- Title: NETHERLANDS: WEEK OF SKUTSJESILEN FLAT-BOTTOMED BOAT RACING TAKES PLACE
- Date: 17th August 1999
- Summary: HINDELOOPEN, THE NETHERLANDS (AUGUST 14, 1999)(REUTERS) 1. TRADITIONAL FLAT-BOTTOMED BOATS, OR SKUSTJES, IN HINDELOOPEN HARBOUR 2. CREW MEMBERS PREPARING BOATS FOR THE RACE 3. CREW MEMBERS CHANGING SAILS 4. MAN PLACING MASCOT ON WOODEN HELM 5. (SOUNDBITE) (DUTCH) SKIPPER LIEUWE DE JONG SAYING "The mast of the boat is almost 20 metres long, while the boat is only 40 centimetres deep, so in a way sailing with these boats is like sailing on an improved surfboard. Because of the longer mast and bigger sails, these boats can go twice as fast as a normal yacht. They can go up to twenty kilometres an hour. And that is the kick: the combination of history as they are old traditional freighting boats with pure racing because now we use them for racing. 6. CREW RAISING SAILS WHILE LEAVING HARBOUR FOR SEA 7. BOAT SAILING TOWARDS SEA 8. PEOPLE WATCHING FROM BRIDGE 9. BOATS SAILING TOWARDS STARTING LINE 10. STARTING boat ON POSITION TO GIVE STARTING SIGNAL 11. BOATS SAILING 12. VARIOUS OF SKUTSJES RACING 13. PEOPLE WATCHING RACE 14. VARIOUS OF RACE Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 1st September 1999 13:00
- Location: HINDELOOPEN, THE NETHERLANDS
- Country: Netherlands
- Reuters ID: LVA6F0G22IXK7NS1B91PDWF0GJEQ
- Story Text: In the Northern Dutch province of Friesland, a week of
skutsjesilen or flat-bottomed boat racing is taking place.
This traditional sports event is typically Frisian as it
combines their two passions: water and boats.
A total of 54 traditional flat-bottomed sailing boats, known
as skutsjes, from all over Friesland docked at the old seaport of
Hindeloopen on Saturday (August 14) to take part in the annual Open
Frisian Skutsjessilen Championship.
The week-long competion takes place on the big lakes in
Friesland and on the Ijselmeer, the large expanse of water
formerly known as the Zuiderzee.
Built as freight boats in the early 1900s to carry potatoes,
sugar beet, peat and other agricultural products, the Frisians
have used them for racing since World War Two when fuel
rationing led to their use as cheap-to-run sailing boats.
Because the steel boats turned out to be astonishingly fast
competition boats, annual championships have been organised ever
since.The championships are a mix of sport and tradition and
have become a sporting highlight for tens of thousands of locals
Unlike normal sailing boats, the skutsje doesn't have a
keel under the hull.Instead each has two wooden plates on
the side of the boat which are raised and lowered each
time it turns.
According to skipper Lieuwe de Jong, whose skutsje was built
in 1909, the boat's secret lies in the combination of the flat
hull and the long mast.
"The mast of the boat is almost 20 metres long, while the
boat is only 40 centimetres deep, so in a way sailing with
these boats is like sailing on an improved surfboard.Because of
the longer mast and bigger sails, these boats can now go
twice as fast as a normal yacht.They can go up to 20
kilometres an hour.And that is the kick, the combination of
history as they are old traditional freighting boats, with
pure racing, because now we use them for racing," he said.
The competition rules are quite simple: the boats have to
sail a course around a series of buoys, which their hulls are
not allowed to touch.If they do, they have to sail a penalty turn.
The participating boats can only be traditional Frisian
skutsjes and can generally not exceed twenty metres in length,
four metres in width or measure more than fifty tonnes.
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