July 1, 2010 |

Letnikof launch for Danish craft

Richard Cook says his new fishing boat feels right in the water.

Cook’s is the most recent wooden vessel crafted by Haines boatbuilder Joey Jacobson, a 20-foot Danish herring boat Cook chose from a book of classic designs. The sprit-rigged sailboat has been in the works at a Letnikof shop since January.

Cook, an engineer on the ferry Kennecott, said he was looking for something different to take out on the water.

"I spend so much of my life around large, loud diesels, I wanted something quiet. I have a plywood power skiff that’s 25 years old. It was time for a new boat and I knew I wanted something radically different," he said.

The title of the boat design was Odin, a chief god in Scandinavian mythology. Cook named his vessel "Freyja," after Odin’s daughter. At the launching of the boat Saturday, he blew a small brass horn and attached a softball-sized fender buoy to its side.

"It’s for fun, and for subsistence fishing. I fully intend to use it for gillnetting, shrimping and longlining in the subsistence style," he said.

Before the boat went in the water, Cook mounted an English Seagull engine to its stern. He found the long-shaft outboard, which is no longer in production, on eBay. Requiring about an equal mix of oil and gas, the motor’s not particularly "green" or fast, he said.

"It looks right on this boat. A Honda wouldn’t look right."

Cook, Jacobson and friends loaded the vessel’s keel with beach rocks to weigh it down to its waterline for sailing.

Cook said his decision to get a wooden boat was based on both functionality and looks. "I appreciate the aesthetics, but I also figure people who made their living with this kind of boat knew what they were doing."

Jacobson said the style of boat dates to 1890 and was from the island of Bornholm, Denmark, where vessels were prized for durability. "They built heavy, solid boats that got beat up on the shore."