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When history comes to life

As her name suggests, Jolande van Lent has a rich heritage of her own within the Feadship family. Although she enjoyed her time sailing on mini-Feadships during her childhood, it was only in recent years that she caught the bug again after joining the FHF History Committee. Inspired by her experiences, Jolande and her husband Herman decided to buy a classic Feadship of their own.

There is a wonderful photograph of Cornelis (Cees) van Lent standing in his dining room at the table where he put the finishing touches to many classic Feadship designs in the post-war period. From this vantage point he could look out of the window onto the waters of Kaag and the yard which carried his name. This was also where Cees lived with his wife Margo Akerboom, who he married in 1916. It was her father Jan Akerboom who took over the yard now known as Royal van Lent way back in 1877.

Cees passed away in 1963 and his son Jan van Lent took over the house and co-ran the yard with his brother Theo (the father of Dick van Lent). Jolande van Lent is Jan’s only child and there was only one place in the world she could have chosen in May 2017 for the re-christening ceremony of the 10-metre Margo, designed by her grandfather and named in honour of her grandmother.

First time owner

With such a background you might think it inevitable that Jolande would have been a boat owner all her life but this has not been the case. “As a child I spent my family holidays on the water in various Van Lent boats,” she explains. “I also enjoyed time as an adult with my father on Lucia but never considered owning a boat of my own. In fact, following his death I had only occasional contacts with the yard and the Feadship story for quite a few years.”

All that changed in 2015 when Jolande’s cousin Arthur van Berge Henegouwen, owner of the Feadship Ammerland and another grandson of Cees van Lent via his daughter Toos, asked her to join the FHF Historical Committee. “I was instantly fascinated by the work of researching classic Feadships and tracking down missing members of the fleet. When my husband Herman – who has no experience of sailing at all – saw how busy I was with the FHF he said it would be really great for us to have our own boat. Obviously we only wanted a small Feadship and we were delighted to find a 10-metre boat built by the Van Lent yard for sale in 2016.”

A DIY enthusiast had spent nine years trying to do this boat up before abandoning the project in 2011. Being a tall man he had started adding an uncharacteristic steel superstructure with the intention of having it painted to look like wood. 

Memories stirred

“After buying the boat we contacted the family of the first owner,” says Jolande. “It became clear that the yacht was first called Marco and been launched in 1956 when I was five years old. As the only child of Jan van Lent, it was my role in those days to present flowers to the owners at every launch... I cannot pretend I remember but it is very likely that 61 years ago I did this for what is now our boat!”

A photo from this original launch shows that Marco had an aft cabin as well as a berth forward. “Our research revealed that the second owner had this aft cabin removed to create an open aft deck,” adds Jolande. “As Herman and I are mostly sailing together we decided to just keep the forward cabin and make the most of the extra space for relaxation on the aft deck.

“We also had the steel superstructure removed and the soon-to-be-renamed Margo was rebuilt with an open cockpit based on my grandfather’s original design from the archives. This was carried out in partnership with the designer Willem Nieland, who did a great job. She is such a beauty... I love the curves of the hull and the yacht is very easy to manoeuvre. Despite her advanced years everything works extremely well, which is a testimony to the original design and build too.”

Pride and joy

Herman has now joined a new FHF committee set up to organise events, the first of which was the recent tour on the canals of Amsterdam. “It is a wonderful experience to see how Margo grabs people’s attention on the water,” concludes Jolande. “We get so many compliments wherever we sail and I am proud to be a part of keeping our heritage alive.”


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