ELLSWORTH —The sky-blue Styrka slid into the Union River last Saturday morning and the 16-foot open skiff was put through its paces by 14-year-old Lilja Hanson. Styrka means strength in Swedish.
Hanson, a freshman at Ellsworth High School, and her father, Nate Hanson, built the Candlefish 16 designed by Sam Devlin of Anacortes, Wash. The seaworthy craft is easy to haul up and launch from a beach.
Beginning construction of the boat in 2015, Lilja had to find time for the project amid schoolwork, her commitment to the Down East Family YMCA swim team, piano lessons, jazz band and babysitting gigs.
There was one rule. Lilja was explicit about her father not doing any work when she wasn’t there.
“I’m learning a lot about how it fits together,” the 14-year-old said in an interview last winter. “It’s not just a boat; it’s lots of parts. And we’re getting to spend a lot of time together.”