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Old 10-03-2014, 17:42   #1
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Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

OK, so I might have taken 64 years to buy my first boat, but it was worth the wait.

I'm Jacques. Neeltje is the 1902 64' Dutch Sailing Barge I'd been lusting after since 1997, and finally acquired in January of last year.

I and a couple of childhood friends of mine (who were slightly less clueless than I about boats in general, but every bit as much about Tjalks) managed to motored her up the ICW from Fort Lauderdale to Saint Augustine in barely 5 days, and without causing any major damage to public or private property along the way.

I had her hauled out 7 months ago for a few mechanical upgrades and a paint job, and now that she's eaten up most of my children's inheritance in the process, she's almost ready to be splashed again.

For my next feat, I, who had never as much as rowed a dinghy before, plan to learn "the basics of sailing" on a 40-ton gaff-rigged barge with leeboards. From what I hear, her initial stability under sail should be quite forgiving. Let's hope so...

Best regards,

Jacques
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Old 10-03-2014, 18:11   #2
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

Hi.. Welcome along. :-D
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Old 10-03-2014, 22:42   #3
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

That's very cool. Welcome. What was the story on the boat from 1997 till you got her?
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Old 10-03-2014, 22:49   #4
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

Congrats Jacques on the boat & your new experiences!! I admire your youthful and adventurous spirit. Keep us posted on how it goes and best of luck to you!
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Old 11-03-2014, 05:31   #5
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

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Originally Posted by gamayun View Post
That's very cool. Welcome. What was the story on the boat from 1997 till you got her?
Actually, I came this close to buying her myself in 1997. She was on the hard in Baltimore with a rotted-out bow thruster tube and a few other minor issues that I couldn't deal with financially. Plus, I figured she was a little too much boat for a first-timer to pilot solo.

She was finally purchased by a well known mystery writer who, aside from the required repairs, added dual-zone a/c and turned her into a day charter on the Bay. By then, I'd moved to Florida, but in 2004 I saw her featured in an older article about her writer/owner that was published in the Baltimore Sun (online).

The article mentioned that she had since been re-sold to a couple who were very interested in researching her history, so I called the broker who had handled the sale to tell him that if the new owners wanted some "before" pictures of her, I'd be happy to mail some to them.

Six months later, I get a call from a woman who introduces herself as the owner of the Neeltje. Since I'd only known the barge by the name that Dan Rowen (Rowen & Martin's Laugh-in) had given her before bringing her back from France, I replied, "That's nice; What's a Neeltje?". She explained that it was the original name of the Encore, and that she'd been told that I had some older pictures of her. When I asked her to give me her mailing address, she asked me to mail them c/o the Harbormaster, Saint Augustine Municipal Marina, since that's where they'd be staying for a while.

Of course, she had no idea that we lived 2 blocks away from said marina, and when I offered to hand them to her and save a stamp, she invited us aboard for diner that evening.

My wife fell in love with the boat, they moved on to Sarasota, and eventually sold the boat to the Fort Lauderdale marina that restored her and put her up for sale.

In the mean time, my wife and I had moved to France where we'd been looking for a canal barge for over 5 years by the time I saw the Neeltje advertised on Apolloduc. I bought her from there sight unseen, slipped the key under my French floor mat, and came back here to pick her up. That was a year ago.

Sorry for being so long-winded, but I didn't want to leave anything out... :-)
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Old 11-03-2014, 05:43   #6
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

Wow Jacques....

Welcome to CF.... AND...

What a GREAT STORY!!!!

You'll have to post some pictures here in this thread... I for one am dying to see a few.... I think this is the beginning of seeing you contribute a lot here... I hope my hunch is right!

PS: Rowan and Martin were in my estimation... Ground breaking geniuses...
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Old 11-03-2014, 05:53   #7
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Jacques .
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Old 11-03-2014, 09:24   #8
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

Thanks to all for your kind words of encouragement. I'll try to post a pic or two of the Neeltje. Since I've even less literate about computers than I am about circumnavigation, this should prove interesting. Actually, these were taken by the p/o about 5 years ago, but they're way better than mine...
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Old 11-03-2014, 11:04   #9
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

That's a beautiful vessel and an incredible story! Love it :-) Can't wait to hear more of Neeltje's adventures.
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Old 11-03-2014, 11:39   #10
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

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That's a beautiful vessel and an incredible story! Love it :-) Can't wait to hear more of Neeltje's adventures.
Oh, you probably will, gamayun. Let's just hope it's not on the 6 O'clock News...

Short anecdote:

The guy who re-plated her entire hull up to the waterline when first I bought her kept mentioning that with each steel plate he welded-in, he noticed a smell that reminded him of his dad's horse ranch.
As it turns out, the Neeltje was originally designed as a manure barge, and served as such for a good part of the early 1900s. Guess there are certain smells you just can't get rid of...
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Old 11-03-2014, 21:10   #11
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

Beautiful boat, wonderful story, welcome and keep us posted.
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Old 18-03-2014, 19:24   #12
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

Aloha and welcome aboard!
That's a beauty of a boat. How do you operate those leeboards. They look heavy.
kind regards,
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Old 18-03-2014, 19:47   #13
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

Nice boat. Forget what I said about bringing us half of Sailors Exchange, though.
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Old 18-03-2014, 22:06   #14
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

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Oh, you probably will, gamayun. Let's just hope it's not on the 6 O'clock News...

Short anecdote:

The guy who re-plated her entire hull up to the waterline when first I bought her kept mentioning that with each steel plate he welded-in, he noticed a smell that reminded him of his dad's horse ranch.
As it turns out, the Neeltje was originally designed as a manure barge, and served as such for a good part of the early 1900s. Guess there are certain smells you just can't get rid of...
Ha! I suspect you WILL be on the news because people are going to be fascinated with your boat and these great anecdotes that keep pouring out. Keep 'em coming
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Old 23-05-2014, 00:44   #15
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Re: Greetings From an Over-The-Hill Newbie

Hey Neeltje
I'm impressed with your tjalk in America! I've just returned from Amsterdam and forgot how many of these beautiful ships we have! I was brought up with these babies and live in Oz now, but everytime I go back I go and check them out. Hey, in Holland we still race these, and there is a special race for the old manure barges, called the s**t race. Maybe you could sail her over and join in? You'd certainly get the prize for the furthest village
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