Catharina Elisabeth I and II

In the chapter on the Verver family in Lette’s book ‘De Wormerveerse Schipperij’ one of the early paragraphs discusses two barges named Catharina Elisabeth:

In 1891 werd er een paviljoentjalk met een 12 pk motor besteld door Pieter van 15,5 m. lang en 4 m. breed en 36 ton ‘Catharina Elisabeth’ geheten, genoemd naar zijn vrouw Catharina Elisabeth Koster. Niet lang daarna werd een motorschip met een 28 pk motorbesteld, van 62 ton, de ‘Catharina Elisabeth II’. Die was meteen een flink stuk groter en hiermee is de lang­ste tijd gevaren. De schepen waren speciaal ingericht met kaasstellingen.

In 1891, a paviljoentjalk with a 12 hp engine was ordered by Pieter of 15.5 m long and 4 m wide and 36 tonnes called ‘Catharina Elisabeth’, named after his wife Catharina Elisabeth Koster. Not long after, a motor vessel with a 28 hp engine was ordered, of 62 tonnes, the ‘Catharina Elisabeth II’. This was immediately quite a bit bigger and this was the one that sailed the longest. The ships were specially equipped with cheese racks.

Clearly, the second barge is ‘our’ Catharina Elisabeth – what do we know of the first?

A paviljoentjalk is generally a sailing barge, of the tjalk type

which has a distinctive rear deck flush with the top of the hull. An article by the brokerage Doeve Brokers states:

The Paviljoentjalk takes its name from the raised aft deck (pavilion) under which the house is located. This is the most important measure to achieve a low creep height while retaining tonnage. The fact that the house became small in this way was apparently accepted. To reduce the creep height even further, the upper part of the prow was often made foldable, the so-called hood. In the later period, when the wooden anchor spindles were replaced by windlasses, the upper part of the windlass was sometimes also foldable.

The text in Lette’s book states that Catharina Elisabeth I was motorised and this might affect whether or not she had the large tiller and rudder characteristic of tjalks. Also, as she was presumably designed for inland work, she probably would not have had the big leeboards (zwards) mounted midships.

The Akmaar photo archives has a photo that that is described as:

De motorboot van P. Verwer, liggend in de Voordam, is met een bloemstuk versierd ter ere van het 150 jarig bestaan van de vrachtdienst. Op de achtergrond de Bathbrug en een hoekje van de Waag.

P. Verwer’s motorboat, lying in the Voordam, is decorated with a flower arrangement to mark the 150th anniversary of the freight service. In the background the Bathbrug and a corner of the Waag.

The catalogue information is that this was taken in 1927 which is consistent with the 150th anniversary of the Verwer family company founded in 1777. However, this boat is clearly not ‘our’ Catharina Elisabeth. Perhaps this is the original Catharina Elisabeth?

More searching of the Alkmaar archives reveals this photo which may be of the same barge:

The description of the photo has no useful information and the presumed date is 1924.

However, the barges in both these photos do not have a bow or the general shape of a tjalk. It is possible, that either the description of the original Catharina Elisabeth is wrong or that she was built with a different design. Most likely, this is not the original Catharina Elisabeth and the search must continue.