot. There are a few things odd about our rig, the first is deck lights mounted on the spreaders (small dome shape), our backstay is insulated to be used as a short-wave antenna , and third is the optional main sheet mounted forward of the cabin hatch. Doing an inspection of the old sails, I found our second spinnaker was solid blue top & bottom, with at least the number "15" present (I didn't see if it was 151, the spinnaker was being a bit unruly). We recently bought her but don't have the hull number. The former owner believes the boat was sailed under the name 'Clan' and was raced often. We have found an old trophy plague from the 1971 Gotland Runt race aboard, but I haven't been able to find a list of which IW 31's competed. If you have any other information about the photo I'd love to hear it.

    ben hall

    1. For a list of IW31 that participated in the Gotland Runt 1971 I think you could e-mail someone at Kungliga Svenska SegelSällskapet (
      [The on line result listing only goes back to '91)

  4. Ben,
    I pinched that image from the original IW31 brochure so I can;t tell you much about it.

  5. Hi Bruce,

    I confirmed the 151 on both of our spinnakers, so I have a good feeling that we have Clan (mentioned on page 2 or 3 of the brochure, I found it online). Unfortunately, we also have a slow leak from below just forward of the keel, so we're going to lose more of this season (and more cash) than we had hoped.

    If you're interested I have a few pictures at - though my poor boat is not in as nice shape as the one pictured above.

    Thanks again,

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Hi all,

    I'm in the process of trying to refit a 1970 She 31 from the South Hants Boatyard. I saw the images of the plans above, but not good enough resolution to read.

    I believe that I have the original mast, but no rigging or spreaders to use as templates. I'm looking for advice on where I can find out guage of stays, lengths, and any spreader information (lengths, wood type, ends designs etc).

    Many thanks in anticipation
    alan eastwood.

  8. May I suggest you contact the Sparkman and Stephens offices in New York. I believe that they still have the original plans,line drawings,etc. Alternatively try Mystic Sea Port. Olin Stepens donated his plans to them for historic purposes. I was interested to read Bruce's comment about leaks from the keel area. The keels employ a flange type landing located by 10 bolts either side. My sailing experience on these highly desirable yachts is that they are to be considered "wet" boats. This is not to demune them at all for they sail as good as they look. Below decks "leaks" and overall dampness should be considered par for the course with water ingress from the Dorade vents,spray washed down the companionway and even , in some versions, the lack of a sea cock on the basin drain pipe located in the heads. In really bad weather water tends to stream into the mast through its various openings for halyards, etc and flow inside the mast , straight down into the very shallow nudge area at the foot of the mast. From there it slowly but surely fills the bildges and as the boat heels to the wind, sloshes above the sole and soaks everything. A friend of mine, who owned a SHE 31 and sailed out of Hollyhead in Wales, described his yacht as "a half tide rock". In the same vain the performance of the boat, particularly upwind was likened to that of a steamtrain being as steady as a rock and is still able to compete successfully, if sailed well with a favorable rating. What more could anybody ask from a boat that was a classic from the day they were first launched and today have an almost cult status amongst true aficionado's.

  9. In Denmark I had an IW31 in 1985, it was the most beautiful boat I have ever owned. I posted a couple of photos at

  10. I am the proud owner of a S+S IW 31 sail number 178. she was built in 1973 and commissioned on June the 1st of that year. the Boat has suffered me as the only owner for just under 40 years and has, I hope had a good life.

    I now keep the Boat in Cardiff Bay where I attend to her needs just about every week.

    Yes She is a wet boat and I have had the distinction of being reported as a submarine by a commercial ship I was whilst running up the Bristol Channel with no sails in a 50 Knot+ wind.

    I love her to bits


    1. Hi Jim,

      I am just about to become owener of a beuatiful She 31 Delta - named Black Delta.

      I will be sailing her to her new home in Cardiff Bay too and was wondering if I could speak with you sometime for some tips and advice on the boat.

      Hope your all well.