Home' Afloat : AFLOAT March 2015 Contents Take monthly with water March 2015 53
Having farewelled my mother’s
brother Carl Halvorsen in July
2014, I now find myself having to
say goodbye to another. Trygve Halvorsen,
in his typical organised and unfussed
fashion, wrote the details of his life and
sent them to me a few years ago with the
instruction: “You know what to do with it.”
Trygve Halvorsen was born in the
small town of Helle in southern Norway
on 5 August 1920, the youngest son of
boatbuilder Lars Halvorsen, and his wife
Seeking a better life in the aftermath
of WWI, the family spent two years in
South Africa before settling in Sydney in
1925. Trygve joined the family firm at the
age of 14. Lars died not long after, but
not before passing on his love of yacht
designing to his son.
During WWII, Trygve was based at Lars
Halvorsen Sons repair facility at Neutral
Bay. He joined the Volunteer Coastal
Patrol, skippering the 1938 Halvorsen-built
Pelorus. Trygve was appointed a Special
Constable of the Water Police and was
awarded the Golden Albatross Pin, the
VCP’s highest award.
During the war, Trygve met the love
of his life, Noreen Andrews, and he
would scull the family’s 35-foot sailboat,
Enterprise, to visit Noreen in Rose Bay when
there was no wind to sail. Theirs was a love
that flourished throughout more than six
decades of marriage.
When Lars Halvorsen Sons bought
property at Bobbin Head for their hire-
boat business, Trygve was in charge of
maintenance of the fleet.
Trygve and his brother Magnus built
their first serious racing yacht – the 34-foot
Saga – in 1946 and she was launched just
in time to compete in that year’s Sydney
to Hobart race. Saga carried no engine.
After weathering a huge storm in Bass
Strait, Saga was becalmed in the Derwent
River, but still managed second place on
New yachts followed, with designs
tweaked with each one (engines were
one improvement!). Peer Gynt was placed
third in her first ‘Hobart’ in 1947, followed
immediately by the Trans-Tasman race,
in which she was knocked over by a freak
wave. She was upside down for a minute
before righting herself, the only water
inside having come from a vent, and went
on to win the race.
In 1950, Trygve and Magnus built
Solveig, the 1,000
th vessel produced so far by
the firm in Australia. In Solveig, the brothers
raced in the Hobart, Trans-Tasman and
Trans-Pacific races. Unfortunately, the
brothers missed what would have been
their first Hobart win in 1954, due to illness.
Solveig was skippered to that win by noted
navigator, Stan Darling.
Trygve’s next design was the innovative
Anitra V. Constructed using the latest glues,
Anitra had no nails or caulking, her hull as
smooth as silk. She delivered a second
place in the 1956 Hobart in hurricane-
force winds; a first in 1957; and seconds
in 1958 and 1959.
A high point in Trygve’s career came
when he was invited by Sir Frank Packer
to join Australia’s first challenge for
the 1962 America’s Cup. Designed by
naval architect, David Payne, Gretel was
built at the Halvorsen yard in Ryde.
Initially one of the three helmsmen,
Trygve’s organisational skills saw him
appointed House Captain to the team, also
responsible for towing and maintenance.
Back in Australia – sadly not with the
‘Auld Mug’ – Trygve was able to concentrate
on building the iconic Freya. Freya’s hull
design evolved from Solveig and Anitra,
with emphasis on strength, and with Bass
Strait in mind. With a still unequalled three
successive Hobart wins under her belt and
a tilt at the 1965 Admiral’s Cup, Freya is still
afloat, sailing in the Caribbean.
Trygve went on to crew on five more
Hobarts and on Alan Bond’s Apollo in
the New York to
Bermuda race in
1972, before retiring
In 1964 Trygve
established their own designing and
consulting business. Their first commission
was to make alterations to Gretel in
preparation for the 1966 America’s Cup.
When Magnus left, Trygve was joined by
Trevor Gowland and steel fabricators, Jim
and Jock Morson, and Halvorsen Morson
& Gowland was born. HMG’s stock boats
were the fibreglass HMG 30 and 31 motor-
sailers. Designed by Trygve, the HMG
yachts were functional, safe and sea-
kindly. Trygve and Trevor Gowland later
formed Halvorsen & Gowland, building
the world’s first aluminium 12-metre class
yacht, Alan Bond’s Southern Cross. Trygve
retired in 1983.
Trygve and Magnus were joint
Yachtsmen of the Year in 1965/66 and
were awarded the Australian Sports Medal
in 2000. Trygve played an active role in a
number of yacht clubs and was along-time
supporter of the disability organisation
House With No Steps.
Trygve Halvorsen died peacefully on 8
November 2014. He is survived by his wife
Noreen and daughters, Erica and Nina and
will be missed by his large extended family.
He will be remembered for his quick
and cheeky smile, the twinkle in his eye
... a nd his eye for detail.
h Randi Svensen
Trygve Halvorsen (at left) with his brother
Carl at Bobbin Head, circa 1960.
The crew of Saga waving to spectators as
they set out on their first Sydney to Hobart
race in 1946. Trygve is at the helm, his
brother Magnus behind him.
Links Archive AFLOAT February 2015 AFLOAT April 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page