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The zeeschouwen arose out of economic necessity. Once again, the fishing industry on the Zuiderzee was in bad shape and the vessels used proved to be too expensive to build and maintain. For example, around 1900 people began to build a larger and more robust zeeschouw, which would be seaworthy for the fisherman, who had to go out to sea in all weather circumstances and all seasons. The construction of this type was probably started in 1898 by Wierda in NL-Lemmer. Wierda himself had sailed on a fishing boat as a young man and knew what had to be demanded of a seagoing vessel.

Due to circumstances he later trained ashore to build and repair wheels and lived near NL-Akkrum. There he saw a lot of open zeeschouwen. He then started building a heavier type of a zeeschouw in NL-Lemmer. According to reports from his son, all his zeeschouwen were 8 meters over the prows. Currently there is still a zeeschouw built by him from 1914, now converted as a yacht. Since a zeeschouw had to sail under more difficult conditions, it was made much wider; 3 meters and more, with more sloping foredeck and a depth of over 1 meter. Wierda himself sailed several of these zeeschouwen to the Hollandse wal with his son. The zeeschouwen that were built on the Hollandse wal, among other things at Van Goor in NL-Monnickendam, generally show more sheer than the Frisian types, while their foredecks rise a little more, making them a somewhat stocky impression.

Concerning the rigging, the Zeeschouw has a botter rig: mainsail with straight gaff, fisherman jib (mainsail 15 square meters, jib 14 square meters for example) and a jib on a loose boom. Zeeschouwen used or built as a yacht have often replaced the originally straight gaff with a curved one. Differences between the two types can also be found in the rigging. With the Lemster zeeschouwen, the rigging is a bit higher and slimmer. The mast has the short top, which is also used in Friesland for inland vessels, while the Dutch zeeschouwen has the somewhat longer top, which is also found on the botter. If you look at the bottom, you will see that the Lemster zeeschouwen is 'stationary' over a considerable distance, that means that it is completely horizontal, while some Dutch zeeschouwen show no standstill at all.

All the zeeschouwen have strongly fanned sides, in contrast to the inner schouw, which means a narrower surface; they are proportionally much wider at the kink. As a result of this and the large width, a stiff ship is obtained with a calm position in rough water. Zeeschouwen cross fairly well against the sea and lie well on the rudder before the wind. The latter is partly due to the shallow keel, which extends from in front of the mast to the rear. This keel has a threefold purpose: to promote a calm position on the helm; the braking of the athwartship roll and a high position on the wind.

Many Zeeschouwen have been built as yachts that often have the traditional atmosphere of yesteryear but still offer the modern comfort of today.

DOEVE Brokers and Valuers is your dedicated yacht broker for Zeeschouwen. For further information about the sale of your Zeeschouw or if you wish to purchase a Zeeschouw, please contact us.


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