June, 2022

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Sunday June 12, 2022 “Fleetwood III” will rise again

Sunday, June 12th, 2022

On Thursday, “Fleetwood” was demasted and hauled out at the WSV “Amsterdam” another yacht club like “de Schinkel”. I was getting a bit desperate; the water was coming in faster. Over a gallon an hour. I had to continuously suck it out with the wet-dry vacuum. Douwe, the harbor/yard manager, found me a nice spot outside, well protected from the midday sun. He had wanted me inside the shed and then I would not have been able to live aboard. Since the main job is the leak, it is better to be outside anyway. So, no need to tend to your cat in exchange for lodging.







The leak turns out to be two holes where the bolts have been removed at one time for un unexplained reason. And the yard, the seller of the boat, replaced part of an app. 1 ¼ x 5” strip of wood that runs from bow to nearly the stern but the bedding did not completely seal this area.

The bolt holes, in front and aft of the strut

The inside strut block

The top of the strut and hole












The two missing bolts were to mount the angled wood block, inside the hull, that holds the strut with the cutlass bearing. They should have been mounted through the hull. I had already determined that this was the location of the origin of the incoming water. But I needed to remove the diesel tank to get a good access to it. There is deterioration to that solid wood block, but this is caused by the two bolts that run through the block, horizontal and through the bronze strut. They are stainless steel and they are totally rusted because these two different metals do not like to be near water together. I will replace these with bronze bolts/washers/nuts. I had first thought that I might have to renew that block, but believe that it is repairable. And there does not appear to be any rot in the plywood hull except for a small spot on one side of the strut. The yard had filled this with a caulking which they had also used to replace the 1 ¼ x 5” exterior dead wood backing. In a way this simplified the job of removing their “fix”, with epoxy it would have pulled the hull plywood planking surface with it. The exterior part of the shaft stern tube also suffered from corrosion but that should be insulated by the cutlass bearing from the electrolysis in the shaft strut. I suspect that may have a similar cause of fasteners on the stern tube block. If the stern tube needs to be replaced. I will need to pull the shaft, more expense more time.

This leak problem could be fixed in a week. I also plan to fix the 3 or 4 life wire stanchion bases. This is tough to do wile the boat is in the water. They have rot and previous attempts have been poorly done.

This 1 ¼” backing board was screwed into the deadwood through the plywood hull. But in a few places the yard missed the deadwood and they are protruding through the inside of the plywood hull…..

The rudder shaft tube also appears to have some water weeping in. That could be a job. I had to drop the rudder on F.W. #2 in Cape Charles and had to dig a deep hole to drop it out of its tube. This here is asphalt.

So, as depressing as it sounds, I had visions of replacing section of the hull around the leak. I think this is not as bad as the repairs I faced in Ocean City, Md. and Cape Charles, Va. On F.W. II.

I will share these pictures and facts with the seller and I trust that he will make good on his work and product. But there is a lesson I learned here that I hope I will not need to myself off in the next 15 years of my long and blessed life.

Today is the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. I was privileged to attend the service at Saint Augustinus church, a 10-minute bike ride away and my temporary parish between 2009 and 2014. A beautiful brick building, of the very same vintage as your truly, 1937. But unfortunately, it is one of the many churches in Holland that will become extinct. It all started in the sixties/seventies. The church I was baptized and confirmed, the Christian Reformed Waalkerk built in the thirties could not sustain itself with the remaining worshippers and was demolished in 1989. The Roman Catholic church, nearby, the Thomas van Aquino kerk, was replaced with apartment buildings in 2004. In my earlier blogs, I wrote that most American R.C. parishes would kill for the facility, the pastor, the 5 choirs, the organ and its St. Joseph school. But the lack of financial support and the expensive of the old heating system makes it unsustainable and there will be a consolidation with other churches in the area. The list that is read of the recently deceased, at one time, parish members, is often almost as long as the number of  attendees. No children, mostly grey hair wit a sprinkling of families from Polish, Asian and Latino families.

When I was a teenager most of my cousins attended church, now just a few still do.

All I can say is to repeat the words my dear, wise and loving mother once wrote as I recorded in “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”:

This morning my thoughts drifted back to the winter in Dachau when I had managed to trade a pair of men shoes for the old shoes that were too small and hurting my feet. I nearly danced down the factory steps while thinking: “I am a child of God, there is nothing to be afraid of! Occasionally doubts confront me. Just the other day a friend said to me: “I wished I could be sure that it is all for real”. I wanted to bring up a cliché. Am I really that convinced? But then why did I sing this morning the familiar psalm 89 “Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound”? Is this just because of the way I was raised? No, I don’t think so: “I cannot live without you Lord, hold on to me””

I am a miserable sinner and need all the help I can get. And most will agree that I have been privileged with many blessings, ups and downs, but I have no regrets and have not missed a thing by spending time in God’s house, to the contrary. The Dutch tend to be blunter and direct and I hear some mocking of my pictures of churches in my books and blogs and on social media.

I hope that I throw in enough entertainment to make up for my preaching.



Whitsom Sunday June 5 th. The Spirit is a-moving.

Monday, June 6th, 2022

The first month, back in Holland, the farmers were getting worried that their fresh crops would shrivel in the drought. The last of the Tulips and the permanent “Floriade” world famous flower garden looked the worst of it. But the last weeks are making up for it and this evening it was a regular deluge bent on extinguishing those tongues of  flame with which the Spirit descended on Pentecost. Some of that deluge is finding it’s way through the poorly bedded new life line stanchions. One of the items on the long list of projects on the new boat.

But a bigger problem is the discovery of a liquid intrusion from below and a major project. At a rate of a gallon an hour. Where the drive shaft exits the hull, the backing block has deteriorated and the two bolts are corroded. I am scheduled for this Thursday by a nearby marina to come and be hauled out, which will also require the keel step mast to be taken out. The closest yard where I can stay on the boat while doing the repair is in Zaandam and they require that I de-mast before arrival and then they have no space in their shed until mid july. My options to find lodging are limited. I have already used up my two week annual allotment with my sister. If anyone in the southern Amsterdam area needs a house-cat-chicken sitter, let me know. As a plus, I can teach any pet a second or third language.

This postpones my plan to sail to Scotland for my youngest great-grandchild’s first birthday on July 9th. When I informed his grandmother about my setback, she told me that the Scots have changed the venue to their ski-chalet in the French Alps. So, I hope to have the repair done by then and attend the celebration.

Besides this defect, I have discovered a few other items that I wished I’d discovered on my first inspection. (I would have had to take a panel out, behind the engine to discover the deteriorated area). But I remain content with the replacement. One major chore is the wiring and coax cables. There appear to be twice the number for the items served. Not every black wire is a ground, and vice versa. No diagrams left to solve the rat’s nest puzzle.

While I am hauled out, I will need to spend all of the daylight hours to complete the repair, which means that my planned visits with local friends will have to wait until I am back in the water.

The “Cantemus Dominum” choir sang the Missa Festiva from Gretchaninoff with today’s Pentecost service at the St. Augustinus church, near where I am moored. I went to one of the last rehearsals but found it difficult to catch up with the rest of the singers and could not find an online practice tenor part. I hope to rejoin the choir, like when I was here in 2012-2014.

St. Augustinus June 5








I had the pleasure of visiting with several Gig Harbor Yacht Club friends in the last two weeks.

With Wayne and Elisabeth Gilham

John and Trishia Mulligan and Don and and Mary Lynn Pannen










And my dear friend Elma Mujanovic and her friend Jackie Demko. I met Elma on the Greek island of Aegina in 2012 https://cometosea.us/?p=2852. A Bosnian-American, who has seen more of the world in her working life than the most travelled retiree. My cousin Carol de Vries, who you all know by now, gave us a private canal tour on Friday May 27th and the two ladies spent, a fair sum and a good time with Wim Hof, AKA “The Iceman” on the weekend, including a a 10 minute soak in a tub with ice cubes…..https://www.wimhofmethod.com/ .

Elma and Jackie

The Icewoman, back center







In between, my sister Karolien van Ommen, celebrated her 88th birthday, my twin brother  Jan van Ommen and his wife Catharina came down from North Germany and stopped by tyo check out “Fleetwood III”.

258 years of van Ommen togetherness

Time for another pump out with my bright shiny stainless wet-dry shop vacume cleaner. I started out with zip zero tools and spending my hard earned book royalties on propping up the Dutch standard of living. In the vacuum process I have accumulated an impressive collection of wasted boat fasteners and 40 years of dust.