My father's mahogany cruiser Monalisa
I can't tell you about my dad's boat Monalisa without telling about the locks. Dad had the boat lying in the lake Mälaren which is a fresh water lake. Most of the times we were out with the boat we went out to Vaxholm or Dalarö, that is the salt sea. To get there, we must pass a lock. We had two locks to choose from, Karl Johanslussen and Hammarbyslussen.
The lock Karl Johanslussen:
A photo I found in my collection from 2005, what we see is the entrance of the lock from the salt sea side.
Here we see the narrow entrance to Karl Johanslussen. In the early 1960s, this lock was free to pass. It could be very stressful when you were to pass the lock. Many were inexperienced boat drivers and there could be heavy water streams inside the lock when the gates were opened. The lock had been given the nickname the "Divorce Ditch". The lock gates did not open to the sides as normal lock gates do without upwards. When you went in and out of the lock you passing under the uplifted gates that drop water on your head. The lake Mälaren's water level was about 0.5 meters higher than the salt sea.
A photo from 2006 when I visited the lock to look at the boats. This is the inside of the lock Karl Johanslussen, dark and wet. The boat has nothing to do with the story below.
At one of our passages of the Karl Johanslussen in the middle of 1960s the famous poet Cornelis Vreeswijk came in simultaneously with his boat. It was crowded in the lock as usual, maybe it was a Sunday when everyone was going home with their boats. I would help him where I was standing on the front deck, I stretched out my hand to grab his boat hook and pull him straight. The problem was that I was weighing maybe 35 kg in the age of 8, and Cornelis who was a heavy man certainly weight more then 100 kg. When he pulled the boat hook for me I stumbling and almost falling overboard into the water. It could have ended seriously dangerous with all the boats that were driving into the lock.
If you find it interesting to read about the history of Karl Johanslussen I have a reportage here.
The lock Hammarbyslussen:
This was the bigger of the two locks, this one was not free, maybe we paid about 1 Euro for each passage in the 1960s.
At one point when the engine had recently been installed and was not so reliable, we got a motor stop just as we were entering the lock, the water currents from the open gate took hold of the boat and it twisted and staggered in the lock. Dad managed to get the motor started again and turned the boat in the right direction again. Pretty nervous moment can be said!
This is one of the last photos I have of my father's boat Monalisa. My father sold the boat to a private person in 1973 from an ad in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter. The price was 550 Euro and the new buyer was told to be a submarine captain. That kept my father calm, because this almost 60 year old boat needs a person that was very handy to get it running safely.
Now after many years I found Monalisa's compass, the only part of Monalisa that I have left today, really happy to find it. From a visit recently at Göta Channel boat museum I understand that my father must have bought this compass at the marine shop Gösta Berg at Hornstull's Strand, I found a commercial sign about this shop at the museum. It could have been bought the winter 1964 to 1965 when he was taking lessons at the navigation school.
I have often wondered what happened to the boat Monalisa after my father sold it. It would be very interesting to know something. Has someone restored it to its original condition? Or is my father's boat a wreck today or maybe it doesn't even exists at all?
If you can recognize the boat Monalisa or her sisters (see next page) and give some information about it I will be very happy, please send me a message.
Contact information: mail address
My memories of my father's boat Monalisa, Lars Karlsson