Sterke Yerke II

At the Rein Stapert shipyard on the Kanaalweg in Leeuwarden, the construction of an improved version of the Sterke Yerke started in the spring of 1976. This raft was 12 meters long and 5 meters wide, again floating on empty oil drums. Two masts of 10 and 12 meters high kept the sails high. On May 1, 1976, the official launching and on May 15 the first voyage from Leeuwarden to Grouw, a small village in Friesland, where the raft was baptized in “Sterke Yerke II”.

With this raft the Frisians reached August 13, 1976 undamaged the Tower Bridge in London. ‘Under the Tower Bridge’ the idea was born to cross the ocean. Over time these initial ideas became increasingly clearer. In May 1978 the Sterke Yerke II participated in the HT sailing race “(Harlingen – Terschelling, v.v.)”.

During this HT race the idea was suggested to do something with the environment. It had to be something big, a trip across the ocean from one continent to another, but not just out of adventure, also with a purpose and that was there now. For that environmental project, Frits Riemersma, biology student, was asked to join as a researcher a month later.

The photographer Henk van Dam from Leeuwarden, as admirer of the actions of de Sterke Yerke was also one of the twelve crew members during the HT race and made many photos.