I had the opportunity of going onboard a delightful little ketch, the Vega, at the recently concluded Boat Asia 2010. The pictures I have seen of the Vega, which is 117 year old, in full sail, conjures up images of salt seasoned seamen in oilskins braving the elements and the tempestuous seas, but seeing it at berth among the luxury cabin cruisers on display at the boat show, the trimaran mega yacht White Rabbit Echo and the under construction Reflections at Keppel Bay forming the backdrop, seemed somewhat surreal.
The Vega, with its hull of teak, oak and pine, which was built originally as an open decked stone and slate carrier in 1893 in Hardanger, Norway, and rebuilt in 1905, trading on routes that took it along the coast of Norway and Sweden, is in excellent condition, having been restored in Denmark in 1995. A deck has been added and accommodation designed by the owner’s wife has been placed in what were the cargo holds, transforming the underdeck area into a delightful and cosy living space.
The Vega is currently being put to a noble cause and is involved in humanitarian missions, delivering food and medical supplies to the less accessible places such as the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea during the aftermath of the Tsunami, and is said to sail 10,000 nautical miles annually. It is currently crewed by her owner Captain Shane Granger, his wife and another crew member. More information on the Vega and her missions can be found at her website.