The Hawila history

Hawila is a 27m long two masted wooden galeas built in Risør, Norway, in 1935.

Let´s take you through the history of this 80 year-old ship:

1934: Andreas Bryngelsson, a 50-year old Swedish man from Hönö (island in the Öckerö archipelago, west from Gothenburg) orders a new ship to improve the family business.
So far, he owns a 16m ship named Ymer that he sails with his sons Werner, Gunnar, Folke and Elon.

1935: the ship is delivered on August the 15th 1935, which happens to be also the 18th birthday of Folke.

An innovative ship built in Risør, Norway: not only is the ship designed with sails, but it also uses innovative technology by combining the sail power with a diesel engine.

  • Ship length: 21,5m
  • 1 mast only
  • Sail surface: 146sqm

Hawila between 1935 and 1938

Over the years, Hawila is mainly used for ice shipping between Norway and Sweden. The ice is stored in Hönö Klåva where the fishermen could pick it up before going on a fishing trip.
Soon Hawila will need to be extended as the business grows, but also because she is not that easy to steer (too wide for the length).

Cargo shipping
1938: Hawila is cut in half and 4 ribs are added in the middle.
The mast is moved to the bottom and a new mast is added at the front.
Steering was then improved by adding sails to the steer, this also increased speed.
At that time, 3 to 4 people are required to sail Hawila.

  • Ship length: deck length 25,5m; 27m including spar
  • 2 masts
  • Sail surface: 180sqm
Hawila after 4m extension and the second mast in 1938

Hawila after 4m extension and the second mast in 1938

World War II
: during the second World War, top priority being food, only fishing vessels are allowed to buy gasoil.
The Bryngelsson family develops tricks to get some gasoil and continues to do some business.
Also, Hawila is used for smuggling (mostly butter, clothes and packages) between Norway and Sweden. Sailing is then the best way to travel.
In 1944, Hawila is turned into a fishing ship.

After the 2nd World War, the family stops fishing on Hawila.
Werner and Folke continue fishing on another boat whereas Andreas and Gunnar ship ice with Hawila.
From 1947, Hawila would take 2 trips a week between the island of Knippla and the warehouse on Vänern Lake.

Wind on Vänern lake

Wind on Vänern lake

1952: as more power is needed to sail against the river currents all the the way to Vänern lake, Werner, Folke and his 12 year-old son Sven go to Norway to replace the original 75hp engine by a 2-cylinder 150hp engine.

In 1953, Folke and his family emigrate to Brazil, where they teach the local population how to fish, in cooperation with the SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency).

Werner keeps sailing Hawila for ice shipping as well as other kind of shipments. In 1956, his 13 year-old son Uno joins the crew until the age of 21.

Uno Bryngelsson, Werner´s son.

Uno Bryngelsson, Werner´s son.

In the middle of the 60s, finding a crew is very difficult and requires a lot of money for the salaries as well as the needed maintenance work.
That is the reason why Hawila remains in the port.
Coming back from Brazil, Folke dreams of sailing Hawila again. He sadly realises that this is too much work for only one man.

1978-1984: a second birth for Hawila.
Hawila is now owned by MBV (Mot Bättre Vetande), a Swedish sail training organisation in Öckerö (nearby Hönö) started by a group of friends who want to turn Hawila into a training ship.
Among them, Lennart Martinson, Lennart Magnusson, Egon Helgesson, George Appelkvist and Tullan Kalström.
Most of them are teachers and they have the brillant idea of restoring Hawila with the help of pupils from the Bratteberg primary school. Also everyone could help at weekends.
It takes 5 years to make huge changes like the new rigging (sail surface increased to 390sqm), building the kitchen cabin and 34 bunk beds in the mess room.


Hawila with her new rigging and elevated poop deck in 1984

From 1984, the ship becomes a training ship and Uno Bryngelsson joins the happy crew as a captain.
The partnership with the primary school goes on as Hawila needs constant maintenance.
In exchange for their work, the pupils would have opportunities to sail on Hawila during holidays. All classes from Brattebergsskolan would spend one week sailing with Hawila, included in their school term, and then they and anyone else could sign up for courses during the summer.
The crew consists of a captain, a second officer, 3 instructors, 2 cooks (Ingela, Uno´s wife and Lillemor, Egon´s wife) and 27 pupils.

Pupils sailing on Hawila

Pupils sailing on Hawila in 2004

In Öckerö, generations have worked, sailed and loved Hawila and it is with a great sadness that she is sold in 2008.
The always rising level of maintenance and qualifications required by the Swedish Maritime Administration and the lowering interest by the schools are the main reasons why MBV decides to keep Astrid Finne (17,5m, 12 pupils) and sell Hawila.

In 2008, the ship is sold to Pauli Kivekäs and primarily used for short trips on the Baltic sea. This adventure with Hawila changed his life and he later created a guesthouse in Christianshavn, Copenhagen hosting people form all over the world until 2012. Tired of the ship and its constant needs for maintenance, and due to personal reasons, Pauli left the country in 2013. Dismantling Hawila was considered as a solution to get rid of the ship.
Summer 2014: a collective of enthusiastic students and young professionals decides to create the non-profit organisation Hawila Project in order to start the renovation of the ship. Pauli saw the potential of a dynamic young group of sea lovers and decide to donate Hawila to the new organisation. Soon the organisation members start working on the deck and the cabins as Hawila is leaking from everywhere.


Hawila in July 2014

Winter 2014: with the help of a lawyer, the organisation makes sure no claims are following the ship. This process is long and laborious, but needed.

In January 2015 Hawila Project officially takes the ownership of the Hawila for 1 DKK.

Summer 2015: the ship is developed to be a summer open workcamp where everyone (neighbours, friends and volunteers from across the world) can join and help with the renovation, all sharing the same values.

June 2015: a self-organised opening festival takes place in June to raise awareness on the project.

Opening festival in June 2015

Opening festival in June 2015 – Photo by Alexis Fagnoni


Here, you can learn more about the Hawila project.

Special thanks to Sven Bryngelsson, Uno & Ingela Bryngelsson, Lennart Martinson, Egon & Lillemor Helgesson for sharing their memories with us.

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