Beaufort N.C. heading south

Written by Jack van Ommen on February 2nd, 2020

I will take one more look at the 7 day forecast in the morning. Right now it looks good for departing on Monday the 3rd of February. There are some 30 plus knot winds coming up from the south on Thursday Friday but it gives me enough time to get to the east and south of this system.

I left Cape Charles on Wednesday the 15th of January and had planned to spend a few nights with my youngest daughter, Jeannine, but near freezing cold and strong winds that blew the water out of the I.C.W. (Intra-Coastal Waterway) kept me tied up until the 26th.

I left from West Norfolk on the Elizabeth River on Sunday morning, did my dominical habit Saturday evening with Jeannine on the Saturday evening prior, and had a great sunny day on the ICW. I passed through the Gilberton Bridge right behind the ketch “China Rose” and had a nice chat with Peter and Linda in the Great Bridge lock. They are heading for Oriental, near Beaufort. They are both from Southern Norway and live near New York, Peter is a retired fireman and she was a nurse.    I anchored near day marker 57 on the west side of the channel close to milepost 40. Griffith Brinkley, the younger son of my Cape Charles friend Bruce Brinkley, who lives on Munden Point and he met me and guided me in and took me in his skiff to his dock. Griff and his Portuguese-American wife Soraia were my outstanding hosts for the night.

Sunset from the Brinkley home


Griff with the Vatican ensign and George the Portuguese waterdog.




On Monday I made it at dusk to an anchoring spot just north of the Alligator River bridge. I had not counted on the wind to go north and it was a very rough night and it was very difficult and time consuming to get the anchor up against the strong wind and chop. Little by little with help from the engine it came up. It was again after dark that I made it to a very calm anchorage on Tuesday evening just south of the long canal, east of Belhaven.

The Alligator River- Pungo River Canal



The nights were cold. Once the anchor was down, I opened the companionway stairs to let the heat off the engine and radiator warm up the closed cabin and crawled in my sleeping bag soon after dinner.

This is the 4th time I have transited this part of the ICW between Norfolk and Beaufort. In January and November 2008 and May 2017. I filled up my diesel tank and spare canister on Thursday here in Beaufort. I am writing this from the living room of Joni Dennis, one row back from the waterfront of this historic Maritime town. She has deep maritime roots here. I was introduced to Joni by Linda Chancler who is a sailor FB friend. Both Linda and Joni crewed and worked on large sailboats.  They started their adventures in their early twenties, in the eighties, in the Caribbean and Joni has been all over the globe. She moved her cooking skills and international recipes and ingredients on shore to Fort Lauderdale and now to her roots in Beaufort. She has combined her culinary skills, cultures and adventures in her books. The first one, which has been very well received: “Mermaids Yachts & Rum”. I started reading it and I could not put it down. This is a totally different part of the yachting world than what I ever get to see. Wild and wonderful and a constant changing scene in many parts of the world. She is just going on a book tour of the second book of the “Sea of Destiny Series”. You must get a hold of her books. Go to her web site:

Joni’s friend Meekah, who rents the upstairs, drove me to mass at the St. Egberts church in Moorhead City this morning. I have been here before but never read up on this, for me, obscure saint. Turns out the was an English priest who ended up in Ireland and sent Saint Willibrord, in the early part of the 8th century,  to convert the pagan Frisians.  He became the first bishop of Utrecht. Another one of his contemporaries, Saint Bonifacius was martyred in Friesland in 754. My mother is a Frisian. This N.E. Province of Holland became for the most part protestant in the Reformation. There are a few enclave villages in Friesland where the reformation never happened. One of them is the town of Sint Nicolaasga. Just 15 miles north of de Lemmer where my mother’s roots are. The maternal roots of Father Gary Weisenberger, our parish Priest for many years in Gig Harbor, are in Sint Nicolaasga.

Father Davis at St. Egberts church




Besides Peter, Linda, Joni and Meeka I want to introduce you to two other new friends I made yesterday. They are Dan Brown (a.k.a. Nguyen Viet Tri) and Le Ly Hayslip. The last name might be familiar to you if you read her book or saw the Oliver Stone movie: “When Heaven and Earth Changed Places” I read her book when I was in Vietnam on “Fleetwood” in 2006. A few years later I read this moving story from Dan Brown. There are so many similarities in their stories, geography, struggles and search for their relatives and uprooted roots. I finally succeeded in getting the two together, yesterday. This came about through a Google group I belong to of mostly Vietnam era war correspondents. They are having a reunion in Hue in April and it turned out that one of the members made contact with Le Ly who is going to be in Vietnam in her mission for her Global Village.  

You know how to follow me, see the upper right box on this post.

By now you’ll know the winners of the super bowl. Her is my bit of name dropping and bragging about the friends that keep me. I was talking to my dear Cape Charles friend Thelma Peterson suggestion the super bowl. She told me that she, and probably a few more women, had a crush on Joe Namath. A couple she knows invited her to attend a game and with the suggestion to come down to the field to take a look from there at the season ticket loge they had in the Kansas stadium, she was confronted by Joe with a smirk on his face “Hi sweetheart, I understand you wanted to meet me…” You can see more of Thelma in the previous blog, as the songwriter of “Jack come back”.

Thelma with “Broadway Joe”



You know how to follow me, see the upper right box on this post. It is good to be moving again and I hope that you will keep an eye on this blog for more adventures.




Sailing South

Written by Jack van Ommen on January 14th, 2020

I’ll be casting off tomorrow morning from my berth in Cape Charles, Va. My aim is for St. Martin. I had hoped to catch a weather window to leave directly from here into the Atlantic, but instead will be looking for an opportunity out of Beaufort, N.C., by way of the Intra-Coastal Waterway  (I.C.W.). My first stop will be on the Elizabeth River in West Norfolk to spend a couple days with my youngest daughter in Chesapeake.

You will be able to follow me on my Garmin In-Reach satellite tracker at: This link is permanently visible in the right upper corner of my home page, together with my AIS position. I will from time to time leave short messages on Facebook, from my Garmin tracker, when I am underway out of Internet communications. I hope to be in St. Martin at the time of the Heineken Regatta from March 5-8. But this all depends on the weather and my progress. In January 2009 I ended up going down the ICW and ending up too far south and west to fetch farther than the British Virgin Islands.

I plan on getting back on the same routine as I did since I started this blog with my Transatlantic crossing in June 2009. I am embarrassed to see that my previous blog dates October 15, reporting on my September/October trip to Europe. Since then I had one long weekend cruise across the Chesapeake for the local OCC (Ocean Cruising Club) encounter on October 24. Since then “Fleetwood” has not been from her stall. The rehearsals and performances in November for the play/musical of “The Gift of the Magi”, which turned out to be an unforgettable experience and introduction/preparation for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Several of the cast members were already good friends and others became new friends. This was my first experience of having to memorize the lyrics and be in costume. I am the one on the far right in this picture,  with my belated wishes.  The baby  is real.








The day after the last performance, on November 25, I flew to the North West for Thanksgiving. My oldest daughter, Lisa, had 16 guests at the Thanksgiving meal. This was the first Thanksgiving since our 2nd oldest child, Rose Marie, passed away, on June 2nd. Traditionally the two sisters alternated in hosting the holiday.  I re-acquainted with my friends in the Northwest and in British Columbia.

One visit was with Bernard and Betty Wessels in Canada. I had not seen Bernard for 75 years, since 2nd grade. He and his Jewish parents survived by being selected by Hans Calmeyer a German lawyer who managed to falsify theirs and thousands of other Dutch Jews’ ethnic roots. By coincidence, Calmeyer worked with another Dutch good crooked lawyer, Jaap van Proosdij, whose father handled the defense for the arrested members of our mother’s resistance group. But to no avail. Shortly after our parents were arrested, the Nazis did away with any sort of legal process. In the diary my father kept while our mother was in prison he writes about a chance meeting on November 25 1944. Our father was on his way home from foraging in the countryside for me and my twin brother. Our mother was in Dachau concentration camp. The winter 44-45 goes down in Dutch history as the “Hunger Winter”. Food ran out in the cities and long foot and bicycle searches were made into the countryside. Father wrote in his diary for November 25th:”I returned with 5 bottles of milk, 1 rye and 1 white bread, 2 pounds of beef, vegetables. It was a difficult bike ride. The Amstel river was flooding over its banks. I had an unusual encounter. Just outside of Uithoorn I overtook a man who asked if he could ride up with me. He was also on his way to Amsterdam. He had left that morning at 7 am and arrived in Gouda at noon. He lived in the Kribbestraat and he told me that he was Christian Reformed. I said: “So am I”. He attended our Waal church. His name was Wessels, I suspected this because he looked Jewish. When I told him that I was the father of Jan and Jaap, he told me that Bernard spoke often about our boys. His company made the trip a lot shorter. ” Bernard was in my (Jaap) 1st and 2nd grade in 1944-’45 and then we lost track of him. I had always wondered how they avoided deportation to the gas chambers. Through An Huitzing, of a group FB page for our old Amsterdam neighborhood, I found Bernard back. He is two weeks older than I am. He had quite a story to tell me. He had bounced around to many family and strangers’ homes before we met in 1944 and again after the war. He emigrated to the United States a few months before I did, he ended up in northern Michigan. In the winter of 1956-’57. His first job was to borrow a snow shovel and going door to door in the better neighborhoods. After these fifty years, I would have picked him without any problem out of a line-up. But he does not even remember the name of the grade school we were in, let alone remember me or my twin brother. But he described the neighborhood accurately.

I spent Christmas at the home of my third daughter, Jeannine and have been back in Cape Charles for two weeks. Last Sunday my friends organized a bon voyage send-off at Susan Kovac’s home. Thelma Peterson, song writer, painter, Eastern Shore historian, etc., had composed a song for my farewell on June 14 on the occasion of my transatlantic crossing. That was planned before the tragic untimely death of Rose Marie, on June 2nd. It is a great song you can find it on You Tube at “Jack come Back”. In the picture, I am wearing the t-shirt that was autographed for the June 14 departure.                                                                             





The Frenchman has it right: “Partir c’set mourir un peu” . In my wildest imaginations I could not have suspected that in this unpretentious flat dead end of the Eastern Shore where I ended up by accident, shipwreck, I would have met so many new friends. The Acropolis of combined talents in every conceivable art form, diversity. And, most all of these new friends happen to share the same importance I attach to my faith.

For the readers of my book “SoloMan” and the ones who have yet to treat themselves or a friend to it: I have a slideshow in sequence of the book’s story on You Tube This is in particular attractive to watch while you are reading the Black and White print versions. And I have most of the slide shows of the different parts of the 60 country circumnavigation on You Tube, instead of down loading them from my web site. I started making videos in 2016 on the last leg from the West Coast to Florida that you all find in their proper categories There are a number of videos to watch made here in Cape Charles, in case I got you all excited to start packing. Voor de lezers in Holland raad ik aan, vooral voor de E-boeken de Mastmakersdochters en SoloMan die bij Pumbo te bestellen i.p.v. Amazon.

essay topics in nursing homes cueca del viagra help with essay papers click steps in thesis writing ppt abstract for research papers smoking viagra chewable viagra in mexico purchase cialis online canada how do i organize my homework enter a newspaper article layout top paper writer site for university sample research paper word document how to write a essay for college application what is a biography book viagra gold 800mg for sale watch romeo and juliet thesis questions analysis essay samples scholarship essays samples c4 pathway of essay prednisone 10mg dose pack 21 an essay on physiological psychology classic reprint do my homework canadian generic cialis go here My plans: I hope to be back here in Virginia by Easter, April 12. And I hope to be able to be in Holland/Germany for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of our mother and her companions on April 30, on their Death March out of the Dachau satellite camp. And the May 5th end of the 2nd world war.




Tuesday, October 15. Back in Cape Charles, Va.

Written by Jack van Ommen on October 15th, 2019

In my previous blog I left off one of the main reasons for the Europe trip, the 75th anniversary of the evacuation of the inmates from the Nazi S.S. concentration camp Vught on September 6th 1944. The commemoration was held the first Sunday after I arrived on September the 8th. I attended the 65th anniversary in 2009, together with my twin brother. This time I represented my twin brother and my sister. There are still a few of the survivors alive but no longer physically able to attend. It was a beautiful sunny day. There was the usual silent procession, through the pine forest, from the camp to the nearby execution wall. This is where 142 male political prisoners were executed in the last three days before the September 6th transport to Germany. (Those of you who might have read the book or seen the movie “The Hiding Place” about the Dutch evangelist Corrie ten Boom, might have read one of several inaccuracies in the story, she reported this as 700 men executed on the last day prior to September 6th. The grand total for the existence of the camp, from 1943 until the closure, was 329 executions.) In my book “The Mastmakers’ Daughters” is the eye/ear witness story of Tiny Boosman who was with these men in the bunker in their last hour before their execution. She, with a few other women prisoners communicated through the ventilation ducts with several of their nearby cell mates. They sang the “Dona Nobis Pacem” refrain from Mozart’s Requiem for the men.

The memorial service was well attended by my second generation and on down. There were a number of speakers. The one speaker I particularly valued was the leader/speaker of the Dutch house of representatives,  Khadija Habib. She is a first generation Moroccan-Dutch woman who came as a child with her parents to live in Holland. She revealed new facts and unique significance of this day in the second world war history, I had not been aware of, and the lessons to apply to the tumultuous times we are in right now.

The execution wall. credit: Nationaal Monument Kamp Vught

On the way out the Royal Marechaussee brass band played: “Abide with me”. I think it was a coincidence, even though it is not uncommon to be played at memorial services, it just so happens that this is one of the most emotional memories our mother shared with us of the 1944 evacuation: (excerpt from “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”)

“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 barrel. 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.

More and more women in our car and along the track joined in. The chorus could be heard afar. In the earlier part of this book, I wrote about my hymn singing mother. Amongst us, we had complimented and enlarged our repertoire of the Psalms and Hymns we had grown up with. We had no Aufseherinnen in the car with us, so, we could sing as much as we liked.”

The train stopped in Sachsenhausen, the destination for the nearly 3,000 male prisoners and the book continues: “The doors in the first cars were opened and we heard the clatter of wooden shoes on the stone platform and the shouting of commands by the guards. This was the destination for the men; their cars were uncoupled from the long train. A chorus swelled from the remaining eight box cars. Over six hundred women sang a farewell to the men. The men nodded to one another:  “Listen, the women are singing!”

When the women reached their destination at the infamous women concentration camp Ravensbrück, they walked singing from the train station through the camp gates. But the female camp guards quickly silenced them with their billy clubs. But throughout my mother’s story you’ll learn the strength and joy she and her (in)mates drew from the songs, mostly religious, they shared. She and our father passed this on to us and I just keep on singing.

By another coincidence “Abide with me” was chosen for the concert given on May 4th. 2016, the annual 2nd WW memorial day in Holland. You can read more about this concert, I sang in, and listen to the recording at:

What were the survival chances of these 650 women? From its inception in 1939 until the end of the war, 140,000 women went through the Ravensbrück gate. Only a third came out alive. The vast majority of these women died from disease, physical abuse and malnutrition, not in the gas chambers. Even of those survivors, a portion died prematurely and many remained scarred physically and mentally for the rest of their lives. The majority of the women were political prisoners. Of the approximately 900 Dutch women who were imprisoned in Ravensbrϋck, estimates vary, between 162 and 200 Dutch women died in the camp or on the Death March out of the camp at the end of April 1945.  But for 192, including our mother, out of these 900 Dutch women, the survival chances improved when they were sent to a Dachau satellite forced labor camp. The so called Agfa Commando (see full details at: where only 2 Dutch women perished.

Before the event at Camp Vught, I attended the high mass at the nearby St. John cathedral in den Bosch. My first visit to this medieval gothic church.

St. John, den Bosch 9/8/’19


I have a short video with the choir and service at:

I flew back to New York from Schiphol on September 8th.  My niece Mariken cooked mussels for us a week before my departure.

L.R. My sister Karolien van Ommen, niece Mariken de Ruiter (hostess) nephew Dirk Jan de Ruiter, grand niece Phoebe Ohayon, grand nephews Daan de Ruiter, and front Lukas de Ruiter, Phoebe’s boyfriend Maikel.

On the Saturday October 5th I attended the centennial celebration of the “De Schinkel” yacht club in Amsterdam, where I had been a guest between August 2009 and September 2013, and joined the club in the last year I was there. My uncle Fred van Ommen, taught me my first sailing lessons at this club in the late forties. Frankly this was a bit of a disappointment compared to the 90th anniversary when I was there on “Fleetwood”. At that time there was wide participation in the program by the members and I got to lead sing one Dutch sea shanty with the Amsterdam Harbor Choir. This time it was in the confinements of the club house and a huge band made conversations very difficult. But I still managed to reacquaint with a good number of my friends from the 2009-2014 period.

So far, no one here in Cape Charles has remarked that they wished that I would have stayed away longer than the six weeks. I just heard that the Messiah choir and sing along for December 10 has been cancelled here. I will sing in: “The Gift of the Magi” musical adaption. Being performed on November 22, 23 and 24 in the old Palace Theater on main street in Cape Charles, Va. I shall fly on the 25th to Sea-Tac for Thanksgiving with my west coast family at Lisa’s home. I will use a standby buddy pass and will have to wait until the air has cleared after the mass exit from the holiday, for space availability. I figure on setting sail for the Caribbean by mid December.

Next week, Thursday the 24th, I plan sail to the Matthews Yacht Club for the annual fall dinner of the local chapter of the Ocean Cruising Club. There will most likely be a number of members from the N.E. Atlantic who are gathering here for the official end of the hurricane season to sail to the Caribbean in the Salty Dawg rally or individually.



Sunday September 29 Europe Visit.

Written by Jack van Ommen on September 30th, 2019

This blog is done in reverse chronological order, working back to the 4 September take off from New York.

Sunday evening in the train returning from Brussels to Kerkdriel, where I have been staying with my cousin Gido van Ommen and his wife Riet since Monday 23rd. I trained to Brussels for the day to spread a small amount of Rose Marie’s ashes at the church where she was baptized 51 years ago. On the way down, I missed the one transfer in Breda because there was a delay in den Bosch. I missed the 11 o’clock mass at St. Pie X where I had planned to meet Yvette, Rose Marie’s god-mother, and her sister Colette. I met them after the service and to my surprise Rose Marie’s godfather, Claude Claeys, joined us as well. He had made the trip from his home in Cordoba, Argentina. As you can see from the picture the Roses in front of St. Pie X were still blooming and waiting to watch over the memories of their namesake. We stopped by at our mutual residences, near the church, where we lived at the time of Rose Marie’s birth in 1968.

L.R. Colette, Yvette and Claude

Reunited with Rose’s baptismal ground where she received the seal of everlasting life.

L.R. Claude, Joan with Rose Marie, Colette, Jack, Mme. Claeys at Baptismal Feb 1968 St. Pie-X Forest (Bruxelles)

L.R. Claude, Joan with Rose Marie, moi and Colette




























There are more pictures of the baptism and yesterday’s reunion at:!AsL0JlhDwXCLli20nBnVyUAmAGlN?e=mwvWau

On Friday my (distant) cousin Karel van den Berg (no relation, as far as we know, to Jennifer van den Berg, my daughter in law) came to pick me up in Kerdriel. You might remember reading my blogs of my chicken/cat/farm sitting in Eck & Wiel, where Karel and Ankie live, in 2013 and earlier. Karel drove me to Barneveld to visit Maria and Stephen Boonzaaijer.

Ankie v/d Berg with their decoy Holstein.


Black sheep of the family




They are the sailing couple I met in Papeete in 2005. Maria is a prolific author and one of the editors who helped me with my Dutch versions of my books. Stephen is a Dutch Reformed pastor and leader of the ‘commune’ “De Bondgenoot”. Friday evening is their weekly communal evening meal with a program. I was privileged to share with the members my experiences since I last attended a similar meeting, in 2014, right after my first shipwreck. Kerkdriel, where I have been since the 23rd, is a small town, near the southern banks of the Waal river, near where the Meuse river joins the Waal from its origin in Northern France. The Waal, Rhine and Meuse were the borders where the Allied Forces were held back in the fall of 1944 in their liberation of the Nazi occupied North Western European countries. There was some heavy fighting here in these southern Dutch provinces. There are commemorations all over the area to celebrate the 75 years since the liberation. Gido took me on a bicycle tour of the wide vistas across the rivers and levies to the medieval city of Zaltbommel, with its distinctive church steeple. There is a well-known poem, written in 1934 about the bridge here across the Waal river, by the poet Martinus Nijhof. Titled “Moeder de Vrouw” (Mother the Woman) It ends with:

Het was een vrouw. Het schip dat zij bevoer, kwam langzaam stroomaf door de brug gevaren.

Zij was alleen aan dek, zij stond bij ’t roer, en wat zij zong hoorde ik dat psalmen waren.

O, dacht ik, o, dat daar mijn moeder voer. Prijs God, zong zij, Zijn hand zal u bewaren.

This always brings back emotions, reminding me of our mother. The poet is resting in the deep grass on the river bank of the Waal River near the bridge and a sailing barge is slowly approaching from under the bridge. A rough translation of the above:

“It was a woman. The ship she steered came slowly downstream through the bridge. She was the only one on deck, she held the helm, and then I recognized that what she sang were hymns. I thought this could be my mother. Praise God, she sang, His hand shall always save you.”

Zalt Bommel, taken from “Glissando” April 20, 2011

Please, check my blog of April 20, 2011 at   where I passed Zaltbommel, from the barge “Glissando” which towed “Fleetwood” upstream on the Rhine in August 2010 on my way to the Black Sea.

Interior of the St. Maarten church in Zaltbommel.


Last weekend, from the 20th., I travelled to Reinbek, near Hamburg, to see my twin brother and his family. On Sunday there were nine of us at the lunch Jan treated us to. It was a glorious late summer warm sunny weekend. His two sons, Jacob, my namesake, came with his wife Maren from Berlin, Carl with Steffi and their daughter Sita from Hamburg, Anna from Bath, England. Jan and I attended Sunday service and communion at his Lutheran church. The readings are the same as in all R.C. and Episcopalian churches, so you might remember, one of the readings was about Jacob (my baptismal name) cheating his brother out of his inheritance. On the subject of brothers, I have always told you that Jan and I are fraternal twins. But most of you have never seen us together. This has now been corrected by an expert, our gynecologist neighbor who has known us from birth. We are now identical twins.

Jan and Jack


L.R. from end Jacob, Maren, Jan, Steffi, Sita, Carl, Jack, Catharina, Anna













The weekend of the 13th my cousin Carol de Vries took me up to de Lemmer, in Friesland. It was the yearly “End of Summer” festivity. Boat parades and a race on the former Zuiderzee of the of traditional sailing fishing boats, etc. We stopped in at the mastmakers shop where my mother grew up. It has been turned into a hotel with the exterior left in its original state since it was built in 1906. A 2 1/2 minute video of the visit:

Replicas of the traditional Lemster Aak fishing vessel.

smoking eel.

The Dutch Reformed church, where my Grandfather was a member until he married the Christian Reformed pastor’s daughter on the island of Urk in 1900



The boeier “Friso” the “showboat” of the province of Friesland



Earlier from September 5 onwards, I visited friends at the Choir I sang in during my 2012-2014 stay and 2015 and 2016 visits, stopped by “De Schinkel”, saw family and friends in and near Amersfoort, Soest, Arnhem, and Nijmwegen.

There is another busy schedule the rest of the week. On Saturday is the centennial celebration of the yacht club “De Schinkel” where I learned to sail from my uncle, Fred van Ommen the father of my current host Gido. I was berthed at the club marina and attended their 90th anniversary in 2009. I was a member from late 2012 until my departure in September 2013.

In Sloten, south of Amsterdam is this old windmill, once used to maintain the water level in the reclaimed “polder”. At times they crank her up under the right conditions. Here is a short video of it:

Die Mooie Molen van Sloten





Ocean City, Md.

Written by Jack van Ommen on August 13th, 2019

According to my log, I left the marina in Portsmouth on the Elizabeth River at 9.30 on Friday July 26th. I motored most of the way against a Northerly. I was out in the Atlantic by late afternoon. This was the same route I took on June 22nd, 2017, which ended up in a shipwreck at 03.00 on June 23rd on Godwin Island in the Barrier Islands. The details of this shipwreck can be found in my blog for that period. This time I had left earlier and was able to put plenty of distance between the coast before dark. I motorsailed in a light Northerly. The excitement of being on the ocean again kept me awake most of the night. A large pod of porpoises kept me company for a while. The promised southerly never materialized, but the in last hours of Saturday afternoon the wind eased to the East and I had a great fast reach on still smooth seas.

I knew from the charts that the entrance to Ocean City was a challenge. The setting sun was making it difficult to recognize the channel markers’ color and shape. The channel is in a zigzag pattern in the entrance. The sport fishing boats, with their 1000 plus HP and speeds of 25 plus knots, have absolutely no concern for my 14 HP and 5 knots of speed and nearly swamp my boat with their wakes. Once inside, the harbor crawls with all sorts of water crafts. I try the one deep spot for anchorage but my knot-meter goes to zero. (I found out since that the transducer was all fouled by the wrong antifouling I had applied in June.) A helpful outboard boater offers to show me where I can anchor. I follow him and he leads me right over a shallow spot. I’m stuck and can’t back off. He keeps trying to pull me off but instead gets me even worse aground. He is determined but I worry he is going to quarter the boat. The marine police boat suggests to call Tow Boat US. He has me off in no time and $390. Because of the force on the keel, I checked for leaks and it looks like a small amount had entered through the forward keel bolts. Rob, the tow operator took me to the Sunset Marina and had me set up for a haul out the next day, Sunday. Once tied up for the night, $90, I checked for leaks again and found that the water had sloshed from the engine bilge, from the packing gland. I cancelled the haul out. At least I learned, the hard way, that the two years shipwreck repair had stood the destruction derby test. As a coincidence, Rob the towboat man, was part of the posse from Ocean City that hauled “Fleetwood” off Godwin Island in 2017. That had to be one of the easiest hauls for the crew. Greg, who passed away last year at 77, had learned from my liability insurance that I was insured for $19,450. Jake, who worked for Cape Charles Yacht Center, had attempted to bring the boat to the Yacht Center, on his weekend off, but gave up close to sundown on Sunday when he was running out of fuel for the pumps. He had managed to reduce the opening in the hull and had the boat floating. The next morning the Ocean City crew had an easy haul.   

I blamed my misfortune for leaving on a Friday. A maritime no-no. For those who have followed me over the years, you will know that many of my departures for a new destination started after Sunday morning service. I headed out of Ocean City shortly after I had attended 10 am service at Saint Mary of the Seas church.

Rev. John T. SoloMon

I filled the diesel tank, with plans to continue northward to New York City and beyond. The inner harbor of Ocean City was another spectacle of all sort of water crafts and between the jetties the same rough water from the speeding sport fishermen coming and going. The wind was seaward but the tide was coming in strong. I had to accelerate to make headway in the narrow harbor entrance against the current. All of a sudden, the engine stopped. It could not have happened in the worse moment and time. The cover was off the main sail but I would not have been able to raise the sail fast enough. The current pushed me back between the jetties and I was only 150 feet from the rocks. I called a mayday. I had to repeat my location several times because the coastie wanted a coordinate. How much clearer could I have been with being between the end of the jetties at Ocean City? Beach goers started to gather. There is an amusement park right at the North jetty. The boat hit the rocks and started bouncing. I figured that it would be a matter of minutes before the boat would start breaking up. I had to get off the boat. The crowd suggested I stay with the boat. The rocks were slippery. I found one ledge with a flat foothold with barnacles to keep me from slipping. A retired fireman got on his belly and helped me up. Now I am looking at the boat bouncing like a rodeo bronco. This time I was unable to grab anything off the boat, like laptop, camera, wallet. The coast guard came and attempted to pull the boat off the rocks. No luck. Then the same Tow Boat US showed up. He had me off within 5 minutes and the actual damage turned out to be much less than those violent 10 to 15 minutes could have inflicted. The same police officer who had assisted the day before, Corporal John Bunting of the Maryland Natural Resources Police, came to pick me up from the spot where I had watched from shore. He took me to the travel-lift at the Sunset Marina where the boat was towed. There I discovered what stopped the engine. The long tow rope, I had used to have the good Samaritan attempt to pull me off the shallow the day before, had become my bow line for the night and when I left the gas dock, I had brought it inside the life lines on deck. I should have taken it off the bow before reaching the harbor entrance. The traffic distracted me. If I had used a regular bowline it would have never reached the propeller, this tow line was a much longer genoa sheet. John Bunting, the police officer, came to check on me and offer any help, on Monday.

I was embarrassed and did not have the courage to fess up until now. Between Saturday’s tow and this repair, tow, haul out car rentals I spent a little over $ 2,000. Ouch!!

The pictures show the damage and repair

Keel damage   

Hull damage    


Rudder repair   





Again, this was an even more severe test on the integrity of the 2017 shipwreck repair. The main damage was to the rudder. Worse than the 2017 shipwreck. The shaft was twisted fore and aft and to one side. Lou Negretti, who straightened the shaft in 2017, managed to get it straightened again. The test will come tomorrow back in the water. It took two trips, first on Monday a week ago and a second one last Wednesday. I rented a car to drive to Exmore, about 80 miles to the south from here. I was counting on getting professional help to repair the torn bottom of the rudder. John Bunting recommended a fiberglass expert. But all the marine pros were spoken for by the crowd that showed up for the annual White Marlin Open sport fishing event. I have little or no experience with fiberglass. I called Todd Dhabolt who put this boat together and custom built the rudder with foam steel frame and fiberglass cover. He walked me through the process. He had used hard foam, I decided to use a spray can as used in insulating and gap filling. By trial and error, I used left-over Formica from my galley and bunk leeboard make over, to shape the foam and then covered it with epoxied fiberglass cloth. There was some deep damage above the waterline on port. Luckily it struck the rocks where there is the companion way bulkhead and the galley counter. It took many layers of epoxy putty. Fortunately, I carry a supply of epoxy, anti-fouling, brushes, rollers, barrier coat, hull paint and all the tools.  The keel took quite a bit of gouges and scratches, as the pictures show. As I write, on Tuesday evening, I am hanging in the travellift slings to dry the anti-fouling paint on the bottom of the keel, where it was blocked off on. I shall be off in the morning. I have decided to make a right turn towards Cape Charles. The wind and distance though the Chesapeake-Delaware canal and south on the Chesapeake does not look for the southerly winds this weekend. I should be in Cape Charles by late Thursday unless I anchor that night south of CC. Hopefully, I’ll have some decent sailing. Winds look mild to weak for the next days. Watch for a good full moon rise picture and possibly a moon set in the Chesapeake.

A disappointment and an expensive outing. I had wanted to get up to NYC, Mystic Seaport in Connecticut and possibly up to Newport, Nantucket, etc. I need to get some of my administration in order for the books, appointments for the Europe visit, etc.  

Ocean City was an experience, very nice and helpful people at the marina, yard and store. But it is not typical Americana. Apparently black Americans avoid the place. In the three services I attended at the large Ocean City Saint Mary of the Seas church, there was not even a token African American in attendance. The sport fishermen here are a special breed. Note the Trump flags, horse power in their boats and pick up trucks. My new folding bike came in well, for grocery, hardware and the main town across the long bridge.   

Trump country  

1600 Horses  

You don’t dare show up in a puny sedan or older model p.u. truck


Tuesday July 23rd. “Fleetwood” likes the new routine.

Written by Jack van Ommen on July 23rd, 2019

Two years after the June 23rd, 2017 shipwreck, she has been making new tracks on the Chesapeake Bay. You can see them at: (The link is permanently displayed in the right upper corner). If you just click on any of the tracks it will give you the dates. I just got a panic call on the track that ended with the shipwreck on June 23rd, 2017, off Myrtle Island in the Atlantic. The caller skipped over the year…. The maiden voyage was the week of the Independence Day holiday, to Deltaville. I sailed down to Portsmouth on the Elizabeth River, last Saturday. Which is just a stiff bike ride away from my daughter’s home. We went for a sail on Sunday with my two great-granddaughters, Madison 10 and Lily 8.





Last night the over a week long heatwave ended with temperatures dropping from over 100 F to the mid seventies. My daughter’s home in Chesapeake, Va. with A.C. and a real bed is a very welcome respite from the boat. I had a shopping list for items that are hard to purchase in the Cape Charles area, and purchased all of it here today. My plan is to sail north to New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island on the Atlantic and return through the Delaware-Chesapeake Canal into the Chesapeake Bay into Cape Charles by late August. The wind is not expected to ease up from its dead North direction until Friday. I need a few days anyway to acquire cruising guides and update my charts, 

My Europe trip: I have booked my flight to Amsterdam to arrive on September 4th. My first date is the 75th anniversary of the evacuation of concentration camp Vught, which will be commemorated on Sunday, September 8th. I am looking forward to visit family and friends in Holland, Belgium and Germany in September. If I am still in good standing, I hope to attend the centennial celebration of Watersport Vereniging “De Schinkel” on October 5th and return to the United States shortly after. Winter Plans: Inshallah, I hope to be able to sail south to warmer weather and see more of the Windward Caribbean and possibly make that long aspired road trip from Cartagena to Southern Chile.

Just like the 2013 shipwreck in the Mediterranean, and the stranding for engine replacement on the Romanian Danube in 2010/2011, the aftermath brought another string of blessings, totally unexpected new adventures, challenges and most all great new friends. My first impression of the prospect of being stuck in Cape Charles turned out to be a total contradiction. And the two years have turned out into an unforgettable experience and friendships made for ever. 

Time heals the pain of losing my sweet daughter Rose Marie. Tomorrow is her daughter Olivia’s 23rd birthday, a very difficult day for her. Pray for her. Her brother turned 25 the day before Rose Marie passed away on June 2nd. I intend to place part Rose Marie’s ashes in her homeland, Belgium, in September.


Wednesday June 26. 2019. My daughter Rose Marie’s Celebration of Life on June 14

Written by admin on June 26th, 2019

This turned out to be a true celebration of the memories she left us. Tears mixed with joy.

I knew Rose Marie was special but a parent should not have to learn the significance of their child by her premature departure. But I totally treasure the legacy until I meet with her in the promised land. 

There was standing room only at the Tacoma Yacht Club, an estimated three hundred friends, colleagues and friends. I posted a 3 minute video/slide show on You tube at:

And professional pictures by Lorie Limson Cook can be seen at: Rose Marie If you attended you’ll see your picture in this link.

All four of her siblings were present, besides her son Elliott and daughter Olivia, a number of her nephews and nieces. Her widower, Donovan Barton, did the bulk of the organisation with the help of her oldest sister, Lisa and Donovan’s family members and friends. Tyler Meyers, my youngest grandson, created the continuous slide show of which I show a small number in the 3 minute You Tube video. 

Delta Airlines gifted the round trip fares for me and #3 daughter Jeannine and her husband Sean and my granddaughter Gabrielle, from Norfolk, Va. Rose Marie worked for SoDexo  who look after the hospitality service in a number of the Delta Air Lines Sky Clubs. Besides her responsibilities for the SeaTac clubs, she supervised a number of the West Coast Sky Clubs. She left an indelible impression with the crews she worked with, many of them came out to show their love and pay their respects.  (See Lorie’s pictures).

The four us flew back on Tuesday the 18th and I have been back in Cape Charles since the 19th. The boat is back in the water after fixing the barnacle invasion and recoating the iron keel with a better primer. I expect to go for a test sail in the next couple of days. The Surveyor discovered some deficiencies that I need to fix and waiting for the parts.

It occurred to me that this new schedule for flying to Amsterdam the last week of August and returning in early October should give me a chance to try and spend some time on the boat here in the Chesapeake with my great granddaughters. They are 7 and  8 and a perfect time to enjoy the water. I am waiting to hear from their grandmother when this would fit in their schedules. I still expect to also sail North for a few weeks.




Monday morning June 24 ’19 A well prepared Solo Sailor

Written by admin on June 25th, 2019

A Gringo Argentino Gaucho, John Freeman, sets off from Cape Charles Yacht Center for an Atlantic Crossing. John Freeman left this morning from Cape Charles Yacht Center. I am totally in awe for the boat and the man. Both are are about the best I would ever aspire for this adventure. This is a 30ft Morris Annie. 

Just look at the size and construction, cutter rig, a sensible hard dinghy, a Monitor Windvane, etc. John is heading for Portugal, with a stop in the Azores. He and his Argentine wife raise cattle in southern Argentina.  


Wednesday June 12. The Lord gives and he takes away.

Written by admin on June 12th, 2019

Early Sunday morning, June 2nd, I received a telephone call from Lisa, my oldest daughter, that her younger sister, Rose Marie, had suddenly passed away.  Totally unexpected. It turned out to be a a blood clot in her lungs, Pulmonary Embolism. It took a while to accept that this was not a night mare. I and all her loved ones are still in that first stage of adjustment to this new reality. 

My comfort and consolation comes from knowing that this is a temporary separation. She left a forwarding address where I hope to see her again. Earlier this year, in a telephone conversation with Rose Marie, she had some exciting news to tell me: “Dad, I have started to say my daily prayers again, when I start the morning”. I told her: “Rose Marie, that is the best gift you could ever give me.” When her mother and I separated in 1972, it was decided, that Rose Marie, then four years old, and Lisa, eight years old, would become my guardians. Jeannine, then three, and her one year old brother, John, moved back to California with their mom.  We had a unique relationship in our threesome “ménage”. Whenever I needed council, these two came up with the perfect answers. There are so many good memories to treasure.

I am off, tomorrow with Jeannine and her husband Sean and my granddaughter Gabrielle, to fly to the Northwest, for the Celebration of Life at the Tacoma Yacht Club this Friday evening. Delta Airlines has given us complimentary round trip tickets. Rose Marie’s employer, Sodexo, runs the food service of a number of the Delta Airlines Sky Clubs. She was in charge of the Seattle clubs and trained and supervised the staff of many of the Western States Delta clubs. I will return to Cape Charles on June 19th. The Cape Charles Yacht center is still having a party on the 14th. But I will be missing.

I have dropped the Atlantic Crossing plans. My excitement for it is just not there any longer. I plan to cruise up to Maine with a number of stops and return to Cape Charles in time to fly to the Netherlands by the end of August and return in mid October. Then I hope to set sail for the Caribbean and try to check off the long planned bus/road trip from Cartagena Colombia to the South of Chile. 

L.R. Lisa, me, Rose Marie and Seth. On April 6th. 2019



May 31. Just two weeks to go.

Written by admin on May 31st, 2019

An invitation for my friends to attend the send-off. This generous gesture comes from the new operators, of Eyre Baldwin’s marine yard in Cape Charles, Nicole Jacques and JB Turner. This will also be an opportunity for the new principals to introduce themselves to the community here in Cape Charles since their March 1st take-over.
“Fleetwood” will be moored at the foot of the ramp at the west end of the Cape Charles Yacht Center. June 14 is “Flag Day” and she will be decked out accordingly. Father Michael Breslin and Deacon Don Donovan plan to attend to perform the blessing. I expect that there will be live music and singing from my musician friends. And on this subject, please, no trinkets to bring me, just songs to sing me… (as in “Truly, truly fair”). I am sailing dry and except for a card or a garter belt there is little room on my 30 foot boat. You can do me and yourself a favor purchasing “SoloMan” and/or “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”. I will have these available for signing.
It will be a bitter sweet farewell. Another “Wrecks to Riches” experience. Not unlike the previous wreck in 2013 and similar serious mishaps that turned out to be rich blessings. Like, for instant, replacing the boat engine in 2010. In the worst place I could have chosen, a small village on the Romanian Danube, far from any civilization or repair facilities, an unknown language, etc. It took nearly a year of hard work. Yet, it turned out to be one of the most satisfying experiences. My first impression of Caper Charles, once the wreck was towed in, was that I needed to close the hole in the hull quick as possible and take it to Portsmouth on the mainland for the repairs. But I quickly became wise to the best kept secret of this dead-end railroad ghost town. I will miss the magnificent sunsets, the Carolina Wrens, Mocking birds singing in the early morning when I was on the hard in the meadow. The smell of the Loblolly Pines, the Honey Suckle, the tidal sloughs. But especially the friendships I made here. Seldom have I been anywhere for a longer period where I felt so welcome and where so many share my faith and aspirations. I will miss the community at the Saint Charles R.C. church here and singing with the Episcopalians in the Hungars Church choir. I will miss the many great artistic and musical programs at the Lemon Tree Gallery with the appropriate slogan: “Small Town, Big Art”.
I will be back to visit. My youngest daughter and her family live in Chesapeake, Va.
My Plans: Weather permitting and Inshalla, I shall leave Cape Charles on Saturday June 15th morning. Heading north on the Atlantic with stops along the way to St. John’s, New Foundland as my departure for the crossing to Ireland. I’d like to sail up to Edinburgh where my oldest granddaughter and her Scottish husband live. Her mother, my oldest daughter Lisa, will be visiting there in July. From there I’d take the canal through Scotland to the North Sea and cross over to the Netherlands. There are two main events there on September 8 is the 75th commemoration of the evacuation of the SS concentration camp Vught. Our mother was one of the 600 women prisoners in that transport, ahead of the imminent approach of the allied forces. You can read more about it at:          The other date is October 4, when the YC “de Schinkel” has its centennial celebration. This is the club where I learned to sail from my uncle in the early fifties and where I was a guest and later a member when “Fleetwood” was in Holland between 2009 and 2013. October is pushing the threshold to sail to the Canary Islands through the Atlantic for a December/January return crossing of the Atlantic. I may move the boat to Portugal earlier and fly back to Amsterdam. Or take the inland route through France and into the Mediterranean, like I did in October 2013. My longer term plans still include a sail to Carthagena, Colombia for a bus ride, with frequent stops, along the South American Pacific coast to southern Chile and Bolivia. None of my plans are etched in stone. I may end up making a left turn up the St. Lawrence.
You can follow me: See details in the right upper corner of this blog. The Garmin In Search updates my location every 10 minutes. I will from time to time send a short post to Facebook from the In Search.
I have uploaded all my slide shows and videos about the circumnavigation on You Tube and categorized them in separate playlists, please, take a look at:  Since I posted in 2016 to You tube I have had close to 25,000 views. If you subscribe to my you tube videos, you will receive notifications of any new uploads. So far, I have not found any need to monetize these with advertisements. I am sure that I could have walked away from the wreck and purchased a good used polyester sailboat for the money I have spent on the repairs. But I still have some savings and love this unique boat. And the new supplement of friends are a free gift.
Until now, I started videos in 2016, it has been a hodge-podge. I will continue sorting the rest soon. Quite a few taken here in cape Charles. I have removed the slide shows/videos I had on this web site. They had to be uploaded in order to see them and that takes time and memory. I will update the links in the books that have a number of them to show the new You Tube links. The Word and PDF files will remain linked to this web site.
For those who can’t make it to the June 14 party, I say, farewell. Keep me in your prayers. I am just as curious and excited to find out where the next post will be posted.