The largest vessel is the wooden brig Gerda, a replica built at Gavle in Sweden and launched in 2000. She was sold to Finnish owners in 2011 after her original owners had financial problems. In Helsinki, the Gerda operates from the quay near the Kauppattort market place. The original brig Gerda, built in 1869 became a museum and was scrapped in 1959.
Just over the headland at Firewood Quay is the 3 masted wooden schooner Linden of Mariehamn that was built in 1992 on the lines of the 1920 schooner of the same name. The four ‘galeass’ (ketches) here were all built with counter sterns, at the Porvoo yard, to bring firewood and sand to this quay just after World War II.
Having a standing gaff was a popular rig for Finnish and Swedish firewood traders. The crews of these motor sailers found them very handy, because they could set sails quickly when they had a fair wind. Ollie Tappola’s 22m ketch Astrid takes part in some Tall Ships races; the Valborg built in 1947 and owned by several families has been looked after by Dutchman Hans de Lind. The Svenhild was built in 1948 and the fourth ketch is the Ingeborg.
Many of the Finnish coastal sailers were given Swedish girl’s names because the maritime community in Finland were mostly Swedish speaking. On the island of Suomen Linne, just off Helsinki, is an old Russian fort with a dry dock, and here, two galleass, a lightship and a Baltic trader are being rebuilt.