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Profilen, SWE 8971

Start: 1981-84

Case story: S/Y Profilen was initiated by my first employer. It became a project supported and developed by SAPA – Scandinavian Aluminum Profiles AB. It was the first ever sailboat built entirely of aluminium profiles.

 

Profilen was a fast sailor. She won the Gotland Runt Race and she held second place at the World Championships in Helsinki in the last long offshore race when she unfortunately had to quit in the hard wind due to an accident.

Delivery sailing 1981.

Extreme construction

The hull was 1.8 millimeter thick and the deck only 1.0 millimeter. Glued together with epoxi from the air plane industry made it lighter, stiffer and more solid than a comparable yacht in plastic. This created an opportunity to concentrate the weight in the ballast and keel.

 

Another advantage was the production time: Just "clicking" profiles together was expected to speed up the production time. And Profilen – the first ever one-off – was built in three months from the day the first profiles arrived.

The 3/4-tonner Profilen created a lot of international attention at the races where she participated.

Here at her home waters outside Västerås, Sweden.

The interior, designed for racing...

A marketing challenge for SAPA and Peter Norlin

SAPA, Skandinaviska Aluminium Profiler AB saw an opportunity to promote their techniques, prestanda and competence with this project. Their constructor Anders Löfqvist and the renown yacht designer Peter Norlin developed the construction in cooperation with the founder of the idea, Lennart Hyse. It turned into an exciting marketing challenge and was highly regarded in the business field of construction, yacht design and sailing. The press event in SAPA on May 12, 1981 was an international success:

Information brochure with images from the construction of the hull and the deck profiles...and images from SAPA's unveiling and name giving press event – visited by His Majesty The King Of Sweden.

Information leaflet in Swedish.

Sailing Gotland Runt and two World Championships 

Profilen was a fast sailor and I was given the opportunity to participate as junior crew member at a number of smaller races. But also as a stand-in, coordinator and racing chef (!) at the World Championships. Wow, was that exciting or what.  

Profilen won Gotland Runt 1981 – the largest sail racing competition in Sweden and the Baltic Sea. She then competed in the 3/4 Ton World Championships 1981 in Helsinki, Finland and 1982 in Denia, Spain.

Profilen arriving for the 3/4 ton World Championships in Gandia, Spain. I was there to receive her, get her through customs and prepare her for the racing team and the championship. On my knees for the yacht, same haircut, less kilos...

The Club Nautico in Denia was home for a week...

Not exactly a journalist or pro photographer but I got the accreditation needed...

Spain was of course a special adventure and a chance to hang with professional sailors. One of my few regrets in life come from the time there. The racing team on iconic 50-footer Big Foot with renown sail racer pro Roger Nilsson onboard, asked me if I wanted to sail Big Foot with a crew to Sardinia after the competition...hm, I had a job meeting booked back home and my loyalty to my clients made me say "no thank you", but I felt in the same moment that it was a huge mistake. Huge. I went home a few days later. The meeting was cancelled... I then promised myself that never again will I say no to an opportunity like that. That incident have in fact changed my perspective on life.

The World Championship in Helsinki the year before was also exciting of course. Profilen did really good and was in the top before the last long offshore race when she unfortunately had to quit in the really hard wind due to an accident, apparently hitting something that made a dent in the port side bow. The wind was around 40 knots and increasing and the crew decided to turn back.

I didn't get to participate in any of the Helsinki races as everybody in the ordinary crew was ok, but I got to be there... and I was asked to be in charge of the sailing Profilen back home to Sweden. I grew a lot from that trust shown by SAPA and the crew that went back home. So I invited my best buddies Fredrik, Mathias and Kalle and we hade a great and adventurous journey back to Stockholm...

Prepping the boat at the marina in Helsinki before leaving for Sweden.

Those were the days before GPS, so radio, compass and charts guided us to Almagrundet and Sandhamn. Via Estonian border, a storm front, milky fog and...

...some very light winds. But we reached Sandhamn

safe and sound and what happened there stayed there.

Media was following every move that Profilen made those years. 

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bjorn@bertoft.com

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