Thursday, January 21, 2010

Peace Odyssey possibilities

It's been almost two years since the Association took over the ship. 'Fri' is lying at her builder's yard (J. Ring-Andersen) in Svendborg, with a tarpaulin construction covering the entire ship. Her rig is out and she has been hauled for caulking, bottom painting and a survey last year.

The task of fund raising for her renovation has not been very dynamic, though they say that applications are being written now. Membership in the Association must be 3/4 local according to their bylaws. Little effort has been made to seek new members from the international community, as their local membership drive has not been a big success yet. They still owe several hundred thousand DKK (crowns) to the shipyard, ca. 60,000 USD, which is due one year from now.

Meanwhile, correspondence and meetings of former 'Fri' crew continue. Orietta Sloth, who lives in Tuscany in Italy recently brought up the idea of trying to write the story of the Peace Odyssey, with input from many of us. Others have seconded the idea, and therefor I write here an invitation to a jam session on line as to how we could go about the task.

This blog could easily be adapted for the purpose!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fri purchased by Sailing Ship Assoc. Anne Margrethe

By 1600 hrs local time in Denmark on the 10th of March all signatures were in place, completing the complicated deal in which the Sailing Ship Assoc. Anne Margrethe will formally own Fri from the 15th of March. Before the papers were signed I turned over a Memorandum of Understanding and a document called Thoughts on the preservation and history of Fri....These are posted in the column of the blog to the right.

And not to forget, in the midst of this, a brave little crew of two oldtimer Greenpeace skippers, Jon Castle and Pete Bouquet, just sailed into Diego Garcia, in the British Indian Ocean Territory with a protest against the presence there of a huge US forward military base. Check out Anyone wishing to support this nonviolent protest please contact The island was made available to the Americans after the British forcibly removed the Chagossian population in the 1960's. They had lived there for 5 generations, and their removal has been declared illegal by the British High Court twice.

Peter Ring- Andersen, the grandson of the ship's builder, Johannes Ring-Andersen, signed as a 400,000 kr lien holder in the ship, with a three year interest free loan to the Assoc. He is to receive an immediate payment of 300,000 kr from the escrow account . There was a balance of 416,000.77 kr in that account as of the signing. The agreement with donors was that the money would remain in the account until the ship was purchased. With the signing of the agreement yesterday it is expected to be a formality only to turn over the 300,000 kr to the shipyard.

Of the remaining 400,000 kr of the 700,000 kr purchase price, 100,000 kr is to be repaid by a local family fund, which has promised to do so within the same three year period. The 300,000 kr remainder is to be paid by memberships at 5,000 kr each, or by capital raised from donations or foundations.

The Association will now arrange a date for hauling the ship to conduct a bottom survey and routine bottom maintenance and painting. The costs of this will be covered by some of the 100,000 kr the family fund donated last year. So technically, the ship is being purchased with the 316,000 kr raised from memberships and personal donations as of yesterday. Lawyer's fees and other costs of the purchase will also be covered by the family fund money and membership dues.

There are still some unclear elements in the membership tally, as many of the folks who have given from overseas have not received notice of membership or a bill for dues, which is 400 kr per half year, an equivalent of about 75 dollars per half year. I have repeatedly asked the Association to bring this in order.

Yesterday after the signing the chairman of the Assoc., Thomas Bretton Meyer and boardmember, Bjarne Møldrup offered me a beer at a local cafe. I turned over the Ship inspection book (Skibstilsynsbogen) from 1926, and a variety of papers relating to the restoration work already done on the ship and applications to various funds. Bjarne took responsibility for them and will scan them in to a digital format for copying.

On Saturday the 15th there will be a formal turning over of the ship on board at the shipyard in Svendborg. Cross fingers and wish the new owners well, they have a huge project ahead of them, with many challenges regarding preservation issues. Throw out the 47 year old Grenaa motor? Throw out the original masts? Throw out the galley? Not to mention finding the required 3/4 of their members in Svendborg, which hasn't exactly been forthcoming with memberships until now!

At the same time the turnover is happening I can feel that the wave of good deeds and great camaraderie of the last 37 years keeps sending bits and pieces of itself into the present-- in the form of a very sensitive documentary film, for example, of a dockyard stay in Shimizu, Japan, in 1975, which just surfaced again. Norman de Vall, the first American owner is in the process of sending a CD rom to us with all his photo documentation of the great cargo passage in 1969 from Copenhagen to San Francisco. Photos of our wonderful time with the folks from The Farm and PLENTY International in 1983 have just popped up via a net contact for the first time in years!
A photo of Fri in the Detroit river in 1985 landed on the desk of the Marine Projects Manager of Greenpeace USA a few weeks ago, with the question to him: which ship is this? Our appeal to Greenpeace for help in this purchase landed on his desk a week later!

I would love feedback on all this, and feel somehow sad that I have turned over the ship to a group not directly interested in continuing in the spirit of Fri, and who want to change the ship's name. On the other hand they will save the ship from the dead water she has been in.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Purchase agreement reached!

Because fundraising in Svendborg has been very flat for the last several months, the Association has made an offer to the shipyard to buy the ship for the funds now available to them, and to use part of the funds to haul and survey the ship as soon as possible. They feel that fundraising will be easier if they own the ship...

The balance in the purchase account is 411.000 kr., which includes 5,000 kr from the matching grant, which the NZ donation triggered.The shipyard will receive 300,000 kr of this when the agreement is signed on monday. The shipyard will then own a part in the ship worth 400,000 kr. The Association will have three years to pay the remaining 400,000 kr owed to the shipyard. The price of the ship has risen by 100,000kr because the shipyard sent a bill for berth dues and maintenance, since the process has taken a year now.

100,000 kr of the new price will be paid by the same fund, which gave 100,000 kr last year to the Association. This money is earmarked to pay the berth dues and maintenance bill, which the Association did not feel it could ask its members to pay. Thus the Association will be responsible only for the 600,000 kr their bylaws are based on. Since the original agreement was that I should be able to walk away without debt in return for turning over the ship for the price of the debt alone, the fund felt that it's support was needed to keep that part of the agreement. The Association's board has agreed to this.

On Monday, if all goes well 'Fri' will be owned by the Sailingship Association Anne Margrethe. They will call the Association's Annual General Meeting to order on March 28th, and will ask the members to recognise the agreement. There is some talk that there may be some members not willing to be part of having a debt to the shipyard. The agreement with membership payments was that the money would remain in the escrow account until the purchase sum was reached, when it would be turned over to the shipyard, in return for ownership.

I don't know how the Association will handle this debt problem formally. I have done all that I can to try to raise the agreed 600,000 kr. so that the Association can begin with a clean slate.

I have in the meantime appealed to Greenpeace to help. A donation of 150,000 kr. or memberships in that amount will release the remainder of the 50,000 kr. promised by an anonymous donor. I feel strongly that even if it may be a one off donation, a kind of recognition by Greenpeace about the role Fri played will help in preserving that part of her long history. It may also point the way for possible future roles as an environmental educational vessel. The Association's bylaws permit other groups and organisations recognised by the board to use the ship.

I would also like feedback from all interested in seeing that some parts of the historical "modern" interior of the ship, which were central to the projects Fri sailed in the years from 1971 to 1998, be preserved. For example, and most importantly, the galley and mess. There we can point to the glass jar rack and tell the story of the hiding of the passports at Moruroa, which made the whole incredible story of our hunger strike and the popular appeal in Tahiti possible.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

NZ membership deposit tops the 400,000 kr. mark

The balance in the Association's escrow account today is 406,o77.58 kr. This is including the just received membership deposit from the group of dedicated former 'Fri' crew in NZ: 14,824 kr! Thanks for putting this drive over the 400,000 kr. mark. The donation will activate an additional 5,000 matching kr! So the balance by week's end should be 416,000 kr. including one new young member in Svendborg, Mikkel Larsen-Ledet, son of the Assoc.'s treasurer.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New member in Alaska!

The membership payment for Patricia Moodie, my carpenter and everything possible sister, who lives in North Pole, Alaska, was registered today. The Association's account is thus 372,420 kr. Welcome Pat!

Sept. 6 was another anniversary. The ship's Bilbrev, a kind of deed, from the shipbuilder to the original owner, Claus Grastrup, upon delivery of the ship, is dated Sept. 6, 1912-- 95 years ago. A little coffee and cake meeting was held on board, a sunny Sept evening. I tried to give the members a little background about the ship's special relationship to boundaries! I told about the Danish/German boundary in southern Jutland in 1912, which meant that the Danish speaking skipper lived in northernmost Germany, and the ship was therefor registered in Germany until 1922, when the Danes voted to be part of Denmark again after the 1st World War. Also I told about the boundary between sail and diesel, very much under change in 1912, but Claus Grastrup, the skipper/owner ordered a pure sailing vessel, and in 1925 he chose to go ashore instead of sailing with an auxilliary motor! Also a short mention of 1912 as a milestone year in which the Danish physicist Niels Bohr published equations marking some of the most important discoveries into atomic physics.

The steering committee is out working hard to find business members, for whom the Association will receive 1 dollar for every three dollars raised. The matching grant is for up to 10,000 dollars.
This is intended to help get the Association over the top with its fundraising so that the ownership can be transferred and foundations can be applied to for the renovation and preservation funds necessary to get the ship sailing again.

Friday, August 31, 2007

New effort

The balance in the association's account as of the 28th August 2007 was 367,420 kr.

At the last executive committee meeting, 16th August, the following minutes were recorded:
Present were: Thomas Bretton-Meyer, Niels Gade, Arne Larsen-Ledet, Helene Moodie, Martin Stockholm

Agenda for the meeting:
Following agenda for the meetings is established until further notice:

  1. Authorisation of last meeting's minutes.
  2. Follow up of action points.
  3. Budget check and economy, hereunder membership status and status of applications to foundations
  4. Contact to press.
  5. Coming membership activities
  6. Establish next meeting date.
  7. Diverse

Re point. 1:

Minutes of the exec. committee meeting #4 were reviewed and accepted.

Re point. 2:

Action points from meeting #1 were followed up:

Arne will make giro payment cards for the association which canbe mailed and attached to the folder and other material.

It was decided to wait with transfer of 10,000 kr for administrative purposes as we have received a number of dues payments.

Thomas has contacted Bent C Tryk (printer) re printing of a folder and other items. Thomas and Niels continue work on the folder.

Re point. 3.:

No new members since last meeting

Helene told that David has a contact (anonymous), who will give the association $ 1 for every $3 that the association receives from businesses. The anonymous donor will give up to $10.000 .

Arne will work further on the homepage.

No further foundations or funds have been applied to since last meeting.

Re point. 4.:

Thomas and Helene contact the press in connection with the ship's birthday (launched Aug 17th, 1912-- 95 yrs!) to again set focus on our project after the summer holiday period.

Re point. 5.:

Thomas will work on activities in connection with the birthday.

Re point. 6.:

Next meeting is Thursday Sept. 13th, 2000hrs on Fri.

Re point. 7.:

The ship's future was discussed. Helene suggested several uses for the ship( cargo, environmental ambassador, participation in organized sail events-- Nordic Sail, Limfjorden Around, or Fyn 'Round.

Thomas emphasized that the primary job is to preserve the ship so that it can sail.

It was a good discussion about the ship's future. A project in which Svendborg's friendship/sister cities could be involved was also discussed.

It was decided that the association's members will be decisive when it comes time to choose how to use the ship.

Helene told that David has raised 5,000 kr, which are earmarked. 2,000 will be used to "save" the mizzen mast, which is lying outdoors at the yard, and 200 liters of linseed oil will be bought in Sweden, which can be sold in small portions. Martin will buy small bottles. Thomas/Martin will make a label.

Martin will contact the firms Ramirent, Jelle Bo and others to get a price for a container to rent and a price for renting tarpaulins. We will try to get these costs covered by sponsors.

That's how it happened,

Martin Stockholm

We were about 10 souls who had a quiet birthday party on board. Thomas had arranged for sandwiches and drinks. I tried to make the point that the membership campaign, and thus the eventual purchase of the ship should be a high priority, as the ship, more than Ring Andersen's impatience is setting the agenda. The dear old lady badly needs to start on this revitalisation, beginning with a haulout to address some of the old bottom plank issues, which have been on the wish list for some years! There was no decision on setting a deadline fo fundraising, but it was agreed that all efforts should be focussed on the economy, and not on member activities, until the ship is purchased. There was general agreement that the aim should be to have the last of the fundraising home by the end of the fall. All were very encouraged by the offer of a matching grant of 1 for 3.


Friday, June 15, 2007

New Balance in the Association Account: 357,000 kr.

The 100,000 kr. legate from Ragnhild Bruun's Fund has officially been tallied in the Association's escrow account towards the purchase of the ship. The current balance is 357,000 kr. Thanks to Ragnhild Bruun's Fund!

The minutes of the second Steering committee meeting from 29 May are posted here, and include interesting events planned for the summer.

Other interesting news includes the forthcoming visit of the former owner of 'Fri', Norman de Vall of San Francisco, from whom I and my brothers bought 'Fri' in 1971. Norman plans to come in September, and will be bringing picture and other documentation of his epic cargo passage from N. Europe to San Francisco in 1969. Ideas for other events in connection with his visit are already bubbling here, what about there?

Minutes/ Decisions of Sailship Association Anne Margrethe Steering Committee Meeting No. 2, 29 May, 2007 Meeting held at the Maritime Center

Present at the meeting:

Thomas Bretton-Meyer

Niels Gade

Arne Larsen-Ledet

Martin Stockholm

Absent (excused)

Kaj Hansen

Bjarne Møldrup.

Helene Moodie.


Thomas promised to send agenda via email so I don’t have to use time transcribing.

Re. Point 1

Follow up of items on last agenda

Arne will send an updated membership list to Thomas

Thomas will bring the list up to date further with contact info (tel. no., Email , addresses)

Membership dues to be 800 kr. yearly, due in ½ yearly payments

Niels told that he has gotten an association to be a member of Anne Margrethe Assoc.

Thomas is in contact with Bent C Printers re. a folder. He and Niels will be responsible for making the folder.

Re. Point 2

The internet homepage is functioning and Arne will continue developing it. ( ed: only in Danish, but English version coming soon)

Re. Point 3

It was decided that Thomas will continue working with the membership list, hereunder the email list.

It was decided that the steering committee receives copies of the minutes and that a special newsletter (ed: referring to the minutes) will be sent to members and people on the newsletter list.

Re. Point 4

Working with Svendborg Sparekasse, Arne will follow up and get a dues payment mail system established.

Re. Point 5

Our exhibition in Svendborg Sparekasse has been moved to the Svendborg Library.

It was decided to hold a member meeting at the Maritime Center possibly with Jes Kroman from the Ship Preservation Fund (Skibsbevaringsfonden). Thomas will follow up on the idea.

Re. Point 6

Thomas will contact Lars Giver of Production Highschool’s Media dept. and propose making a film about Anne Margrethe and the restoration work.

Martin will contact Denmark Radio (ed.: also includes TV) which will be sending from Honor Quay and the Maritime Center in the summer holiday, about making an item about ‘Anne Margrethe’. ‘Anne Margrethe’ will be moved to Honor Quay and an “Open Ship” will be held. July 12th is the tentative date.

It was decided to hold a cleanup day on the ship for members. Thomas and David will contact Peter Ring Andersen concerning possibilities and practicalities (i.e. waste disposal and towing)

Sunday, 24th June was chosen for Cleanup Day.

Re. Point 7

Thomas informed that Ragnhild Bruun’s Fond contributed a 100,000 kr. legate to the Association. Various ideas for using the funds were discussed and it was decided to use the money towards the purchase of the ship. The idea is to buy the ship as soon as possible, and afterwards, a corresponding sum of money raised from the continued membership drive can be used for other purposes.

Re. Point 8 & 9

It was decided not to start a “friends association” yet, but to wait until the ship is purchased and restoration has begun.

Arne told about the Association’s first “aspirant” (ed: a person who is willing to do voluntary work in exchange for membership) Ditte Røjkjær, who wants to work actively on the restoration.

So it happened at the meeting.

Martin Stockholm


Translated by David Moodie