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Dutch Barge Zeetjalk

  • robust ships of around 100 to 140 tons
  • considerable width (approximately 5 meters and cavity 1.80 to 2 meters)
  • deckhouse with two entrances
  • in connection with the compass inside, the rear wall of the deckhouse is made of wood and has a compass window
  • roof of the deckhouse made of wood, usually sea green
  • ship white or gray with black mountain wood
  • sidelights on supports on top of the buoy
  • hatch hood with three struts
  • sometimes shutters locked with closing bars
  • extra stingers especially in the head
  • standing rigging on the starboard side with weaving lines
  • sometimes equipped with a yardarm for a breeding jib

The Zeetjalk shows many similarities with the ordinary Groningen Tjalk. In all cases these are larger Tjalks with a 'Zeebrief' and these ships were almost always built 'below class', according to the requirements of the shipping inspectorate. The width and depth were larger than those of the Tjalken for inland shipping. The width was close to five meters (between 4.70 and 5.10 meters) and the depth was 1.80 to about 2.20 meters.

The head in particular stands out. This is much higher than with the normal Groningen Tjalk. This higher rise, up to 3.60 meters above the water when the ship is empty, gave the Zeetjalk a tough and powerful appearance. Internally, the ship, especially in the head, is reinforced with extra stringers. The hold is reinforced in the longitudinal direction with an extra colsum or zaathout.

The hatch cover is additionally supported in the middle of the hatches with a brace, fox tree for the Groningen skippers, so that seen in width there are three braces. The shutters are additionally locked on top with locking bars over the carpet. Due to sailing at sea, it had to be possible to sail with a compass. This was placed in the deckhouse against the aft bulkhead; this bulkhead and the deck roof were therefore also made of wood. From the helm wood it was possible to look at the compass through the so-called compass window

The roof of the deckhouse was usually painted sea green, the ship itself mostly white or grey. This to the desperation of the servant. He was always so busy. The board of a Zeetjalk is higher than that of the normal Tjalk; about 35 centimeters or higher above the gangway. Due to this height, the board had to be supported by board supports. The rigging of the long-topped mast was often provided with weaving lines on the starboard side to be able to open. A topsail (topsel) could be placed between the long gaff and the long top. An inside and an outside jib were fed on the long jib boom. Despite all the facilities, the Zeetjalken were not good ships. They were too slow and 'too blunt for the head' to be able to sail free in stormy weather. Many have therefore remained at sea. Nevertheless, they were found everywhere from Riga to Portugal and in the countries around the Mediterranean Sea. 

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