From his mother’s side Dutchman Ed Kastelein (60) is a descendant of the founders of the Holland-America Line shipping company, while his father’s family were fishermen for centuries. Seafaring is his nature. Only twelve years old he built his first canoe from old barn planks and on his fourteenth he was sailing a 12m² Sharpie. Several Dutch BM-sloops followed and at the age of sixteen he was restoring sailing boats in his spare time.
He established a flourishing property development company focussing on high quality restaurants and café’s in the Rotterdam area. And some 30 years ago he chose to concentrate on sailing only. He bought the 16 meter wooden Colin Archer Gaff Ketch Zeeland, and chartered her for three years across the Mediterranean. He owned the Lunstroo designed 31 meter schooner Borkumriff, built for Baron William Von Fink in 1980. In 1987 he acquired the yawl, sailing yacht Aile Blanche and subsequently he owned the maxi-racer Ondine and the 1936 Alfred Mylne designed sailing yacht Thendara, until the experience he had gained on and off the water made him realise that building new was not necessarily more expensive than restoring.
Kastelein had fallen in love with the lines of Zaca, owned by actor Errol Flynn. The wooden yacht was lying in a far state of decomposition in the south of France and it seemed impossible to save her. He decided to commission a look-alike, the 38 meter Grand Banks schooner Zaca a te Moana, launched in 1992. Not only does he have an insatiable appetite for sleek classical lines, he also has a remarkable penchant for drama. The inspiration of the 42 meter racing schooner Eleonora E, launched in 2001, was the Nat Herreshoff designed Westward, which was not devoid of drama too. Under her last owner, Mr. T.B. Davis from Jersey, the schooner participated in almost all major races sailed after World War I, and won most. But having survived the second World War, funds were scarce and Mr Davis’ will stipulated that Westward was to be scuttled in The Channel in case his heirs would not have the means to maintain her properly. And sadly thus it happened. On July 15th 1947 she was blown up by explosives and sank shortly after.
Of course the story of the sailing yacht ATLANTIC is the most famous. The 100 years old transatlantic regatta record for mono hulls, set by Charlie Barr and his crew in 1905 has made the yacht a myth. She certainly is one of the most loveliest and fastest yachts ever built and the gracile three masted silhouette is still on everybody’s retina.
Kastelein has managed the entire ambitious project solely. He has gathered copies of dozens of drawings of the original ATLANTIC from various archives in the USA. And he has studied hundreds of images of the original that have been saved. Unfortunately very little drawings of the interior have been preserved, but with the help of photographs Kastelein has been able to copy the colonial style and atmosphere which characterized the mother yacht. For the equipment like anchor, bollards, hawse-hoses, stanchions, belaying pins and even the ensign-pole support, Kastelein will draw on his extremely vast experience with Eleonora and have new casting patterns custom manufactured.
Schooner ATLANTIC is built for luxury charter purposes and as such she will participate in most classical boat races, like the famous Voiles de Saint Tropez. As the largest classical racing schooner ever rebuilt, she will generate waves of admiration wherever she sails. Kastelein has succeeded again to revive sailing history thanks to his life-long passion and his dedicated and experienced build team. When asked what drives him to undertake a challenge of this size the answer is: “Hoist and set sail as the yacht takes to the sea makes a dream come through”.