Days of Yore
Navy lures 330,000, despite very Dutch weather
DEN HELDER _ Not deterred by weather that was _ well, very Dutch _ 330,000 spectators attended a 4-day mid-June festival in this naval town north of Amsterdam marking the 525th birthday of the Dutch Royal Navy and a reunion of Tall Ships, including 30 of the world’s biggest windjammers.
The opening day was marred by a collision between the Lisa van Cobeck, a German ship, and the much larger 118m, 4-masted Sedov of Russia. “The German ship lay at anchor when the Sedov sought to cut in front of her but. That proved too tight. The current pushed the Russian into de bow of the Lisa von Cobeck,” a witness told the daily Het Noordhollands Dagblad.”
No one was injured, but the accident damaged the Lisa van Cobeck. The Sedov is a Russian training vessel. Originally a German cargo ship, she was for almost 80 years the world’s largest traditional sailing ship in operation. Other ships at 2013 Sail Den Helder included Spain’s Juan Sebastian de Elcano, the Belem from France and the Santa Maria Manuela and the Sagres, both from Portugal. The event’s opening day alone attracted more than 50,000 visitors.
The Netherlands fixes 1488 as the birth year of an organized Dutch navy in the form of an admiralty. Protecting marine trade _ an age-old lifeline for the Netherlands _ until then was handled by ship owners themselves. The navy did not get its designation “royal” until 1905.