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Utrecht wharf builds replica of 18th century luxury yacht

Multiple use upon completion

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

UTRECHT - A group of local artisans and students has been building a 23 metres long ‘statenjacht,' a stately luxury inland sailing vessel used by high-ranking officials, captains of industry and other leaders centuries ago. Completion of the Utrecht's Statenjacht is envisioned for the summer of 2003. Except for some 21st century ‘adjustments,' such as a diesel engine, it is an authentic replica of an 18th century yacht.Spearheaded by shipbuilder Kees Sars, the group of carpenters includes a number of previously unemployed people trained to re-enter the job market. In this respect, the project in Utrecht is similar to those of other, larger replica ships such as the ‘Amsterdam,' the ‘Batavia,' the ‘Zeven Provinciën.' Both, the province and municipality of Utrecht are the main sponsors of the effort.Sars and his people have constructed the ship based on mid-18th century blueprints for a yacht used by the Rotterdam chapter of the VOC, the famed Dutch East Indies Company, founded in 1602. Such yachts also were status symbols of the rich and famous of that era which stretched into the 19th century. As well, local governments used a yacht to transport visiting dignitaries in a time when waterways, not roads, were the safest routes of transportation in the river-rich country.

Although usage plans for the Utrecht Statenjacht' have not been finalized, the idea is to rent it out for meetings or as a wedding location when it is moored near the Rijksmunt building in Utrecht. Plans call for a summertime IJsselmeer mooring near the Muiderslot where it will be made available for day-tour groups. The Province of Utrecht also will use the yacht as a ‘river limousine' for official functions and reception of dignitaries.During its building stage, visitors are welcome at the wharf near the Jaarbeurs Congress Centre in downtown Utrecht. For more information on the ‘Statenjacht' is available at