Berthon Gauntlet information
classic ocean racing yachts

Royal Charles

  Current owner:  Benno and Carla Spaans
  Location:       Netherlands
  Year built:     1938
  Build number:   535
  First owner:    H H de B Monk
  Size:           18 tons
  Previous names: 

Boat location

From Benno Spaans

During the Anglo-Dutch war in 1667 the Dutch fleet, under admiral Michiel Adriaanzn. de Ruyter, heavily defeated the English fleet under admiral George Monk at Chatham. As a trophy they hauled the grand English flagship “ the Royal Charles “ To Holland.

Many years and generations later, in 1938, M.C.A.F.C. H.H. de B. Monk contracted Berthon Boat to build an 18t Gauntlet. To the memory of his illustrious forefathers he named the ship “Royal Charles”. This 44’ 2” Bermuda Cutter is made out of teak on oak ribs and was originally a flush deck, the doghouse was added in 1949.

In the beginning of the seventies Mr. E.S. Bartels brought the ship over to Holland and used it for living quarters.

The head originally was the crews' quarters but has later been changed into a larger, more usable, kitchen, but apart from those changes the interior remains original.

Mr. Bartels took the ship to the West Indies in 1978 where it stayed for a couple of years before returning back to Holland in 1981 and Monnickendam has been the homeport since.

When Mr. Bartels passed away in 2001, the ship was sold to Mr. Hablous, a young man full of enthusiasm to fix the ship up. Within the year, however, the ship was for sale again after he also suddenly passed away. And then we came along.

When reading through the Spiegel der Zeilvaart (a Dutch maritime magazine), my eye fell on an add for a 13.5 meter long, beautiful classic teak S-frame built in 1938 which needed a 'little bit of work'. I tried to convince my loved one that this might be something for us, especially since it needed a little work and that that might bring the price down considerably. I know my way around a toolbox, something you need to know when owning a classic ship, so that 'little bit of work' wouldn't be that challenging and after all, there is no harm in looking, is there? I finally got permission to contact the agent and ask for more information.

The information we got was very extensive and gave a clear picture of the expected work. It took a bit more to convince my wife after reading the information but after telling her that there really is no harm in looking and that there is no commitment to buy, we went to Nieuwpoort, near Utrecht.

And there she was, in a little harbour on the Lek, which really is not a good place for a sailing boat. Covered in green moss and a loose flapping tarpaulin the first thing we noticed was the damage on the prow. The owner, a young woman who had to sell the ship because her boyfriend passed away, could not give us any extra information. ‘Go look’, she said, ‘but I don’t know anything about it’.

So we looked and under all the green muck and neglect we saw a beautiful, heavily built ship with a gorgeous, authentic interior. So with: ‘interesting, yes. Thank you, we have to think about it, we will let you know’, we left for home. Once we got back home, questions fizzed through my mind. Did I see it right, can I do this job, and is this really what we want?

Accompanied with my father and a friend who is a ships carpenter I went for a second visit. Together we went through the whole ship and got to see what else was included in the sale. On my way home from this second visit it became clear that I had it right all along. I wants it, I wants it bad and I wants it now! And I know we are not in a hurry but it was meant for us to hug it an pet it make it all shiny and new but how much to offer? Our first offer was refused out of hand. But after I convinced the agent that, in my eyes, the ship wasn't worth more, the offer was accepted.

So in November 2002 we became the proud owners of the ship, took it home to Edam and berthed it in one of the canals.

We had a bad winter that year but that helped me; the ice on the canal became a perfect floor for me to work on and in about 3 weeks I had repaired the prow and foot plinth. After the repairs, lots of scraping, sanding, painting and lacquering. All that was left was to check the engine and rigging and on the 30th of April we made our first trip with the Royal Charles. It took some getting used to but we were so proud.

It soon became clear that more people liked the ship and so we spend a lot of time talking about 'Charlie' and showing people around. I am the owner for 12 years allready and in this time I spent a lot of time to fix the boat into a better condition. Also I changed some parts of the interior to get more comfort, but with all these changes I observe the traditions of the 30s.

However, the story isn't complete. What we are missing is the history of Charlie’s first 32 years, when he sailed England’s' waters. We would like to get in contact with the family of H.H.de B. Monk and with people who could tell us more about the Royal Charles. If you have any information please contact us;

Benno and Carla Spaans
Middelie 114
1472 GV Middelie, The Netherlands
00-32-653497437
Mail: Benno.Spaans@Gmail.com