Aage Utzon

In the days of wooden yacht construction it was common for client and designer to meet to discuss the details of hull form, sail plan, rigging, interior lay-out etc. but when glassfibre production boats took over the market the designer became merely a name on a brochure.


Aage Utzon (Nov. 1885 - Oct. 1970) is famous for having designed beautiful spidsgatters, a double-ended hull ('spidsgatter'), in particular the S45 (45 m2). Most of the boats were built between 1930 and 1950 and were strong, roomy and seaworthy boat. They were built of pine on oak or ash and with mast of Scandinavian spruce.

He also designed the Ålborgjollen (an small open boat designed in 1929); the Scankrydser, a 6.6 m sailing boat (later the San 22?); the Helsingørjollen, also an open boat of 5.5m designed in the 40s, the Sagitta and the Utzon 30.

He managed the Aalborg and later the Helsingor shipyards.

Utzon was also interested in other areas of design. For example, he visited the Stockholm Exhibition in 1930, which introduced functionalism to the public. That new architecture and the demands for light and space made a considerable impression on him, as he introduced these concepts and the new lifestyle in his household.

Photos: In 1957 Aage Utzon demonstrates the stability of the Sisu spidsgatter! (A predecessor of the Great Dane 28).


He had a son born in 1918 called Jørn. When he was a school student, Jørn used to visit the shipyard to study designs and help his father draw up plans and make models of yachts. He became a famous architect as he later designed the Sydney Opera House. And that is a very good new because a Utzon Centre has opened in 2008 in Aalborg and there is a space designed for Aage Utzon's boats. A Sisu is there on display, all sails up. Great!

The photo shows Erik, Leif, Jørn and Aage Utzon in 1939. Jørn has recently passed away (Nov 2008)

Here is what Jan Utzon kindly told us (Aage's grandchild and son of Jørn) in January 2008:

My grandfather, Aage Utzon designed the hull for the boat, ie. the shape that passes through water. Freeboard, keel, rudder - all from the railing down. It was a rather unusual undertaking for my grandfather, who usually designed everything, from the hull and the rigging to the last fittings.
During his most active design-years, everything was custom made, as no catalogue-products were available at the time.
Klaus Baess did the interior, cockpit, deck and rigging.

Jørn on his 90 years old birthday in
April 2008.

Thanks to Jan Utzon and Ole Rosted for the pictures

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