Wednesday May 4th.  It is official, meet “Fleetwood III”

Written by Jack van Ommen on May 4th, 2022

This is going to be a longer than usual blog. Much has happened since my previous blog on March 24. I arrived in the Netherlands on April 19th. My nephew, Dirk Jan de Ruiter, drove me to Zeewolde and it was love at nearly first sight.

Port View

taken before winter storage









She is very similar in size and performance to the 1st and 2nd NAJA. This is a Waarschip 9 mtr (30 ft) It was also sold as a kit, just like the Najas. But the hull construction is clinker built, like shiplap siding. This one was professionaly assembled by the Waarschip yard, in 1980, same year as my first Fleetwood. It has a 1990 2 cylinder 2 GM Yamaha diesel engine. The beam is 6″ wider. Because the hull is stiffer there are fewer chines/stringers and bulkheads and has more space. This will be my first experience with roller furling. Also means fewer head sails in the storage area. It has a new two part L.P. paint job, new pulpits, stanchions. It is not set up yet for single handed sailing, it has a decent 12 volt auto tiller pilot. It needs a good windvane, solar panel(s).

But there were a few items that needed attention. The keel was dropped and resealed. I expect that I will move in next week, once the boat is launched and the mast has been set again.

I am very pleased that the “De Schinkel YC” in Amsterdam has found a spot for me again. During my 2009-2014 Europe visit, I spent a good part of it with this active boating community. This is where I had my first sailing lessons from my uncle Fred van Ommen in the fifties. I am looking forward to renew the many good friendships I made there.

Shortly after my planned arrival there will be a sailing regatta, on the adjoining lake, of the “Vrijheid” (Freedom) class 18-foot two crewed wooden day sailor.

This class was introduced in 1945, the end of the 2nd WW. I attended the competition in 2010 for their 65th anniversary. (see my blog, to get a look at these floating Stradivarii) This year it will be the Covid postponed 75th anniversary regatta.

Today is the 77th National Memorial Day for the victims of the 2nd WW. I will attend the evening choral-concert at the Saint Augustinuskerk. I was a member of it from 2012 until 2014, one of the highlights was performing in the St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome on Ascension Day 2013. And singing during a visit in 2015 when the theme was based on the hymn “Abide with me” and a dialogue was read from my book “The Mastmakers’ Daughters” where our mother describes singing this hymn in the 8 cattle cars stuffed with 650 women political prisoners to the hell hole of the Ravensbrück concentration camp. (see blog

“Abide with me” is part of this evening’s concert. I hope to be able to rejoin this impressive 50 plus members choir again while I am back here.

But I am still working on a way to extend my time through the summer, beyond the 90 day Schengen limit.

My first sea trials are planned as a trip to Glasgow, across the North Sea and through the Caledonia Canal, for the first birthday on July 9th of Spencer Wheatly, my fourth Great Grand Child.

I have discontinued the service on my US cell phone (253-441-7204) my Dutch cell number is: 0031-649-676419.

You can reach me by voice/video/text also through WhatsApp at this number. I am 9 hours ahead to the Pacific Coast and 6 to the US East Coast.

I finally managed to catch up with an old friend, Ed van Kan, I last saw in 1961 in Saigon. We grew up in the same neighborhood, near where I will be moored again. Our elementary schools were right across the street. His with the Catholic brothers and I with the Protestant preachers. When I left for the U.S., Ed was starting his reporter career in the Belgian Congo. We totally lost contact.

When I arrived on the USNS “Core” from Oakland, Ca. to Saigon in the first days of December 1961, I immediately picked Ed from the crowd of reporters down on the quay from high up on the flight deck. He was filming this first escalation of the military assistance by sending two full company strength units with our helicopters to Vietnam. By yelling his name and then a back and forth in an un-understandable language, I caused some consternation among the 450 odd spectators. Our mission was “An overseas exercise in excess of 90 days” to an undisclosed destination. So, I became a marked man, I obviously had something to do with the organization of this exercise. Our orders were to take no civilian clothes with us. But then it turned out that our Vietnamese hosts did not wish to release a stampede of these olive drab dressed barbarians loose on their town and their gorgeous sensuous “oa dai” dressed maidens. Guess what, private van Ommen and just one helicopter pilot, happened to have stowed civies away in their duffel bags. It took weeks for the visits to the tailor shops to dress the rest. No ready- made, certainly not for these occidental proportions.

Ed stood at the gangplank and introduced me to this fairy tale Paris of the Orient and his press buddies. He had much to do with what became one of the most memorable parts of mine and my American wife’s lives. More details of my unusual 1 ½ year Vietnam period in a chapter in my book “SoloMan”, as a backdrop to the 2006 Vietnam visit with “Fleetwood”

We had much to catch up on and more to follow since Ed now lives very close to “de Schinkel” YC.

In Amstelveen, near Amsterdam.

USNS “Core” Dec 11 1961 AP (Associated Press)









Last Sunday, on May Day, I participated in the annual, May Month of the Virgin Mary, festive service at the Saint John’s Cathedral in Den Bosch. The mass is accompanied by the traditional Guilds in their colorful regalia, drummers and flag-wavers. The cathedral celebrates its 8th centennial this year. I made a short video/slide show at:

The annual royal birthday was on April 27th. The crowds and street scenes are colored orange. :

After inspecting my future shelter and long distance environmentally friendly vehicle, on April 22nd, I saw the exhibit in the Haarlem municipal archive of photographs of 137 women in the WW II resistance, from the province of North Holland. Our mother is one of them.

Many of you will be familiar with Corrie ten Boom, the Dutch evangelist, known best by her book and movie “The Hiding Place”. Her family clock shop and the hiding place are not far from this exhibit. Our mother, with the only complete bible available, which was smuggled to our dad in his cell by mother and then later by father to mother, participated in the secret religious encounters led by Corrie and her sister Nellie. Corrie’s picture is in the lower left.

Top center Rennie-de Vries-van Ommen, center left Tiny Boosman, Bottom center Kiky Heinsius, Lower left Corrie ten Boom

Tiny Boosman and Kiky Heinsius memoires, by permission, were incorporated in “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”






Today’s Memorial Day is very different from the previous 76 years. A repeat is taking place less than a thousand miles from where I write this. May God help us to wake up and learn to love one another.


3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Doug Nesbit says:

    Congratulations on Fleetwood three! I look forward to hearing all of your adventures! Looks like you’re going to sale through the 90s after your hundreds!

  2. Roger Simard says:

    Hi Jack,
    I am so happy you found a new companion.
    You’re right, there are a lot of similarities with the Najas.
    But Naja or not, we’ll always be sailing brothers.
    Bon vent!

  3. robb mcdonough says:

    do you have an email address? I’m doing this for my mother Theresa (Rick’s sister)