Restoring Swedish Salana on Syros

Restoring Swedish Salana on Syros

Of course when I saw Salana for the first time, it was love at first sight. She was lying at a little fishing port in Argostoli, the capital of Kefalonia in the Ionian sea. She had just sunk and had been under water for a few hours, because water had got in through a hull valve that had been left open.

Struck by her beautiful lines, I decided to buy her, and slowly try to bring her back to good condition. She was built in Osthammar, Sweden, in 1953 and designed by Erik Salander. I was given the original design of the boat (No 293) with his signature.

As I was sitting in my new toy, things started to look more serious than I had first thought. I started calling sailor friends, and all of them told me that I was in big trouble.

I must admit that I got a bit scared until one friend introduced me to a young shipwright named Fondas Tazes, who lived and worked on the island of Syros.

Positive attitude

Fondas, who had studied boatbuilding in Denmark, flew to Kefalonia, and checked the boat, revealing even more problems —like most of the frames were cracked —but with a very positive attitude. Since he liked the boat he said he would be glad to take it as a project counting in my help as well, which gave me courage. From that moment a four-year story began, probably the most interesting and enjoyable period of my life.

The first big job was to replace 82 of the 100 frames —laminated oak, every fourth steam bent. We made the new ones of laminated Iroko. A new engine, a small, light Vetus 2cyl 16hp, was installed further aft under the cockpit to leave more space. It drives the boat at 5.5 or even 6 knots, enough for manoeuvres in harbour.

Restoring Swedish Salana on Syros

We sanded off the old paint from the hull and the old mahogany planks were like new. Fondas made a beautiful teak deck over new 18mm marine plywood.

We replaced the keel bolts, changed the old chainplates for new stainless-steel ones and many other little details.

The rudder was not in good condition, so we fixed it and it is the only thing that we fully treated with epoxy. The rudder shaft had to be remade, with a new shaft tube, since the old bronze one was cracked.

Fondas constructed a new self-draining cockpit, using parts of the old ones, like the back rounded coaming. I had taken all the interior parts in my garage, had taken off the old varnish, sanded and revarnished them, so they were ready to be fitted. The only change we made to the interior was a new ’—nothing but a small sink and a self-made cooler in order to keep some beers and sandwiches cool for two or three days, using only three frozen bottles of water. It proved to work even better. Also a new chart table with a switchboard and VHF and a CD player over it. Everything was basic; my theory is "whatever does not exist —does not break.”After this we treated the coachroof and cockpit with four coats of epoxy resin and then sprayed Epifanes varnish. The result was a deep and shiny surface that looked like a piece of furniture just come out of the shop. The hull was painted with Hempels two-component polyurethane, giving a very good result.

All this lasted four years, on the beautiful island of Syros, with the nice tavernas, the night action, the nice people and the strong winds of the Aegean sea.

But what I remember most is a couple of times when I stayed in the workshop working on the boat 24 hours continiously.

The boat now is in Fiskardo, Kefalonia, turning heads more than expected.