MV ‘IJsselmeer’


IJsselmeer is a 1909 Klipperaak 86 built by Foxholterbosch in northern Holland. She’s constructed in riveted steel, and the 86 refers to her length in feet – odd, since the Dutch had gone metric a century before.


Originally a sailing barge, it was 40 years before IJsselmeer was converted to diesel power. The engine is a huge six litre English-made Lister JP4, c.1940, which weighs a ton (literally!) and starts with a crank handle as there is no electric starter. These robust motors were used as marine engines and, ‘IJsselmeer’ can’t have been her original name, because the IJsselmeer (Lake IJssel, a huge freshwater lake created by damming the Zuiderzee) didn’t exist before 1932. Sadly her original name is lost in the mists of time.

IJsselmeer was bought by the present owners in 2007 and is now a much loved family home. The kitchen’s above the engine, the bathroom’s in the bows, and the hold in between – now containing two bedrooms and the main lounge – still has the original wooden barge boards for a roof. Crew accommodation mounted on a truck, as mobile generators for searchlights, radar installations etc. throughout WWII. Our engine was probably post-war surplus. The power output is about the same as an old Mini, so she’s no speedboat – but she can carry 50+ tons.


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