Us pirates packed our little ship again and set off for another three week tour this time pointing our bow north. Last time we survived the Ijsselmeer trip and we were up for our next challenge seeking real seas.
We had to cruise the Ijssel River running our engine for two days and stopped for fish and chips or ice cream at Zutphen and Deventer.
The first night was spend in Zwolle but not before we hit the bridge with our mast just as we tried to sneak in front of a passenger ship.
Embarrassed but undamaged we walked the last mile into Zwolle to raid the Mac and bring free Coke glasses back as our bounty.
The next day whiles waiting for the drawbridge at Kampen our engine broke down and slow but steadily we were pushed down the river towards the bridge. I jumped into our small dingy, fired up the 4 horsepower engine and started to tug our sailing vessel away from the bridge which was coming nearer and nearer. Suddenly the dinghy engine stopped to and a quick assessment concluded that the rope between the boats had come in the prop.
Not knowing what to do else and getting ever more worried, I dropped the Anker not expecting it to hold but it did. Quickly we uncovered the prop and where very happy to reach the shore.
It took me another hour to strip the main engine down and find water in the carborateur. We had a quick lunch, filled up our fuel tanks and continued our adventure. Within the hour we were sinking…
As we reached the Ketelmeer sipping my beer, all of a sudden my feet where in water. Opening the bunks it hit me we were going down. Stan and Dieye took out the kitchenware and started hosing out water with pots and pans while I searched for the hole in the boat. There wasn’t any hole to find but water was getting in fast as the engine cooling outlet tube had slipped out of its attachment while I was fixing the previous problem… and was now pouring hot water into the hull of the ship. After this near sudden Death experience (okay, it wasn’t that dramatic) we hosted our sails, went fishing and had a great dinner with hot chocolate at the Schokkerhaven.
The next day we sailed into the Ijsselmeer and stopped at Urk which is an authentic Dutch fishing village and the boys had a blast with the dingy. We wondered around the town for a while, had dinner and called it a day. The next morning we left early and had splendid sailing weather which consisted of a strong
breeze pushing us along towards the Afsluitdyke which determines the border between lake and sea.
We stopped for the night in Harlingen and didn't leave the next day as the winds where to strong which was probably for the best as one of the boats attempting to leave the harbor was blown onto the rocks and the waves completely trashed it within minutes.
It was already in the afternoon the next day before we reached the locks at Kornwerderzand and the wind was building up and so where the waves. A bit worried I walked over to another sailboat which was four times our size and asked the guy and his crew if he could advise me if it was wise to continue with our little ship and two small kids in the boat trying the WaddenSea for the first time. The guy sounded convincing enough assuring me we wouldn’t have any problems reaching Harlingen so that’s what we did…
Within the hour the winds turned into a near gale and we couldn’t see 10 foot because of the pouring rain. After a couple of stressful hours we arrived at Harlingen harbor where we lost the battle as the force of the wind on our bare mast was stronger than the reverse of our engine. The only way to stop the boat before crashing into the end of the harbor was by slowing it down hitting and holding on to another boat while a completely over crowded harbor was laughing their heads off and the guy who had advices us in the locks came to apologize for his failure in judgement...
We took the day of to get our confidence back and prep our craft before we were going to cross the Wadden Sea to the Island of Terschelling.
Leaving Harlingen with strong winds the first couple of hours went by pretty fast and we only got run over nearly once by the ferry when our engine butted out again while crossing it’s path and in need of some extra speed to clear it. Two hours later we almost (and I still have nightmares about this event) capsized being run down by a collapsing wave which caused our trajectory to change within a split second giving the wind a clear shot at the sails and the combined force of wind and wave tipped the scale and for a short moment we balanced at a capsizing angle. It was by far the most scary part of the entire trip.
We stayed a couple of days on the Island of Terschelling which is a beautiful place to be. The boys chased crabs and we padded baby seals, went cycling, met nice people and enjoyed our holiday for a bit.
The boys made some friends and we agreed to follow them on an expedition to Vlieland, the Island next door. Of course we miscalculated the tides and needed both our main engine, the dingy engine and every inch of sail we could hoist to fight the current. Inch by inch we reached Vlieland & we hit the narrow entrance of the harbor with great speed sliding into safety.
We walked Vlieland for miles and trotted on the beach for hours until the four teens where fed up. No problem sleeping that night as everybody broke down and we hit the sack pretty early.
Crossing the Wadden Sea once again wasn’t any problem as we had managed to exactly calculate the best time and route. We flew like the wind and even nearly arrived at the same time as our new friends who had departed two hours earlier but got stuck with tide and shallow water.
While waiting for the lock a massive and very new sailing boat screwed up and hit our boat causing severe damage to the bow. As it had hit the wall first the damage to our boat was minor compared to the destruction he had encountered himself. The insurance had to pay 1600 euro’s to fix our boat again but for the time being we could still continue our way. Sailing is quite dangerous as you can see...
Saying farewell to our new friends after a last night together we sailed on crossing the Ijsselmeer Southwards heading for Amsterdam. It took us two days but we finally reached the Sixhaven harbor which is located in the centre of Amsterdam on the river ‘IJ’ opposite the Central Railway Station.
We took the ferry across the IJ River and conquered Amsterdam and had a great couple of last days and left the boat for the week as we had destroyed the prop of the main engine during the route and now had to wait for a replacement. A week later we picked up the boat again and motored her back home.