To the world, Norway and seafaring are synonymous. From the age of sail until after World War II, the Norwegian merchant fleet was one of the world’s largest, and Norwegian could be heard in ports worldwide; Norway afloat.
Norwegians seem happiest when they are in, on or around the sea. Each year, more than a third of the population spend their summer holidays partly or completely in craft that range from small dinghies to motor launches and ocean-going yachts.
Related: The Scandinavian Passion for Sail
In all there are more than 450,000 boats over 4.5 meters (15ft) in length, and an untold number of smaller boats in the country. Most are motor boats, though sailing is popular on the fjords and as a competitive sport.
Related: The Norwegian Tall Ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl
Demography and topography are deciding factors
Demography and topography are the deciding factors. There are thousands of islands, and the fjords and coastal archipelagos are a paradise for competitive and recreational sailors, king and commoner alike. King Olav V (1903-91), the father of present King Harald V, was an accomplished sailor who won a gold medal in sailing in the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, which made him the world’s only Olympic medalist monarch.
Long championship traditions
Norway’s first sailing club was founded in1868 in Tønsberg, since when the nation has been a major force in championship sailing and regatta worldwide.
Norway Afloat, written by Tor Kjolberg