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What’s the Latest on Jack van Ommen and ‘Fleetwood III’?

We’ve been following Jack van Ommen for years as he’s shared the highs and lows of his world-cruising adventures. The 87-year-old sailor has completed a 12-year-long circumnavigation taking in 65 countries. During that time we’ve seen him lose his boat, twice. Each time he survived to tell the tale and to fit out a new boat aboard which to live and continue cruising. But things don’t always go as planned, and van Ommen’s life is no exception.

Last month marked 10 years since van Ommen lost his first Fleetwood, a Naja 30, at age 77. He’s now completing work on his third Fleetwood, a 30-ft Waarschip that he bought after losing his second Naja 30, Fleetwood II. Sadly, Fleetwood III did not live up to the promises of her former owner and has required extensive repair and refit work. Now, van Ommen says he’s nearing the end of the project, and it seems, the end of his love for the lapstrake, plywood-paneled boat.

Fleetwood III nearing completion.
© 2023 Jack van Ommen

“It was starting to get chilly on the boat in Zaandam,” van Ommen writes. “But, with the help of a marine mechanic, we managed to get the old Webasto forced air diesel heater working. October and November turned out to set rainfall records in Holland. With the deck leaks repaired, all I have to keep well covered is the cockpit area where my next project requires replacement of substantial areas where the seller managed to skillfully hide rotten areas and leaks. My plan is to sell the boat as soon as I have these repairs done, hopefully before the end of the summer.”

Van Ommen is planning to head south along the West Coast late January, “… work my way down to Southern California and make stops along the way to see my two sons and friends.” We’re hoping to catch up with him somewhere along his route. In the meantime he’s asking his friends and followers to let him know of any suitable boats on the US Atlantic Coast or in the Great Lakes area.

Specifically, he’s looking for something “seaworthy, max. 32-ft and preferably a chined plywood construction.”

Van Ommen has a new adventure in mind, one that “keeps me excited after the three-year project I got suckered into.”

Jack van Ommen departing Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, aboard his first Fleetwood, in 2007.
© 2023 Jack van Ommen

Ever the optimist, he says that despite the downside of the Waarschip he bought last year, he has accepted the situation and muses that “there is always a reason for a setback.” In this case he says he has learned new skills and is “reinforced by the accomplishments.”

We’re hoping van Ommen will stop in the Bay Area. In the meantime you can catch up on more of Jack’s adventures here.

1 Comment

  1. Jim Wilson 3 months ago

    Good morning
    I woke early and started reading classy classified boat for sale section, then came across this article. and was happy and excited to read Gig Harbor on transome of boat in photo. I’d read Around the world in 80 years a few years ago and considered it and yourself inspiration.
    You’re close by if you haven’t departed. I was also surprised to read that your vessel is a Waarship, have never seen one up close and personal but read about them back in late 70s and considered purchasing a kit. If you still in neighborhood please let me know I’d love to meet you and the boat as well.
    Thank you

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