In the garden at the Enkhuizer Nautical College there’s a very special ship which is used for training purposes, like learning how to rig sails on a square rigged sailing-ship and climbing the mast.The second year (GZV) of the Enkhuizer Zeevaartschool emphasizes on square rigged vessels with an ocean going masters certificate for commercial sailing vessels up to 3000 GT worldwide. It is here that Kaatje is extensively used in the educational process. Never before was simulation beter used in practical seamanship than on the yards of Kaatje with her 215 years old tradition of preparing seamen for duty on sailing vessels at sea!
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januari 2001, Kaatje, a land based sailing vessel formerly used at the Nautical
School in Amsterdam was due to be demolished.
The city of Amsterdam had already given permission to dismantle this highly
valuable historical site, built in 1785 as a direct result of the American War
for independence and the ensuing Battle off Dogger Bank.
Nautical School in Amsterdam was founded in 1785. At that time, all nautical
schools of any importance in Europe added land based sailing vessels to their
theoretical education programs to teach rigging, knotting and splicing, sail
handling and manoeuvring. So in Amsterdam an instruction vessel with
wooden hull was constructed as a three masted full rigged ship, (right from the
beginning in 1785 called "Kaatje"), replaced (once more) by a wooden hull in 1831 with
the existing rig transferred to the new hull. Finally after more than a century
the existing wooden hull was replaced by a schoonertype construction in 1935
while the new two masted barqentine rigging was assembled from her original
spars! This vessel, Kaatje III, served as an instruction vessel well into the 1950's. Afterwards, she was abandoned and barely survived into the 21st
century: the last survivor of all land based training vessels in Europe!
Kaatje was salvaged by a spectacular rescue operation initiated by the Enkhuizen
Nautical College in Enkhuizen. Transportation of the
70 tons Kaatje by Mammoet took place in april 2001 and restoration was
completed in april 2002 thanks to generous contributions of over 750
participants from all over the world. Some of the contributors started their
seafaring career on Kaatje as long ago as before WWII !
Ceremonial commissioning of Kaatje on April 7th 2002:
In all respects Kaatje is a spectacular phenomenon. She even survived the diesel period and in this new era of large sailing vessels and tall ships she prospers again as sail training simulation model. As a waterline model she cuts an excellent figure, - the only existing example in Europe! Due to the good maintenance of her past masters and careful restoration, a large quantity of the authentic yards, rigging and metalwork has remained intact.