Around 1986, the Dutchman, Dirk Willem Gesink, decided to spend his honeymoon in Portugal. At that time he was a successful businessman in Holland and since his childhood a passionate sailor. He had started sailing when he was four years old at the “Loosdrechtse Plassen” in Holland.
Lisbon, Doca de Alcântara
Obviously Dirk Gesink looked for a company that organized sailing trips on the river Tagus during his vacation in Portugal. He searched but didn’t find one single sailing boat dedicated to this activity. This was a determinant observation. At this moment he decided that within one year he would have his own sailing boat in Portugal dedicated to nautical tourism. And this was exactly what happened.
In 1987 he had already bought the then called “Sepha Vollaars” and was already active in the region of the Algarve. After having sold his house in Holland, the family Gesink made their home out of the centenary schooner, and accompanied the whole process. Even his two daughters were born on board.
In 1991, Dirk Gesink concluded his final project of making cruises on the river Tagus. From this time on, the Leão Holandês is a reference in the Lisbon tourism branch, besides being the most ancient and experienced company dedicated to this service.
This video gives a perfect impression of a boat trip on the Leão Holandês, sailing on the river Tejo/Tagus, Lisbon
Many companies have had their names associated to the Leão Holandês. Some of these successes were the Rothmans “Tour the Country”, the sailing week with Unilever, the firework nights during Expo ´98, the publicity for Cutty Sark during the Euro 2004. And many, many others…!
January 2021: R.I.P. Dirk Gesink 😢 😢