Lilla Dan placed at historic race for sailing ships, Limfjorden Rundt

Oct 16 2018
A photo of sailing ship Lilla Dan

Every September, more than sixty old wooden sailing ships gather at Limfjorden in Denmark for racing, including J. Lauritzen's Lilla Dan. The ships all have an industrial history – some have been trading the world with cargo, others as fishing boats on the North Sea and the Danish waters – many were built in the 19th and early 20th centuryThe race consists of 5 races: Løgstør to Thisted, Thisted to Struer, Struer to Nykøbing, Nykøbing to Fur and finally Fur to Skive. Every evening, crews from all the participating ships gather for dinner and enjoyment. 

The Lilla Dan was built in 1951 as a copy of a typical Danish topsail schooner of the 1890's to train JL's cadets at their maritime college (Kogtved Søfartsskole). She is 34.1m length, 6,2m breadth with a draft of 2,35m. She has a permanent crew of a captain, one mate and two able seamen. In addition to the crew quarters, she can sleep 16 people.  Since 1996, she has been a charter ship and her crew provide fantastic, trips, events and sailing holidays around the coast of Denmark.

The Lilla Dan has participated at this race more or less every year since the first Limfjorden Rundt 30 years ago – she has won first prize several times, and every year the 16 bunks become an extremely rare commodity. When the tickets go on sale on the 1st of February, all 16 bunks are generally sold out within minutes. As a "passenger" on board you will actively take part in the routines – you cook breakfast and lunch, clean the ship and when it comes to the races you take a very active role: hoisting and trimming the sails and helping to tack - all under the command of the capable captain and his crew. After the day's race, all gather for a well-deserved beer at the aft deck.

At Limfjorden, the participating ships are grouped in classes according to their type and size. Lilla Dan belongs in the group of two mast vessels with a gross tonnage over 45 and this year she had 4 competitors; two Danish, one British and one Norwegian. This year, Lilla Dan's class was dominated by the Norwegian 1911 built Brixham trawler Boy Leslie who came in 1st last year as well. She came in first on the first three races, but at the fourth Lilla Dan was well ahead throughout, until just before the finish line where Boy Leslie caught up and beat her with less than 1 metre. Lilla Dan finished second in this years' race but will be back in September next year (Photo credit, Eva Hansen).

For more information or photos of the race, you can visit:

Lilla Dan is part of De Forenede Sejlskibe (United Sailing Ships) and available for booking together with two other lovely old schooners “Halmø” and “Mira”.

Opportunities ahead Since 1884