The survival of Lauritzen training ship, Betta Dan
Betta Dan, the old training boat of Kogtved Søfartskole – the Lauritzen Navigation School – will soon be ready for the next 70 years.
Mogens Havsted, Chairman of both the Friends of Yachting Museum Hobro and the association Bådelauget Betta Dan gives his account of restoring a former Lauritzen training vessel, Betta Dan.
“It happened by accident. Or maybe by fortune. Maybe it was simply meant to be. Either way, former training ship Betta Dan is undergoing a thorough renovation, ready for a new lease of life.
Betta Dan was built in the early 1950s and had served as a training boat for generations of Danish seamen, after which she was handed over to a local school for youngsters who were trying to get back on track in terms of their lives and education. Later she came into private ownership, but the owner soon discovered that old wooden boats are costly companions.
In Hobro we were opening the new Maritime Center of Mariager fjord together with the renovated Hobro Værft – the oldest existing wooden shipyard in Denmark. Here we hoped to introduce schoolchildren to the old craftsmanship and the joys of sailing. Betta Dan would be perfect for this. The Lauritzen Foundation was helpful and granted us enough money for us to acquire the boat.
We started work on the renovation of the boat but, unfortunately, it turned out that, in the eyes of the Danish Maritime Authority, Betta Dan is not a boat…she’s a ship! This meant we would need a yacht master and a crewman in order to sail with passengers and schoolchildren. The solution was to let the ownership transfer to an association or guild – and so we formed the guild, Bådelauget Betta Dan, which now owns Betta Dan.
As we got deeper into the renovation of the ship, we had to apply to the bank for extra funding – and then as time went on we found that we still needed more to fully restore Betta Dan. Luckily, the Danish Ships Preservation Trust took an interest in the project and is helping us out both financially and with good advice for the best solutions.
When the waters of Denmark once again are warm enough to sail in open boats, Betta Dan will be ready and as good as new. Hopefully, she will be the first experience of the sea for many young people to come as she sails the waters in her original colours of red and green. We hope she lives up to the expectations of Knud Lauritzen who ordered her in 1952.
The guild is open to all people interested in sailing and preserving the old ship – and if they come by in the summertime, they are all entitled to a tour of Mariager fjord!”