Friday, December 18

Helsinki - Cafe Ship KATHRINA

On our first day in Helsinki, we made a trip to the harbor to go have a snack in the sailing ship KATHRINA which is docked downtown most winters where they run a cafe while the ship is locked in the ice. It was a favorite place for me to go have a coffee when living here. One winter they had art for sale and I purchased a nice painting.

From the ship's website:
The history of m/aux Kathrina

M/aux Kathrina was built in 1947-1949 at Sarfsalö, Pernaja, on the east coast of Helsinki. Albin Gustafsson, a Porvoo shipbuilder, was master builder and Walter Forsell from Sarfsalö foreman.

The Kathrina was launched in the spring of 1949. She is an exceptionally wellbuilt three-masted schooner with a length of 31.75 m, breadth 7.34 m, and draught ca. 2.5 m.

With a crew of three to four men, Arne Lindberg, the Kathrina’s first master sailed the Baltic between Finland, Sweden and Denmark carrying cargo such as coffee, bicycles, steel, coal, grain, timber and lime. In 1953-1971 the Kathrina freighted about 300 000 tons of sand for the Finnish building industry.

In the early 1970s the Kathrina was sold to Richard Thompson Coon, who begun a lengthy and thorough restoration intended to transform the freighter into a passenger ship. The work originally took place in Sarfsalö, but was continued at the wharfs of Sköldvik in Porvoo and Ruoholahti in Helsinki, and finally in dry dock at Suomenlinna.

In 1993 the Kathrina was bought by Juha Stillman, who recommenced restoration following a standstill of some years. In 1994 Johanna Panelius purchased the ship, and restoration at Suomenlinna continued at a pace determined by limited means. The ship was equipped with a new deck, masts, booms, after cabin, tanks, engines, and electrical and water installations. The restoration was presented in some radio and TV programs.

Today the fifty-year-old Kathrina is registered as a passenger ship. During the sailing season she is used mainly for chartered tours,both for companys and private persons.During winterseason the kathrina serves as a café and luncheon restaurant, and can also be rented for private parties and sauna evenings. - m/aux KATHRINA
So if you are around it is worth going and getting coffee, a snack or even lunch onboard the ship.

Also downtown was a nice Christmas market where lots of Finnish-made gifts could be found. They must have started this in the last couple years as this was not here back when I was living in the city.

Yes, Helsinki is covered in snow and yes, the harbor is icing over. So far this winter there are no signs of global warming here. Guess we have the idiots in Copenhagen to thank for this freezing weather.

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