Kongevold has dropped anchor for the last time and will be buried in Vanse church on Thursday 24 September at 13:00. As project manager and later director, many will probably claim that he was one of Sørlandet's most important rescuers.
This story was written in Ship O'Hoy many years ago:
"THE FULLY RIGGED SHIP SØRLANDET has been through a lot and has many to thank for the fact that she can still sail in all her glory. One of them is Olav Kongevold. - It was a vacancy. I searched for it. It was that simple, he says. Olav Kongevold is concrete and cash in the story of how he ended up as project manager for Sørlandet in 1978. The now 87-year-old former naval officer and naval captain got the job. At that time, the full rigger was not seaworthy, and the first task for the new employee was to lead the restoration.
SHIPOWNER JAN STAUBO had owned Sørlandet for a few years, and it was at the quay in Kilsund, east of Arendal. After the business started to go awry for Staubo, it became difficult to keep up with the repayments. The ship had been used for recreation and representation and had not been at sea for a long time when it was bought by Skjelbreds Rederi and given to Kristiansand municipality. The restoration took place from 1978 to 1980, and was very extensive.
- It was a shell, says Kongevold about the state of affairs prior to the work. But together with volunteer leader Arne Ø. Fosseli, volunteers and countless working hours, Sørlandet became able to sail again.
Resources were scarce, and several fronts had to be fought for. The Russ (12th grade students) in Kristiansand, in collaboration with the Friends' Association, held a door-to-door campaign that resulted in 3,000 new members in a single night. In other words, Kongevold, Fosseli and the rest of the contributors had the region's population behind them during the work.
IN THE SUMMER of 1980, Sørlandet was able to sail once again, and she was to make a major comeback by, among other things, being chosen as the "leading ship" in the OP Sail parade to Amsterdam. Unfortunately, the voyage had to be interrupted, so the parade was not carried out. But the ships docked in the world city, and Sørlandet was definitely in focus, not least because she was in better condition than ever. She also attracted attention for another reason: a crew consisting of both women and men, which was not at all a matter of course. An important landmark, initiated by Kongevold.
In 1981, Kristiansand municipality decided that Sørlandet should be owned by a foundation, and Kongevold was hired as managing director. In the coming years, he initiated several measures to secure the ship's finances and find a lasting area of use. Sørlandet was made available to folk high schools, and they had shorter trips in Europe. Those who mustered in, set out for training on Friday, and the ship set sail already on Sunday. Then they sailed to, for example, England, lay there this weekend, before the return start on Monday. Eventually, permanent agreements on training for the navy also came into place, with training and certification of ship officers and crew on board. Kongevold was also the initiator of engaging the full rigger in international sailing ship projects with crews of all ages and from many different nations.
In 1998, KONGEVOLD RESIGNS as CEO. The same year he was awarded the King's Medal of Merit in gold for his efforts in the work with Sørlandet and for the Norwegian sailing tradition. During his 17 years as director of the foundation, 7,800 students from 24 countries had been crews in Sørlandet."
Text: Eli van der Eynden