View Full Version : who wants to cry?

martin schulz
02-12-2003, 04:37 AM
A month ago I went to a ship-wrecking yard in Grenaa, Denmark. I heard rumours about old wooden-ex-fishing boats being wrecked there...

...the rumours were true. The fishermen get money from the state when they give up their trade and let their ships brake down. And they are not allowed to sell their ships - even to non-fishermen.

What I saw there almost broke my heart. I don't know why - of course I know that a ship is "only" wood and paint, but I felt like seeing animals being killed in a knackers yard.

Her you go:




02-12-2003, 09:51 AM

That really hurts. I lived in Denmark for a year, and thought that they were pretty smart about things like this...

What a bummer. Almost wants to make me cry.


Wild Dingo
02-12-2003, 09:52 AM
Originally posted by martin schulz:
. And they are not allowed to sell their ships - even to non-fishermen.

What I saw there almost broke my heart. I don't know why - of course I know that a ship is "only" wood and paint, but I felt like seeing animals being killed in a knackers yard.

...sob...You mean they just scrap them???? I can understand the steel scraping yards in India but this in a country with some of the finestkind wooden boats??

seriously loud sob from downunder... gawd theyre crushing woodenboats and I just want one??? weres the justice??!! oooohhh the pain!!! :(

martin schulz
02-12-2003, 10:04 AM
Shane - you can have any of those in the top-picture if you are willing to pay more than the Fisherman gets from the government.

Alan D. Hyde
02-12-2003, 10:41 AM
What a waste.


Typical politicians, with hearts to seek, heads to plot, and hands to carry out any conceivable malevolence.


Bruce Taylor
02-12-2003, 10:49 AM

Dale R. Hamilton
02-12-2003, 10:53 AM
presume those little red x's in a box are pictures. So how do you open then? I don't get anything when I try to click on them.

martin schulz
02-12-2003, 11:06 AM
I don't know why your aren't seeing anything Dale.

You might want to check the Internetsite I got the pictures from ( a friend of mine wrote about our "field-trip"):
friends-of-old-ships (http://www.freunde-alter-schiffe.de/aktuell/)

02-12-2003, 11:40 AM

A real shame. I have seen that happen, to a lesser degree, at local marinas with 'abandoned' woodies ... I actually cried last time! It was like a funeral to me.



ion barnes
02-12-2003, 11:53 AM
I can understand the government's approach to the problem. A 'buy-back' program is only a part of a solution to over fishing or what has become an overly mechanized industry. Now what is to be done with these vessels, that are probably in a poor state of repair, and are not much good for any thing else but fishing - not everyones choice for a cruiser, so, break them up. Its just like cars, old houses etc. The landscape is littered with so much junk because we have this desire to keep everything after its not useful anymore and we can not let go. I say right on Denmark, give it up, get over it, and move on.
They are doing the most eco-logically, responible move that could be made.

Steve Paskey
02-12-2003, 12:16 PM
Ecological? Responsible? I beg to differ. If someone is willing to fix and maintain an old boat, it's better to sell it or GIVE IT AWAY than destroy it.

ion barnes
02-12-2003, 12:36 PM
Gawd! I am begining to sound like a Greenpiecer, a granola cruncher but here goes.

They have out lived their unsfulness, nobody is flocking to get one as a fixer-upper, so what are you going to do?

If they were steel, I would use them as artifical reefs but the woodies are not suitable beacause they have absorbed too many toxic materials to be considered safe to sink.

Back to the original point, the wooden boat is a costly affair to maintain and thats why so many fall into disrepair and are abandoned. A great many of these vessels are probably not worth keeping so what is the big deal of disposing of it with an excavator! Is it because it looks harsh? Do you want it to be lovingly disassembled? Give me a break! :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

02-12-2003, 12:37 PM

The feds have been buying out fishing licenses here. The boats get converted to other uses if the fisherman can find a buyer. Seems a better way to go.


Alan D. Hyde
02-12-2003, 01:37 PM
Why not offer them for sale for non-fishing purposes only, then only dispose of those not sold after a reasonable interval?

This seems to me far easier to justify, and less wasteful, than their current policy as described by Martin.

More "Brusselsthink." Which is to say, nonthink.


02-12-2003, 02:20 PM
I thought our lawmakers & bureaucrats were a pack of weasels... EU gives me the willies.

02-12-2003, 02:35 PM
Why not take them apart? The paint scraped off, the screws & bolts melted down, the planks and timbers cleaned up and reused to make smaller boats for recreational use, or coffee tables, or ..., providing employment both in the taking apart and in the future building.

Sickening and shameful, it is, to destroy a beautiful thing because it's politically inconvenient.

Lucky Luke
02-12-2003, 06:42 PM
...well...: "Brusselthink"...EU gives you ...aso... sad to read!!! Sad too is to see these pictures, definitely, but the FACT is that Ionbarnes IS right, and that trying (at great and useless cost) to recover whatever may be recoverable - besides the few valuable "antics"- is just like trying to fight against the unemployement by filling the maelstrom with water! Overfishing has caused immense destruction, and fishermen are still entitled (in "Brussel's point of view...) to receive a substantial bit of money to compensate for decisions which could not be expected before research proves them necessary. The effectively ridiculous thing is that they will receive this money only if the ships are scraped, and not the difference between what money they would have got if scraping their ship and the price they would eventually get from a non fisherman buyer. Anyway, you will certainely not pay much for these boats: they are extremely difficult to convert into whatever they were not designed for, and what to do with them otherwise: contemplate their decay?
Nice to see your reactions anyway: sad that is, yes!

[ 02-12-2003, 06:50 PM: Message edited by: Lucky Luke ]

John Gearing
02-12-2003, 08:28 PM
Martin's post should come as no surprise. Go look in the archives and you will see a whole thread warning this was about to happen....maybe a year ago. IIRC correctly the poster discussed how interested parties could perhaps buy a boat before they were broken up. How many of you bought one?

I am sure that if the EU could at least break even by selling these boats to non-fishermen (and how would you monitor the new buyers to make certain they weren't using the boats for fishing??...but that's another question) they would probably do so. It's economics, folks. If people were knocking down their doors to buy these old fishing boats, that would be one thing. But I don't think it's happening. If it is cheaper to simply destroy them as scrap, then that is what should be done, right? It is what good, sound capitalism demands. Or would you rather have socialism and some kind of liberal do-gooder "save-the-old-boats" program? ;)

[ 02-12-2003, 08:28 PM: Message edited by: John Gearing ]

David P
02-12-2003, 10:57 PM
While it is sad to see boats destroyed, I think it is a logical solution to a problem. The taxpayers are paying their money to reduce excess fishing capacity and provide the affected fishermen with some finacial relieve for what would otherwise be a 'white elephant'. Imagine now your feelings as one of those taxpayers if the government gave those same boats away so somebody could have himself a yacht. I don't often take the side of politicians but I don't blame them for for their solution on this issue.
'course if those were sailboats, I would feel differently!!

martin schulz
02-13-2003, 06:27 AM
Hmm - of course most of you are rigtht about this. There has to be a way to end that "overfishing" that has been done for too long.

But those boats WERE sailing cutters once. Just take a look at the hulls and you definetely can see the lines of sailind-vessels. They have been converted first into sailing ships with auxiliary engines in the 20/30s, then with just a minimal rigg in the 50s and later with a strong engine and no sails in the 70s. So all you have to do is ripp those boxes and cabins off put in two masts in their probably still existing sockets and go sailing (not quite that easy but thats what has being done here in Flensburg in 5 cases).

Take a look what Arved Fuchs (the guy who just came back from sailing the North-west-, as well as the North-East passage) did with a ship like that: http://www.arved-fuchs.de/dagmaraaen/images/startcollage2.jpg

John Gearing
02-13-2003, 11:52 AM
Of course you are right, Martin. My reply was meant to be satiric. As all readers of WoodenBoat know, there was a fine article about an enterprising Scottish family that went over to Denmark or Germany and bought one of these boats, took it back to Scotland, and returned it to its sailing glory. I would have hoped that many Europeans would have jumped at the chance to get one of these boats and re-convert to sail. Perhaps to want to do this sort of thing requires a bit of an eccentric mind, which we seem to see less often these days? Do you suppose there is any hope that you and some of your friends who love traditional boats could fan the flames of public interest and perhaps find some people who would be able to pay the fee required to at least save a few of these boats? I am sure that if such boats were available in the US many of us would leap at the chance to get one. But from here, the problems of title, taxes, and transport costs back to the US seem daunting. Or at least they do to me.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-14-2003, 11:17 AM
It's an EU regulation, so the same thing is happening here in Britain. You cannot buy the boat; she has to be cut up. In general they are motor boats, I have not heard of any sailing boats getting cut up.

But there was a remarkable case of a genuine Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter, which survived for 60 years as a fishing boat in Ireland before she was identified and restored. No-one in the fishing port where she worked out of knew her original name - there was just a story that she came from the Bristol Channel.

martin schulz
02-14-2003, 11:37 AM
Originally posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett:
I have not heard of any sailing boats getting cut up. What is a sailing boat? I know they are not cutting up boats with masts still on it. but those boats they are cutting up have a history that is sometimes 80 years old. And when they were built most of them were sailing working boats.

I define a sailing boat by the sailing boat lines. There are even Tug-boats or old steamer were one can see that the hull was designed like a sailing boat - no wonder so many "lighthouse-ships" are being converted back to sailing boats.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-14-2003, 12:42 PM
I meant "boats which were once sailing boats" -
there are just a handful, like that pilot cutter, still fishing under power, but they are very rare. If such a boat came under the scheme I think there might be a fuss. There are still a few wooden fishing boats being built, in Scotland, but these are absolutely powered vessels. They would sail like a brick.

John Gearing
02-14-2003, 02:03 PM
Martin is right. The boat I spoke of in my post about the Scottish family looked for all the world like it had always been a power craft. No masts, no spars, pilothouse, etc. But when you got the hull out of the water it was clear that this had originally been a sailing fishing boat that had been converted to power. That's what Martin is talking about---the likelihood that many of the older boats that are being cut up were originally designed to be sailed, hence could be converted back to sail with good results.

The thing that gets me about all of this is that my understanding is that the EU helped finance the development of much larger, modern fishing vessels and that this new fleet is the one that scoured the seas clean of fish. I'd be interested to know whether any of these "fish factories" are being cut up, or whether this is just a way to pay off the small-time commercial fishermen and get them out of the way once and for all.

02-15-2003, 03:26 PM

Do you have an address or contact in Denmark? Maybe they will be selling some parts and/or engines. If so, Id like to get a hold of someone.

martin schulz
02-17-2003, 04:31 AM
Originally posted by Otter:
Do you have an address or contact in Denmark? Maybe they will be selling some parts and/or engines. If so, Id like to get a hold of someone.Yes I have the address of a wrecking-yard in Esbjerg. You can contact Morten via email (contact@smedegaarden.net) he also has an internet site:
smedegaarden (http://www.smedegaarden.net/)

I was there to buy a big old winch for the historic crane in the Museumharbour. I was surprised that he sells those Refleks-ovens which usually cost about 500 - 1000 Euro (at Toplicht), used but still ok, for 100 Euro.

02-17-2003, 06:47 AM
Thanks, I may have to take a trip up there.

martin schulz
02-20-2003, 06:24 AM
Ok guys - no reach for your handkerchiefs.

Those are the pictures I took when I was in Esbjerg (like a stranded whale).





...and I did take a very carful look and poked in the wood - this boat is substantionally healthy. And this is what is left after the slaughter:


martin schulz
02-20-2003, 11:16 AM
Oh I found one more...


Wild Dingo
02-20-2003, 11:56 AM
aahhh geeez Martin!!! ****e... I really dont give a rip about the soundness or otherwise of some political idiologs decision of getting rid of these old ladies... but that is just pure pain!! ...for me anyways sigh :rolleyes:

I mean imagine the history being wiped out!!... by a stroke of pure luck that some historically sygnifican boats arent done that to before its recognized!! :(

Imagine the boat I could have!!! Ohhhhh WOE!! :(

Well Martin me old mate Im gonna go quark eeerrr read something a bit more cheering this is sad... a steel one sure go for your coit! a f/glass one yeah!! but a pure old wooden one... oohhhh quar... errr for shame! :rolleyes:

martin schulz
02-24-2003, 11:17 AM
...sorry for bringing this up to the top of the list again but today a report about the wrecking of those ships in Grenaa was published in a local newspaper. The danish officials are saying that only Danes have a chance to purchase boats destined to be wrecked. Right now the Flensburg Museumharbour and the Association of all German Museumharbours are checking in Brussles if there is a chance to safe some of the ships by buying them from Germany.
No matter what danish officials say this is the EU and that should be possible.

Care for a deckhouse?


Terry Etapa
02-25-2003, 03:53 PM
I beleive it was in the book "Fish, Markets, and Fishermen: The Economics of Overfishing"
by Suzanne Iudicello, Michael Weber, Robert Wieland, and Center for Marine Conservation, that I read about similar buyback programs. It seems, in the past, the boats were bought back by the private sector. These boats then returned to the fishing fleet. In some cases, the fisherman used the buyback money to get a newer/bigger boat. Not exactly a way of reducing fishing pressure.

So, someone has come up with the idea of destroying the boats. There is probably a requirement that the fisherman is out of the business for some period of time too.

Whatever drove the decision, it's still sad to see the old working boats destroyed. I've kinda got a soft spot in my heart for them. After all, I used the Canadian provence of BC's buyback to get my boat (http://www.home.earthlink.net/~tetapa).

Jeff Evans
02-25-2003, 04:13 PM
I met a guy here in Woods Hole last fall who had bought one of these discarded boats in Denmark. Don't know how he did it, but he did. He was tied up at the National Marine Fisheries dock overnight. He uses the boat for Oceanographic work now. He did a beautiful resoration of it inside and out. The diesel is HUGE!. Just 3 cyls. too. Massive construction. He said the boat was built to have a 40 year life fishing. It was very spacious below decks. Really nice guy. Met him for beers at the Captain Kidd later that night.

His website is Discoverer Online (http://www.discovereronline.com). Worth taking a look. I think he's in the carribean now and is going to the mediteranean this spring. Can't believe they're really tearing these boats up. What a tragedy and waste. Glad that at least one of them escaped!


02-28-2003, 12:04 AM
That doesn't even make sense from an economic standpoint. :confused:

:( :mad: