Gustav A Estlander

Finland, (1876-1930).

He studied to architect in Helsinki, and designed the NJK clubhouse at Blekholmen that is still functioning today. After shifting to yacht design, he moved to Sweden and became a Swedish citizen in 1927. He was one of the foremost spokesmen for the International rule and international racing in Finland, and put his words into practice by owning and campaigning an 12-metre, 8-metre and 6-metre simultaneously.

Mr. Estlander designed 6 eight-metres in the 1928-30 period. The best known are “Sphinx” (1928), “Cheerio” (1929, fifth at Kiel 1936). “Maribell” (1930), “Isabel” ex-“Silvervingen” (1928, winner of the Sira Cup 1992, 3rd in World Cup 1992), and “Ergekå” (1930). He drew a large number of competitive 6-metres for clients all over the world. His most successful sixes are the Gold Cup winners “May Be” (1927), “lngegerd” (1929) and “lan” (1930). In true architectural style, Estlander was an intuitive and visual designer, who could not be bothered by calculations.

He was known for radical lightweight designs, and did not worry unduly about durability. He tried his hand at managing his own boatyards, in Porvoo and later in Germany. Records show that yachts built by his yards did have occasional problems measuring in at first try, and that decks did not always hold water. He often stretched the limits of the rule, using novelties such as double hulls (on “Flamingo” 1900) or double centerboards (on “Pirat” 1903). He did many designs for the Scandinavian 22m2 rule (the unbeatable “Colibri I” in 1918) and the 40m2 skerry cruiser rule.

The 150m2 “Singoalla” was a superslim yacht of 24 m length. Estlander was a hard-drivingg racer, known to be very demanding on himself and his crew. His idea of ample provisions for a cruise was “three sandwiches and a few bottles of red wine”. In his athletic youth (1894), he singlehandedly sailed a canoe from Helsinki to Stockholm, and also won an European championship in speed skating. In his short but intensive lifespan, Gustav Estlander owned a total of 48 yachts, and started in over 1500 races, from St.Petersburg in the east to Oslo in the west. Mr. Estlanderwas a forceful speaker, but not really an organisational man. He did serve as the vice commodore of NJK in the 1916-20 period. His sharp wit and biting tongue can be followed in the yachting press of his time.