Int 8-mR Hollandia gerestaureerd

A star is born again ! 

After an extensive rebuild at Metur Yachts in Bodrum, Turkey, the famous 1927 Int. 8-Metre Hollandia is back in her element and ready to join the fleet! 

Hollandia was designed and built in 1927 by Holland’s premier naval architect, G. de Vries Lentsch, to represent Holland at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. Launched the year before she was shipped to Genoa to compete for the Coppa d’Italia and on her first outing she made a great showing taking home this so very prestigious trophy. The following year, at 1928 Olympics, she won silver, narrowly defeated by another legend of her time; Virgine Heriot’s Aile VI. In 1933 Hollandia was sold to Germany where she competed in the Baltic fleet. After the war Hollandia disappeared behind the Iron Curtain, out of sight for all of us but, as it turned out, not lost! 


Her story continued in a new communist World where, in the early fifties students of the University of Rostock decided to design and build a yacht to sail & visit their new comrades in Cuba. When looking for lead to cast a keel, the military pointed the youngsters to an old boat which was laying on it’s side, rotting away on the beach just of Rostock. They went over with their saws and demolition tools to find a yacht named Hollandia so exquisitely beautiful that they imminently changed their plans. The dried out seams were stuffed with seaweeds and turf and at high tide she was floated and towed back to port where they spent the next years getting her ready to sail again. In the following decades, Hollandia, now known as Universitas, served as their local racing yacht as well as their home for countless long distance cruises to Poland, Estonia and Russia. 

In the mid nineties it was Rolf Rathcke who contacted me about the existence of Hollandia. I recall the excitement of that day vividly, and in a rare moment of wisdom I called Jos Fruytier who then owned Maribell. Within 5 minutes he suggested to have a look and that we ought to leave the same day and so it happened. The iron curtain was barely gone and through this new old land we drove to Rostock to see the boat and meet her caretakers, in particular Harald Machur. It wasn’t difficult to recognise the old girl but it was clear that the restoration would be a Hercules task. Her transom was cut, her keel and underwaterbody were severely modified to suit IOR rules, her rig was altered, an engine was added and the original deck structures had been changed to a larger coachroof to suit long distance cruising. Structurally she was strong enough to float but that was it. Through it all Jos Fruytier felt the deepest respect for these people who, at a time that the East German government would not support or endorse ownership of such yachts, showed willpower, resourcefulness and passion for the old girl. They refused to let go even when told to do so and kept Hollandia sailing. 

However, it would take a full reconstruction to make her the way she was and that is what Jos Fruytier intended to do. Two years went by before the owners were ready to really pass on the torch but once done she was immediately shipped to Metur Yachts in Turkey for a full rebuild. Luckily the original plans had been kept at the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam and the National Archives supplied photos of details, as for Universitas; Whatever could be saved was saved to bring the old Hollandia back to life.
 
Then came a short interlude. . . Jos Fruytier is never short of dreams and once Hollandia was in his hands, he decided that Hollandia ought to win the Coppa d’Italia again. That was 2002 Helsinki and looking at the fleet of 38 Eights competing there is was clear that it would take a Modern 8-Metre to make that happen. His first move was to buy the modern Lafayette and sure enough in 2004 she won the World Cup and the Coppa d’Italia. Most people thought; “mission accomplished, well done guys”, but they got it all wrong! Lafayette was merely a steppingstone, Hollandia ought to win not Lafayette! A change of name would have been the affordable cure to that problem but that usually doesn’t bring much good luck so the conclusion was quickly drawn to build something new. Jos teamed up with Ruud van Hilst and together they commissioned Doug Peterson & Ian Howlett to design a new modern 8-Metre to be named Hollandia. The two took no chances and with no apparent budget the new boat was built and most of you know the outcome of that one; The new modern Hollandia turned out fiercely competitive, sublimely balanced and seriously fast, and so, finally job done; After 80 years, Hollandia wins both the 8-Metre World Cup and Coppa d’Italia! During all that time the project for the original Hollandia was on hold but with one dream come true the next usually pops up; It was time to get the old girl back on stage !
So here she is, the star of the 1927 Int. 8-Metre Fleet, Hollandia H-1 is born again and ready to join the fleet.  

I hope you will all join me in a toast to the men that saved Hollandia from that beach behind the Iron Curtain, to the students that maintained and loved her at the University of Rostock in East Germany for almost 50 years, to the kind foolishness, courage and dreams of Jos Fruytier and the team at Metur Yachts that made another dream come true.
 
Cheers everyone and a very happy New Year to you all !
 
John Lammerts van Bueren

 

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