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Mees and Mees *)

On a very sad day, in march 2009, cycling his way home from school, our beloved son Mees was run over by a large multi-purpose vehicle. That evening he died in a nearby hospital. He had just reached the age of fifteen. We miss him ever more, each day.

Since the age of about forty (I’m sixty two years old now) I long for a sturdy, not too big, seaworthy yacht. It was summer 2010 when I decided to buy one. I thought: “Tomorrow I can be dead too. If I don’t do it now, Mees will never forgive me. He would like me to have one.” Mees was a sailor too. When we sailed our little open boat, he could not stop studying the way the wind and the sails, the ruther and the waves influence eachother. He steered our boat over the lake with steady hand. He really enjoyed sailing.

It did not took me long to find my S&S Aqua, a 30 feet masthead sloop. Built in 1971 (by Aquafibre, Norwich), she looked rather sound. She had a new mast and new rigging and the Yanmar 2GM sounded healthy. She seemed repainted, but her interior was rather a mess. Her starboard windows had been leaking for quite some time: the laminated planks underneath them were completely rotten. But the price was acceptable, so I decided to buy her. In october that year we sailed her along the the Dutch coast from Almere to Veere. The second day, the wind freshened to thirty knots but she did not budge. It was then that I was confident I had made the right decision.

Her new homeport is Jachthaven Oostwatering in Veere. Here, with help from friends, my eldest son and the workmen of the shipyard, I gradually restored the interior, renewed the electric wiring and last spring I repainted her hull. It was a lot of work, more than I expected. But I’m glad I took the challenge and I am grateful to my dear son Mees. I’m sure he would be proud of me. So when we relaunched her last summer, we babtized her “Mees”. And every time we set sail, and I take the helm, I feel his hand on mine.

Willem Bertels.

*) Article published earlier in Members Yearbook 2015, S&S Associaltion, page 69.