The ship was launched in 1914, and taken into sevice in 1915. Then under the name Isbrytaren II (Icebreaker the second). With her 4000 hp steam engines, she was the first icebreaker that could keep the inlet to Stockholm harbour open during the winter months. She also served in the open sea.
Sankt Erik in the ice
In 1958 she had oil burners installed instead of coal, to heat the four boilers, each of 30 cubic meters.
A picture from 1936, when Sankt Erik still was powered by coal
In the same year her bridge was re-built and raised. It was also the year she got her present name, after the patron saint of the City of Stockholm.
Sankt Erik before her bridge was re-built
After more than 60 years in service, Sankt Erik got her retirement in 1977. In 1980 she became a museum ship. In the first years in her new career, she did a few tourist trips in the archipelago, but in 2007 she sailed for the last time. At least that was what everyone thought.
Her 100 years birthday
But in 2015 she turned a hundred years …
Volunteers were summoned from the Friend’s of Sankt Erik, ”Isbrytaren s/s Sankt Eriks vänner”, and we started to work on her main engine and to get one boiler certified for use. In the summer visitors could finally see her main engine working again.
Sankt Erik on her 100 years jubilee, with her call signal, SHRA, hoisted
To leave port though, her forward engine was needed for manoeuvres. A massive effort was done to get one more old engine woking again. But it was well worth the try.
Oiling the main engine means litterally stepping into it
During the winter and spring of 2015-16 the focus was on the forward engine, paint jobs and to do test runs on the help machines, like the rudder chain and the anchor (also running on steam).
In the summer 2016 there were two more weekends when visitors could see the engines work while the ship was in port. This year, both the aft and forward engines were under steam. Both boiler number two and three were now approved.
Checking the fire in boiler three
To leave port, paper work had to be done. The project was supported with a lot of help when it came to finding old documents or sorting out what was needed. Of course the owner, the Maritime museum, also had to approve for a technical test sail to happen. And they did.
The first sail in nine years
On September 21st 2016 Sankt Erik left port, under her own power, for the first time in nine years. A short voyage to Nacka and back., a trip of about one hour. Many agree that was the best hour of the year 2016!
Steaming out of the harbour
On the way out her main engine was tested at full power. Everything worked fine and congratulations started to come on the radio from other vessels that saw us.
On the way back, there was even time for a minute in the sun, enjoying the sail.
A minute to enjoy the sail
After, we raised a toast for the fine Lady, and for all the hours of work that finally had paid off.