Henry Rasmussen
Just in the beginning of WW 1 Henry Rasmussen, one of the founders of the shipyard Abeking & Rasmussen, spent most of his time building small wooden tenders, sailing yachts and boats for the German Navy. Spite the hard work he also had time for some sailing with one of his old friends. One of the friends, Mr Schröder, lived in Hannover and had a small weekend house by the lake Steinhuder Meer outside the city. In 1917 he was a keen beginner and had a small keelboat in the lake for improving his sailing. The boat was named after his wife Frances-Helene. Unfortunately she was English and after the war there was a slight lack of sympathies for the winning side. This also affected the small keelboat since the name seemed to offend the locals. In order to wait for better times Mr Schröder kept a low profile and let the "Frances-Helene" spend a few years ashore to cool off the atmosphere a little. 

Delphin III - Tourenkreuzer 12,15 meters Delphin III - Tourenkreuzer 12,15 meters

Time to step up
In 1919 Mr. Schröder and his wife got a new chance to practice their sailing skills. They once again spent quite some time sailing with Mr Henry Rasmussen and some other friends. After this they got so excited that they at once bought a small yacht of the type "Delphin". Mr. Schröder apparently had a craving for slightly bigger yachts since he after just one summer ordered a yet another Delphin yacht but now size XXL from Abeking & Rasmussen. In 1920 S/Y Talisman was launched at 5.00 AM on the 28th of September under the supervision of the constructor himself - Henry Rasmussen. She was the first steel sailing yacht to be built by the shipyard. Talisman was a gaff rigged ketch of 18,6 meters and 37 tons and the class was called "Tourenkreuzer". The yacht was ?built without an engine. She made her first media appearance 1921 in the German sailing magazine "Die Yacht" who had a 3-page article about Talisman. The story is about a 14-day cruise in the Danish archipelago starting in the early October. Onboard Talisman was, apart from the guests, now also a crew of 2 sailors and a skipper. During the cruise the average wind speed was 12-14 meters per second and the speed 7,5 knots. Since the yacht was built of steel she could due to her safety and strength be registered in the highest class, 100A, in the Germanische Lloyd. 

Tourenkreuzer Talisman - drawing dated November 1919 Tourenkreuzer Talisman - drawing dated November 1919

The owner was a little of a futurist since he choose not to build his yacht in wood. Most other yachtnowners, constructors, sailors and yachtsmen considered wood to bee the only material even worth considering using for building a yacht. The owner himself concluded as follows...?"We have experienced that all the bad qualities people claim steel to have, is completely false. Most people making comments about a steel yacht are doing so only out of hear say and have a total lack of experience themselves about building a modern yacht in steel. Further more she has qualities no wooden yacht has. The bilges are completely dry and the iron keel give her a top of the class steering."? Talisman's interior at the time was of a very high class. The owners cabin and the saloon in teak, the guest cabin in mahogany, the crew cabin in pine and the toilette fitted with a huge washbasin in marble. All in polished wood of course. The floors were of oak and painted in white. In the cabins they were also completed with carpets. All births had electric light from a battery. In the bilges there are also plenty of possibilities to store bottles in specially made chests. The doghouse and skylights were all made of teak and the deck of white pine.

After reaching speeds up to 9 knots Mr Schröder quite happily comments...

"It's a real joy, and I'm sure, that the yacht not only have the most exquisite sailing capabilities and sea worthiness but also can be looked upon as a very fast yacht. This fact gives me even greater pleasure since so called initiated yachtsmen has spoken about her and Tourenkreuzers in general as "fat and slow"..."
 

According to the books Mr Schröder only owned the yacht for approximately a year and a half before she was sold in 1922 to a friend, Hans von Eicken, and his companion, Mr Scholl. Von Eicken, who owned a tobacco factory outside Hamburg (still in the family), was a keen sailor. His previous yacht was an Abeking and Rasmussen as well but slightly smaller. The yacht was a yawl named Latona. Accordingly after the purchase Talisman was renamed Latona. Among other things the yacht served as a mother ship to racing Int 6mR yachts belonging to friends of the two owners. Racing daytime and social activities in the saloon of Latona evenings and nights. Hans von Eicken was also a very good friend of the constructor Henry Rasmussen whom sailed on board several times. 

Sailing from Kiel to Pillau, Germany, summer of 1924


In the beginning of the 1920's a sailing competition from Kiel to the city of Pillau for yachts with a water line over 10,50 meters took place. Originally 5 yachts were starting but at the very day of the race only two showed up. That was Latona and the slightly smaller Kaptein Hurm. The yachts were allowed to choose the best route from Kiel to Pillau according to their own preferences. On board Latona were both owners. One of the yachts meant to participate was the new Ayesha owned by HRH Prince Heinrich von Preussen. Unfortunately the completion of the yacht was delayed due to a strike among the workers at the shipyard. During a seated dinner the day before the start of the race the prince sat at Latona ́s table. Since he had a lot of friends in the crew and, we guess, out of courtesy, the prince was invited to join Latona since he at the moment did not have his yacht available. Latona was now not longer considered as a slow yacht. During the race she kept an average speed of 9 knots.

In 1927 Latona was sold to the president of the Swedish Linköpings Mechanic Industries, Mr Gustaf Erik Weyde. Although he was a keen sailor it did not prevent him from installing Latona ́s first engine. That was a powerful (!) 35 HP Kermath Diesel. Latona kept her name and were given the international recognition sign VBDP. As Mr von Eicken, Mr Weyde before Latona also owned a yawl - Marjatta . Under her new ownership Latona took part, as a very popular yacht, in a lot of races and regattas all over Scandinavia. Latona also played a vital part in Mr Weyde ́s slightly vigorous life being the platform used to get away with his mistresses. Socially it was somewhat of a scandal at the time. As far as we know Mr Weyde couldn't care less... 
 

Newspaper the day after the explosion "Executive Weyde's yacht Latona destroyed in refueling accident - five injured". Newspaper the day after the explosion "Executive Weyde's yacht Latona destroyed in refueling accident - five injured".

 The summer of 1934 Latona was berthed in Copenhagen for a couple of days. Saturday the 14th of July the crew onboard Latona was preparing its departure with filling the gasoline tanks. After the main tanks had been filled the spare tank on port bow was under progress of being filled. A young man was tasked to do this job. Shortly before he was done Mr Weyde and two German crewmembers went down below deck to start the engine in order to be well prepared for the departure. In that moment a huge explosion was heard and hundreds of locals could observe when the deck of Latona was blown into pieces. Debrief from Latona was thrown in a 100 meter radius and a lot of windows in nearby houses were crashed. According to the spectators the intense flames were as high as the masts.

To the luck of Latona and the people onboard, the German destroyer Möwe and four smaller torpedo destroyers were birthed not far away from the scene of the accident. A rescue operation was lead by a German duty officer who sent parts of his crew and equipment to assist in the salvage. They managed to save all onboard and almost put out the fire before the Copenhagen fire brigade arrived. Five persons were seriously injured and received first aid onboard the German warships before transferred to local hospitals.

Latona ́s interior as most of her deck was completely destroyed by the accident. The hull survived due to the explosion was directed upwards. It should also be mentioned that without the brave and heroic assistance of the German naval sailors there would most probably have been a considerably less happy ending to this tragic accident resulting in a few casualties. The heroes were recommended for official rewards but we do not know whether they actually received any. Mr Weyde and his crew recovered, as far as we know, without any greater means but their relationship with Latona ended that day in Copenhagen. 

Sandhamn 1930's, Latona in the background ? Sandhamn 1930's, Latona in the background ?

After the accident Latona was sold to an engineer Plum at Burmeister & Wayn Shipyard in Copenhagen. Engineer Plum had bought the hull of Latona from Mr Weyde and started some renovation works. Among other things, according to not confirmed sources, approximately 1 meter were added to her LOA. Possibly was this her new bow being built. Very soon Latona was sold to the Danish gentleman and sailor Mr Percy Ipsen.

Mr Ipsen, who was a very keen sailor, bought Latona in 1934 as the replacement of his Int 10 mR yacht Capricho. Yet again the yacht was renamed by her new owner. This time to Capricho. The whereabouts of Capricho during the ownership of Mr Ipsen are very much unknown. We do know that the yacht belonged to Mr Ipsen until 1952 when she was sold to another Danish gentleman and sailor. During the time in Mr Ipsen ́s care she was of course renovated after her accident in 1934 and given a new interior and possibly a new bow.

s/y Capricho (left) next to an unknown yacht at Walsteds Ship Yard in Denmark. New doghouse mounted. s/y Capricho (left) next to an unknown yacht at Walsteds Ship Yard in Denmark. New doghouse mounted.

Mr Ipsen, who was a very keen sailor, bought Latona in 1934 as the replacement of his Int 10 mR yacht Capricho. Yet again the yacht was renamed by her new owner. This time to Capricho. The whereabouts of Capricho during the ownership of Mr Ipsen are very much unknown. We do know that the yacht belonged to Mr Ipsen until 1952 when she was sold to another Danish gentleman and sailor. During the time in Mr Ipsen ́s care she was of course renovated after her accident in 1934 and given a new interior and possibly a new bow.

As mentioned she was sold in 1952 to another Danish tycoon Mr Svend Illum. He changed the rigging from Gaff to Bermuda. Capricho, who this time kept her name, also got a new a bigger doghouse. The very same doghouse she kept until the winter of 2001/2002. The bigger doghouse was an adoption to Mrs Ipsen who did not like to sit outside in the cold. However staying inside in a nice big doghouse was doable. The works were done at Walsteds Ship Yard Svendborg in Denmark. During these changes she also lost her lifeboat davits and the deck was changed to teak instead of pine. What happened to Capricho during her time with Mr Illum is so far unknown. More research needs to be done here. 

Sometime during the early 1960's Capricho was sold to a German named Mr George-Wilhelm Engler. The only knowledge about the years in his custody is she was for a time painted dark blue. She was also moved to Pollensa in Mallorca. By then fitted with a 48 HP Lister Diesel and a crew of one Dutch bootsmann Mr Dirk Noppe. As far as we know she kept the name Capricho but the name Nairana has also been mentioned. In 1965 she was donated to Hanseatische Yachtschule in Glücksburg Germany. In order to sail her back North a small crew under the leadership of Rear Admiral D.H. Rösing was recruited. After some reparations mainly in the engine and electric area she set sail. The route back to Germany, a 6 week sail of 2894 NM, went through Gibraltar, a turn to the Azores, Falmouth and finally Glücksburg. 


Back in Germany Capricho was painted white again. She was also fitted with 14 births in order to serve as a sail training vessel for the school. 

Capricho functioned as a sail training vessel until 1980 when she was sold to a German gentleman living in Hamburg. The new owner was Mr Jürgen Fiedler. He also invited some friends to join. They started their ownership with a major restoration mainly concentrating on the interior. She was also given her old name Latona back and sailed the Baltic for a few years. After a while Mr Fiedler took over the yacht as the only owner and sailed her South to Mallorca again. This time she was moored in Palma de Mallorca. Back in the Med she spent some 10 years mainly used as a floating holiday home. During this period the engine was used approximately 500 hours a year. This could be considered quite a lot for a sailing yachts seldom leaving her mooring. 

S/Y Latona, Palma de Mallorca, July 1999. S/Y Latona, Palma de Mallorca, July 1999.

In March 1999 she was for sale again. Spotted by Rickard Bosson-Berg an intensive dialogue began and she was, after a two-day survey, sold in July 1999. After some 77 years as Latona, Capricho and possibly Nairana she again got her old name Talisman back. In addition the smaller restoration believed to be in needed based upon the survey ended in a complete restoration. The steel plating needing to be changed increased from 10 sqm to 75 sqm and all the interior had to be removed. New owners realised, to find all problem areas on Talisman, a weeklong survey would have been needed. During the period October 1999 to November 2000 the entire interior was removed and apart from some older parts the majority of the interior was scrapped. All equipment was stored in Palma during the renovation before an adventures transport to Sweden the autumn 2001. The engine, now a 125 HP Iveco, was overhauled and repainted. After about 60% of Talismans steel hull had been changed the planning started for the next step being transported to Southampton, England. Unfortunately due to cancelled transports the project lost some valuable time. 


The next part of Talisman's history is on it's way shortly. For now we are focusing on reaching a acceptable settlement with our insurance company. As soon as we get everything set and clear for the restoration the last 15 years of her history will follow.

Sorry for the delay and thanks for your understanding.