La Bohème was designed specifically to carry very heavy loads, initially 30 tons of pink granite per voyage, and to operate under sail alone.
Her standard delivery voyage was probably a 200 nautical mile run, southwest from Karlshamn, Sweden, to Travemunde, Germany. There, the stone could be carried 40 miles overland to Hamburg harbour, for shipment to America. She had to handle well when fully laden and unladen, in ballast, and navigate the notorious short steep chop of the fickle Baltic in two directions.
Her plans reveal she has a classic fish-form hull, with a wide bow and head section tapering off to a narrow stern, and said to give increased speed through steep seas. Her working sail plan is unusually long and low, meaning that she can hold full sail in strong winds without needing to reef. Tall topmasts enable her to fly additional sail in lighter winds. La Bohème is noticeably quick off the mark with gentle winds, and is easy to handle. Under engine power, her big two-plade propeller has a strong kick to port, which settles her nicely against the wall, port side to. However, when going starboard side to, just call on your traditional warping skills, and forget the engine.
The variable pitch propellor allows for fine tuning forward and backwards.
Noticeably, this boat is gentle on the wheel, which means anyone of any age could feel comfortable in helming her. Her classic raked masts means she has no need of running backstays, which helps keep her deck clean and her tacks simple. Sheets and halyards are well provided with ample belaying rails. Everything is solid, substantial and traditionally correct – big, bold and solid. Her new wardrobe of Dacron sails has been beautifully cut and sewn, and is amply reinforced.