“Rylen” is unusually well documented in the history of Kerteminde. First of all by being a Great Belt fishing boat, typical to this particular place, the fishing port of Kerteminde. Furthermore, “Rylen” was home base for a unique artistic project, involving the town’s most well-known artist, Johannes Larsen.
“Rylen” was built in 1896 and was right from the start a part of the fleet of Great Belt fishing boats that caught herring, the backbone of Kerteminde’s economy. A single boat could catch fish valued at 6000 kr. over a couple of months. That was quite a lot of money back then.
The Great Belt fishing boats were slender, clinker-built vessels that could either be pointed or flat at the stern. This type of boat was known to be fast and seaworthy. The crew usually consisted of three men: a shipmaster, a fisherman and a boy. If there was a shortage of fishermen, labourers and smallholders sometimes got a chance to get offshore. By special arrangement, the boys who sailed on the Great Belt fishing boats didn’t have to report to school until Oct.10.
We don’t have a great deal of information about the boat’s first years. In all likelihood, it had a motor installed between 1905-1915 like most of the other Great Belt fishing boats. At the end of World War I, the boat’s name was “Fremad” (meaning forward), carried 6 tons and had a 4 hp engine. It belonged to H.Christiansen from the fishing village of Bregnør on Odense Fjord.