Dutch barge Jantje’s sails throw up a question

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Jantje Foresail with Mount Vernon cotton duck stamp

Jantje Jakob Miller preparing the foresail to be hoisted to the loft

Regular correspondent Hans-Christian Rieck of the Graf Ship Association based at Nordhorn in Germany has been in touch to ask about a stamp on one of sailing tjalk Jantje’s sails. For more on Jantje, click here.

‘Dear Gavin,

‘Now as the winter is approaching there is time to do bits and pieces of work which had bee put aside during summer. Just recently we unfolded Jantje’s sails, looking for places where they may be ripped, airing them and so on. On the photo you can see our mate Jakob preparing the foresail to be lifted to the sail loft.

‘What we have are two mainsails, a big one that is obviously relatively newer, and an older one that is smaller and made of linen.

‘Also there are two foresails, a light brown one and a real heavy white one, both from cotton. Maybe the reders of intheboatshednet can help us, because on the white one is a stamp which reads: Mt. Vernon Extra Cotton Duck 84 Yds No 1. Obviously that is a hint to the source of the sailcloth and obviously it came from an English speaking country.

‘The sails are now stored on the loft and will be hoisted in spring. We had a report on Jantje in the Dutch magazine Schuttevaer where we asked for help in finding out about the origins of Jantje. That was a real success we came in contact with lots of Dutch chaps who knew bit and pieces of Jantjes life.

‘So we know now that she was built at the shipyard of the Niestern Brothers in Delftzijl in 1923, and was their number 156. Later she worked in the potato trade.

‘Also we came in contact with the sister of the late Mr Struik, the previous owner. She wrote that she was pleased with the way the ship looks now and she is willing to give us every help we need to bring light into the parts of Jantjes life which still lay hidden.

‘Yours

‘Hans-Christian’

Thanks Hans-Christian! Googling using the English-language version of the site reveals a Wikipedia page revealing that Mount Vernon Mill in Maryland, USA was once a leading manufacturer of cotton duck.

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