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Making of the BONAIRE

- by Frans Dekker


IMG 2116In dock no 1, build in 1811 in order of Napoleon in the navy harbour of the Netherlands, Den Helder, lies the screw/steamship Bonaire. The Bonaire, build in 1877, is one of the 5 remaining ships in the world whit a special propeller. Under sail she good left the screw to lessen the resistance in the water. She is the oldest navy ship build in the Nederland’s. Besides the steam engine she had 3 masts with sails. The Bonaire wash build of iron and a teakwood boarding. Over the teakwood boarding she had a skill of zinc plate. Mostly she did here job in the Caribbean on patrol against pirates.



IMG 1876In 1902 she left the navy and during that time until 1988 she was the home of students for the maritime academy. After that time she was…doing nothing. Than an old navy officer remembered her and he “organised” a restauration plan. The Bonaire was tugged over the see to a part of the old navy harbour, new a maritime museum. A few days before she good sail into the dock she…sunk, just 100 meters before the dock. She lies in shoal water and with the tide here bottom bumped on the see bottom. After a short time she was pumped up and put into the old dock no 1 for the rest of her life. The condition of the Bonaire is so bad that she good not take see any more.



IMG 1134I build the Bonaire the bottle, IN the dock. De dock is built of several parts, not wider than 18 mm, the size of the bottle neck. After I put the parts of the dock into the bottle I build them together with some glue.


After the dock was built to one part she lies still in the bottle, movable. I put some iron pins under the dock and put some cast resin in the bottle, under the dock. When I let the dock downwards the cast resin should hold here steadfast into de bottle. But 10 minutes later the cast resin was coming into the dock. There was a very tiny space between 2 parts of the dock and the cast resin found that space. So in the dock lies some water. I good not do anything against it. But it is a view that every “dock” time you can see twice. The first time is when a ship comes into the dock and the water is pumped out. The second time is short time before she is sailing out, when the water is pumped into the dock.



IMG 1142


The hull of the Bonaire is separated in two parts. De first one is the underwater part, tighten on t bottom of the dock. The Bonaire is not with sails because het lies in the dock. 4 stamps on each side keep the Bonaire standing up. The real Bonaire is at this moment in restauration so I did not now all the details on deck. I had some contact whit an old navy officer, the man after the restauration of the Bonaire and he invited me to take a detailed look on the Bonaire. So I did and I took a lot of pictures. Later on he send me the drawings of the Bonaire. Without the details he showed me I was not able to make the Bonaire as I did now.


Because the Bonaire was in the dock the lifeboats are laying on the shore.


The completed model is built in a 1 ½ litter wine bottle. It is 35 cm long,  10,5 cm wide, and the bottleneck is 18 mm.