Now the posts are coming faster, mainly due to the amount of activity, preparing for the voyage north.
Please be patient, for once I leave, there will be fewer; this is due to the lack of time and nature of sailing (hard work and lots of sleep!). Yes even old hippies get tired!
This weekend ‘Happy Six’ and ‘Free’ sailed up to Hoorn in the north of the Markermeer. We left Amsterdam in the morning and were blessed with favourable westerly breezes all the way to Hoorn.
There is always safety in numbers on Sea Trials. If one of us breaks down, then the other can help and vice versa. There are so many possible failures, such is the nature of seafaring in general and sailing specifically. My mind returns sometimes to the May of 2011 when on trials in the Blackwater and I was taken out at two in the morning by Thames sailing barge ‘Thistle’. There is nothing more lonely and frightening than being alone when something major happens.
After negotiating the Oranjesluis we were soon both under full sail and heading north east towards Marken where we were due to turn nor’westerly for the run up to Hoorn. Obviously, ‘Happy Six’ is the faster boat so it wasn’t long before they left me behind; however, we remained in VHF radio frequency.
For the rest of the afternoon ‘Free’ sailed ‘close-hauled’ (as near to the wind as possible before luffing up, when the sails start flapping.) It was quite exciting as I reached over six knots; very fast for a motor-sailer. Coming abeam of Edam I had to lower the staysail (the middle sail in the picture). This was due to there being too much wind, putting ‘Free’ under stress. Obviously, spilling some of the wind takes the pressure off the sails and rigging; the higher the wind, the less sail area you need. The skill of sailing is to judge how much sail to have out in varying conditions.
As the sun began its descent I made radio contact with Dan on ‘Happy Six’. They were already in Hoorn, waiting for me. I eased ‘Free’ into the anchorage and spent the night at anchor.
As the evening enveloped Hoorn, I rowed my tender over to the town marina to visit Carro and Dan and we had tea… three vikings together! A wonderful day of sailing and good company.
The following morning I left early under engine and what a difference a night can make! Poor visibility and a strong sou’ sou’ easterly wind invalidated any attempt to sail, so it was the trusty old Polly Perkins to the rescue. As this was a sea trial it was a very useful return to Amsterdam with the chance to monitor my engine. I left with navigation lights on and the radar operating, due to the poor visibility. Eventually the sun chased the fog away and I arrived back in the Dam just after midday.
A wonderful weekend and a valuable sea trial!