On Saturday 24 June the so-called Spekbak Race between authentic fishing vessels from Hoorn and Urk will start in the Marken Harbour of the Outdoor Museum. The course of the race will not be determined until shortly before the start, on the basis of wind force and wind direction. After the race the prize-giving ceremony will take place by Marken Harbour.
'Spekbak' ('grease barge') used to be a term of abuse for vessels such as fishing scows and round-bottomed vessels from Marken. Presumably because these cheap, iron boats were usually dirty and greasy due to the fish offal, but also as they were a poor alternative for the more elegant wooden smack, at least in the eyes of the fishermen. Many spekbakken were converted into yachts and fitted with a cabin after they had served their time as fishing boats. This meant, obviously, that a sacrifice was made in terms of authenticity, but on the other hand it also meant the preservation of many of these vessels. Today they are often acquired by spekbak buffs who restore them to their original state. There are two foundations in the Netherlands at present that focus specifically on the sailing and preservation of vintage spekbakken: the Hoornse Schouw and the Historische Westhaven Urk foundations.
For some years now, the two foundations have organized races and fishing-related events with the spekbakken in Hoorn and at Urk. One year Urk visits Hoorn and the next year it is the other way round. This year, however, the spekbak race is organized from the Zuiderzee Museum: a one-off opportunity to meet 'halfway' at the finest historic location one can imagine: Marken Harbour in the Outdoor Museum!