TOURING the DANISH ISLES on "DIOGENES"
in Scandinavian history
A tribute to dad and one of
his many creative adventures
One of the largest home-made rafts
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Our dad, Leif, is an adventurer and a creator. He was born in a small Danish fishing village during WWII on the island of Lolland, and moved to the small fishing village of Thorø Huse at the age of two. Later, in his mid-twenties, he moved to New York City, USA, and afterwards he took part in growing a company from a handful of people to several hundred. He traveled the world with his job and together with his family, he bought an old country-house and spent 40 years to completely rebuild it... and then he's a boat builder. Leif has designed and constructed several catamaran boats in his home, some in fiberglass and one with several elements in carbon fiber. However, one of the most unique boats was a huge wooden trimaran raft made in 1971 together with family and friends.
The core team was four siblings, Leif, Palle, Johanne and Søren, two cousins, Hans and Helen, and their friend Laurits. All aged between 17 and 27 years. The first idea came in the summer of 1970: "Imagine to make a raft and then just let it drift into the unknown". Just like the drift voyaging from the Americas towards Polynesia by pre-Incan people, as tested in the 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition by Thor Heyerdahl. Having further matured the idea the team wanted to build a raft with big sails and keels which could travel windward rather than only downwind as the Kon-Tiki, allowing them to reach any point regardless of the direction of wind.
During the winter of 1971, the team collected oil barrels and timber logs from the local Tobacco factory. Sails were cut and sewn from canvas tarpaulins. The raft was assembled in early spring. It became a 13x5 meter wooden boat with four lines of oil barrels (a trimaran) and a 12m mast with a sail of 60 m2. It had a relatively large cabin with several berths and a galley with a gas cooker and a grill. Total weight was 2,5 metric tonnes. Due to its 52 oil barrels, the raft was named "DIOGENES" after the Greek philosopher who discarded all his possessions and lived happily in a barrel.
Leif, the team and their friends spent the vacation periods during 1971-1973 on the raft, touring around many Danish islands. At some point, the dream of rafting/sailing across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa to the Caribbean started to grow. Leif even obtained a quotation from a lorry driver for transporting the raft from Denmark to Morocco/West Sahara where an expedition could be kicked off. But his career and family took over and changed the path of his life. Instead, Leif started completely re-building an old country-house dating back to 1777. The boat was disassembled during 1974. Amusingly, the wooden logs were re-used as ceiling beams in the country-house and therefore became a central physical part of the family house, our childhood "nest".
Pics taken by our dad Leif from 1971-1973 when the raft was created and used for tours around the many Danish islands: