A little more information has emerged about the source of Jantje’s sails. Hans-Christian Rieck has written to say that the sister of the previous owner, the late Mr Struik, has volunteered the information that they were purchased second-hand from a Frisian sailmaker. Now the Graf Ship Association’s volunteers are trying to find out which sailmaker was involved in supplying the steilsteven or sailing tjalk’s sails.
They’re also close to overcoming the last bureaucratic obstacles to obtaining a certificate to allow Jantje to work as passenger ship on her home waters.
However, it seems the good folks of Nordhorn have another question. It seems a local businessman gave an old anchor to the City as a display item for its now historic quay. The anchor was found in mudbanks of the mouth of the River Schelde near the port of Rotterdam during dredging works.
It’s clearly of British origin, as on one fluke it is possible to read the name of Byers and the place name Sunderland, and a serial number that is now impossible to decipher. The other fluke bears the code ‘VV’.
It seems clear that it was cast by a foundry named Byers, but is there a way of discovering which ship lost it in the mouth of the Schelde? Can any reader help? My guess is that it’s likely to be listed as an insurance loss somewhere, or on the foundry ledgers, if they still exist.
From its shape local experts think the anchor dates from the late 19th or early 20th century, and that it must be from either of a British or at least a British-built ship because at that time of overheated nationalism there is every reason to doubt that a Dutch, French or German shipyard would buy foreign parts for the ships built on their own yards.
There’s an interesting listing of Sunderland-built ships here.
PS – I’m grateful to Ian Wedderburn for writing this weekend to point out this link at the England’s Past for Everyone website, which is about a very similar looking anchor that’s now outside the maritime museum at Palermo, Sicily. Thanks Ian!