“L’Askoy-II”, Jacques Brel’s boat, was inaugurated, back in photos

Built at the Vandevoorde shipyards in Antwerp in 1958, The Askoy II has had several owners. Jacques Brel bought it in 1974 from a Belgian architect, Hugo Van Kuyck, but, exhausted by illness, he was only able to keep it for two years. A couple of American friends bought it and kept it for six years before selling it to hippies who used it to transport drugs… “The Askoy-II” was finally sold at auction to a New Zealander , who knew nothing of its history. In 1993, it was caught in a storm and washed up on a beach in New Zealand, where the Wittevrongel brothers recovered it in 2008.

The restoration will take sixteen years but declared a maritime heritage site by the Belgian government, Jacques Brel’s former sailboat now has a permanent berth at the Philippe-Prince basin, at the port of Zeebrugge. From May 9 to 12, The Askoy-II will participate in the Havenfeesten (port festival) in Blankenberge, then in the maritime festival “Ostend at anchor”, from May 23 to 26.



Maddly Bamy, Jacques Brel’s last companion, and Piet Wittevrongel, one of the brothers behind the restoration of “L’Askoy-II”, inaugurate the boat. – PHOTO MARC DEMEURE
The Wittevrongel brothers, two Belgian master sailmakers, recovered the “Askoy-II” from a wreck in New Zealand in 2008. – PHOTO MARC DEMEURE
“The Askoy II” was patiently restored over sixteen years by the two brothers, with the help of a handful of enthusiasts.
“The Askoy II” was patiently restored over sixteen years by the two brothers, with the help of a handful of enthusiasts. – PHOTO MARC DEMEURE
Piet (left) and Achiel (right) Wittevrongel, the two brothers who initiated the restoration of “L'Askoy-II”, with Maddly Bamy, Jacques Brel's last companion.
Piet (left) and Achiel (right) Wittevrongel, the two brothers who initiated the restoration of “L’Askoy-II”, with Maddly Bamy, Jacques Brel’s last companion. – PHOTO MARC DEMEURE
In 1974, Jacques Brel bought this sailboat from a well-known architect in Belgium, Hugo Van Kuyck, to realize an old dream with his last partner, Maddly Bamy: to reach the Marquesas Islands, where he lived the last years of his life.
In 1974, Jacques Brel bought this sailboat from a well-known architect in Belgium, Hugo Van Kuyck, to realize an old dream with his last partner, Maddly Bamy: to reach the Marquesas Islands, where he lived the last years of his life. – PHOTO MARC DEMEURE
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