July 24th. Sailing Summer turned into Boat restoration project.

Written by Jack van Ommen on July 24th, 2022

It was just today that I received the green light from the Yacht Club’s officer to start with the extensive repairs. I still have not heard from the seller and it is most likely that it might get nasty. I have plenty of evidence for a settlement. In my forelast blog I reported finding more serious problems, just before leaving for France for my great-grandson’s 1st birthday. I have not worked on the boat since then. I started taking moisture reading upon my return from France on the 12th. I found several more spots on the port side and under the keel. This means dropping the heavy bolted on keel. You might remember that the seller dropped the keel and fixed some loose spots before I accepted the purchase. It is hard to say if they are blind or dishonest. Right now, it looks a combination of both. In the original advertisement it is stated that the boat is epoxied, but I have not found any on the hull where I sanded the wet spots. There are no other old coats of any kind of finish under the one or possibly two coats of antifouling and a coat of white primer over the hull which was apparently sanded down to the bare plywood.

When this boat was built in 1980, epoxy was just filling the air with joy for the wooden boat enthusiasts. On My first NAJA, the laminated parts were glued with resorcinol. An excellent glue that requires lots of clamp pressure and is too dark for a clear finish, in contrast to epoxy. My first boat was glued and coated entirely in epoxy. I had assumed that this boat was also expoxy-coated by the text of the advertisement. And that would have avoided this disaster.

I had one acquaintance of one of the members here stop by to inspect the damage. He believes that it is an impossible task. He has had boats like this one and done a lot of repairs on wooden boats. But I also have had his opinion contradicted. So, I spent ₤ 250 for an expert to give me advice. He works in what used to be the facility that built thousands of these and different size Waarschip kits. And specializes in restorations of them. He came here on Wednesday.

I was releived that it can be properly fixed, I have become fond of this boat. I do not mind the extra work but I was not going to attempt an impossible task. It is also good to have an expert assessment for an eventual judgement.

Roelof Niezen, the owner of “Waarschip” showed me the proper way how I can repair the damage. They have done this type of repair on many similar boats. This usually takes his yard two months and would cost € 10,000 (The Euro is now close to parr with the US$).  It will probably take me nearly double that time, and a quarter of the expense, I am anxious to get going on it.

The keel needs to be dropped and the plywood strake on the bottom and the next above the first chine on both sides removed from the cross stringer under the engine unto the one just forward of the keel, roughly 14 feet. A tedious job removing the iron screws. (In 1980 they were still using iron instead of 316 grade stainless steel, which I will use on the replacement) and scarfing both ends and a scarf joint on the three panels since they are longer than an 8-foot sheet of plywood. Roelof explained to me how they in their yard use a sharpened paint scraper to scarf plywood, using the pattern of the individual glue joints to guide the 10:1 slope.

Spencer’s firstGreat-Grandson Spencer’s 1st Birthday: This turned out to be a welcome distraction from the disappointment with the boat problems. I came back a week ago today, but it still lingers as having been set in a fairy tale. Parts of it feel like frolicking with the von Trapp as in the The Sound of Music.

The Scottish grandparents, Doug and Margaret, came to pick me up at the boat here, on the 4th, with her brother-in-law, Mike, who lives in Delft with Margaret’s sister. He is also an avid sailor and keeps a Catamaran in New Bern, N.C. which is their more permanent residence. So, I had good company in the long line at the Schiphol airport and on the flight to Geneva and the ride to their chalet in the foothills of the Mont Blanc, in France.

Having spent most of my working life in the wood business, the chalet construction put me on a busman’s holiday. This large traditional farmhouse was built in the late 18th century. Huge Spruce timbers with precise joints, no nails or screws just wood pegs.

Euan, my Grandson in Law, has two sisters who each also have sons slightly older than Spencer, who also came over from Scotland. Lisa, my oldest daughter, and her birth-mother Donna arrived earlier on the fourth from Los Angeles. The Australian mother-in-law of Euan’s sister, Ann and her son Jack also came to the celebration. This made the total for this group picture of 12 adults and three baby boys.

Scots, Yanks and Ozzies and a displaced Dutchman

Mont Blanc

And that did not even make the chalet a full house…. We hiked up and down to the nearby village of Combloux, visited Mégève. Played table tennis. Some went mountain biking, had barbecues and all the cheeses and wines of the region. The cousins went to the swimming pool and playgrounds. The hills were hayed in the first good dry spell. And the sound of the cowbells was all around us.






I made this dumb video of attempting to impersonate Christopher Walken. I gotta have more Cowbell!!!! 

Corrine, my oldest granddaughter, Spencer’s mom, brought us back to the hotel she arranged near the Geneva airport for Donna, Lisa and I on Sunday the 10th. We all three had early Monday departures.

We rode into the city and had dinner near the lake. I managed to attend a 6.30 pm English service at the basilica of Notre Dame de Geneve.

N.D. de Geneve

Just like I experienced in Athens and Istanbul a good part of the parishioners are Filipino domestic servants. And here also the entire choir voices were Filipinas, waving their customary folding fans. I walked down to Combloux earlier on Sunday for their posted 9.30 am service, but, and I should have known better from my 2012/2013 trips through France, the scarce priests rotate between the neighboring villages. It was not my morning.

And Monday, July 11, definitely was not “My Day”.

We rose at 4.30 am. Lisa and Donna’s flight was around 7, mine at 9.20 am. So, I had plenty of time to get to the gate. When I showed up for the Easy Jet flight, the Pilot was making an announcement in English, but the PA system was barely audible. But between lip reading and bits of it we were told that there was a mechanical delay of anywhere from one to four hours. So, I looked around and saw one desk nearby against the wall, 50 feet from the gate where I could charge my tablet and phone and 4 hours is a long time. I went for it. I had my back to the waiting area but the gate was to my right. I heard some announcements but could not make out a single word of it. A little later, I turned around and saw that the waiting area was nearly empty and there was no one at the gate and the plane was gone. The pilot had mumbled something about a KLM flight to Amsterdam. I checked on line and it showed that my flight was on time. But where was the plane???

I tried finding another gate with Easy Jet personnel, but all is handled by the Swiss Air, on contract. They could not help me. I finally got trough to an Irish speaking Easy Jet employee and she was of no help. So. I had to leave the security area to go to the Swiss Air travel desk. With the prospect of going through the slow security check once again. Turned out, as I had expected, there were no seats anywhere for the foreseeable future. So, I hopped on a Swiss TGV train to Paris. There were no connections the same day from Paris to Amsterdam, just one at 06.13 am on Tuesday. The one-way ticket was as much as the round-trip air ticket I had paid for.

And nearly 150 % more than the original ticket I had booked for a three-day round trip but both flights were cancelled shortly before my departure. I had to rebook for a much longer period and then I changed my first leg to an earlier day to accommodate the trip from Geneva to the French destination, they jacked it up $80 and when I booked it the next morning it was another $50 more.

I have spent hours trying to communicate and file a claim with Easy Jet. They have the most contradictory incomplete web site I have ever dealt with and their chat robots are useless. A low budget airline trying to prove that you can robotize to a handful of employees.

Flying is for birds. I’d rather sail.

But there was one positive aspect of this flight from hell: I FB messaged Dona de Mallorca the wife of Richard Spindler, a long-time friend, retired owner/editor of the West Coast sailing magazine “Latitude-38”. They are on their boat in the Arsenal Marina in Paris. I spent the late afternoon and evening with them. Richard took me and a friend and part of his family for a boat trip on “Majestic Dalat” on a beautiful warm trip on the Seine. The nearly full moon came out before our return.

Richard and guest Marie Laura reflected from the foredeck onto the dodger window


Au claire de la Lune

I had a bunk on their boat and got up early to catch that train before the Metro started running at 6 am.

I was back in Amsterdam at 10.00 am. On he fast Thalys. I honestly do not see what the purpose is for trans Europe airplane service, except the much higher cost of fast rail. But its worth the agony spared.



Today, I joined a group of 5 men from the choir I used to sing with here in the St. Augustinus church. The 5 of us will rotate from a larger number until the fall. Last Sunday the full choir of “Cantemus Dominum” sang the liturgy and hymns at the 10.30 mass. Most of the liturgy like the Kyrie, Responsorial, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei were from Bruckner’s Choral Messe the Offertory was the Ave Verum from Edward Elgar. There is a short video of it on my Face Book The Communion song was “Prayer for Ukraine” by M. Lysenko and the choir sang it in Ukrainian. Note the Sunflowers in the sacristy, the national flower of Ukraine.

Sunday July 17 ’22

Some general observations from a Displaced Dutch American in Holland: While waiting for a decision on my repair project. In all my travels and places I have lived, I find a common alikeness but also some differences. Other than my formative first nearly 20 years in the Netherlands, I have lived 55 years of my 85 years in the United States. And again, just like the 2009-2014 with “Fleetwood” in Europe, I still feel a strong bond with the people here and enjoy their deeper interest in each other and, even though less than before, stronger family ties and friendships than in the USA. More children here are capable to converse with adults due to more time spent with their parents and given responsibilities in the household.

Unfortunately, the news here coming out of the U.S., is even more restricted to biased liberal media than the Americans have access to and many seem to take the trespasses of Trump and the Republicans personal and froth at the mouth of pure disgust for the orange man when politics are discussed. I have learned to hide my political colors; I’ve got enough on my plate with my bow pulpit sermons and church pictures.

The inflation affects the Europeans even more because the drop in the currency make Dollar imported items, like fuel, even more expensive.

I find the food prices similar but the quality better, bread, vegetables even the Lay’s brand Potato chips taste better here.

Since the time to repair the boat will be a lot more than the 90 days allowed under the Schengen limit, I will try obtain a residential permit. Wish me luck. Lots of paperwork and cost more than €1,000. For one thing, I do not wish to overstay and sneak out under the cover of darkness. I need to exit through Customs with my stack of bills for the boat equipment, tools, repair expenses to recover the 28% VAT.



1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Martha Verazain says:

    I do enjoy reading your blogs and I am sorry your boat problems. Hopefully it will be fixed soon. Nevertheless, you live such a wonderful life. Take care of yourself. Hugs, Martha