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The 33' Pelagic Voyager


Copyright 2012 - 2016 Michael Kasten

33' FREYJA - Kasten Marine Design, Inc.

Perspective Above Aft | Perspective Above Forward
Perspective Aft Low | Perspective Above Side


Five Designs - Shared Characteristics

FREYJA is the traditional 'Old Norsk' spelling for the Norse goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, gold, etc. Freyja is a counterpart to Odin, both of whom took slain warriors from battle to their heavenly reward. Odin took them to Valhalla, and Freyja took them to Fólkvangr.

As with the 30' Ernest Shackelton, the 44' Valhalla, 55' Valkyrie, and the 66' Asgard designs, inspiration for this vessel was drawn from Viking craft, from Coast Guard surf boats, and from Whaleboats, all of which were double ended in their original form for maximum seaworthiness.

One whaleboat in particular, the James Caird was purpose-built for Ernest Shackelton to take along on the Antarctic voyage on which his ship Endurance was crushed by the ice. The whaleboat allowed Shackelton to sail from Elephant Island at the north end of the Antarctic Peninsula where his crew were marooned, to South Georgia Island where a whaling camp was known to exist, more than 800 miles distant. Shackelton's voyage in the whaleboat James Caird was one of the greatest sea voyages of all time. The FREYJA design shown here at 33 feet is much larger than the James Caird, but shares several features with that vessel - among them a large flush deck.

In keeping with the the 30' Ernest Shackelton and 44' Valhalla designs, a simple structure is used so that the FREYJA can be built economically. The goal has been to create an easy to build, affordable, easy to sail, and easy to inhabit boat, but at the same time one that can be used in extreme seas in order to allow worldwide cruising in complete safety.

Being a double ended boat there is perfect balance when heeled. In other words, unlike a transom stern boat on which the heeled centerline shifts to leeward at the stern, with a double ended boat the centerline stays on center when heeled. On a transom stern boat, when rolling the shift of the CL astern (but not at the bow) induces yaw, which results in difficult steering control. By contrast, the inherent balance provided by a double ended hull shape does not induce any added yaw, therefore providing greater steering stability, and much less weather helm under sail.

Having a full flush deck at each end provides the ultimate in seaworthiness. This is the same configuration used by the original Coast Guard life boats which were intended for rescue work in extreme conditions. The raised fore and aft decks provide the maximum reserve buoyancy in the ends, and add considerably to the righting moment in a knockdown. The cockpit being amidships offers the maximum protection from boarding seas.

For the FREYJA, aluminum has been chosen for the structure. Aluminum provides an extremely rugged hull as well as light weight, allowing all structure to be fully welded, extremely strong, and water tight. By the simple addition of approximately one foot of beam, steel is equally viable as a hull, deck and house material.

At 33 feet, headroom is able to be a full six feet in both cabins. The center keel is quite low aspect, allowing safety when grounding and expanding the cruising grounds considerably. In steel, it is possible the keel would be slightly deeper.


33' FREYJA - Kasten Marine Design, Inc.
33' FREYJA - Click for Larger Image


The framing is arranged in modules of 42 inches, which turns out to be a good module for the interior layout. There are two bulkheads, one at each end of the center cockpit. Within each cabin there are three frames spaced 42 inches apart, plus one frame amidships. With tw0 bulkheads and only seven frames, construction is made as simple as possible.

The interior is arranged to provide maximum comfort for two to live onboard permanently, plus sleeping spaces for four guests - six total.

The two cabins are identically sized at 10.5 feet of length each. The galley is located just inside the forward cabin, occupying both sides at 42 inches of length. Forward of that is a settee and wrap-around seat forward with a table on center. A large shelf is located right forward above the seat.

In the aft cabin, there is a head and shower to port, with a bureau / hanging locker to starb'd, both of which are 42 inches in length. Aft of that is a large 'queen size' double berth on center.

The amidships cockpit is 7 feet in length. Arranged with a long settee / berth on each side there is ample seating plus a sleeping spot for two. With a table on center the cockpit forms a superb outdoor entertainment / lounging area. With a binnacle and wheel steering, the helm is as good as it gets, having easy access to sheets and halyards. A canvas awning over the cockpit area will provide excellent shelter from rain and sun. Below the cockpit seating on each side are a pair of large storage lockers for deck gear, fenders, spare line, docklines, and the like.

Mechanical Space

Below the cockpit sole there is an engine room / mechanical space. The cockpit sole structure extends out to the side of the hull and below it are large integral tanks located outboard. The tanks extend from the cockpit sole to the hull bottom the full length between bulkheads.

Approximately 50 horsepower is appropriate for this design. A Yanmar engine and marine gear have been shown in combination with a Nogva pitch control Servo. A three blade Nogva controllable pitch propeller is specified, allowing full feathering during sailing.

Sail Rig

A simple Bermuda style Cutter rig is shown in the Sail Plan drawing above. The spars are aluminum Schedule 40 pipe, which is considerably stronger than wood, and does not rot! Aluminum shedule 40 pipe has sufficient wall thickness to allow all of the fittings to be welded in place, making the rig easy and economical to build. The objective in general is to have the rig be as simple as possible, to have very low stress and to have most of the sails be self-tending so there is no drama in tacking.

A possible alternative to the Bermuda Cutter rig is to use a Junk Schooner rig, as below.  Two free standing aluminum pipe masts with two aluminum pipe yards would be accompanied by bamboo for the battens.  For more information about this option, please see my separate article on the benefits of the Junk Rig.

33' Junk Schooner FREYJA - Kasten Marine Design, Inc.
Click for Larger Image 

Having been originally modeled after the highly capable Viking craft, and very much in the vein of Shackelton's whaleboat, we have the makings of a truly pelagic vessel - one that perfectly illustrates my ideal Nomadic Watercraft.

Other Designs In This Series

30' Ernest Shackelton | 33' Freyja | 44' Valhalla | 55' Valkyrie | 66' Asgard | 78' Schooner ODIN

33' FREYJA - Kasten Marine Design, Inc