The story of “Mars”

"MARS" 1918 Bruusgaard familieThis is the history of “Mars” as  told to Ulf Brudevol by Einaar Bruusgaard, son of the first owner of “Mars”, in August 1992. 

“Mars”, a “12 mètres spissgatter”, was built in Grimstad, on the southern coast of Norway by boatbuilder Jørgensen og Viik, in 1917-1918. ( This yard still exist as a museum ). She was designed by Christian Jensen, a very famous Norwegian naval designer and also  a highly  regarded boatbuilder himself.  The cost of the boat at that time was NOK. 45.000.

“Mars”  was designed strictly as a cruising vessel. Shortly after Mr. Bruusgaard had contracted the ship, a friend of his, Mr. Mohn, also from Drammen, contracted a sister ship, lauched 1919, nammed “Lady III”. This ship has since 1958 been owned by Mr. Karl Høye, Oslo. He bought her as a “wreck”, but today she has been completely restored and modernized and is one of the most beautiful boats in Norway. Mr Høye has done a lot of ocean racing and cruising with “Le”, the name of the boat today. ( “Lady III” was also named “Pansy”, and today’s owner, Peter Ennals, son of Chris Ennals, renamed her back “Lady”)

As shown on some of the pictures, “Mars” was rerigged approximately 1926. the main boom was considerably shortened, and the bowsprit removed. In spite of this great reduction of sail area, the mast broke in a gail shortly after the alteration. A new mast was fitted the same season, the main sail repaired temporarily while waiting for a new sail to be sawn. This shows clearly on one of the pictures.

Einaar Bruusgaard cruised in Scandinavian waters ( Norway, Sweden and Denmark) . “Mars” was always towing a mahogany dinghy, used as a tug during the calms ( “Mars” had no engine). The dinghy actually had an outboard motor, but this engine always failed to start. “Mars” was registered in K.N.S. ( Royal Norwegian Yacht Club). On the pictures she is flying the club’s Norwegian flag with the royal emblem in the center. ( No information about “Mars” is available in the old yearbooks in K.N.S. due to the fact that only racing yachts and regattaes were discribed).

In spite  of the fact that Mr. Bruusgaard lived in Dammen, the boat was berthed in Husø, close to Tønsberg. Here she was continously maintained by an employed professional boatman and the latter son. These men were normally serving as crew during the cruising season, doing the coocking as well as tending the boat ( rowing the dinghy ! ). They slept in pipecots in the forecastle, forward the galley.

“Mars” was sold in ?1934? at the price of NOK. 8000., completely fitted with everything from sails to china, carpets etc. This was during depression time in Norway, hence this ridiculous low price. The gear itself was actually worth far more than the total price.

The Bruusgaard family : 

At the turn of the century, in 1934, the two families Bruusgaard and Kløsterud established the shipowning company “Bruusgaard & Kløsterud” in Drammen. It soon became one of the leading companies in Norway, and in addition the owners developed a large trading company in the Far East. The president of the company was Einaard Bruusgaard (born in 1882, died in 1957), the owner of “Mars”. His son, born in 1909, named after his father, carried on the family tradition, becoming his father’s succesor as president of he company. He was extremely found of all kinds of outdoor sports, being a well known skier here in Norway, and still, at the age of 82 years. he is practising his sports. Howewer, he was not particularly fond of sailing. ( Mr. Bruusgaard senior normally sailed “Mars” with friends, seldom taking his family on cruises. This also shows on the pictures where you will see the owner surrounded by friends and the two boatmen (in dark sweaters) ( Einaard Bruusgaard son died since, at more than 90, after writing to us many letters about “Mars” and his father, and given us all archive pictures)

A note about Christian Jensen, the designer of “Mars” :

Christian Jensen had his own yard in Asker, Norway, and maybe the most recognized ship he designed and built was the Polar ship  “Maud”, sailed by The Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. Jensen later joined Johan Anker in founding the “Anker and Jensen yacht yard “in Asker. The yard was closed down in the 1950ies.

Mr Jensen was a very particular man, insisting that his heirs should burn all his drawings after his death. His wish was executed, and thus there is no documentation available.

A note about the “double enders”, or “spissgatter” or “Norwegians” : 

With traditions from the vikings age, Scandinavia and Norway in particular, became famous for their seaworthy double ended ships. Colin Archer and Christian Jensen perfected this type of hull at the turn of the century, designing both yachts and commercial vessels (famous rescue ships).

The Norwegian term for “double ender” is “spissgatter” thus “Mars” is a 12 Meter spissgatter. As yachts, this was the largest type ever built. Normally they are classed  19,5 sqm, 30 sqm and 40 sqm. The last of the wooden type spissgatter was built in the 1960ies. Larger “spissgatters” are called “skøyte” (Colin Archer skøyte).

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