Tjalk Jantje now, before she was restored, the celebration, and her sail arranged for tanning – and the pot used in tanning
In Nordhorn in Germany near the border with Holland, poor Hans-Christian Rieck has broken his foot working on his organisation’s tjalk named Jantje. Having broken my own ankle last year he has my heartfelt sympathy, and I can only hope his recovery is rather better than mine has been.
A small consolation is that he’s at last had time to tell us about the boat. Here’s what he has to say about Jantje:
‘Jantje is one of the Dutch Tjalks, in this case of a subtype called Steilsteven – it’s equivalent in England would be the Thames barge.
‘She was built in 1923 at Delftzijl on the Dutch side of the River Ems estuary and worked the Frisian Lakes until the 1960s, when she was laid up, being to small and to slow to be competitive. Sadly neglected, she spent 30 or so years on a mooring at Makkum on the Ijsselmmer.
‘Fortunately, some businessmen of our town Nordhorn came upon the idea to aquire a historic ship as a reminder of the glorious maritime past of our city, and when the treasurer of our association and myself were asked to find a suitable craft, we found Jantje.
‘She was bought, sandblasted, sprayed and then fitted out with an advanced system of ballast tanks to enable her to enter the city, as in recent times our city fathers have built bridges with very limited headroom over our canals and rivers.
‘The ship now floats at a jetty by the old town port and will frequently leave her mooring for special maritime events in our area.
‘I’ve added some photos of the renewed boat’s christening – the guy with the crutches is me by the way!
‘We have tanned Jantje’s sails the traditional way with the help of Hermann Ostermann, whom you may have heard of, one of the last guys to knows how to tan a cotton sail the proper way. We hope to have the traditional rig ready by next spring, so we can have a test sail on Lake Vechte at the next canal festival.’
Many thanks Hans-Christian! I look forward to hearing more in the not too distant future.