Do you find ships and history interesting? This is post number four in our historical review of our vessels. In our blog series, we’ll be sharing insights into the history of our vintage boats, and telling you more about their current excursions and food cruises. The Strömma Kanalbolaget fleet consists of boats for transport, modern and fast-moving boats, as well as vintage boats from the dawn of the last century. This time you’ll learn about the exciting history of S/S Stockholm.
The S/S Stockholm was built by order of the Swedish National Postal Board in 1931 to ship mail between Kalmar and Öland. The vessel had to have a length of 37 metres and a width of 8.5 metres, with a “draught when fully loaded with 75 tonnes” of just over 3 metres. The main furnishings below deck consisted of an aft lounge and cabins for helmsmen, seamen, stokers and kitchen staff. The post office, post office cabin and some other small cabins were located on the main deck; and on the bridge deck there were the ladies’ lounge, smoking lounge and a dining room that seated 28 people. The ship was launched on 2 July 1931 and was named the S/S Öland. The cost of construction was SEK 310,000 – the equivalent of about SEK 10 million in today’s money.
From mail boat to car ferry
In 1958, after 27 years plying the Kalmar-Öland route, the vessel was sold to a Finnish shipping company and renamed the Korsholm III. Her new assignment was to operate the Vasa-Umeå route. The vessel was extended by 11 metres, which meant she could function as a larger car ferry. She now had spaces for up to 35 cars instead of her former 10 spaces. The dining room could now seat 58 and her cafeteria could seat 25. She could now carry a total of 354 passengers. The refurbishment cost an eye-watering 620,000 Finnish marks, and the ferry service between Umeå and Vasa continued until 1967.
New jobs for the S/S Stockholm
After this era, the ship was given a new job in 1967 as a command ship for the navy. Then in 1976 she was transferred to the Swedish Maritime Administration as the mother ship for its maritime survey in the Baltic Sea. She held this role until 1985, when she was advertised for sale. Sadly, between 1985 and 1996 she found herself in a destructive downward spiral. Virtually everything of value on board disappeared as she was towed back and forth between shipyards in Sweden, Finland, Poland and Denmark. When she was finally put up for sale in Värtahamnen in the summer of 1996, she was a shadow of her former self.
Stromma to the rescue
One day in 1986, Stromma’s then-CEO Jan Larsén went to Värtahamnen to take a look at the old “Korsholm”. He soon discovered that there was “absolutely nothing that could serve as a starting point for recreating anything close to vintage ship interiors”. He condemned the vessel as “beyond all hope of rescue”.
Nevertheless, in 1998 “Korsholm” was given a second chance by the Stromma Board of Directors. A thorough inspection was then carried out, and after a lot of thought, the decision was made to give the ship an honest chance to return to her former glory.
Royal baptism and new name
On 4 May 2000, it was time for a royal baptism. The traditional and beautiful former postal steamer the S/S Öland had been resurrected as a new, modern vessel. At a magnificent ceremony at the City Hall Quay, she was rechristened the S/S Stockholm by His Majesty King Carl XVI. The ship has Art Deco interiors, a style of visual arts, architecture and design that was popular during the 1920s, 30s and 40s, and thus reflects the prevailing historical style when the ship was built. The extensive refurbishment from “beyond all hope of rescue” to one of Stromma’s proudest vessels cost about SEK 40 million.
Since her renovation, the S/S Stockholm has become a true “Stockholmer”, and she now delights large numbers of guests each year with her brunch, lunch and dinner cruises in the inner archipelago. You can also hop aboard for a guided tour – the Mini Archipelago Tour with Guide – out towards Vaxholm and back to Strandvägen, where she has her home quay. Many passengers also use her as a comfy and slightly more luxurious “boat service” on the Vaxholm – Stockholm route in both directions. There’s also a cafeteria/bar on board and outdoor seating.
She is also a popular boat to hire for weddings, birthday parties and company events. Along with our Cinderella boats, the S/S Stockholm is one of Stromma’s largest ships. In the large dining room, the ladies’ lounge and the gentlemen’s lounge, it is possible to serve dinner to almost 200 people. The maximum number of passengers for transport is 300.
This is post number four in our blog series where we share more about selected vessels from our fantastic fleet. In previous posts, we’ve written about the M/S Waxholm III, M/S Östanå I and M/S Prins Carl Philip.