Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Iskareen - Design 275

The 8-meter Iskareen is one of four 8-meters designed by the firm. She was built by the A/B Neglinge-Varvet yard of Sweden and launched in 1938.

The boat was designed based on the results of extensive tank testing using the 8-meter models for Conewego and Prelude for comparison. Here's an interesting comparison between the body plans of the various new tank test models. The curves at lower left are differences to the rudder profile as well.

In the diagram:
#1 - Original model.
#2 - Tumble-home increased.
#3 - Lower edge of rudder cut away. Keel fined at bottom at stations 8 and 9.
#4 - Lower edge of rudder brought back, upper rudder profile filled out. Profile lowered at stations 1, 2, 3, and 4. Sections filled out at stations 1, 2, 3. 4 and 5.

These 4 models were tested and in turn tested against the Conewego and Prelude models. Model #4 of the new series proved to be the fastest.

I can't possibly post an article about Iskareen without the passage from Rod Stephens' (unfinished) book, Rod on Sailing, Lessons from the Sea. From the preface:

Iskareen was built by the Negling shipyard of Varvet, Sweden. It was probably the best 8-meter of the pre-World War II period. I first saw the boat when she'd been delivered from Sweden to England and had been racing in the Solent. We were sailing on Vim, and we were further to the eastward and were knocking around the Solent. We got the papers every day and I was always disappointed to see that she was generally down at the tail end of the fleet that she was racing against. We had hoped for a good boat because she was developed from a wonderfully successful 6-meter named Goose, which we felt was the best 6-meter of the pre war period. So we'd hoped well for Iskareen but were very disappointed.

Finally I took a day off from Vim and went down to the Solent to have a look at the Iskareen. I got there and she was in a harbor off of the Solent, where she had been moored since arriving from Sweden. The first thing I got was a big skiff so I could go out and see her and maybe take some things off. I had a feeling that she probably had a lot of junk on her adding weight and not in the right place. Anyway that's what I thought might be possible. When I got out to her I found that my guess was correct. She was filled with many unnecessary things; too many sails, too many tools, too many odds and ends and were not part of a racing 8-meter yacht. I pretty near swamped the skiff taking stuff off that was not required. I wanted to get anything off that was not necessary and then see how she was floating.

There were certain flotation marks and the boat must float right to those marks in racing trim, no heavier and no lighter. When I got through taking off probably 1,200 pounds of junk she was floating quite light so I got them to send out another big skiff with some lead pigs, each carefully marked with it's weight, to make up for the weight that I had taken out but would be better located in a place down low where it would help her stability rather than being spread around quite high in the boat. When I finished with that I got her right on her marks with about 1,200 pounds of very deep/ballast which would certainly make her sail better.

About midday the skipper came down and we prepared to race in the Solent with a class of about six or seven 8-meters so we got her towed out to the starting area and we made sail and the sails looked reasonable and the rigging was set up about right and she was sailing around and finally we reached an exciting moment as we were getting very near the start and as we approached the line in a pretty good position I was suddenly shocked to see the genoa come fluttering down. At the other end of the halyard was a pleasant local fisherman and I said, "What the hell have you done?" and he said "We shan't want that sail sir, as the course is 200-degrees and we should hoist the tacking foresail." I said "To hell with the tacking foresail now get that genoa back up, it's just the right sail, it's a heavy genoa and just right for this breeze."

We made careful checks of the sheet leads and everything and got it back up. It interfered with our start a little so we didn't get away first but we hadn't any more than crossed the line when we started to pass our competitors and we were very pleased to see that. The fisherman said, "Well, we shan't be able to do this we have to tack." I said, "Of course we can tack with the genoa." He was a fisherman and he thought you needed a small jib for tacking. We went on and we finally did make a tack it was immediately apparent that we had the right sail because we pulled right away from several boats that were near us and in due course we worked out quite a good lead. As we came to the finish line we were almost a leg of the course ahead of the next boat.

When we crossed the line I was absolutely shocked that they didn't fire any gun. We came close to the committee boat and asked what the matter was? The committee boat answered, "We thought you dropped out." I responded, "Hell no, we rounded every mark of the course." You see every day she'd been coming in last and here she was coming in a leg of the course ahead of the second boat and they assumed we had just dropped out.

We sailed back up to our mooring and I said to the crew "Now remember, none of this damn tacking foresail but use the genoa jib and that'll get you to win races." Well the upshot of that instruction was carried almost too precisely. After we got Vim down to the Solent about a week later for the first race of Cowes Week, it was a pretty breezy day and we were interested in watching the 8-meters and here they came and Iskareen had the big genoa up, the one we had used so effectively the day I sailed with them. It was really too much wind for that sail but she made it all right and they won that day anyhow. Later I told them "Look, you should use that sail whenever you can but if it's blowing too hard you don't have to use that, you then should use your tacking foresail or whatever you call your smaller sail." So that was a very interesting race and on that basis I would say she was about the best 8-meter of the immediate pre war period.

Here are the plans.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 48'-10"
LWL 30'-10"
Beam 8'-1"
Draft 6'-7"
Displacement 19,531 lbs
Ballast 13,100 lbs (outside) 661 (inside)
Sail Area 816 sq ft


  1. Maine Know-It-AllMarch 29, 2012 at 8:04 AM

    What a great account by Rod. Thanks for including it.

  2. Where is Iskareen now?

    Matt Brooks

  3. Iskareen sails out of Etobicoke Yacht Club in Toronto.

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