Senja, the boat

My boat with the name Senja is a Victoire 1200, a design of Dick Koopmans. This design is very seaworthy and used by many sailors for long distance sailing. The boat is build of GRP. Dimensions are 12m lenght, 3.64m beam, and draft is 2.1m. The displacement is about 10 tons with 45% balast.

The name Senja derives from the coastguard vessel who assisted me out of an ice field while I was sailing to Spitsbergen. Senja is also the second largest island in Norway. Spitsbergen is the largest.

I have equiped my boat for single handed sailing. So do I have a wind vane (Windpilot) and a strong electronic steering from Raymarine. EVO 400.

My sails consist out of a main with three reefs, a genua and very important a stay sail. Often I sail with doubled reefed main and a stay sail capable to deal with winds between 24 to 34 knots.

Of course I also need support with keeping out look by means of double AIS, radar and a strong fixed doghouse.

For communication Senja is equiped with  VFH, NAVTEX, SSB and EPIRB emergency beackon. Later I will add Iridium. For electricity I use wind (Air breeze) and solar power (200 Watts).

Many of the equipment is beeing added in the last three winters from 2014 and on, amoung with a new engine, rigging, heating, electronics and most important, a dockhouse. Here are some impressions of the work beeing done.

Just for the interested among you. First I had the hull painted and a number of gel coat damage repaired. A boat of 30 years old has a history, not all of it good for the boat. Here you see the preparations for the painting job to be done.


Next was the bottom of the hull. A GRP boat is always viable for osmosis. An ingress of residue of GRP acid while in the water which makes the surface of the bottom full of blisters. Often not fatal but due to expensive reparation. I had all the paint, primarily anti fouling, removed and painted the hull five times with a sealing primer named primacon. After that I had two layers of anti fouling.

Another big job typical for boats of this make is that the mast foundation is made out of hard wood, which after 30 years becomes soft wood, hence the mast foundation is not stable anymore. I had that part of the roof removed and filled with solid epoxy. After this job, and the hardening of the epoxy the teak deck was replaced, this time around the foundation!

Another unavoidable job was the replacement of the engine. This old engine, a Volvo Penta, three cylinders 2003 Turbo, was a great engine but after 30 years ready for replacement or a overhaul. The first being twice the price but giving me the feeling that I could enjoy this new engine for years made my choose for the first. Great is that the new engine, I choose Volvo Penta again because the availability of parts and service all over the world. The same powerful engine is smaller, lighter, lower in noise, and lower in fuel consumption. Well, what a treat.

Another major addition I was very happy with was a Dickinson diesel heater. It meant sawing away a part of my very beautiful made sofa, but having the heater is really great. It is as if I have the cosiness of a, save, open fire place on board with the nice dry warmth which goes with it. A great plus is also the reliability of this kind of heaters. Must better that the warm air heaters many boats are equipped with, also on board here anyway. When it functions, it heater the boat faster that the Dickinson, but once working I shift over.


  • The major work however was building a doghouse. My fabric sprayhood, very nicely shaped by the way, became worn out. Furthermore, I had read stories of blue water sailors losing their sprayhood due to a big wave falling on top of it and flooding half the boat. Nothing I was looking for. So I wanted a secure strong doghouse where I could take shelter against the elements. First we made a cardboard model and modified it somewhat into the desired shape.

Than I had excellent work craftsman in my home marina Den Oever where all the work has been done to my greatest satisfaction. They made the desired doghouse with wood and epoxy and painted and sanded and painted again, up to this great end result. Of course, a fabric sprayhood is difficult to beat in ecstatic, and a doghouse place later is often a challenge not to look like out of place, but our design I think is very agreeable.

The last from many improvements I like to mention is all the new equipment on board. I have chosen for a all integrated solution from Raymarine. The new Evo steering device, windset and other meters and a MFD. MFD stands for multi functional display which basically is a computer which relais all information in the network. Another advantage of a fully integrated system is the minimization all wiring for protocols such as emea 0183 with all its tagled wiring challenge. Of course, I hope I will have no network problems since the ship electronics is not getting any simpler.  It did formed in a more comprehensive cockpit though.