Zeeschouw ST58

In 1938, there are built two seaworthy types of the Frisian zeeschouw , the sister ships ST16 and ST58. This took place at the shipyard of Auke van der Werf in Stavoren.
By 1918 Auke bought the old Strikwerda yawl yard just behind the lock in Stavoren. When he bought the yard, it consisted of an old slip­way and a few barns, and sheep were the main in­hab­it­ants of the area. Over the years, however, Auke knew how to build large, sturdy and good sailing fishing scows. That way in 1938 he built the ST58 and the ST16.

The ST58 particularly stands out for the way of its con­struc­tion and its di­men­sions. The ship is riveted and partly welded. In the thirties they started to weld ships. The di­men­sions of the ST58 are to be called striking for that time. Thus, the length of 11 meters and width of 3.80 meters is a lot for that time and the ST58 has a rising fore and aft. These di­men­sions and the high head and stern make the ST58 seaworthy for the Wadden Sea, the tidal inlets between the islands and the IJsselmeer.

Launching the ST58 in 1938
(Launching the ST58 in 1938)

The ST58 sailed in the early years with a "fishing boat rigging" and an auxiliary engine. The rig consisted of a, mainsail, fishing boat jib (large jib with the clew behind the mast) and a jib topsail on a loose jib boom. The auxiliary engine was adapted to the needs and financial capabilities of the owner at that time. Hielke Smits gave the ST58 a Kromhout Medium pressure engine.

The ST58 has initially done paired fishing with the ST16. Additionally the ST58 fished on red perch, pike-perch and eels. Of the original owner (Hielke Smits) is known that he with his ST58 besides fishing was not afraid of doing salvage work. This also characterizes his tough, persevering character because Hielke Smits was not afraid of anything. A pleasant side was that the revenue of a salvage job was a nice addition to the harsh and meagre existence of a fisherman.

Despite all this ingenuity in the years 1950-1960 the fishing and revenues reduced for the fishermen; eel catch on the IJsselmeer dropped, and there were too many fishermen.
The van der Zaal committee arranged redundancies for fishermen at that time. In Stavoren nine fishermen stopped fishing in 1956, including Hielke Smits of the ST58. After 20 years of fishing Hielke Smits handed in his fishing license and found work in the port as a lock and harbour master.

Zeeschouw st58 Now, over 77 years later (2015), the ST16 and ST58 are still sailing. Both ships are privately owned and are in a good state of maintenance. The ST16 has remained almost as it was originally.
Over the years, the enthusiasm of Auke van der Werf and ingenuity of Hielke Smits have been stuck on the ST58. The ship features a short steel deck house that nicely keeps in line with the ship's sheer and it is spacious, simple but with a very cozy wooden interior. It is remarkable that all the previous owners (from 1956-present) and those who ever sailed and/or fished with it, are still talking full of passion and emotion about the ship. As if a part of them is sticking to the ST58 as well.


From 2003, the ST58 is owned by Rob and Marion and their sons Jip and Sietse Vissers. If you talk to Rob about the ST58 you get inspired and enthusiastic. Since they are the owners, they made sure that the ST58 has been well maintained and it can be preserved for posterity. In 2007 the mast has been changed for a new one and in 2010 the whole hull has been blasted (removing rust). The ship came through this confrontational handling without problems. The latter says something about the fantastic way the ST58 has been built in 1938 on the yard of Auke van der Werf, in Stavoren.
slaapgedeelte In 2009 the (auxiliary) engine from 1938 has been replaced by a new and much more powerful diesel engine that can handle the worst weather, a Beta Marine 75 hp, with a PRM gearbox.

De zeeschouw ST 58 built in 1938 on the yard of Auke van de Werf (scheepswerf Volharding in Stavoren).
Length: 11 meter
Width: 3.80 meter
draft: 0.90 meter
sail surface: 75 m2 aan de wind
Engine: Beta Marine (Kubota 75 pk. met PRM keerkoppeling)