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Thanks to Fred . . . (happy canaling soon) here are more shots of the erstwhile mystery ship less than five miles by air from the GW Bridge, true but misleading.



Thanks also to Dar, who located the unlocatable Evershed book, it’s a Groninger tjalk. How it got to the Hackensack, I’ve no clue. Wrong turn at the North Sea? Anyone know the owner?


Livet: a river town in eastern France? An apple brandy? Short for “live-aboard tjalk”? Names mislead; this is New Jersey, but “Zwartsluis” is a town in the eastern Netherlands province of OverIjssel. And it’s a barge town. If you’re adventuresome, see great fotos at this link, then navigate on left to “foto’s” and then “zwartsluis” and then the various “sleerbootdagen.” “Sleepboot” is Dutch for “Tugboat.”

See the rudder cable.


Cool anchor. So mystery remains . . . whose is it? Was it biglifted to New Jersey? More later I hope.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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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November 2020