In the beginning

In the summer of 1938, the Dutch shipping magnate Philippus van Ommeren III decided to build one final yacht. Although 77 years of age, he still had the energy and funds to commission a very expensive swansong to his boating career. The largest classic auxiliary ketch in Holland at the time - 100 feet in length was considered a giant 70 years ago - it would be a remarkable project.

Iduna was designed with an impressive 220 m2 sail plan. This comprised a main sail of 115 m2, a mizzen of 43 m2, a foresail of 30 m2 and a jib of 32 m2, which together weighed an astonishing 108 tons. A genuine 50:50 motor-sailor, Iduna was fitted with a powerful Gardner six-cylinder, 103 hp diesel engine and could reach up to eight knots without sails.

Iduna was entirely custom-built to Van Ommeren's requirements. An unusual demand for the time was that people could walk on to and along the deck without using any steps. The same was to apply after descending the stairway from the deckhouse to the interior. In other words, Iduna would have two flat decks upper and lower. Launched on 27 July 1939, Iduna cost around 5.7 million to build in today's money. It was an expensive undertaking that showed how the very best materials and the finest combination of yard and designer were used.

The story continues...