Colin Archer was a prominent shipbuilder and yacht designer, born July 22, 1832 in Larvik and died February 3, 1921. His parents were Scottish and had emigrated to Norway six years before his birth. Archer grew up in Tollerodden, a municipality in Larvik. As a young man, he and his brother James left for Australia, where they built a large farm and became financially independent.
In 1861 Archer returned to Norway and achieved great fame as a ship designer and builder. His ships were very stable and seaworthy, with the spiregatter being his preferred ship shape due to the high seaworthiness that this type of ship achieves with a medium gaff rig. One of his most famous ships is the Fram, with which Fridtjof Nansen and later Roald Amundsen explored the Arctic and Antarctic. The Fram is now on display at the Fram Museum on Bygdøy in Oslo.
Archer built more than 200 ships, 70 yachts, 60 pilot boats, 14 rescue vessels and 72 other water craft during his career. His yachts are also known as the Colin-Archer type. The Rakel, a gaff ketsch that was commissioned in November 1896 as Rachel, continues to sail the North and Baltic Seas to this day. Archer passed away at the age of 89.
Colin Archer's design is still used for the design of very seagoing yachts with excellent sailing characteristics. Originally the ships were built in wood, but later they also started building the yachts in steel, polyester and aluminum. All of them are solid and heavily built ships that can withstand the elements at sea.
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