HWT’s encounter with a flying Dutchman

The power, responsiveness and seemingly infinite reach of the internet search engines never ceases to amaze me. The ‘Travels with Tilman’ talk continues to evolve, each talk differing from its predecessor as more information comes to light.  The image shown here is a relatively recent addition to the extended version of the talk and shows the Dutch aluminium sloop Senta moored alongside Sea Breeze in Reyjavik in 1971.

Bill Tilman recounts the story in ‘Ice with Everything‘:

“In our turn we entertained a Dutchman, Dr. Hartog, who turned up one morning sailing single-handed in an aluminium-alloy 8 tonner to moor alongside us. He was not a single-hander by choice. He usually sailed with his wife, a combination that can and has resulted in famous and formidable crews, such as the Smeetons, the Hiscocks, and the late Dr. and Mrs. Pye. On this occasion he had unwisely declared his intention to reach Greenland to which his wife had responded with ‘Include me out’ or the Dutch equivalent. The doctor had not enjoyed his lone voyage and on meeting contrary winds had put into Reykjavik prior to returning to Scotland where his wife was waiting. He may have been pining for his wife’s cooking and I doubt if our curry and duff would abate this longing.”

I’d like to think that Dr. Cees den Hartoog’s reaction to the Saturday evening curry and duff was as memorable as his own hospitality had been to the crew of Sea Breeze. Iceland being effectively ‘dry’ in those days, I seem to recall we made a significant dent in his valuable store of export Heineken.

Idly trawling the net a few evenings ago, I came across this piece written by the good Dr Hartoog and it makes for good reading.  Take a look further and you’ll see that the page is hosted as part of the fascinating website of Henny van Oortmarssen, a later owner of Senta and current builder and owner of an Ian Farrier designed F39 trimaran.  The time lapse video of the hull under construction in Henny’s workshop provides a fascinating glimpse of this project.  Tilman himself might well have been impressed, having been taken for a demonstration sail in Three Cheers by Mike McMullen in 1974.


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