Trintella Friends Association
our association’s history
The Trintels and Trintella’s are unique boats with their own personality, just like their owners. As the saying goes: “Like boat, like owner”. This quickly ensures a strong connection. It was already during the late sixties that 30 owners and other interested participants started coming together to exchange experiences in a nice, relaxed way. As a result, the ‘Commissie van Trintel en Trintella zeilers’ (Committee of Trintel and Trintella sailors) was established in 1986. This committee consisted of Jan Buijze, Jules Coppens, Joe Butzelaar and Ad van Gent. Anne Wever, customer-focussed as he was, was closely involved in the initiative, which he saw as an extraordinary opportunity to stay in contact with his clients.
The first meeting the Committee organised, was held in the spring of 1969 at the Veerse Meer. At that time, only Trintel and Trintella type I and II yachts docked for the meeting, but it was at that moment that Anne Wever first introduced the very modern Trintella III: the Santa Maria, the prototype he sailed himself. The participants loved this new model so much that the first orders for the 35-foot long boats were placed that very weekend. During the seventies, the golden years for the shipyard, no opportunity to celebrate successes with Trintella friends was missed. The 25th anniversary of the shipyard was celebrated with a trip to London. Trips to foreign exhibitions were also organised, during which Anne and his wife Riekie enjoyed the success and fun of Trintels and Trintellas together with their Trintella friends.
It became apparent that the shipyard played a large part in the organisation of events when the shipyard struggled with recession in the early eighties. The Committee did not want to burden the shipyard in these conditions. In May 1984, Jan Greve’s plan to turn the Committee into an
independent association, separate from the shipyard, was set in motion. The Committee changed its name to Trintella Vriendenkring, but kept its purpose: to encourage members meeting, both for fun and to exchange experiences related to sailing and maintenance. They had a board that was chosen from and by the members, started organising their own events and took care of the financial side of these meetings. The first board saw Bruno Wijnants as chairman and Jan Greve as secretary, and had over 75 members, mainly from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Anne and Riekie Wever continued on in their role as the association’s pater and mater familias and were advisors to the board. In the previous period, a pattern had emerged; there was an event in the spring, taking place on the water, during which plans for the upcoming sailing season were discussed, and a reunion in the fall, taking place on dry land, meant for reminiscing about the events of the previous season. The association continued this pattern, switching between hosting in the north and south of the Netherlands. The first gazette was published as well. The yachts were not the only thing to get bigger: the association, too, steadily continued growing.
The association experienced a period of growth, which continued throughout the nineties when Jan van Poppelen was chairman for a decade – from 1987 to 1997. Riekie Wever assumed the role of secretary. The period saw a wider variety of members, partly because many new members were second or even third owners of their ships. The events were well-liked, and the number of participants kept multiplying. Destinations included Scheveningen (NL), Brugge (BE), Hull (GB) and York (GB). These trips are still fond memories for many of our members. Visiting the shipyard’s stand at BOOT Düsseldorf was another beloved outing. At the end of this period, there were over 175 members.
There was, however, a tangible stagnation in the public interest for joining associations, and in the following years a decline could even be noticed. This also affected the TVK. In this period – from 1997 to 2004 – Herman van Hemeldonck was our much beloved chairman, and he surely was the reason the number of members kept fluctuating around 175. The gazette was turned into a club magazine, greatly improving the communication between and with members.
After eight years, in 2004, the gavel was passed on to Theo van Erp, who would remain chairman until the end of 2008. This period saw a further decline in the interest in associations, as population ageing became more apparent in the association as well as society. The association made their internet debut with a professional website and a ‘Smoelenboek’, which made meeting easier for members. All the same, the board had their doubts about the viability of the association in the near future. They shared them with the General Member Meeting in 2008, but the GMM decided to continue unabated. A new, enthusiastic board was formed.
Ben Verhaaf became the chairman of this newly established board and remained so until the end of 2012. Riekie Wever stepped down as secretary/treasurer, after almost twenty years’ worth of administrative contribution to the association. Following this, Anne and Riekie Wever were named protector and protectress of the association in 2008. The new board mainly focussed on continuing the activities. The number of members steadily grew towards 185. The association also became cofounder and member of the Federation Poly Classics, and Ben also became its first chairman.
Anne passed away on 11 January 2009. We still miss our esteemed friend and protector, even though the Trintella Vriendenkring is thriving like never before. The board, led by chairman Loet Geldhoff (2012 – 2019), focusses on more than the fun side of the association. They pay special attention to the preservation of our sailing heritage: the Trintel and Trintella fleet, which consists of over one thousand ships around the world. Apart from registering the ships and their history, it means documenting technical questions and solutions per series and type and supporting the owners in keeping their ships sailing. An important inspiration for this strong focus on preservation is the book ‘Trintella Yachts – Dutch Glory from Brabant’ by Peter van der Waa, the standard reference for the yachts and shipyard. The association published this book in 2014, for the 50th anniversary of the Trintella brand. Peter was also secretary until 2019 and was an enthusiastic co-catalyst and co-enabler of many of the association’s innovations.
The association has over 2850 members in 2022, many from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, others from the US, Chile and other countries. Riekie Wever is still our protectress, Jan van Poppelen, Herman van Hemeldonck, Loet Geldhoff and Peter van der Waa are honorary members. There are also nearly twenty members who, after having been active in our boards, have been named Member of Merit.
Our mission and aim are clear, the organisation and financial situation durable, and features such as the Shop, Website, Vriendenboek, Newsletter and Magazine have been renewed and modernised. The number of members is growing, the ships are reliable, and their owners can still continue to enjoy sailing.
Source: TVK magazine 2018. Revision: january 2023