Days of Yore
Old soldiers never die
HELLEVOETSLUIS _ In 1688, William III of Orange sailed from this port to save Britain for Protestantism. Hellevoetsluis is no longer a naval citadel but history comes alive every other year through the Dutch Classic Yacht Regatta. The event’s13th edition, July 24-28, brings together close to 200 classic sailing yachts, scrupulously restored and maintained.
It is a biennial event, unequaled in northern Europe: 5 days of regatta sailing and a shore program to tempt anyone with a passion for the beauty of old time sailing. It lures owners, crews and lovers of classic keel yachts made of wood, steel or polyester.
“The oldest dates back to 1893,” says Marcel van Loosbroek, president of the Dutch Classic Yacht Regatta. “Our club rules ban vessels designed after 1975” This year, there will be several entries from Belgium but 3 months ahead of the event, no British boat had yet registered. Van Loosbroek expects that 170 or so vessels dotting the Haringvliet, a North Sea inlet on Hellevoetsluis’ doorstep that was closed off 50 or so years ago. Today, the town boasts over 2,000 berths in 5 marinas, close to the North Sea.