Sailing ships- inland

The Dutch love sailing boats and they are very knowledgeable.

The most usual question that they ask us about ourĀ  Finesse 24 is, “Did you sail her across the North Sea?” And we have to confess that we did not. But they do sympathise with us on the issue of chop and swell on shallow bodies of water in a small boat.

The next most popular question is, “Is it by Maurice Griffiths?” I doubt that many non-Dutch would be as well-informed when it comes to the names of designers, or the different types of Dutch boats…

There are so many ‘traditional’ sailing boats in Holland. The most dramatic of these are the large clippers and schooners. They can be found throughout the lakes and waterways of Friesland, the region where we spend our time. Here are some that we have encountered between the ports of Stavoren and Harlingen…

Three clippers moored together in Stavoren haven, off the Ijsselmeer. The nearest is the Arbeid Adelt, a two-masted clipper, 42m long and 8m wide.

Elizabeth is a Zeeland gaff topsail clipper, built in 1913 by the Geleijns brothers. She has cabins for 30 people, and is one of four sailing vessels run by the Tallship Company. Elizabeth can stand high and dry on the Wadden Sea sand when the tide goes out. She is seen here on the Heegermeer, inland north from Stavoren.

A two-masted gaff topsail clipper tied up in the town of Grou, in the centre of Friesland, flying a spitfire jib.


Normally, this would be a very bad view from the galley window of your Finesse. However, this is the clipper ‘De Hoop’ coming in to moor in Grou off the Prinses Margrietkanaal. De Hoop was built in 1911, and in 2009 was cut in two and extended by 5m.

De Hoop is (now) 31m long, displaces 100 tonnes and has a 160hp diesel engine. Here she is motoring up to the city of Leeuwarden under charter.

Not a particularly large boat, the Seefugel is usually seen moored in Leeuwarden. Looking back over the years, I seem to have been repeatedly photographing her without realising it because she is so attractive.

Here is the single-masted Stevenaak ‘Aaltje Engelina’, moored in the small harbour in Franeker off the Van Harinxmakanaal. Her boomed foresail is sheeted to a horse and the boom pivots on the Sampson post.

The ‘Tsjerk Heddes’ is the largest sailing barge in Holland, at 53m overall and 6.8m beam. Here we are following her into the lock at Harlingen to enter the Wadden Sea.

The gaff topsail schooner ‘Morgana’ leaving Harlingen. Built in 1924, she is 34.9m long and can set 435 square metres of sail.

Looking back towards Harlingen, there are always big sailing ships to please the eye. There is also the whale fountain!

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