Skûtsjesilen The SKS championship skûtsjesilen is traditionally held during the northern construction holiday. Our fourteen SKS skûtsjes will be sailing 11 races at 10 different locations in Friesland in 2023 from 3 to 16 August. The 14 skippers compete during the championship for the Sulveren Skûtsje and everlasting glory. The SKS championship will kick off on Friday evening before the start of the championship in the tent on the Halbertsma’s Plein in Grou with the traditional draw. Skippers draw lots from Fokke Wijkstra’s cap to determine the starting order of the (shore) starts at De Veenhoop and Earnewâld. Another wonderful tradition: the tug Argus brings the 14 skûtsjes in a long tow to the Pikmar before the start of the first race at Grou. The finale is two weeks later at Sneek on the Snitser Mar, where the winners will be honoured on the Starteiland and the champion will be awarded the Sulveren Skûtsje. In the towns where the SKS skûtsjes sail, skippers meet at 11:00 AM for the rûte meeting. After the race, they attend the winners’ ceremony together with crews and family. Everywhere the skûtsje fleet berths, it’s party time! In each of the towns, local organisations organise festivities around skûtsjesilen. The SKS races attract thousands of visitors every year. The public can easily follow the silery from the shore or in boats from behind the red buoys on the water. The 14 flat-bottomed boats can be recognised by a mark in the sail. The sign refers to the skûtsje’s place of origin or the ship’s owner. The leader in the standings carries an orange banner to the upright. Most of the skûtsjes in the fleet are around 100 years old. The flat-bottomed boats were used to transport peat and turpentine, among other things. The skippers lived aboard the ships with their families. In summer day, innkeepers wrote out sailing races in which skûtsje skippers took part to earn some extra income. The current SKS skippers descend from the Frisian skippers’ families. Like their ancestors, they are passionately committed to skûtsje sailing. This is something they do together with crews, their families and the numerous volunteers. So we as an association are grutsk (proud) of that! Since April 2021, the ‘SKS Skûtsjesilen Championship’ has been credited in the Inventory of Immaterial Heritage of the Netherlands. A crowning glory to the work of skippers, crews, volunteers and lovers of the old flatbottomed boats who put in mountains of work to keep the SKS Skûtsjesilen Championship alive! The Skûtsje app provides information on the SKS races and includes information on all participating skûtsjes. Skûtsjesilen are Frisian sailing competitions with skûtsjes (historic cargo sailing ships). Each skûtsje has a unique sail marking, which allows you to recognise the vessel from the shore. You can use the SKS Skûtsje app download it at www.skutsjeapp.nl. 128

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