In late March, just as salty Mainers started “keel kicking” at the Maine Boat Builder’s Show, ASKUR, a 35’ Leiftur 1100 built by Rafnar Shipyard of Iceland, arrived in Portland, sporting its advanced hull-keel technology. After being plucked from a cargo ship at Portland’s own EIMSKIP shipping company, the vessel’s representatives grabbed a berth in the harbor and began preparations for an early-spring tour up the coast of Maine.
Jumping aboard to help guide the tour would be one eager captain, Ben Davis, owner of True Course Yachting. Ben was thrilled by the invitation extended by his new Icelandic friends, and equally eager to share his knowledge of the coast, along with his connections to some key players in Maine’s marine industry.
After spending time in and around Portland Harbor, ASKUR, Ben, and the Rafnar team are now underway. Their first stop en route up the coast, Great Island Boat Yard. ASKUR arrived at GIBY on Saturday. Today, the Ranfar team will take special guests out to experience, first-hand, what it is like to ride on their unique hull-keel design. Ben can’t wait.
“This is the first boat I’ve been really excited about in years,” says Ben. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever handled. It goes against all instinct. You can literally turn this boat at 40 knots. It’s crazy. Though we’re touring Rafnar’s workboat model on this trip, their keel can be attached to any hull. It’s possible to put their keel on a traditional Downeast hull and get the same performance. It’s amazing!”
By touring Maine and promoting opportunities for collaboration across the North Atlantic, Rafnar is looking to expand its market. Once a network within Maine’s marine industry has been established, the hope is for local boat builders to begin making use of Rafnar’s advanced hull-keel technology.
But, Rafnar says, the goal for this trip is, first, to showcase the exceptional “seakeeping ability” of their vessel’s hull-keel technology.
“Our ‘ÖK hull’ offers precision performance without compromising cruising or top speed. The design also significantly reduces slamming in rough seas, decreasing mechanical and equipment fatigue, which extends the life of expensive electronic equipment on board and reduces crew fatigue, and even the risk of injury.”
Great Island Boat Yard is pleased to be included on Rafnar’s Maine itinerary. Thanks to this visit, members of the GIBY team can now attest, Rafnar’s ‘ÖK hull’ provides one extraordinary ride!
Could this technology soon be a part of Maine’s boat-building future? Time will tell. Stay tuned.