We were lucky enough to be able to offer some exciting cruises – to the Shetlands, Orkney, Norway, Faroes and Iceland – aboard Hans Hansson for a time. Owned and skippered by Gordon Fitton, who has been involved with ships and the sea for over 30 years, Hans Hansson was the last of three 26.5m rescue vessels built for NSSR (Norsk Selskab til Skibbrudnes Redning or Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue) and was launched under the original name “Skomvaer II” in 1960. The ship was built to Det Norsk Veritas +1 A1-N-ICE-C standards and was the most expensive rescue cruiser ever built.
Skomvaer II had a search and rescue radius of 3000 nautical miles, based variously at North Cape, Spitzbergen, Lerwick and the Faroes and in 25 years assisted 704 vessels saving 106 seafarers. In 1986 Skomvaer II was bought from NSSR by the Swedish Lifeboat Association and was completely refitted. She was re-launched in 1988 having been renamed “Hans Hansson” after a lifeboat captain who was appointed Director of the Association in the same year. Over the next 10 years she assisted 243 vessels and rescued 55 people.
Under Gordon’s ownership Hans Hansson underwent a major refit and rebuild. The superstructure was greatly extended giving a much bigger saloon and two deck-level guest cabins with ensuite bathrooms. The vessel has four remaining spacious guest cabins which are below deck level. No expense was spared on the refit and all who travelled aboard Hans Hansson were seriously impressed with her specification.
DID YOU KNOW?
The first signs of habitation on Hirta (the largest island in the St Kilda archipelago and the only one you can really land on) are thought to have occurred c. 600 AD.