Volume 6, Issue 4
Dec. 2012
Inside This Issue
The Masthead
Dutch Yachts & OO7
Pg. 1
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The Journal of the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology
By Dave Gerr, © 2012 Dave Gerr
W
rested from a portion of what was a large, shoal, saltwater bay opening to the
North Sea—the former Zuider Zee—is a monumental feat of Dutch engineer-
ing. This is the Ijsselmeer, a manmade, fresh-water lake of some 1,100 square kilo-
meters (425 square miles). At the tip of a small peninsula jutting eastward into the
Ijsselmeer, lies the town of Enkhuizen.
A port to hundreds of boats, Enkhuizen is also home to the Zuider Zee Museum,
which houses a variety of exhibits. I’d traveled there for one exhibit in particular,
however: The entire ground floor is the Ship’s Hall, a collection of wooden Dutch
boats--the largest such assemblage anywhere.
I’ve always admired Dutch boats, which—among other things--included the first
yachts in the modern sense. Indeed, the very word “yacht” comes from Dutch. The
traditional Dutch boiers, botters, hoggars, and more, were all on display, along with
more conventionally shaped craft. There were fish-
ing boats and small workboats in addition to the
yachts. The bluff bows, shoal draft, and massive
leeboards of these vessels are well known, but sel-
dom seen outside of Holland.
One of these boats in particular caught my eye. A
classic Dutch boeier 31 feet (9.5 m) overall, her
varnished topsides and cabin gleamed. Her rudder-
head was capped by an intricately carved golden
bird of prey. In perfect shape, she appeared ready
for a cruise. My friend, reading aloud, translated
the extensive information on the plaque nearby.
Her name was
Sperwer
or sparrow hawk and thus
the carving on her rudderhead. She’d been owned
and sailed by a fellow named Merlin Minshall,
who’d used her to explore the coasts and rivers of
Germany and neighboring countries prior to World
War
II
. And then things got interesting . . .
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