Rutgerson's legendary ice yacht

Some might remember seeing Rutgerson’s red ice yacht sailing around Marstrand in the cold winter’s of the 80s. Well, this is not just any ice yacht. It’s a speed record yacht!

In early 1980 Göran Rutgerson got a call from his good friend Peter Harken, the founder of Harken Inc. He wanted help rebuilding one of his ice yachts. They had a speed record on land to beat.

– I had a lot of experience with wheels from my years at Saab Automobile, and Peter knew I wouldn’t say no to an adventure, says Göran.

The world speed trial was held on a dried out lake in the Nevada desert, where a film crew with helicopter waited to officially documented the record attempt.

– We beat the previous record with a good margin. 86 mph, almost 140 kilometers per hour. One must remember, this was long before carbon composite and advanced sail materials. 

The highest speed officially recorded for a wind-powered vehicle today is 126.1 mph by Greenbird, piloted by Richard Jenkins in 2009, also this in the Nevada desert.

After the speed record was beaten Göran Rutgerson equipped the yacht, named Millienium Factor, with ice blades again and got it shipped home to Marstrand.

– Unfortunately it is quite uncommon with ice on the Swedish west coast so it has not been used as much, but it worked well as crowd catcher at the Swedish boat fairs in the 80’s.

Göran Rutgerson and Peter Harken are still close friends, and the almost 40 year old record yacht will be shown to the public during Rutgerson’s yearly Open House in Marstrand last weekend of August.

Göran Rutgerson sailing the record yacht in Marstrand, Sweden.

The rebuilt ice yacht in the Nevada Desert, USA.

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