Built in Ouderkerk a/d lJssel in 1896 De Walvisch is an historic twin-masted Dutch sailing Klipper, with monument status in Holland. Of riveted iron and steel construction, she has retained her original working lines, her original hull, roef and many of her original features. At almost 6 metres wide, she is one of the widest vessels of her length and class in Holland.
This type of sailing vessel was used to carry cargo, and many ships would travel the well established trade route between Holland and England, with ships sailing up until the 1930’s. De Walvisch delivered eels from Heeg to London, to feed the capital’s insatiable appetite for them. During the Second World War De Walvisch was commandeered by the Germans and her bow re-enforced for intended use as a landing craft to invade Britain.
She has recently undergone a complete external restoration, with two new masts and all roundwood replaced. The original roef (deck house) has been taken back to bare metal, revealing the riveted construction, and carefully re-painted. Using reclaimed materials and marine antiques the interior restorations are almost complete, with new cabins, captain’s quarters and gally. De Walvisch reached British shores in 2011, and her home port of London (Tower Bridge), with a joint Dutch, German and English crew, as a new cultural venue, fully functioning sailing ship and residence.