Preview: The Dutch Tjotter, A Frisian Boat in Tasmanian Waters

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With their beguiling curves and stunning amplitudes, Dutch boats have always had an air of mystery about them. When a small fleet of them turned up at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Tasmania this winter, we got right in line to take a ride on this beautiful tjotter.

Dutch boats were some of the first European boats to reach Australia – Tasmania is named after Dutch explorer Able Tasman – so their presence Down Under makes sense. Boatbuilder and instructor Bert van Baar explains how the tjotter was essential in a time when roads were few and boats were the primary mode of transport.

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17 Responses So Far to “The Dutch Tjotter, A Frisian Boat in Tasmanian Waters

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    Chris Noto says:

    As a long-time disciple of Phil Bolger, I’m always glad to see how someone makes leeboards and shallow draft boats work!

    It looked like the skipper of the boat had stopper knots in his leeboard control lines, which he dropped into a notch in one of the knees at the aft seat, and held the weather board up at a predetermined height. Smart. Efficient. Probably a solution that has been around for a long, long time. Thanks for another beautiful and informative video.

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    Thomas Morley says:

    My grandfather, Felix Gotto his wife Mary and my mother and two brothers lived upon a Dutch Boeier, very similar to this Tjotter only much bigger with living quarters. Its name was the Ludana and they traveled the southern and eastern coasts of the uk mooring in Sussex and Essex during the 1940’s. The boat is now restored and i think nearly a national treasure of Holland. It even has a face book page… They really are so beautiful.

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    Rifat Sele says:

    My wife is Dutch and we have the opportunity of visiting Holland a lot and I have always wanted to sail one of these Tjotters while we are there. OCH video gave me the close in counter for this lovely boats. Now we know how to handle one and we will try for sure to sail one next time we are in Holland. Thanks OCH, great relaxing and informative video.

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    Terry Smith says:

    OCH, your videos are a delight. Informative, too. Always wondered how these boats handled and would feel underway. Your ride, Eric, must have been a treat.

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    Danny Doyle says:

    Also saw these beautiful craft in Hobart. Great to see the large Dutch community in Tassie continuing to keep their craft alive in such a meaningful way.

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    Neil Moomey says:

    Very nice! You are very good at making videos without showing the camera man.

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    David J Braga says:

    Thank you for such a lovely idyl. As the years go by peacefulness takes the place of speed. The tjotter looks like a perfect solution. Thanks much, OCH!!

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    Michiel Bonke says:

    currently I’m working at a shipyard ( for these kind of boats in Heeg (Holland). Last winter we had 60 of these little sailing boats in for winter storage. It’s a lot of fun working on these boats! I do also own a traditional Dutch boat, leeboards included.

    see my flickr page:

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      Chris Noto says:

      Wow. That is an amazing gallery of images, Michiel! I’ve just peeked in there for a second, just now, but I will be back! Big boats and little ones, still photos and video, in the shop and on the water! What more could a wood-loving, sailboat loving person ask for? Thanks!

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      Ronald Ernst van Dijk says:

      That’s great! Working in Heeg, but please be aware that Heeg is not in “Holland”. Heeg is in Friesland, the land of the Frisians!

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    ken vollick says:

    With each video you bring me I find enjoyment, growth and peace.

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    James Lyman says:

    I sail my John Gardiner 12-foot semi-dory using two Old Town Canoe leeboards. I built the boat without a centerboard and after deciding I would rather sail it than power it, I built a leeboard support/holder. With my hand-sewn spritsail, I have wonderful times sailing on my Maine lake, getting safely close to loons.

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    Tom Roderick says:

    Beautiful on the eye, on the water, and for use in most situations.

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    Scot Copeland says:

    Thank you for this closeup look at a boat type many of us are aware of but have never seen in action.

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    Paul Atkins says:

    I watched this boat and the fleet of Tjotters at the festival go out in all conditions, they were mesmerising.

    Eric, how did you feel they handled? Sailors tend to get hung up on performance, but the reality of sailing just about any boat, is it is all so relative, making them dance about is a lot of fun. Also the space for length is great, and they look so stable. I can imagine loading up for an evening sail with six friends.

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      Bert van Baar says:

      Hi Paul,
      I totally agree with you. I Always think: one has a few hours to have a sail! I don’t mind how far I get or how high on the wind; I just want to have a few hours of sailing fun.
      A wooden boat (like this one for example) is all you need for these ideal few hours.
      If you ever get lost in Friesland in the north, just ask one of them (Jack van de Berg) to take you out for a sail. He’ll love to show you the ropes on this boat !


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