Warship Wednesday, May 17, 2023: Hugo’s Everlasting Clouds

Here at LSOZI, we take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1954 period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, May 17, 2023: Hugo’s Everlasting Clouds

Swedish Marinmuseum photo identifier D 8751

Above we see a nice view of the Royal Swedish Navy drawn up at Karlskrona, circa 9 July 1904, dressed for Queen Sofia’s 68th birthday. The line includes an array of immaculate coastal battleships (pansarbat) and cruisers to the left including Oden, Aran, Wasa, Tapperheten, Thule, Thor, and Gota; the sleek new Yarrow-built destroyer (Sweden’s first) Mode, center, and, foreground, the 850-ton torpedkryssare (torpedo cruiser/torpedo boat tender) Psilander.

Directly in front of the dowdy Psilander is the old training brig Falken. To the right, floating like clouds, are the twin new gleaming skeppsgossefartygeten (ships boys ships) Najaden and Jarramas.

While everything you see has long since been scrapped, the two tall ships have endured.

HM Övningsfartyg

Designed by famed Swedish naval engineer Hjalmar Hugo Lilliehøøk– who had a hand in every single one of the above vessels– Najaden (Swedish for Naiad, or water nymph) was the first of the twins and was built at Orlogsverftet in Karlskrona in Sweden in 1897 as a training ship (Övningsfartyg) for the Swedish Navy. As such, she would be at the disposal of the Skeppsgossekaren (The Ship’s Boy Corps), a formation that dated back to 1685 and was responsible for recruiting, raising, and training young boys in the art of seamanship.

The beautiful three-masted full-rigger– claimed by many to be the smallest made– Najaden was compact, at just 160 feet overall, counting her bowsprit, and could carry a full 24 sheets including jibs and staysails although the typical 16-sheet rig used covered over 8,000 sq. ft. of canvas by itself.

With a draft of just 12 feet, she was capable of speeds as fast as 17 knots, her main mast towering 82 feet above her deck.

Swedish Royal Navy sail training ship HMS Najaden

At some 335 tons, she was much larger than the circa 1877-built Falken (Falcon), which drew only 110 tons on her 77-foot length. This allowed Najaden to carry a crew of 20-25 professional cadre and as many as 100 naval cadets and boy sailors, easily three times those on the smaller Falken. Her typical complement was 118, including 92 boys. Her regular year-round crew consisted of 5 officers, 6 NCOs, a ship’s doctor, and 14 ratings, almost all of which served as instructors as well.

For an armament, used primarily for training and signaling, she carried a small arms locker of rifles and pistols, a pair of 3-pounder 47mm guns, and a quartet of 1-pounder 37mm pieces.

Najaden proved so successful that an updated sister ship, Jarramas, was ordered from the same yard in 1899. The pair differed in construction when it came to hull material, with Najaden sporting an iron hull and Jarramas using steel. As such, Jarramas was the last sailing vessel to be built at Orlogsverftet, the end of an era. She carried the name of King Charles XII’s famed circa 1716 frigate, which was a Swedish corruption of the Turkish word for “mischievous.”

Jarramas proved even faster than her sister, logging 18.3 knots on at least one occasion. Neither ship was ever fitted with engines although by most accounts they did have generators for electrical lights and ventilation fans.

Övningsskepp typ Jarrasmas och Najaden

Jarramas under segel. Note the colorized accents to the flags and bow crest. D 14975_1

Jarramas under inspektion D 8874

Jarramas MM01916

HM Övningsfartyget Jarramas DO14939.126

Every spring the ships were rigged to run summertime trips to Bohuslän on Sweden’s West Coast or along the Gulf of Bothnia on the East Coast, stopping at various Baltic ports. Happy duty.

Najadens besättning 1902 D 8766


During the Great War, both ships canceled their summer trips and were used by the Swedish Navy as receiving ships and dockside training vessels, their classroom space was used to school recruits.

Once the guns of August fell silent again, they resumed their former schedules.

Najaden 1923 D 15061_14

Najaden 1923 D 15061_12

Najaden 1923 D 15061_3

Jarramas 1924, Lübeck D 15061_49

Gruppbild ombord Najaden 1923 D 15061_2

Swedish Royal Navy sail training ship HMS Najaden photographed off Karlskrona in 1933, sister Jarramas in the distance

Jane’s 1931 listing for Falken, Najaden, and Jarramas. Falken would be disposed of in 1943 after 66 years of service.

In 1939, the old Skeppsgossekaren was replaced by the newer Sjömansskolan, which still exists.

Najaden at the time was demasted and laid up, used during WWII as a stationary receiving ship.

Postwar, she was then towed to Torekov just south of Halmstad to serve as a breakwater. Her name was quickly reissued to a Neptun-class submarine that would commission in 1943 and serve through the 1960s.

Neptun-class Ubat Najaden underway, July 1953, at Hårsfjärden.

Meanwhile, Jarramas lingered in service until 1948, including use as a training ship in protected waters during WWII.

Post War Rescue

Najaden, in poor material condition and without her masts, canvas, or rigging, was saved by an outpouring of support by the people of the west coast city of Halmstad, who in the 1950s paid for a non-sailing restoration at Karlskrona that saw new masts stepped and some of her rigging plan restored.

She endured this “town ship” mission until 2013, during which she was twice again rebuilt (1989 and 1990-1996) and would host sea scouts, festivals, local events, and parties. A floating fixture of the community. In 2014, she was sold to a new group of enthusiasts who towed her to a new homeport in Fredrikstad in Norway, where her preservation continues.

Although not seaworthy, she is still used for seminars and conferences, lectures, concerts, and other activities, lying by the quay.

They hope to one day make her seaworthy once again, under a Norwegian flag. Of note, when she was built, Norway and Sweden were unified, so in a sense, she has a bit of Norwegian heritage as well. 

As for Jarramas, replaced by the new 128-foot training schooners HMS Gladan (S01) and HMS Falken (S02) in 1947, her days in the Swedish Navy came to an end.

However, just as Najaden was saved at Halmstad, Jarramas was saved by the city of Karlskrona where she was preserved as a museum ship and coffee shop of all things. Extensively renovated over the years, she reportedly requires extensive continuous maintenance, which led her to be taken over by the Marinmuseum in 1997.

Today, Jarramas is the centerpiece of the Marinmuseum in Karlskrona, preserved as Sweden’s last full rigger, alongside the minesweeper HMS Bremön, the motor torpedo boat T38, the Cold War era fast attack craft HMS Västervik, and the submarines HMS Neptun and HMS Hajen.

The minesweeper Bremön (rear), the FAC Västervik, and the full rigger Jarramas at the pier by the Marinmuseum in Karlskrona.

It’s great to see that both sisters are still with us.

Meanwhile, the Swedes still use the gleaming white circa 1940s skolfartyg schooners Gladan and Falken as the nation’s tall ship training squadron.

HMS Falken (S02)

They are assigned to the Skonertdivisionen at the Naval Academy and are based in Karlskrona, nearby the old Jarramas.

Ships are more than steel
and wood
And heart of burning coal,
For those who sail upon
them know
That some ships have a

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