Rebuild of Dutch Wooden Boeier Yacht ‘ Vabel’

The laborious process of restoring Holland’s longest Dutch wooden boeier yacht is being monitored to help preserve century-old skills.

The round-bottomed Vabel yacht is being rebuilt to her former glory plank by plank in order to conserve an important part of Dutch maritime history.

Traditional boat builder Julian de Jonge, of Ship Restoration Zaete, estimates it will take up to six years to restore Vabel. She is believed to have been built in approximately1895 in Amsterdam and used by customs to combat smugglers.

She is now owned by the Museum Harbour Zierikzee and is being restored in a boatyard in Zierikzee using traditional methods by Julian and his team of volunteers.

Julian said: “Due to its poor condition the entire ship needs to be completely rebuilt. She has to be taken apart piece by piece, working from the bottom to the top. She carries a lot of history and is the longest vessel of her type in Holland. Each plank needs to be shaped using fire and water, so it’s a lengthy process.”

The designs and skills used for the restoration are being documented as part of the EU’s Traditional Maritime Skills project. The records will form part of its new virtual learning environment that will be freely accessible and help pass the specialist traditional skills on to the next generation.


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