THE ROYAL YACHT
One of only two remaining Royal Yachts in Europe, K/S Norge is the Royal Yacht of the King of Norway. The ship´s name Norge is Norwegian for Norway. The Royal Yacht Norge was the Norwegian people´s gift to King Haakon VII in 1947. The yacht is owned by the King but maintained and manned by the Royal Norwegian Navy.
When Prince Carl of Denmark, a naval officer, agreed to be elected to the vacant throne of Norway in 1905 (taking the royal name of Haakon), he was promised a Royal Yacht. Due to Norway´s difficult economic situation after the dissolution of the union with Sweden, it never materialized.
During the two world wars the economy and other conditions never made it possible to acquire a yacht.
After World War II a nation-wide appeal was made for funds to purchase a yacht for the respected and aging king, who had become a truly national symbol through his steadfast resistance against Nazi Germany. Among the followers of the appeal were 300.000 of the country´s school children.
Eventually, interest centred on the British motor yacht Philante built in 1937 by Camper and Nicholsons in Gosport, Hampshire for Sir Thomas Sopwith. One of the world´s largest yachts of its time, the ship had been requisitioned by the Royal Navy in 1939 and used for Atlantic duty as the convoy escort vessel HMS Philante during the war.
In July 1947, the ship was bought by Norway in time for a model to be made and presented to the King at his 75th birthday. After refitting was completed in 1948, King Haakon was finally able to take over his Royal Yacht, which was renamed Norge. King Haakon used Norge extensively for travels in Norway and abroad.
King Olav took over Norge after his father´s death in 1957, and a 10-year plan was adopted to upgrade the hull and technical equipment. The King followed the traditions introduced by King Haakon, using Norge on both official and private occasions.
In 1985 during welding operations on board when Norge was docked for repair at the Navy shipyard in Horten, a fire broke out with disastrous consequences, though fortunately the hull and engines survived. King Olav decided the ship was to be rebuilt, and a year later he was once more able to take over Norge, with a higher standard of safety and better technical equipment than before the fire.
When King Olav died in 1991, Norge was taken over by King Harald.
MANNING AND USE
The Royal Yacht Norge is owned by HM The King. A Royal Decree of 1947 provides that the ship shall be manned, operated and maintained by the nation´s Defence Forces. In summer the complement of officers and crew is 54. The season begins when the King embarks in May and ends when he disembarks in late September. The winter is used for maintenance, with a reduced crew of 20.
The sailing schedule for the Royal Yacht varies from year to year. When the King is competing in major international yacht races, he uses Norge as a base. The King and Queen also make use of the Royal Yacht for official events in Norway and abroad. In 2004 the King used the yacht on his trip to France for the 60th anniversary of D-Day. In 2006 the yacht was among other events used abroad during the state visit to Ireland and in Norway during the state visit by the King and Queen of Spain.
For the summer of 2007, Norge and the Danish Royal Yacht Dannebrog are scheduled to cruise along the southernmost parts of Norway, to celebrate the 70th birthdays of Their Majesties The King and Queen—and Norge itself.
K/S Norge is built by Camper and Nicholsons and was launched 11 February 1937. K/S Norge is 80.2 metres and have 2 x Bergen Diesel 1,760 hp (1,312 kW) (installed 1982) and a speed of 17 knots.
In summer the complement of officers and crew is 54 (18 officers, 36 privates) during the season; 20 during winter.