In December, 1944, Mr. Lars Eklund, a Swede who at the time was living in the United States and was a very active yachtsman and keenly interested in the activities of The Royal Swedish Yacht Club (in Swedish, Kungliga Svenska Segel Sällskapet or KSSS), suggested to Count Pehr Sparre, a fellow Swede, the possibility of starting a Station of KSSS in North America. Up to that time there had been a scattered number of Swedish sailors in the US, but no concerted effort to bring them together. Mr. Eklund had to return to Sweden and was unable to participate in the preparatory work that followed but his wide friendships in America and his popularity were a great influence on bringing about the formation of the Station and the signing up of members in 1945.
The purpose of The North American Station was and is to promote very specific objectives, which are set forth in Article II of the Constitution, namely that the Station is formed “To encourage the art of building, rigging and handling small vessels and interest in seamanship and naval architecture particularly in connection with the promotion of close ties between North American and Scandinavian yachtsmen.” Article II goes on to say that, “In order to do so, the Station will not seek a large membership but especially welcome as members those distinguished by their activities in racing, cruising and naval architecture, and those who have sailed or are preparing to sail in Scandinavian waters or who have special interest in Scandinavian yachting.” From this it follows that the Station, while of course welcoming Scandinavian members, also is equally interested in enlisting eminent American yachtsmen who can be identified with the purpose mentioned above.
From 1945 to 1964 the Station was affiliated only with KSSS. In 1964, when Royal Danish Yacht Club (Kongelig Dansk Yachtklub or KDY), Royal Norwegian Yacht Club (Kongelig Norsk Seilforening or KNS) and Nyländska Jaktklubben (or NJK, in Finland, which is not a monarchy) joined The NAS, the Station changed its name to The North American Station of the Royal Scandinavian Yacht Clubs and Nyländska Jaktklubben. In 1977 the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club (Göteborgs Kungliga Segelsällskap or GKSS) joined. KSSS, KDY, KNS, NJK and GKSS are referred to as the Home Clubs. The NAS has a Post Captain as its head, not a commodore.
Starting from a small membership in The NAS of a dozen or so in 1945, the membership has grown to be in excess of 200. Membership continues to be limited to a small group of individuals with a sincere interest in the Station’s objectives and maintaining close ties with the officers and members of the Home Clubs. Among the members over the years there have been a number of eminent naval architects and many yachtsmen prominent in racing and cruising as well as former Commodores of the New York Yacht Club and the Cruising Club of America.
In 1977, The NAS and many of its members had extensive involvement with SVERIGE and its attempt to vie for the America’s Cup in Newport. The King and Queen of Sweden attended an NAS luncheon in Newport.
The Station has sponsored many Trans Atlantic races starting in 1959 from Newport to Marstrand; 1960 - Bermuda to Skagen; 1966 – Bermuda to Skagen; 1972 – Newport to Porto de Vigo, Spain; 1978 – Bermuda to Kristiansand; 1981 – Bermuda to Horta and on to Cowes.
A race/cruise called The Atlantic Round was held in 1978. In 1991, an effort to establish more contact with the Home Clubs resulted in the plans for an annual regatta to be held in America every third year and in the off years in one of the Scandinavian countries. This event was named The Atlantic Round (“TAR”) in honor of the original 1978 race/cruise. The first TAR was held in 1993 at the Stamford and Noroton Yacht Clubs. Since then, TAR has become a mainstay of the summer season. It was held in Newport in 2015. KNS will host TAR in Oslo in 2016 and KSSS in Stockholm in 2017.
Many organized cruises have taken place in Scandinavia starting in 1983 with a Baltic Cruise from Helsinki to Sandhamn; 1986 – Kiel to Helsinki and back to Copenhagen; 1988 – Coast of Norway ending in Marstrand; 1990 – Kalmar to Saltsjöbaden; 1993 – Danish Cruise; 1996 – Finnish Cruise; 1998 – Swedish Cruise; 2002 – Saltsjöbaden to Kalmar to Gotland and ending in Sandhamn; 2003 – Helsinki to Mariehamn; 2005 – Swedish Archipelago Cruise; 2008 – Norwegian Fjord Cruise; 2011 – Finland Archipelago Cruise; and 2014 – The Denmark Cruise. In 2017, a Cruise on the West Coast of Sweden is planned.
Another important activity of the Station is the annual Junior Exchange program. Teenagers from Scandinavia visit America with our members, and American teenagers visit with families in Scandinavia.
In 2009, the Five Club Regatta for Juniors was held for the ﬁrst time in the US at Newport, RI., a great success, and again in 2012 and 2015. It will continue to be in Newport every third year and hosted by one of the Home Clubs in the intervening years: KNS will host in Oslo in 2016 and KSSS in Stockholm in 2017.
There have been many informal rendezvous in Maine and one formal cruise in 1999 with about 20 yachts participating. On the social side there have been a variety of events sponsored including a “Sill Frukost”(herring breakfast), a dinner and tour of the Munch exhibition at the American-Scandinavian Foundation in New York, concerts at Carnegie Hall, and dinners in Newport.
The NAS Spring and Annual meetings from the beginning have been well attended. The Annual Meeting is usually held during the first week of December at the NYYC in New York. The Spring meeting is usually held around the first of June in Stamford, CT.