Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Going Dutch!

On 25th June 10.00 Aros More headed south from Granton to explore the low countries. The crew were myself my son Stuart, Graeme and George. A nice day with light winds meant engine on most of the way towards Whitby for an overnight break. The Red Arrows flew overhead but Im sure it was not our departure they were celebrating!

The Crew

Leaving Granton

 A hearty meal previously prepared by Susan was demolished off St Abbs Head. Sunday was a beautiful summers day  as we entered Whitby at 12.00 and went straight through the bridge to the marina. Fantastic showers then a walk round town and the obligatory fish and chips made for a pleasant visit in scorching weather. Whitby is a very interesting historical town although it is always very busy with visitors. We left at 0630 Monday morning for the remaining 220 miles to Ijmuiden.

Whitby Opening Bridge

The course was SE and unfortunately the wind freshened to 25knots from ...yes SE. This made it quite uncomfortable as we motor sailed trying to make as best speed we could. Visibility also left us looking at the electronics for quite some time. The forecast was to go NW 4 or 5 which would be perfect. As night approached the wind fell away to nothing and remained that way until 30 miles from the Dutch coast. The NW 4 to 5 came in and we sailed fast towards the shore. As we approached the coast we were treated to a massive thunderstorm which was around for about 2 hours. Torrential rain showers and both sheet and fork lightning lit up the sky. We entered Ijmuiden about 00.30 and went straight into the North sea canal where we tied up alongside the first boat we saw. A celebratory dram and a long and welcome sleep.

Mid North Sea

One egg or two?

An evening visitor

Our Canal Buddy (thats a raindrop not the sun!)

 Guy Driech
The Noordzeekanaal  connects the sea at Ijmuiden to Amsterdam, the Markermeer, the  Isslemeer and the sea again at Den Ouver. It allows access as far as the city for enormous ships from cruise liners to tankers. they also cater very well for small leisure craft in a very professional manner free of charge. A very wet morning did not dampen the spirits as we made for Sixhaven marina opposite Central station. A strong wind made for very tricky berthing in Sixhaven but the crew made sure we got tied up safely allowing the skippers blood pressure to settle back to a safe level.

A trip out in the city for food sightseeing and soaking up the continental atmosphere was enjoyed by all. Stuart met a friend from work and seemed to soak up more atmosphere than the more senior crew!

The tourists

On Thursday night Stuart headed home to soak up more atmosphere on a stag weekend and Chris flew out to join us for a while. We left Amsterdam for Volendam on the Markermeer. This involves 1 lock and a lift bridge followed by sailing with the echo sounder always around 1 or 2 metres as the whole area is very shallow. You get used to it and we had a good sail all the way. George said farewell and caught a bus to the city.
Into the Markermeer

We had a great few days going to Einkhuizen and Hoorn. Both very pretty towns with lots to see and do ashore. The sailing was also great in warm weather and gentle summer breezes.

Einkhouzen Lock

Lots of traditional boats

Entrance to Hoorn
 Back to Amsterdam on Monday and into a very busy Sixhaven where Aros More was "hemmed" in for 5 nights. Graeme and Chris left on Tuesday and Susan and my daughter Lynda took over.

Goodbye Graeme & Chris

Welcome Susan & Lynda

We spent a very pleasant 3 days with lovely weather taking in the sights and hiring bicycles to tour round the surrounding countryside.

The 7 bridges

The rural bridge

Lunch time

Just relax Lynd

Check out the liner sailing the canal behind

Lynda flew home on Friday and Susan and I left on Saturday morning for home. We locked out into the North sea at 12.00 and no surprises had 25 knots of wind on the nose. We could just lay the course but it was very lumpy and made for a bouncy 9 hours. We did make good speed though and arrived in Whitby at 02.30 Monday morning. A good sleep refreshed us for the next leg. We had decided to stop in Eyemouth to break the journey. We left Whitby at 12.30 Tuesday and no surprises into 20knots of Northerly with a big swell. We made slow progress not getting to Eyemouth until 10.30 next day. A nice meal ashore and a motor to Granton in flat calm next day with glorious sunshine was a relaxed end to the trip. We tied up at 14.00 and were back in Gala by 16.00. 

Homeward bound

Susan chills out in Whitby

A homely headland!
A last word perhaps. A great trip possibly a bit short but gives a good excuse to return again. Holland is very much a boating nation and looks after its sailors very well. It is clean well managed and we were given a friendly welcome everywhere we went. We were unlucky with the wind at times but thats sailing. It was great for friends and family to be able to enjoy the visit. The boat performed amazingly well, so much Im already planning where to go next year!