The Story
click=menu The history of the boat Updated: 2009-08-24 Comments


The Aphrodite 101 is a dream boat. 
The Aphrodite 101 is a long and sleek boat with a tall rig. She was originally  designed by Jan Kjaerulff and Paul Elvstroem for speed, optimum sailing experience and comfort. 
In the early seventies the race around Zealand (approximately 230 nautic miles) was setting the pace. Win that and everybody wants you and your boat, - or that's what it seems like, when reading the old yachting magazines. During the early eighties there were some 2400 boats participating - making the Zealand race the worlds biggest yacht race.

During the entire decade the race was dominated by long sleek ten meter constructions. At that time a ten meter boat was considered to be rather big, ready to race and still able to provide the comfort needed for family holidays. The Ylva (by Steen Kjølhede) was the first to appear back in 1973, and Steen won the Round Zealand Race repeatedly during the next four years until Niels Jeppesen finally stopped him in 1979 with the now well known X79. Børge Børresen played along and designed the beautiful BB10 specifically to beat the Ylva, but the BB10 never really outperformed the Ylva on that particular race. 

In the mid seventies Jan and Paul had worked together for several years designing other peoples boats. Not only would it be fun to beat the other guys around Zealand, but Jan felt is was time to design his own dream boat. 

The prototype was built and launched in 1976 in Halmstad on the eastcoast of Sweden under the name Elvstroem Mungo 95. However, it did not comply with the high standards of danish craftmanship, and so it was sent to a small boatbuilder on Langeland, Langeland Yacht Service. The hull was prolonged by 60 centimeters making it a total of 10,10 meters long. The name was then changed to Aphrodite 101. 

In spring 1977 the first boat was launched from Langeland Yacht Service. And indeed the Aphrodite 101 was a pretty sight. She still is. Some say she is one of the most beautiful boats, ever. Soon after the launch everybody wanted an Aphrodite 101 of their own, so the production really took off. At that time Bianca Yachts in Rudkøbing took over the production. Eventhough at the time Bianca was reknowned for building wooden boats since around 1960 they were able to speed up the production considerably.

The hull was primarily designed by Jan Kjaerulff. However, the deck layout was tuned by Paul Elvstroem, and the rig - tall and sleek is clearly also an Elvstroem design. The handling is easy. A self tacking jib makes it possible to sail an Aphrodite singlehand.  The winches are well positioned and everything seems to work smoothly. Originally the boat did  not have running backstays, but in order to improve upwind capabilities these were retrofitted onto the standard boat.   

I believe a good family boat must have good sailing characteristics, as Jan said at the test on Øresund - the waters of Copenhagen, Denmark - during easter in 1977. The Aphrodite had to fulfill a set of five basic requirements set up by Jan. She should be good looking, fast, easy to handle, secure and safe and finally she should be robust and sound.
Of course Jan sailed her the next couple of years. 

The first year or so the Aphrodite raced other boats. As the boat was designed to sail well, she did. However, due to the handicap rules used back then, it was decided to saw some ten centimeters of the back of the boat to further improve racing capabilities. That's why the boat is now 9,95 meters long. This could be done almost without sacrificing any speed. Today, this is not an issue. 

Due to the success of the boat, class race quickly became possible, and today class race is predominant. More than 120 boats reside at Bodensee, central Europe. Approximately a hundred boats are located in Denmark, and 25 or more of these meet regularly north of Copenhagen.

As mentioned above the first few boats were built by Langeland Yacht Service. Then the boats were built by Bianca Yachts I/S, Denmark. Bianca was founded around 1960 somewhere near Odense, but the name Bianca only dates back to 1964, where Bianca moved to Rudkøbing on Langeland and took the name Bianca. They built some 360 Aphrodite 101 boats up until the late eighties. Some of these were exported to other Nordic countries. Some went to other european countries, and some  twentyfive (maybe more) boats went as far as the United States. 

As an aside, - a Mega-Aphrodite, the Bianca 414, was introduced in 1980. The boat is said to be designed specifically for the US market, where the Aphrodite 101 was a little too small to become a success. The Bianca 414 looks very similar to the Aphrodite, and some people regard this construction as the true Bianca 10 meter, because she is ten meters in the waterline, whereas the Aphrodite 101 is only close to ten meters overall. Little is known about this boat, but here's a few details. 

In 1987 or so Bianca Yachts stopped producing the Aphrodite - apparently due to financial problems, but today Bianca Yachts has been reconstructed. Rumour has it that the molds  would have been disposed of or burned, if it had not been saved by a single individual, Jørgen Juul. In 1988 Bachs Yachts in Denmark took over the production, and in 1994 Ott Yachts in Germany acquired the production rights. Ott Yachts now owns the productions rights, but the boat is built by Aars Yachts, Denmark. Still some ten boats are built on a per year basis, and in the year 2002, where the Aphrodite 101 celebrates her 25th  anniversary, we are getting close to 500 boats and counting.

There is a strong will in the Aphrodite 101 community to keep the boat as simple and true to the original design as possible. This is part of the reason for the success the boat is still experiencing. However, small adjustements have been made. The fastening of the chain plates was vastly improved. The rudder has been prolonged to provide a better grip in the water. The mast has been changed to a more stable  and less flexible type. The running backstays were added to improve upwind capabilities. The battens are now allowed to span the entire lenght of the main sail. If we can keep up the good spirit and modernize our beloved Aphrodites at this easy pace, I believe the boat could possibly become an all time classic, if that is not already the case.

Morten, DEN134

PS: Do you have something to add? Did I get something wrong?  Please, do not hesitate to drop me a mail. Thanx.


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