Three generations of enterprise



Off to sea!

So, in the autumn of 1915, there stood Sven Salén, gazing at his acquisition in Gothenburg’s harbour. He and a ship’s master had borrowed money for the purchase. Sven had graduated from the Gothenburg College of Commerce (Handelsinstitut) but after two years of working for the Göteborg Handelsbank had tired of bookkeeping. He yearned for the chance to do business with his newly established shipping company, Rederi AB Gothia. Plainly, it was the scent not only of salt, tar, oil and red-lead he smelt in the air there by the quayside, but also cash. 

With money on his mind, Salén soon bought a second engine-driven schooner, the Ida. But the next purchase was a sailing ship. The acquisition was named the Transocean, a fast ship capable of 17.5 knots. The engine-driven ships of the time were seldom faster than 10 knots. On the other hand, neither were they dependent on the wind.

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The daring young entrepreneur shipowner, Sven Salén.

A good, middle-class home where we were brought up in fear of the Lord

Sven Salén
Sven Salén’s first real sailing ship was the Puerto Montt, later renamed the Transocean. Square-riggers were still competitive. Engine-powered ships could seldom exceed 10 knots and sailing ships could do almost twice that in favourable winds.
Sven became founding chair of the Göteborg motor club, GMCK. Among his achievements on motorcycles was his national distance jumping record.
The barque Gustaf, iron-built in 1877 in Aberdeen, 620 DWT. Sven Salén bought the ship in 1918 for 423,000 SEK (45,400). It came with an engine but Sven down-rigged it to a schooner, saving crew. The ship was sold the following year at a huge loss when the post-war market dived.