May 6th, 2010

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May 5. 65th anniversary of the end of World War II

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Tuesday evening, on the eve of the liberation from the Nazi occupation, a 2 minute silence is observed at 8 p.m. all over the Netherlands. Most communities gather at their town centers or specific war memorials to pay tribute to the victims of the war. I walked over to such a site, with my sister Karolien and my brother in law, Herman, near their home in Badhoevedorp. This year the main theme of both the commemoration on the 4th and the celebration on the 5th has been on “”Freedom””.

And so it was very fitting that the sailors of the “Vrijheid”  (= “Freedom”) class celebrated the day in style. The boat was conceived in 1945, another 65th anniversary. The largest fleet of them happens to be at the yacht club “De Schinkel” where I am guest moored. I was aboard Heino de Jong’s little tugboat “Peer” towing 5 of the 17 “Schinkel”” boats through the city to the Amsterdam seaport.  There were a total of 24 “Vrijheid”” boats at the starting line. That is about half of the active Dutch racing fleet. The majority of the boats are still in the original Mahogany strip planked, plywood decks, version. With just a few fibreglass boats. Before the three around the buoy races the fleet held an “”Ädmiraal Zeilen” parade sail by. The Admiral was the oldest member of the class organization, who sailed one of the very first “Vrijheid””s.

This evening there will be the weekly club race on the lake here and I am crewing on one of the “Vrijheid”s. Saturday I take the train to Hamburg to stay a few days with my twin brother and his wife. I have made arrangements to haul out at another yacht club, nearby, to paint “”Fleetwood”””s bottom at the end of next week.

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