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Congratulations to Mitbok, whom I’ll paraphrase, who identified Fred‘s mystery vessel as an example of a “tjalk or wedstrijdskutse with its wide beam and flat bottom and very little tapering in bow and stern. Originally it sailed and was fitted with leeboards; today many have engines.” His Relief Crew post will appear soon. Dan was a close second, chronologically, so maybe he’ll post as Relief Crew post as well.



Above is my own photo of a similar Dutch vessel, although this one was snapped in Belgium as the barge churned its way down the Meuse, which is known as the Maas after it crosses the border of the Netherlands. Notice that Tasmania is carrying a cargo of tires, very little freeboard, and as creature comfort has a satellite dish near the stern? As a boy, my father lived not so far from the delta (in Zuid Holland) and dreamed of living on such a vessel as a binnenvaart captain like his grandma’s brother. Alas, the war came . . . after the war, he wanted only to emigrate.



Here are some sailing barges rafted up in Enkhuisen (Noord Holland). The one in the foreground shows the delightful leeboard port side midships. I love leeboards so much I have two sets as my livingroom decor. Interesting history and photo of leeboards here. Check out the leeboards and other details on this vessel.
Because I’m Dutch, I get away with saying the Netherlands is a deceptively complex nation, as exemplified by the categorization of canal boats. For starters, check out this link. Based on info in that link, my best guess is that Fred’s green boat is a Groninger tjalk, not a botjalk, hollandse tjalk, skutsje, hevelaak, stenaak, praam, steilsteven, or . . .

By the way, the definitive handbooks for taxonomy of these vessels are by David Evershed (click and scroll down), which I’ve tried for some time unsuccessfully to locate via Amazon. Anyone have a copy? More on Dutch barges later. First, I’m eager to get a closer look from “steven” to “roer” at Fred’s mystery vessel on the Hackensack. Many questions remain.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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April 2007