Remembering September 5th 1944 “Mad Tuesday” (“Dolle Dinsdag”)

Written by Jack van Ommen on September 5th, 2023

By coincidence September 5th this year also falls on a Tuesday. The allies rapidly approached Holland, collaborators and even soldiers made a mad rush for the German border. The Allied Forces, since the June landing in Normandy had steam rolled up to the Dutch border. But what appeared to be the imminent liberation of the S.S. concentration camp “Vught” turned out to be the beginniing of a train ride to the hell of the Ravensbrück women concentration camp. About 1/3 of the 650 women pressed in these cattle cars would not survive this camp. And from this date onward the worst partof the war would be the hell of the so called “Hunger Winter” until the May 5th 1945 capitulation. Our mother, fortunately, together with app. 200 other, mostly, Dutch political prisoners ended up in a satelite camp of Dachau where the survival rate was 99%. But the terror for these women and there loved ones at home was that there was no commonucation allowed. And our father did not know anybetter than our mother being in the hell hole of Ravensbrück until two days before the return of our mother on May 22nd 1945. The Dutch Red Cross dropped the ball and several of the Dutch prisoners that were released in this period from Ravensbrück, like Corrie ten Boom, could have notified the families in Holland. The below are excerpts from my books “The Mastmakers’ Daughters and “De Mastmakersdochters”.

Dutch Red Cross statemment

September 5th 1944 Mad Tuesday in Camp Vught

We, the hundred odd women, in our satellite camp at the Michelin factory in Den Bosch, heard from the civilian factory personnel that the British forces were on their way from Belgium. There was a festive mood amongst us; we sang the songs that for the most part were composed here. We used to sing them softly, several of them were a bit rough and mocked our common enemy, but we became bolder by the minute and it seemed that the louder we sang them the more scared our guards reacted. One of the communist women began to sing the “Internatonale” which was promptly followed up by all, with our national anthem, the “Wilhelmus”.We watched with amazement the feverish activity on the factory floor, gasmasks were hurriedly crated up, and complete sets of machinery were disassembled and loaded into boxcars.

When the long train was filled the German production boss and his team also mounted the train, accompanied by our loud jeers. We hoped that we would never see them again.

There was nothing to do for us any longer in the factory. Our guards took us back to our barracks.

Three R.A.F. fighter planes flew low over the camp, that evening. This show of force removed any lingering doubts that freedom was only hours away.

Later in the evening, we were brought in a variety of vehicles to the main camp Vught. It was late and the women there were already asleep. There were no empty beds for us and we had to crawl into any available cot with a sleeping prisoner, to the annoyance of the sleeping woman. But because we had witnessed the exodus from our factory, we had news for them and now everyone was participating in the mounting euphoria. We stayed awake and celebrated for most of the night.

The excitement grew by the hour. The sound of the artillery of our liberators grew louder and closer and it was sweet music to the prisoner’s excited ears. The guards and the despised Aufseherinnen had shrunk away into the back ground. If one of them dared to show themselves in the barracks, it was done with an exaggerated display of courtesy.

No one went to work that day and we were all treated to coffee with sugar from the SS kitchen. Some of the women lit a smoke without any interference. Plans were being formed as to how we would be reunited with our loved ones. We exchanged addresses and assured one another that we would stay in touch after we were free. A rumor made the rounds that the Red Cross would take over the supervision of the camp and that we would be quartered with farmers in the neighborhood, temporarily. It was certain that the Allied Forces would be there within hours and that the German enemy had been brought to their knees. The guards were packing and would soon be on their retreat.

Riffle fire could be heard from the direction of the male prison camp. We assumed that this had to be close combat with the liberators. But the women who had been here for a longer period knew better. The riffle fire came from the execution range. After the riffle folly, there would be a single shot, the coup de grace. One-hundred-forty-two male prisoners were executed in the last three days before the camp was evacuated.

The head executioner in Camp Vught was SS Sturmbannführer-Major Erich Deppner, these murders are still known as the Deppner Executions.  His career started under Hans Albin Rauter, the highest SD boss in the Netherlands and Willy Lages of the SD in Amsterdam who worked directly under Rauter. Heinrich Himmler complimented Deppner personally for his first successful execution of 72 Russian prisoners of war in camp Amersfoort in April 1942. Deppner was captured in Berlin in 1945 by the Russians who released him in 1950. Next, he found shelter with the U.S. Armed Forces who managed to make good use of his “way around town”. The Dutch government requested the American Authorities for Deppner’s extradition, to stand trial for his atrocities. The Americans refused the Dutch requests. Deppner lived in comfort and peace in Germany until his natural death in 2005.

The next day, around noon, we all received a warm meal from the SS kitchen and once more coffee with sugar. The Germans obviously wanted to leave better last impressions for the liberators as to how we had been treated. But the sound of the artillery from the approaching Allied forces became weaker and our euphoria diminished at the same rate. The riffle fire from the executions had also stopped. “It is probably a pause in the fighting” was suggested. But the hours went by and then we came to the realization that it was a bit unrealistic that the British would go out of their way to liberate a few thousand prisoners in the nearest concentration camp. They probably had a couple more strategic targets to deal with, like the port of Antwerp.

We were back on the same sour bread diet that evening and the coffee was the usual brown tasteless liquid without sugar. The festive mood changed into disappointment and a deep concern as to what was in store for us now.

From Vught into the unknown

We were ordered to stand in formation on the exercise field of the camp early in the morning of September 6. Everyone was given a blanket and a chunk of bread and we were then marched to the rail depot of the concentration camp. A long line of cattle cars stood stretched out on the tracks. The male prisoners had already been stuffed in the forward cars. My group, of about 100 women from the Michelin factory detail, had grouped our selves together. Most of my group, 82 women, managed to end up in the same cattle car. These cars were meant to carry a maximum of six cavalry horses….The heavy wooden doors were shut and we heard a lock and chain being attached. We could only stand up and barely move. There was a latrine barrel in one corner and no water. The first thing we did was, with our wooden shoes, to break the wooden slats from the blinds in the small windows, to give us a little more air. We deposited all our bread rations in one corner as far away as possible from the latrine. One woman was assigned to distribute the bread. Next, we divided our group in three sections of 27 women to take turns in standing, sitting and stretched out on the floor. Now we had a plan and we felt a little more in control. The train started moving slowly. It felt as if the Lord stretched his arms out over us with a blessing when two young women softly started singing the Dutch version of: 

Abide with me, fast falls the even tide.
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

And the fourth verse:

I fear no foe with thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.

Where is death’s sting? where, grave, they victory?
I triumph still if thou abide with me.

More and more women in our car and along the track joined in.

Mad Tuesday in Hilversum

In the first week of September, Rennie Arendt (the other Nazi Mastmakers’ daughter) was told by the German authorities in Hilversum to pack her suitcases and be ready for evacuation to Germany. A special train stopped in Hilversum on September 5, “Mad Tuesday”. Rennie and her two sons climbed aboard. Georg was then fourteen and Gerard was nine. Uncle Jentje brought them to the station and he had an address for them of an acquaintance in Neumünster, Holstein, not far from where they had lived in Holtenau.

Three railway wagons were painted with red crosses and filled with wounded German soldiers. Just before crossing into Germany, the train was attacked by two American Thunderbolts. All the windows were broken, there were several casualties, and many injured. Rennie was cut by the shattered glass. When Georg, years later, had a tooth pulled the dentist also removed a matchbox full of glass splinters from his cheekbone. Gerard escaped the attack without a scratch.  

En de Nederlandse versie uit “De Mastmakersdochters”:

39 Dolle Dinsdag in kamp Vught

Op de Michelin fabriek, waar ik zat met een honderd lotgenoten, hoorden we van het vaste fabriekspersoneel dat de Engelsen in aantocht waren vanuit België. Wij raakten ook in feeststemming en we zongen ons repertoire van, meest zelf gedichte, liedjes. Liedjes die we stiekem zachtjes in de barakken zongen, als de Aufseherinnen niet in de buurt waren. Maar nu lieten de bewakers ons onze gang gaan. We werden steeds moediger en het leek wel of hoe harder we zongen de banger de vijand werd. Een van de Communisten zette de “Internationale” in en daarna werd het “Wilhelmus” uit volle borst gezongen. Er heerste paniek in de fabriek. Gasmaskers werden in kisten verpakt. Complete productiemachines werden gedemonteerd en in klaarstaande spoorwagons geladen. Ten slotte verdwenen ook de Duitse bedrijfsleider en zijn ploeg in de trein, onder ons luid gejoel. Er was voor ons niets meer te doen in de fabriek. De bewakers brachten ons terug in de barakken. Die avond vloog een stel R.A.F.-jagers laag over. De laatste twijfel werd hier mee weggevaagd.

Later in de avond werden we in allerlei soorten van vervoer van onze fabriek barakken naar het kamp Vught gereden. Het was laat en de gevangen waren al in slaap. Er waren geen lege kribben dus we moesten maar hier en daar bij een al slapende vrouw inkruipen, tot ergernis van de uit de slaap gewekte lotgenoten. Maar al gauw waren we allemaal wakker en bleek het dat wij, van buiten het kamp, al veel meer wisten van de haast waarmee de vijand aan het afdruipen was. Dus werd er druk heen en weer aan de euforie deelgenomen. En van slapen kwam niet veel meer. Tegen 12 uur, de volgende dag, kregen we een warme maaltijd uit de SS-keuken en weer koffie met suiker. Het was nogal doorzichtig wat de opzet van de verbeterde verzorging was. De Duitsers wilden de indruk achterlaten aan de bevrijders dat het toch niet allemaal zo slecht geweest was in kamp Vught.

De atmosfeer werd steeds feestelijker. Het geluid van de kanonnen van onze bevrijders werd bij het uur duidelijker te horen en klonk als muziek die het feest opluisterde. De bewakers en Aufseherinnen waren in de achtergrond weggeslonken en als er een zich in onze barakken waagde dan was dat met een overdreven vertoon van vriendelijkheid. Er werd niet meer gewerkt en we kregen allemaal koffie met suiker uit de SS-keukens en we konden ongestoord een sigaretje opsteken. We begonnen ons een beeld te vormen hoe we met onze geliefden weer zouden verenigd worden. Adressen werden uitgewisseld, we moesten in contact blijven.

Er bestond geen twijfel dat de Geallieerden in de aanstaande uren voor de deur zouden staan en dat de Duitse vijand op de knieën was gebracht. En we wisten dat onze bewakers aan het pakken waren en spoedig op de vlucht gingen.

We konden nu ook regelmatig geweervuur horen dat uit de richting van het aangrenzende mannenkamp kwam. Wij concludeerden dat dit al gevechten waren met onze bevrijders. Maar de vrouwen die hier al langer zaten wisten wel wat dat betekende. Dat geweervuur kwam van de fusilladeplaats. Na het salvo volgde een enkel schot, het genadeschot. Daaraan konden wij optellen hoeveel er geëxecuteerd werden. 142 mannen werden die laatste dagen voor Dolle Dinsdag vermoord.

Maar bij het afzwakken van het geschut van onze bevrijders zakte onze hoop en onze verwachtingen. Het geweervuur van de executies was ook afgelopen. “Het zal wel een pauze in het gevecht zijn”, dachten we. Maar met de uren zonder nieuwe tekenen van de bevrijding begrepen we dat het misschien toch wat te onrealistisch was dat de geallieerden optrokken om onze paar duizend gevangenen in het dichtstbijzijnde concentratiekamp te bevrijden. Ze hadden waarschijnlijk belangrijkere doelen op het oog.

Die avond waren we weer terug op hetzelfde vieze zure brood en de koffie was weer dezelfde bruine drab zonder suiker. De feestvreugde wisselde in teleurstelling en grote bezorgdheid voor wat de volgende dagen zouden brengen

40 Naar onbekende bestemming

De volgende morgen, woensdag 6 september moesten we in de vroegte allemaal aantreden op de appèlplaats. Iedereen kreeg een deken en een stuk brood daarna werden we afgemarcheerd naar het kamp spoorweg depot. Een lange rij veewagons strekte zich op het spoor uit. De mannelijke gevangenen waren al in de voorste wagons geladen.

Wij, ongeveer 100 vrouwen van de Michelin fabriek, uit een totaal van rond 650 vrouwelijke gevangen, hadden ons al zoveel mogelijk bij elkaar gegroepeerd en kwamen voor het merendeel in dezelfde veewagon terecht. Toen de bewakers er 82 van ons in de wagon geperst hadden werden de houten schuifdeuren gegrendeld en we hoorden ze een ketting aanbrengen en het klikken van een slot.

We realiseerden ons dat we, in een veewagen bestemd voor het vervoer van maximaal zes paarden, als 82 vrouwen makkelijk verstikken konden of onder de voet gelopen worden. Het eerste dat we deden was met onze klompen de houten horren latjes uit de venstertjes te slaan, dat gaf ons wat meer lucht. Alle broodrantsoenen werden in een hoek opgestapeld, zo ver mogelijk weg van de latrine kan. Een van de vrouwen nam op zich verantwoordelijk te zijn voor het rantsoeneren van het brood. Drinkwater was er helemaal niet. Daarna hebben we onze groep in drie secties verdeeld die afwisselend, stond, zat of zich uitstrekken kon.

We hadden nu op zijn minst een plan en voelden ons wat minder onmachtig onder de omstandigheden die ons te wachten stonden. Het was alsof God zegenend zijn handen over ons uitstrekte toen in het donker twee meisjes zachtjes begonnen te zingen:

Blijf bij mij, Heer[2], want d’ avond is nabij.
De dag verduistert, Here, blijf bij mij!
Als and’re hulp m’ ontbreekt, geluk m’ ontvliedt,
der hulpelozen hulp, verlaat mij niet!

En het prachtige vierde couplet:

Geen vijand vrees ik, als Gij bij mij zijd,
tranen en leed zijn zonder bitterheid.
Waar is, o dood, uw schrik, graf, waar uw eer?
Meer dan verwinnaar blijf ik in de Heer

En het koor zwol aan. We hadden van elkaar al veel teksten uit het hoofd geleerd. Van mijn zingende moeder kende ik veel psalmen en gezangen.

38 Dolle Dinsdag in Hilversum

Rond de eerste september 1944 kreeg Rennie Arendt-de Vries te horen van de Duitse overheid dat ze voor haar en haar twee zonen ieder een koffer moest pakken en zich gereedhouden voor evacuatie naar Duitsland. Op “Dolle Dinsdag” 5 september 1944 kwam een speciale trein vanuit Den Haag, via Amsterdam die ook in Hilversum stopte.

Georg was toen veertien en Gerard negen. Het drietal werd door “de Baron” naar het station gebracht. Hij had ook een adres voor hen van een Hilversummer die hij kende en die in Neumünster, Holstein werkte als buschauffeur. Niet ver van Holtenau, waar Rennie opgegroeid was.

De speciale trein werd getrokken door een Nederlandse locomotief, een lange rij wagons, drie ervan waren beschilderd met grote rodekruizen voor gewonde Duitse soldaten. Net voor de Duitse grens werd de trein bestookt door twee Amerikaanse Thunderbolts. Alle ruiten waren kapot, er vielen doden en veel van de passagiers liepen verwondingen op. Rennie zat vol glassplinters, Georg vertelde jaren later dat de tandarts in 1984, samen met een kies, een luciferdoosje vol glassplinters uit zijn kaak haalde. Gerard had geen enkel schrammetje opgelopen.

Uit het Dagboek van Dick van Ommen, de echtgenoot van Rennie:

4 September 

Geallieerde troepen de Hollandse grens overschreden. 

5 September “Dolle Dinsdag”

Wilde geruchten, ze zijn in Breda, Dordrecht, Rotterdam, den Haag, Leiden. De dokter kwam vertellen dat het van Jaap wel diphtherie was, nu mogen de jongens niet meer naar school, vanavond om 8 uur binnen zijn. Vught zou vrijgegeven zijn.

6 September 

Geen nieuws, het gerucht van al die steden blijkt onwaar te zijn. Het bericht dat de gevangenen uit Vught vrij zijn wordt steeds hardnekkiger, ik informeer overal, het schijnt dat er wel een deel naar Duitsland gevoerd is. Met Den Bosch kon ik gisteren geen telefonische verbinding meer krijgen. Veel geschoten in de stad.

 8 September 

Het gerucht dat Vught bevrijd is blijkt onwaar te zijn, van iemand gehoord die Dinsdag ontslagen is dat allen naar Duitsland zijn overgebracht een droevig bericht, ik vind het erg naar.

2] De Nederlandse versie van het: Abide with me; fast falls the eventide


August 19th The making of a new family member and new friend in IJlst, Friesland.

Written by Jack van Ommen on August 22nd, 2023

I finally met a distant cousin today in IJlst Friesland. We have a Great-great-great Grandfather in common. Six generations removed. (In het Nederlands Oudovergrootvader) His name is Eeltsje Durk de Vries, one year younger than me.

It all started, over 75 years ago, with a paragraph in a letter from my maternal grandfather’s oldest sister, Gepke de Vries, where she wrote about Sybolt Ottes de Vries, born in 1769: “Hun huwelijk werd gezegend met tien kinderen, maar toen er vier geboren waren begon Napoleon een nieuwe oorlog en moest Sybolt Ottes de Vries tot aller spijt, ten strijde trekken, maar hij kwam, toen de strijd beëindigd was, behouden terug na veel doorstaan te hebben”. Translation: “Their marriage was blessed with ten children, but Napoleon started a new war after the fourth child was born,   to everyone’s regret Sybolt had to take up arms, but when this fight was over, he returned safely after having endured many hardships”.

I did not read this carefully and had always assumed that our forefather was fighting against Napoleon. I discovered my misinterpretation when I spent Holy Week on the island of St. Helena on my sail from Capetown to Brazil, in 2007. There was a complete library on Napoleon’s life and battles on the island and I discovered that Sybolt Ottes de Vries had been drafted in the disastrous expedition to Moscow in 1812.

Their fourth child, Poite, was born in 1811 and it is most likely that Sybolt Ottes de Vries was part of the 25,000 Dutch troops that were drafted to fight the Russians in the ill-fated expedition to Moscow in 1812. Only ten percent of Napoleon’s 600,000 soldiers returned from this battle. More than one million people died in total including those casualties of the “Grande Armée”. Most of these soldiers and civilians alike died not only in the fighting, but also from starvation, exhaustion, and the sub-freezing cold of the 1812-1813 Winter. Typhus killed more of Napoleon’s troops than those who died at the hands of Russian defenders.

In 2007 I did not write a blog yet, but I did post a report after each section of the voyage and this report on the crossing of the South Atlantic was read by the oldest son of Eeltsje (the report is still available on this website at: . We met for the first time in 2011 when I was in Europe on “Fleetwood”.

Sybolt Ottes was raised in Woudsend in a mastmaker’s family. He decided to move to the saltwater port of De Lemmer. A younger son of Sybolt Ottes, (brother of Jan Siebolts born in 1807 the great grandfather of my mother) started a mastmaker shop in IJlst. Besides mastmaking the IJst branch also made ice skates, for which IJlst became the Frisian center. There are records in the bookkeeping of the family where the de Lemmer store bought ice skates from their cousins in IJlst. Eventually the IJlst family became more involved in the sawn softwood lumber trade to the farmers and eventually most of the building contractors in the area bought their needs from Houthandel de Vries. When Eeltje joined the family firm he diversified from softwoods into hardwoods. He gained his experience by working for hardwood importers and one of them was Maatschappy de Fijnhouthandel in Amsterdam, where I was an apprentice in 1955/1956. He retired after selling a very successful large distribution company to Pont-Meyer in Heerenveen.

l.r. Carol de Vries 1942 full cousin, Eeltje de Vries 1938 my new cousin, Wiepke de Vries, son of Eeltje

Sawmill frm 1770 “The Rat” now a working museum


The waterway from Sneek to Stavoren, I used this in 2010 on Fleetwood





In background the museum “IJlst Houtstad” translates “Woodcity”, appropriate for both of us having made a living in the international wood business











A one minute video of the sawmill working.


Some of this may already be familiar because there is an anecdote connected to the IJlst de Vries branch of the family that I discovered through one of those one in a million coincidental meetings. This happened in San Diego a few days before the November 1st start of the 2016 BAJA-HA-HA sailboat rally to Cabo San Lucas. One of the boats was the “M” of John and Maggie Stienstra from the S.F. Bay area. Both his parents had emigrated from IJlst to California by way of Canada. His mothers parents, the Woudstras, had taken in a Jewish baby girl, Mia, born in 1940. Her parents were murdered in Sobibor. An aunt took her to Israel at war’s end. One day Mia contacted a t.v. program in Holland and showed an old picture of her foster family looking to re-establish contact. John’s uncles responded. The story can be seen at A newspaper article in Dutch 

Read more details in my October 29, 2016 post at:

I reported this meeting to the son of Eeltsje de Vries and then found out that Mia lived next door and was two classes below him in the same elementary school. This photo shows Mia Levy-Lakmaker around 1943 darting in the viewfinder of the camera recording the laying of the first stone for a new Lumber warehouse at the the buisiness of the de Vries family. Looks like she stole the show by the reactions of the crowd. Eeltsje, my new cousin, is the blond boy with his parents and grandfather behind them.

Mia around 1943

I made decent progress on the boat this week. The teak has been replaced on the deck and next will be caulking the seams and sanding it level with the old deck. A new skill learned, Never thought I’d be able to bend the curves.deck


Sunday July 23rd Extending my Zaandam visit through the 28th. 

Written by Jack van Ommen on July 23rd, 2023

I had booked 4 weeks that ended on Friday. But did not get the job done yet. I was able to stay another week in the same yard shed at Klaas Mulder Watersport.

I had promised that I would post the size of the rot repair once I had opened up the wounds. But it is only after these 4 weeks that I can give an estimate of it. I feel confident that this extra week will finish the need to be under cover. She should be closed up and I can take a breather and not have to always have a tarp over the boat. But there will still work to be done back in the water in Amsterdam.

The rot ended up practically all on the starboard side at all but the most forward stanchion bases and both starboard and port pushpit bases.

one of the stanchion bases

starboard stern

what this stern corner looked like on purchase. Neatly hidden under the paint and putty.

Starboard stanchion post. Notice the white epoxy filler just attached to the rotten plywood. This is most likely an older “fix” than the seller did.

Port stern corner




I cut out 8 foot by 5 inch of the outer edge of the starboard deck, and replaced the entire deck width, about 6 feet of the rest of the aft starboard deck. And I cut down as far as a foot of the hull below the lifeline stanchions. I scarfed in new 3/8” thick of the same Okoume marine plywood.

Yesterday I was fitting in the deck replacement and just could not figure out why there was not enough space left to glue on the teak deck strips. Turned out that the original deck is 3/8”  (10 mm) and I had measured it as 12mm. A difference of just under 1/8”. But it would not give me enough room to match the new teak strips. I made this 8 foot up from 3 lengths and had the 6 scarf joints made up. Because of the bow in the deck it would take a large panel to cut this much width out of it.

the 8 foot deck edge removal

the repairs scarfed in the hull

It would add more than a day to start anew with 3/8” plywood.

So far, I have not needed to purchase any plywood or boat lumber. I had a good stock of ½ and 3/8 inch marine plywood remnants from  last year’s bottom repair. I, or better the crooked seller,  got lucky, I also did not need to purchase the solid wood for the gunwhale which was glued to the upper rim of the deck and in the removal split apart. I had a square of clear Meranti left over from which we made the backing plate on last year’s bottom repair.

A very kind man, René, was recommended by the yard boss here. He is close by and has a boat building shop on the water at his home. He has every latest wood working machinery, sawing, planing, sanding I can dream of. He split the square at an angle to get the size I needed with a 22mm top and about 12 mm bottom. I need to install this first because the new deck extends over the 22mm edge.

And I just talked to Rene and he will sand the ½” pieces down to 3/8” to rescue me on yesterday’s bad discovery. I plan to do the teak strips back in Amsterdam. They were originally 6 mm (1/4”) but have been sanded/worn down to 4 mm and less. The toe rail was screwed and glued to the guwhale and also broke in bits. I will worry about it in Amsterdam.

It has been a rough job and probably a bit above my pay grade. To measure and cut some of these many angled pieces. As an example the corner post on the stern had four different angles on the sides and slopes on the top and bottom. Lots of trial and error. But I have become a pro in comparison to last year’s training by Robert Skagen to make the scarf joints and now 4 times faster.

The yard is family run, father and son. Very nice friendly well organized. No showers. So, I wash in the boat, rinsing with cups of water standing in the bilge and then removing the water with my wet-dry vacuum. It is very quiet here at night in comparison of the noise in Amsterdam right next to a freeway. But miss the club socializing. The Sunday service is my weekly social treat. The Saint Bonifacius church is reasonably well attended. Quite a few Indonesians, Filipinos and Vietnamese. The Indonesians, to me are as similar to the Filipinos as the French Polynesians to the Hawaiians.

And I quickly have to correct my self if I wish the Indonesian Mabuhai or the Filipino Selamat Pagi.

The pastor is from Perala but the priests rotate between the 4 parishes in the Zaandam district. So do the choirs. Two weeks ago it was a special treat. A soprano solo sang Mozart’s Ave Verum and a baritone Panis Angelicus.

It was the Slavery memorial day and prior to the service the organist played Amazing Grace when the choir rehearsed. I quickly looked up the lyrics on my phone. Would not miss this opportunity. But, it ended up as an organ instrumental only, very nice, jazzed up. The Neo-Gothic building was completed in 1900, this picture shows one of the large stained glass windows and you will see below it part of one of the 14 Stations of the cross. They are done by the very same artist as the ones I showed in my Good Friday post in the much older Saint Nicholas church in Amsterdam.

Saint Bonofacius church

Zaandam is a village compared to Amsterdam. The people are even friendlier. On my first grocery shopping I had a young man lift my shopping basket onto the cashier’s conveyor belt and then when I bagged them another customer lifted my shopping bag up to the bagging level while I stuffed my bag. I miss home (which one Jack?) but I enjoy the kindness and genuine interest the average Dutchman has for total strangers.

I am slowly getting over my depression from the disappointment on the miserable response on the effort to help out my friend Ken. A few more donations came in.

The article in the June “Zeilen” magazine, that promoted me to sailing celebrity status can now be read at 


One side benefit is that there has been a very nice surge in “SoloMan” book sales, through this article. You should be able to use a language translator to get the major lines of the story.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and say a prayer for your friend while he is atoning for his past sins.



June 9 2023. Two weeks delay in departure for Zaandam

Written by Jack van Ommen on June 9th, 2023

I was all set to depart today, for the deck repair in a covered spot in Zaandam. But doing a last-minute check, an hour ago, I learned that I had no reservation after all. I had responded to their offer for four weeks from now and sent a follow up two weeks ago.

But the problem was that the subject of the continuation of the correspondence was based on last year’s change of plans when I had arranged to come to Zaandam for the bottom repair. But the leak was becoming an emergency and the YC here in Amsterdam was able to lift me out right away with their travellift. So, the subject in Outlook was still “Cancellation” and they did not read further. Lesson learned…

From May 15th , when I went back into the water, there has not been a drop of rain, I could have done most of the deck repair without having to cover the boat constantly, like before May 15. This long high-pressure period, with strong cold N.E. winds blowing from Siberia is due to change for low pressure from the west bringing in wet weather from the Atlantic Ocean.

On the 12th of June I will have used up my 90 Schengen days, from my March 14th arrival. I had all my fingers printed and passport photos taken on May 25th and I am supposed to hear back on my residential permit by June 27th.

In the June issue of “Zeilen, the most read Dutch sailing monthly, is a four pages article written by Michiel van Straten about me. I believe, I am his second or third target under the heading “Unknown Celebrities”. It’s about time that I get some respect for bungling my way around the globe.

The header of the article:

Dat faillissement is het beste wat mij ooit is overkomen.” Jack van Ommen
heeft in zijn leven flink wat tegenslagen gehad. Hij leed met zijn Fleetwood
meerdere malen schipbreuk, kende teleurstellingen in de liefde en verloor
een dochter. Desondanks staat de solozeiler zeer positief in het leven.
“Dankzij mijn geloof in God vaar ik nooit alleen.”


I discovered a few things that I was not aware of but I am very pleased with the way Michiel describes what drives me, much better than I could put it in words. I like as many as possible to know that you can pursue an active life after retirement and with limited means. He explains the importance of my Faith and gratitude for the free gifts I enjoy every day.

It has already brought in a number of new customers for “SoloMan” and blog followers. It also puts a couple more arrows in my quiver when reckoning comes for the unexpected hidden boat defects expenses. The seller earns his living from the people who read “Zeilen”.

I will attempt to translate the article into English, now that I have some extra time before the real work starts.

I sang with the large choir at the Pentecost service.

The Missa Princeps Pacis from A. Lloyd Webber was used for the liturgy, Entrance Song: Veni Creator Spiritus – Cl. Casciolini, Veni Sancte Spiritus (Gregorian), HALLELUIA by Mawby, Offertory: Tantum Ergo in Es – Franz Schubert, Communion: Ubi caritas et amor – O. Gjeilo, Recession: Jubilate Deo (KV 117, part 3 from Benedictus sit Deus) by W.A. Mozart.

Many a large congregations would be tempted to commit venial sins to have a building like the Sint Augustinus church, a pastor like Ambro Bakker, magnificent organ and organists, the L.K.P. and the other 4 choirs of this church. But the neighborhood does not seem to have a need for it. Maybe there will be another opportunity, God forbid for the victims, Deo Volente for the near empty churches, like 9-11, when the churches had standing room only for a short spell.

Last Tuesday, I attended a presentation of a new book, at the same Saint Augustinus church. It was the biography of the architect who designed this church which was built in 1935. The architect Jan (Johannes Martinus) van Hardeveld 1891-1953. The same generation as my father 1898-1956. He was also not well known. But the presentation revealed that he should also be a Celebrity. It was the period of the Amsterdamse School and Modernism, Bauhaus, etc. Van Hardeveld met his future wife, a Bretonne, when studying and working in France. He faced a similar predicament as I did in 1959. Skiing at Mammoth Mountain in the spring of 1958, I ended in a double seat chairlift with a total stranger. I worked fast on a long ride. I told her I was a Christian, well, so was she. She was Roman Catholic and raised Christian Reformed I attended the Presbyterian church. I suggested a cheap date: “Maybe you can come sometime to my church and I’d like to see your church” Joan answered: “You can come see my church, but I am NOT going with you to your church”. The woman always wins. And it turned out that the author, Mart Franken, of the biography is also a convert like me and Jan van Hardeveld.

I met the grandson Annick and Jean Martin (French version of his grandpa’s name). Annick is named after her aunt. The aunt was the very last of the Dutch women couriers to be murdered on the very last day of the 2nd World War. She was 21 years old. Born in 1923. She is the last of the total of 11 female Dutch resistance members executed during the second world war.

She is mentioned with the 11 in my book “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”. The best known of these 11 is Hannie Schaft who was executed two weeks before war’s end by Maarten Kuiper, the same Dutch Nazi butcher who arrested my father on April 4, 1944 and 4 months later was part of the SD patrol that arrested the Frank Family. He is one of the few Dutch bad guys who was death sentenced and executed by the Dutch justice.

Staying on the subject, I am reading a new book “The Watchmaker’s Daughter”.

Title inspired by my book “The Mastmakers’ Daughters” ?? A well-known American author, Larry Loftis, who is expanding on Corrie ten Boom’s story “The Hiding Place”. My research that came up with the 11 names was prompted by the part in “The Hiding Place” that claims that all the women her age were gassed after she had been discharged from Ravensbrück concentration camp. This was grossly inaccurate, it never happened. The book also gave a count of 700 men being executed just before the evacuation of camp Vught on September 6th 1944, where our mother was part of. The real number was 170. My book gives more details of these errors. This new book has the number at 180 but has left the outrageous claim of the murder of her companions a week after her release. And he has added a few of his own.

An example: that 140 resistance men from the Haarlem area, were executed as a reprisal for the killing of two Germans, in October 1943. And that there was an aerial battle over Camp Vught on August 23rd, 1944, with thousands of allied airplanes. The D-day forces had not reached Paris yet on that day. The eye witness reports for my book have none of that, other than one spotter plane coming to take a look. They could hear artillery fire from the British attempt to secure the port of Antwerp in the last days before the camp was evacuated on September 6th. I’m not half way through the book yet. Not until the battle of Arnhem from September 17 until the 26th, might a the description be attributal to. Corrie and her American ghost writers can be excused for some of her inaccuracies, no Google searching then, Camp Ravensbrück remained behind barbed wire in the German East Zone until 1989 and has since become more accessible.

This was my Culture Vulture week. It started with another new book presentation  at the Atheneum book store in Haarlem, just around the corner from the Beje, the ten Boom watchmaker shop. Frits van Oostrom presented his newest publication.

Many versions of this 13th century poetic fable exist. This is definitely one of the most complete reference work and interpretation. His talk was fascinating. What I got out of it was that in order to bring some order back in our judicial system in the United States you must learn to think like this Reynaert. Incredible the complex strategist this fox was. Oostrom has even come up with an intricate diagram of the steps involved of talking yourself outof the gallows and get away with making a fool outof the accuser. I was invited because my name is mentioned in his book. For those of you who have read “The Mastmakers’ Daughter” the youngest son, Gerard Arendt, of the “other” the Nazi Mastmaker’s Daughter Rennie de Vries, earned his doctorate on the same subject and his work and life is a major part of this book. Jan de Putter a younger student of the same midieval literature at the University of Leiden found the references in my book and shared his discoveries with me and Frits van Oostrom.



For Sale my Retro Treasures retrieved from “Fleetwood III”

Written by Jack van Ommen on May 26th, 2023

This equipment might be of interest to collectors. They are all in working condition before I removed these. Most are from the late eighties and early nineties. I believe the TV is newer, but I have not owned a TV since 1998 and have worser addictions.













I am inviting any offfers on all or part of it. I have it also listed on Marktplaats. Dit is aftehalen bij Watersportvereniging “Amsterdam” Punterspad 15 1081KJ aan het Nieuwe Meer.

Here are the details:

Retro Zeilboot apparatuur van eind 80 begin 90 jaren, nog in werkende conditie.

  • 22×30 cm T.V. “FLATTV” AC 220 V PHILIPS Model 15PF412/01, SAMSUNG-KPN SMT-1000T Digital AC Terrestriai Receiver met VCR en TV KPN Masttop antenne 14 mtr kabel Samsung-KPN en Philips afstandbediening en set KPN/Funke binnenantennen DVB-2
  • Philips FM-AM auto Radio met cassettespeler Model 22RC459/30
  • CD-6 DISC PHILIPS Changer RC 027 12 V Model 22RC027/50B
  • SAILOR SSB kortegolf ontvanger R2022
  • SAILOR Marifoon RT2048
  • AIS-2 responder San Jose Navigation, Inc VHF-GPS
  • Set of BM AUDIO 12 V Surround Stereo Speakers Model PR-222 12 Volt



May 15 ’23 “Fleetwood III” is afloat again.

Written by Jack van Ommen on May 15th, 2023

“Fleetwood” is afloat again, as of last Friday. It was love at first site, a year ago, but the subsequent honeymoon lasted less than a week when I discovered the leaks and shortly after the hidden defects of the rot in the bottom panels. I’m glad that is done and that I am on the water again and don’t have to climb a ladder and away from steady noise of the freeway traffic. And Spring has finally Sprung this weekend, after a long, cold, rainy start.

But there is still more work to be done with the many leaks in the deck. I had a tarp on it while on the hard. And I cannot risk working in the open with the rainy Dutch climate. I have reserved a shed at Klaas Mulder in Zaandam from June 9th for 4 weeks. I can do some work before here on the Nieuwe Meer in Amsterdam. But I also hope to catch up with friends and family, get some dental work done, etc. I have an appointment to get my passport picture taken and fingerprinted on May 25th for my residence permit; this will solve the problem of the maximum 90 days stay for non-Schengen passport holders.

Now, let me get on with what you have been looking for: the response to my appeal to you to help Ken House, in my last blog. A whopping number of four American friends and one Dutch friend responded. Not sure what went wrong. Did the other 495 family/friends figure that there were enough others to chip in?

We managed to help Ken with a month rent. Not sure where the next month will come from. I’ll keep the page open for a while longer and the option to get a book gifted at:

Much has happened since my last report of March 20th.

I had another memorable Lent and Easter experience here in Amsterdam. Some of the outstanding memories of Easter are starting my voyage from Santa Barbara in 2005 at the magnificent old Franciscan Mission, where Lisa, our first born, was baptized in April 1964; in 2006 in Hanoi, 2007 with the Anglicans on Saint Helena, 2011 in Amsterdam and a week later, on the Orthodox calendar, on the Greek Island of Chios, 2020 in the French West Indies on Saint Martin.

From my arrival in Amsterdam until a month ago when I was allowed to take up housekeeping again on “Fleetwood”, I was the guest of my 5-year younger cousin Carol de Vries who lives in the oldest section of Amsterdam in a 425 year old building. I could walk to the old Saint Nicholas Basilica. A magnificent church with a great choir and organ.  I walked the 14 stations of the cross there on Good Friday. This church happens to have some of the largest depictions of the stations on both walls.

On Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday, I sang with the large “Cantemus Domimum” choir of the Saint Augustin church. This was one of best settings to welcome Christ’s Resurrection, ending with Handel’s Messiah Halleluia chorus.

The annual liberation of concentration camp Dachau was held on April 22 at the monument in the “Amsterdam Forest” near where I am on the boat. This was the first time that not a single one of the survivors is left. Over the years I have seen the survivor attendance shrink. There are just a couple of the U.S. liberators alive but not capable to attend any longer. The U.S. consul in Amsterdam has not laid a wreath any longer since before Covid, as it used to be their annual contribution. The German delegation still does. My niece, Jozina, visiting from Australia for her brother’s 65th birthday party, attended with me. I have no pictures, I did not have my SD card in my Nikon and the ones I took on my pone are in the repair shop.

Every Wednesday evening, since my arrival, there was choir rehearsal, for Holy Thursday and Easter and for the May 4, 2nd WW Memorial Day concert. The main portion was Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem mass, the Hymn “Abide with me” and the English version of Mendelsohn’s “Hear my Prayer”. In 2not 016 “Abide with me” was sung with parts of my mother’s story being read, between the verses, about how the 650 Dutch political prisoners started singing the Dutch version after the cattle cars started rolling to one of the worst NAZI concentration camps, when the allied forces approached the Dutch concentration camp. (see This time three high school juniors read war memory stories. Here is the link to the sound and some part of the performance of  “Hear my Prayer”  . In the last picture you’ll be able to find my white haired head in the left back row.

May 4th by Veronica Tummers

I am the oldest choir member. Fortunately, two of the three program pieces were familiar. It turned out well. I love to sing and all the rehearsing ends up with a great award shared with my choir friends and the director and musicians. I feel very blessed that I can still participate. At Pentecost the liturgy will be sung from Missa Princeps Pacis –from A. Lloyd Webber. And that might be the last time magnificent church, built in 1935, will be used and be mothballed due to the lack of attendance.

On April 29th, I completed a task that, at the last minute, I faked and kept it just between myself and Rose Marie’s Godparents. Our second oldest daughter Rose Marie passed away on June 2nd., 2019. She was baptized in Brussels in February 1968. Her ashes were distributed in many of her favorite places. But when I arrived at the church St. Pi X (Saint Pius the Tenth) in September, 2019, I did not have the small container in my backpack. So, we faked it (see

A day later, back in the Netherlands, I found it in my backpack after all.

The godmother, Yvette Claeys, assisted me again.

I walked that Saturday morning, just about the same route I used to bicycle to work in 1966 and 1967, when I worked in the European sales office for the Weyerhauser wood products division on Avenue Louise. We lived very close by this church until we moved into a beautiful small village south of Brussels, in Ittre. The picture shows the same bed of roses where I faked it in 2019. By coincidence the address of the church is Rue Roosendaal=Valley of the Roses street. This church has also lost too many of its flock and the services are rotated with a priest shared between the remnants of several churches in this part of the city. “Please, God, send us another Jonah!”

I rode from Amsterdam with my cousin Carol de Vries, who was my host since March 14th. His niece, Katinka, lives close to Avenue Louise and celebrated her 63rd birthday on that same Saturday. Katinka works for a Brussels based NGO helping less developed regions, in particular women’s health and social causes. Her Spanish husband works for the WHO. There were over a dozen different nationalities among Katinka’s party guests. A Canadian friend of Katinka and Joseph, Carla Huhtanen sang an opera aria and “TAKE CARE OF THIS HOUSE” from Leonard Bernstein musical “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue”. Very appropriate suggestion to the current occupants. This was a treat for me, like a throw back of the outstanding memories of the four years we lived in Belgium.

This Mothers Day weekend were the annual Spring sailing regattas held on the man-made lake here. The biggest fleet were the “Vrijheid” class. A stripplanked mahogany 17 foot day sailer. It was conceived in 1945, right after the end of the 2nd WW.  YC “de Schinkel” has the largest active fleet in Holland. Thirteen years ago “Fleetwood” was a long time guest at “de Schinkel” and I made lots of pictures of the 65 th anniversary regatta, see:

1421 get that chute up!

sailing Stradivarius

wild start

close up


March 20, 2023. Back home with “Fleetwood III” in Amsterdam.

Written by Jack van Ommen on March 21st, 2023

Happy Vernal Equinox!

Ten days ago, I said goodbye to my friends in and near Cape Charles, Virginia with whom I spent a month. My home by accident after my June 24 2017 shipwreck on the nearby Barrier Islands.

“Torn between two lovers (Pacific and Atlantic) Feeling like a Fool….”.

February 28th, I celebrated, with friends, my twin brothers’ 86th birthday. Lunch in Machipongo with Thelma and Laila and dinner at the Orzos. Jeannette and Ralph Orzo were the first friendships I made in Cape Charles and they became my introduction in the Saint Charles of Borromeo parish and their extended local circle and sailor friends.



My second oldest grandson David Leon came to Visit me from Portsmouth, Va. with his daughters Madison (nearly 14) and Lily (12) on March 5th.

V(an) O(mmen) Madison @ Lily Leon







Chris Johnson, who I met in the Cape Charles Marina in early 2021, was my host for the March 10 weekend in Kinsale, Va. We met because of my curiosity in Chris’ boat name “The Twin Brothers”. My very first boat name was “Gemini”. When I bought the boat in 1976, I happened to date another twin. Chris has a twin brother.

On my return from my summer 2021 cruise to the Block Island Sound, I visited Kinsale see:

On Saturday Chris had organized another get together with the Northern Neck YC. I gave another presentation. On my previous visit the local parish was still meeting in a temporary mission building and this Sunday we went to mass in the beautiful brand new church. For me this was an exciting event. The need for new churches is rare in America and even worse in the Netherlands. The growth in this rural farming area is due in part to the younger growing Spanish speaking immigration and retirees from the urban areas. As you will note in the pictures Father Heintz still faces the altar. Communion is still done on a kneeler and the host placed on the tongue, like in pre-Vatican Council 2 in 1965.

St. Paul’s Church in Hague, Va.

Father Heintz

And while on the subject of retro-worship, on the way from our service I took the picture of an Amish couple off to their Sunday meeting.

Amish buggy








Kinsale has a long history and I stayed in the RB&B above the country store overlooking the “The Slips” marina both operated by Annie the 6th generation of the founding Arnest generation.

Kinsale “The Slips” RB@B

On the subject of history, again, I am writing this from the apartment of my cousin Carol de Vries. In one of the oldest Amsterdam buildings, built between 1605 and 1610. The old painting shows where it once stood on the very edge of the saltwater Zuiderzee. The Central Station is built on a manmade island. Our grandfather and his family and mastmaker business moved here from Friesland in 1928.

Spanish Gable


Singel 2A 1948









The black and white photo dates from around 1948, when I was 11 and still clear in my memory. The gas pump on the left was hand operated. Note the pre 1953 V.W. beetle, with split rear window. The window washer’s ladder handcar. The access to the upper floors on the steep narrow stairs is precarious and an American liability lawyer’s dream. From the second story upward, the merchandise was always hoisted with block and tackle through the large floor level double doors. The Amsterdam firemen are prepared with special lift equipment.

A basket case

This picture shows my cousin being lowered when, last year, the stairs or the block and tackle were not an option. I did not have as many spectators when the coast guard evacuated me in a basket in the opposite directions, in 2017.


From where the black and white photo is taken, while I am writing this, the police is removing bicycles. Amsterdam is running out of bike parking. The next picture was taken om March 29 nine years ago. But this prized tourist shot, right outside the Central Station, has been sanitized this year. A new underground bike park for 7,000 bikes has just opened and another one for 4,000 bicycles on the harbor side of the station.

More bikes than Dutchmen

Underground parking

Spring Cleaning

Enlarged. In rear the St. Nicholas Basilica

I landed in Amsterdam on the 14th. The boat has survived the mild winter. But it is still in the forties and little sunshine so far. I have no prediction yet on the expected completion of the above the waterline repairs until I remove part of the deck. Once the winter on shore storage is back in the water, around mid-April, I will be allowed to stay on the boat on the hard.

Wednesday I had my first rehearsal with the large church choir for the Easter and most importantly the May 4th 2nd WW Memorial Day concert. We are singing with about 40 choir members and 20 guest singers Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem Mass and like in 2013 and 2016 (, “Abide with me” and the English version of Mendelssohn’s Hör Mein Bitten-Hear my Prayer.

On Saturday evening, I attended the High Mass here, across from the Central Station, in the Saint Nicholas basilica. This was on the occasion of the annual procession, the “Stille Ommegang”. In 1345 a miracle took place in the neighborhood and believers come from far and wide to make this pilgrimage to reflect in a solemn quiet procession. The church was packed and the two bishops in the photograph are from the Utrecht and Haarlem diocese. Amsterdam falls under the Haarlem diocese.

Yesterday was my oldest nephew’s 65th birthday, my sister’s son, Dirk Jan de Ruiter. His youngest sister arrived from West Australia on the same day as I did. She is an expectant grandmother. My three-year older sister’s first great grandchild. I have a 15-year jump on my sister and twin brother and expecting number 5 in august. It is all a question of diet and fresh air.

Dirk Jan de Ruiter and yougest son Lukas


Wishing all a reinvigorating Spring and continued blessings in Lent culminating in the celebration of the feast of the Resurrection.


Feb 21, ’23 Eighteen years to roam just to make this world my own.

Written by Jack van Ommen on February 21st, 2023

Feb 15 2005 Hi-Way 101 Oregon


Headed for the Frisco Bay. On Highway 101, February 2005.


I’m “sittin” on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay visiting friends in Cape Charles on the Virginia Eastern Shore, watching the tides roll away. I left my oldest daughter Lisa’s home in the North West the last day of January and visited my youngest son Seth in Roseburg, Oregon, my youngest daughter Jeannine in Redlands, California and my oldest son John in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The winter storms brought green hills and snowcapped mountains back to California and revived good memories of my first years in America in the late fifties.

Green hills and Mt. Baldy upper right

Mt. Baldy








Before leaving the N.W., I made a trip up to Vancouver, B.C. and friends north of Seattle. One of the visits turned out to be a good bye to my 51 years longest continuous friendship with Sid Nesbit. Sid passed away last Sunday. We met on a ski charter flight to Zurich in February 1972. I was with my Canadian friend Paul Girard and Sid with his wife to be Leslie. Somehow, we managed to rearrange our seat assignments for Sid and Leslie to sit next to each other on the 11 hour flight and to ski together in Lech am Arlberg. Sid got me back into sailing and as architect designed the three housed I built between 1977 and 1993. He’d fly in his float plane from Bellingham to the construction sites in Gig Harbor. In those years, I made weekly trips to Vancouver to purchase my wood products and usually I would overnight with Sid and Leslie on that 300-mile roundtrip, in their home on the Lummi Reservation near Bellingham. We shared many ski trips and sailboat trips and regattas. Sid was my best man in the last wedding in 1993. We will miss him but continue to treasure the blessings he added to our lives.

Sid 1993










Last April, just after my February 3rd shipwreck on the Cuban coast, while visiting my dayghter Lisa, I made new friends at St. Theresa church I attended in Federal Way. A young couple, Gabriel and Cate Lichten, who had recently moved there from Seattle continued their involvement with feeding the homeless. I asked to join while I was visiting and through it made some valuable new friendships. If you ever qualify and are homeless in Seattle check it out. Cate prepares meals that could make the Michelin ratings.

At Operation Nightwatch, Seattle. Lisa on left







I’m still on schedule to be back in Amsterdam in the later part of March to continue the repair on “Fleetwood III”. It is hard to estimate the time it will take. Only after removing part of the teak deck will I be able to determine what lays hidden under the deck.

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. The gift will be my fifth great-grand child expected in Scotland in early August. I’ve got a challenge now; it would be a great destination for a sea trial across the North Sea through the Caledonia Canal to Glasgow.

A sunset from the home of my hostess Susan Kovacs on Hungars Creek, Machipongo, Va.




December 5th 2022. Saint Nicholas Eve

Written by Jack van Ommen on December 7th, 2022

Merry Christmas


This is the day Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas goes around in Holland and makes sure all the good children receive a gift. The bad children get a spanking with the “gard”. Fortunately, I have always been good. You already knew that.

Today there was a package for me on the doorstep. A brand-new cellphone.

December 6th.  Well, yes finally after another day of long phone calls, I can be reached again by my old US phone number (ending in -7204). And I use Whatsapp on the same number.

It took exactly three weeks in the process of a zillion phone calls from Skype through inconvenient time zones and Asian call centers. Good thing robots are immune to my wishes for them. They’d screw up names, zip codes and I have to start the whole process all over. It took 10 days to establish that the phone I had bought in Amsterdam does not work in this country. Meanwhile there is no way, without a confirmation to my phone, to change dollars to euros in my Dutch account and I watch the dollar dropping, like the melting snow. (Meanwhile Dec 7. Insult on injury, after phone bouncing back an forth across the Atlantic, I find out that there never was any need for a phone. Ms. Kosten tells me how to do this online. Apparently the rest of her colleagues on the international desk are clueless of this. It would have saved me $ 100.12 in the exchange rate.)

Now I can begin making plans for friend/family visits and VA appointments. I’d like to start and try schedule a trip north from here to the Vancouver area from the 12th of December onward. Later south as far as Southern California.

And a visit in late January/February to Virginia before flying back to Amsterdam. Lisa will fly to the French Alps on December 23rd to have Christmas with the Scottish branch, her daughter Corrine, husband Euan and my great-grandson Spencer Wheatly. Lisa hostesses an early Christmas dinner on the 22nd here. Her son/my youngest grandson Tyler will be with us after his graduation from the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. We had a very nice small gathering with part of the local family for Thanksgiving Dinner.

“Fleetwood” has a new bottom and stands under a tarp on the hard at the W.V. “Amsterdam” in, you guessed it. My nephew Dirk Jan sent a picture yesterday showing all is well. I left Amsterdam on the 10th of November and flew from Hamburg via Frankfort to the North West, spending time with my twin brother and family near Hamburg. There is still much repair work hiding under the teak deck. With luck I’ll get some sailing in this summer. It is hard to imagine what prompted the seller to expect to get away with this kind of deception. I have a pile of bills to sort and evidence to arrange in a presentation.

In a warm home, visiting my daughter Lisa, I have been working on updating and improving my books. The E-books in Epub format have been a struggle to format compared to the Kindle Amazon format. This time the conditions allowed me to get them much easier to read. Check them out in both languages at and  The print versions have also been updated.

Because I could not make the boat repairs within the maximum 90 days stay under the West European Schengen countries rule, I applied for a residence permit. There was some apprehension if there might be a hassle on leaving Frankfort with a passport that clearly showed that I had overstayed my welcome. But I did have a letter from the Dutch immigration that I had a pending application. In the meantime, there is some positive news that native born Dutch may be able to obtain dual citizenship. Holland is one of the few Schengen countries that does not have this option. That would solve my problems for my remaining 15/20 years.

I had wonderful bright cold fall weather in Northern Germany and also the first ten days in the Northwest, we had snow twice but it has not lasted. My twin brother treated me and his gang to a superb East Indian dinner in Hamburg on Saturday, November 12th.

L.R. Sita 2006 daughter of Carl and Steffi, my twin Jan, Maren partner of Jacob, Jacob v O (my name sake) 1964, Catharina wife of Jan, Me, Carl v O 1966, Steffi








A loaded Plum Tree






The Christmas cactus is full of buds for a full bloom on the 25th. Started in 1973 from a good friend’s cutting .







I expect to give a presentation and book sale in Gig Harbor organized by the Gig Harbor Boat Shop. I’m available for any other opportunities after Christmas.

Just in case you support the idea that our voting system is foolproof, let me tell you about my experiences. In 2020, while living on the boat in Virginia, I requested King County to mail me my absentee ballot to the address of my daughter in Chesapeake, Virginia. Shortly after, I was caught in badmouthing my son in law and (rightfully) exiled. When close to the election I had not received my ballot, assuming revenge, I discovered that I was able to register in Virginia. Since my vote goes nowhere in urban Washington state anyway. Shortly after, my daughter texted that she had received my King County ballot. So, what kept me from using both ballots? You guessed it, because I wanted to get my Saint Nicholas present. Yes, they are supposed to check multiple votes by your SSN. Really?  So, for this midterm 2022 election, I requested an absentee ballot from Northampton County, Virginia, by e-mail, from Amsterdam. It was bounced as spam. My dear friend Susan Kovacs, who is a voter aide volunteer, interceded and passed them my ballot request. I mailed them back even though the system allows to do it by e-mail, but I did not want to take my chances, even though the County Registrar assured me that the problem with their fire wall had been fixed. Then on voting day November 8 they opened my ballot and found that I had omitted to include the witnessed signature page. So, I get an e-mail to “cure” the problem by November 14. It just so happened that the power was cut and the internet was down on the 9th and I departed Holland on the 10th and I had no access to a printer. My twin brother in Germany witnessed my signature and I e-mailed the form to the voting registrar on November 11. And sure enough, same spam notice. In anticipatian, I had copied my friend Susan. She was unable to handcarry it to the registrar, she was in Sri-Lanka. So, after all this effort, I was not ready to give up and put out an S.O.S. on Facebook to anyone in the Cape Charles area to pass my e-mail to the registrar. Well, so much for FB friends. Just to test the possibility that the Fire Wall was bullet proof for out of country e-mails, I sent a mail from here in the States and took out my URL’s, which can be a problem. Result, same spam bounce. So, my question is: How many other e-mailed absentee ballots bounced in tis county. I reported this to the new Republican congress woman. I have not heard back yet. So the moral of this rant is that I have my doubts about the foolproofness of our voting system and which side might have been cheated this time? I was, but so might have Elaine Luria.


Leaving my home to come home

Written by Jack van Ommen on October 13th, 2022

Or is it the other way around? According to the home port on Fleetwood’s transom, home is Gig Harbor, Washington, USA. But since Ash Wednesday 2005 my home has not been there but for two and a half years. She has spent more time in the Netherlands where her skipper was raised.

In my last blog I reported the major project to repair “Fleetwood III”. The replacement of most of the bottom is nearly done. I had hoped to have it completed by now because the temperature has dropped below the desired temperature for a proper cure of the epoxy. I had expected to have her back from the nearby “Amsterdam YC” to “de Schinkel” yacht club, floating. But now the boat will remain on the hard here for the winter.

I booked my return flight to Seattle-Tacoma yesterday, arriving on November 14th, in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. I’ll be staying with my oldest daughter, Lisa, for part of the winter and intend to visit California and Virginia before returning to finish the boat in the early spring. That is, if I will be let in to my native homeland. I have exceeded my allowable Schengen 90 days. My application for a residence permit, so far, has not had a response from the authorities.

Since late September, I have had the assistance in the repairs from Robert Scagen a veteran amateur wooden boat builder. The one part of the repair that gave me sleepless hours was how to join the lower plywood panel strakes above the bottom panel. This “Waarschip” multi chined construction is clinker-built (overnaads), just like roof tiles. So, the next panel up from the bottom, fits underneath the next panel above it and then the two panels are fastened together onto the chine (leger). This is particularly difficult to do from the bottom up. Robert came up with a way to keep the top 4” of the panel above the bottom (the main deterioration is just above the lowest chine) and to join the replacement with a two and a half inch backing plate. The backing plate is made up from 12 mm (1/2 inch) plywood and stiffened with a 15 mm mahogany wood strip on top of it. Another new challenge was how to make the scarf joint (las) to join the ends of the remaining strakes to the new plywood ends. I was able to use a ten-foot 5/8-inch panel for the bottom but the strakes above it required longer replacements and were scarfed from eight-foot panels. It is relatively simple with the right equipment to make the scarf joints in the shop but making these on the remaining parts in the boat was time consuming and tricky. The ¾ x 8” mahogany keel plate also had to be scarfed in once we had removed the bottom panel and the keel. Luckily, Robert also has all the skills to operate the fork lift, travel lift and crane at this yacht club during his more than 30-year membership and run the shop equipment. Without him I would not have had access to the many clamps we needed to glue the joints.

Part of the bottom removed

Keel being rehung. New bottom and rot, moisture readings in next panel

starboard panel mounting.

The interior backing strip













My next challenge will be to recover my expenses from the seller. If it comes to a court case, the judge might not have much compassion for the fact that I could have sailed away and gotten into serious distress, possibly fatal. I have plenty of pictures, samples and the ad which states that the boat was epoxied. But there is none to be found. This was the main reason of the rot from long standing water on the inside.

There will still be plenty to do after the boat is relaunched.

I will give a presentation of my adventure at “De Schinkel” YC on October 22nd.  I will visit my twin brother and his family near Hamburg from the 10th of November and fly from Hamburg on the 14th. I also expect to make a short visit to Brussels to meet up with Rose Marie’s godparents on the weekend prior.

I’d invite any interested parties in the Tacoma-Seattle area to make an appointment for one of my presentations and SoloMan book sales. I have an 18-minute slide show video of the best pictures of the 64 countries I have visited. There is an updated version of SoloMan for sale on the internet. The usual accumulated corrections and the updated Epilogue to include the February Cuban shipwreck and my current visit to the Netherlands.

It has been hard work and I have not had much opportunity to socialize other than with the members here at the “Amsterdam” YC.  The expectations were to have a ready to sail boat and returning to the Americas within the 90 day Schengen restriction. I am not so sure this boat will be up to it. Before I invest in solar panel, AIS, Windvane, life raft and offshore charting software, I’ll test sail her on the North Sea. I may end up setting shop as a wooden boat carpenter as my next career.

Last Sunday was a sad day for the parishioners of the Augustinus Church, where I have been attending from 2009, off and on. The diminishing attendance can no longer support the maintenance of this magnificent building. Several other nearby churches will also be consolidated in a church a 20 minute bike ride further away. Not certain what will happen to the large choir of which I was a member from 2012. This trend started years ago. The protestant church I grew up in was demolished and so was the R.C. church, in the nineties, in my neighborhood a few miles away from here. A similar trend is obvious in the time people reserve for their boats and with their club activities. This picture is of “Fleetwood I” in december 2009 at “de Schinkel”; I count 9 masts.

Where have all the sailboats gone?

Yesterday evening, I counted two masts in the same row. They have mostly gone to the “sloep” the open double ended motor launches that can hold many crates of Heineken and large speakers and are turned on with a switch. Or if they are still sailing they are in larger boats that do not fit in these slips. In this much larger club I count two sailboats. In 2009 half of the boats were sailboats. The youth program in Optimists and Lasers are not anywhere of what they used to be. People have no time, bicycle commuting has turned into a speed contest. Am I getting cynical in my old age?

Looking forward to see all the old and young friends, without masks and fears.