Episode 4 Virtue in Zeeland


Having enjoyed our stay in Veere we set sail once again at 9am to sail back down the Veerse meer and lock out back onto the Oosterschelde and cruise over to Zierikzee. Forecast was for rain and strong South Westerly, strengthening for 6+ later in the afternoon and light rain, at least the direction was favourable! We had till now had predominantly SW winds and as we were travelling roughly SW it was always against us.

We had an invigorating run wind behind and clocked 6 knots at times, moored up with a little difficulty and a lot of reverse to stop the boat before entering the lock, seeing the gusty and apparent strengthening of the wind we all decided to add a reef before sticking our noses out onto the tidal Oosterschelde.


We had the tide against us on the Oosterschelde and the rain made visibility restricted, ideally you would time the tides to take the tide down to Zierikzee but that would have meant waiting at least till 3pm and then the strengthening wind against tide could have turned out rather unpleasant chop, not to mention the lee shore arrival at Zierikzee, anyway was no big deal and the wind turned out to be a lot less strong than the predictions and only strengthened significantly after we had arrived at our destination.



Zeelands bridge is 5km long!

We sailed under the famed Zeeland bridge which at 14mtr was no concern, the tide does fairly rip through between the pillars under it, but once we were through it was easy to drop down to leeward and through a slight chop around the entrance to Zierikzee, there was a rather unfortunate mortorcruiser in the entrance on the starboard side, we did for a moment wonder whether to try and pass him on the starboard but in the end passed him to port, as it turned out he was anchored having had trouble with his engine and had called out the lifeboat to tow him back into port.


We had phoned ahead to reserve a place in the harbour and we had a spot immediately next to the facility’s, with directly behind the high bows of a couple of intimidating millionaires motor yachts, the wind was blowing directly down the harbour but we sat just behind the shower block and were remarkably sheltered.


5 berths en suite, in Zierikzee.

Zierikzee was another unexpected delight, we did the walk round all the monuments of interest, museum , pony and trap ride through the town, went up the Lieve monster tower, ( sweet monster), fantastic view from the top over the Oosterschelde, in the evening we walked back to the mouth of the harbour to watch the sunset. dsc01661


Next day we were planning to move on but the weather was predicted to bring still stronger winds and what was worse was the particularly strong nature of the gusts from time to time, on the same day in Friesland at the Sneek regatta a number of boat broke there masts, that’s pretty extreme, it’s also difficult to rig for because your either under canvassed for the standard strength or struggling with too much sail when the gusts come, I must add that the Vertue is a remarkably well-mannered boat in all conditions and her sail wardrobe has an answer for every wind strength, for example I have a working jib which I use in most conditions up to 25knts, the normal Genoa is best used up to only 15knts, for up to 10knts I have an oversize light weight genoa which works a treat, anywhere approaching 25knts and above the tiny foresail on the fractional forestay is a good combination with or without a reef, for above the 30knts you can first add a second reef, then later drop the main and use the trysail and maybe the storm foresail, I do tend to prefer to anticipate the stronger of the predicted winds and start off with the reef in as its easier to reef before it gets really windy, usually work on the basis that the wind peaks in strength around 3pm and before that is likely to be building up!!

dsc01672 dsc01669


Historic boatyard.


dsc01655 dsc01646



Next day Friday, we were rapidly approaching the end of our holiday as I planned to be back at work on the Monday and we still had to get all the way back to the Westeinde, the rest of the group had a few more days so planned to head off to Bruinisse and onto the Grevelingenmeer, for a little island hopping.


So with regret we had to take advantage of a little weather window of two days of yet more strong SW wind before it blew a real hoolie on the Sunday, 9 am we said our goodbyes and took off under a moderate strength wind behind back through under the Zeeland bridge, against the tide again! Still made good progress 3-4 knots and was at the Volkerak lock a couple of hours later, straight through and a swift sail wind behind no tide through to the next lock and after that around 3pm we took a right and back into Willemstad, a good run Zierikzee to Willemstad including two locks in around six hours!


Looking towards Rotterdam on the Nieuwe Maas.


Next morning we left at 9am again in order sail the Hollands Diep before the wind strengthened as the tide runs in one direction only towards the sea, coupled with the SW wind make a surprising lumpiness which builds up over the whole length of the water, hour and half later we turned into the Dordtse kil and took the tide at great speed wind behind up to and through the hourly opening of the large railway bridge, with a rather large ship bearing down on us, not sure exactly how we managed it but the tide was with us all the way to Gouda which we entered the small sailing club berths for the night, had a delightful meal in the historic central square to celebrate such a good run in one day!


Now shall I go through the bridge first or shall I wait for the green monster, na throttle down let’s go for it!


Next day it was as predicted pretty blustery but we had already done the open water stretches the day before so we tagged along on a chain of about 20 boats through the rail bridge at Gouda then later a succession of bridges through Alphen an de Rijn, was nesesarry to use nearly full throttle as the majority of the boats were motoring at just over 5knts at around 3000 revs that is just about ok on my boat but the Marieholm in the rear of the group on his slightly smaller powered engine was having great difficulty keeping up with the group can be a problem as the bridge keepers, can’t wait for you if your too far behind the rest.


Original Eskimo kayak 18th century!! in the museum in Zierikzee.


Early afternoon saw us pulling onto the Westeinde and back into her berth and an  adventure the richer!!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Veerse Meer with fireworks! Episode 3

Veerse Meer with fireworks! Episode 3


approach to Veere

After a couple of days enjoying Goes we headed back down to the lock and went left and again left again and into the next canal through a different lock into the Veeres Meer, which again has a completely different character to the previous waters, free from tide and fresh water it is a delightful meandering lake with many attractive islands to stop and overnight safely on.

DSC01551 DSC01548

What must be noted is that the channel is buoyed much as the other waters are there with larger port and starboard markers for ships then further smaller markers for the smaller craft, in other areas these were pretty much to be trusted as within the buoys the depth being sufficient for modest depth vessels up to 1.5mtr, not always the case here as we discovered merrily enjoying the stronger breeze that day till then when we hit a very hard sand bottom where I could swear 3 seconds earlier is was 7.5mtrs deep, and we were not outside the buoys, panick stations 5 ton of Vertue at 12 degrees hard aground is not easily freed!!



I have a quant pole for such times, and usual procedure is to lower sails and motor in reverse while hanging the crew from the boom out at right angles to tilt the boat enough to lift the keel from the sand, with my son already on the boom and I was in the process of joining him when luckily a large motor cruiser graciously offered to throw us a line and pull us off, which thanks to his substantial engine power he tugged us free.

DSC01596 DSC01597

youve been warned the buoys are not all that accurate on this meer and the sand bottom is so carved out that it varys a great deal in depth and shelves very quickly on some curves next to the islands, shall certainly set the alarm on my depth sounder to around 3mtr as you need a good warning when approaching sudden shallow areas!!, I hasten to  add that Annemarie and Jan also had a similar  problem also within the marked channel.

DSC01894Finaly we entered Kamperland which is opposite the more desirable destination of Veere, which was of course full by late afternoon.

DSC01536 DSC01535

In Kamperland we found ourselves immediately next to a noisy fairground which we had thought would interest the kids with us, but it fairly well failed to amuse, but what amused me was that at 11.15 pm the opposing shore about 50mtrs away became the launch pad for the firework display, so with the fairground right and the fireworks left  we enjoyed a late night sundowner watching the fireworks!!

DSC01544 DSC01547


Thats pretty busy.

Entering Veere the next morning on time as the boats exited the harbour we again had our pick of the moorings and lay in two rows of three which later became rows of five! Veere is simply beautiful!! And was probably the prettiest and most memorable harbour encountered, was delightful to dine on the harbour quay overlooking the bustling harbour that filled to such and extent that you coud have crossed to the other side just walking over the decks of the boat all stacked abreast of each other.


Harbour by day


Magical night lights in the harbour of Veere!

The next day we had a friend  visiting with a car so we were taken off on an excursion to see Vlissingen on the other side of the island, which was nice to see as we had no intention of taking the boat further south on this trip, and later we took a bus excursion to Midelburg which is easy to visit with the boat also if on the way to Vlissingen being on the same canal.


Pilot boat at Vlissingen


Looking towards Breskens over the Westerschelde.





Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Further adventures in Zeeland Episode 2


Further adventures in Zeeland Episode 2

DSC01448Having arrived at the lovely town of Willemstad on the Hollands diep , we took a left and went through a lock into the Volkerak which is fresh water in lurid green, separated at either end by a lock with bubble barrier, more about that later. DSC01449DSC01456

We tacked to and fro again up this lake in a light SW 3 nice conditions, progress was slow so the engine went on to bring us into the next lock, which duly spugged us out into the Oosterschelde tidal influenced inland sea, tide took us down at great speed under full sail on a reach till we reached the turning for St Annaland which we took between the sandbanks running wind behind and into our second port marina in Zeeland.


Sailing the Volkerak with Thomas on Violin and Suzanne on sandwiches!


Although less impressive than the last, we ate out on Lobster and mussels which were beyond my expectations, very good the Zeeland seafood! , later we enjoyed  ambling round the village and along the coastal path we had a lovely sunset to enjoy.


Suz on the helm!



DSC01479 DSC01471

The following day greeted us with a rather stronger SW wind and a rather grayer backdrop, after various wildly differing weather prognosis’s from are various apps, we decided to suck and see and headed off down the somewhat sheltered channel back down to join the Oosterschelde to fight the wind albeit with the tide under us in the direction of Goes Sas, as we emerged onto the Oosterschelde the full strength of the wind was apparent at 23kn and gusting to 27kn force  5-6, considering some of the apps had forecasted 11kn to 16kn they had proved to be wildly inaccurate! In fact the coming days proved that the inshore reduction of wind strength was rarely correct as we had most days a similar strength to the coastal forecasts. Anyway we hoisted our smallest foresail on the inner forstay and tacked to and fro again!

IMG-20160727-WA0007 IMG-20160727-WA0006

Watched with incredulity as a large 40 something Beneteau kept getting out of control trying to sail with his  full sail up he was alright in the teens but when the big gusts came he kept rounding up in the wind and flapped out of control.


Carl and Miranda on Old Fellow

We tacked to and fro over  the channel till we reached the corner close to the Zeeland bridge where we hoisted the main and took off at great speed then with the tide down to the Goes Sas lock.


Enjoyed the sail on the Oosterschelde, it has the nature of the open sea and needs to be treated so, wind against tide causes significant waves, there is a nice rhythm to the waves which is preferable to what we get in similar wind conditions on the IJsselmeer.


More seafood please!

Locking through the tiny shell encrusted Goes Sas lock we moored immediately next to it in the  club moorings, it was too late to try to reach the popular town of Goes, and it was wet and pretty windy so up went the cockpit cover and off came the oilys, we later all met and ate together in the one restaurant which was formally the horse stable for the pulling horses that pulled the barges up and down the canal to Goes.


Passed Bob and Anita going the other way, shame we missed them the evening before.

Leaving at 9am the next morning we motored the short distance and as the bridge into Goes town basin opened at 10am and a number of boats exited the small compact town harbour basin we slipped effortlessly into  the vacated berths coveinaintly situated next to each other “Klaar is Kees”( Bobs your Uncle).

DSC01506 DSC01503 DSC01505 DSC01507

An unexpected delight is Goes, quite a large picturesque  town, plenty of shopping facilities for those that must, and otherwise museums and monumental walks round the sights, we stopped an extra night here, was so pleasant.


A delightful town !!


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sailing Virtue in Zeeland Episode 1


View from Dordtrecht church tower

Have just returned from and invigorating two and a half week cruise around Zeeland in southern Holland. From our berth on the Westeinde there is two possible routes to get to the south of Holland one via Amsterdam which would involve going first North for a number of hours motoring, through Amsterdam in the middle of the night, then left ten miles till Ijmuiden then out to sea and South down the coast and in by the lock at Stellendam, would have preferred this route had it not been for the route through Amsterdam being closed during our departure date, and anyway we would be in Zeeland a day earlier if we just dropped down via Alphen on the Rijn , Gouda and Dordrecht, known as the fixed mast route.


Down hill all the way !

Loaded up with a full tank 35ltr and three reserve cans containing a further 30ltr diesel, being unsure of our requirements, water tank full, beer, wine and spirits and of course my wife and teenage son and an accompanying three + large barrows of luggage, we were more than a little surprised when everything disappeared into the cupboards bilge etc, which looked an impossibility!!, still weren’t down on the water line !



Heading off late in the afternoon we made it down to the Brassemermeer and had a quiet night on the hook before heading off down to Alphen on the Rijn, we couldn’t believe are luck when the long line of bridges all opened on approach as if we were royalty, so far so good, lastly we dropped through the train bridge at Gouda and took a left into the historic town moorings going through a tiny rather picturesque lock before tying up to the quay in an ideal spot for a stroll around the town and supper in a waterside restaurant, at this point Annemarie and Jan in the Beu 4 had caught up with us for the trip South, eventually there would be six boats in all to meet up in Dordrecht.

DSC01380 DSC01370

Next day after coming out of Gouda we locked through onto our first taste of tidal canal, luckily we took the tide with us down, was worth 1.5kn in speed, later we took a left and had to fight the tide on the huge Nieuwe Maas and a wary eye open for the huge amount of large ships toing and froing!!


Think it’s best if Jan and Annemarie go first here!! we should fit under but you never know!


Noah’s ark, on the Nieuwe Maas.

Under the bridge by Amblasserdam we’re 12mtr and the bridge is at least a half mtr clearance, then arriving at Dordrecht where you enter a small channel between the houses and through a small bridge into a lovely little harbour surrounded by historic building, tranquil and a complete contrast to the large shipping route a few metres away!


Entrance canal in Dordrecht



Dordrecht was delightful stop well worth an extra day so we stayed two nights and that suited us as the other four boats could catch us up, original plan was to meet up at Willemstad .

DSC01398 DSC01415 - kopie


Train bridge opens on the hour in the weekend and every 2 hr in the week


View from tower


Next day we all left together went through the gigantic train bridge at the lower end of Dordrecht turned left at the junction with the Dortch kil and with the tide down till it joined the Hollands Diep which is wide and also busy with shipping, tide goes always towards the sea on this stretch so it was with us which was good as the wind was SW and against us force four, desperate to sail after three days motoring we tacked to and fro over the water, with a few shorter tacks when a ship got in the way!, arriving in the charming port of Willemstad , after a good look around we had a party on the marina staging to celebrate our safe arrival and the beginning of the Zeeland tour!


The harbour of Willemstad


Now that is a pretty mill !!


The sunset through the masts at the marina.


Note: Amount of diesel consumed by 20hp 2gm Yanmar about 35 ltr running at varying speeds up to or  around 3000 rpm, speeds up to 5.5knp.

Although we did it in three days, it is easily done in two, tides permitting!

It is a pleasant trip and not particularly arduous weather and tides permitting!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trading up?

father and Ben

Steering the Schuttevaer

Been a busy Summer till now, now busy preparing to set off South through the canals to the South of the Netherlands “Zeeland”, it is a couple of days motoring from the Westeinde plas, which were combining with two nights stopping in historic towns of Gouda and Dordrecht, before arriving on the Sunday in Willemstad, where we will be meeting up with five other boats for a two-week cruise of Zeeland, I haven’t done Zeeland before so have been genning up on all the available info which is quite a task.


12pm going through the sluis to transit Amsterdam.


Passing close by Marken lighthouse.

In the last week have made an excursion through Amsterdam in the middle of the night and up the Markermeer to first Monnikendam with Donald as crew, wind was very light and variable at least from a good direction.

DSC01174 DSC01171


The following day I rendezvoused with the Badhoevedorp Lions guys of which I also belong with two larger more recent boats we departed for Enkhuizen with next to no wind motor sailing, forecast was looked really good and it was a little disappointing when the rain started, there was little sailing done as soon as the wind strengthened it would drop and come from a different direction, arrived Enkhuizen very damp and ready for a hot drink! Apparently there was water spouts on the Markermeer on this day we didn’t see them though.


Was much hilarity on the way.


finaly moored in Enkhuizen.

After leaving my boat a week in Enkhuizen the following weekend we had a family event where the sail ship Schuttevaer was our party location and with a large group family and friends we had a lovely sail over the Ijsselmeer with a good Southwest breeze and returning to the Krabbersgat to anchor for the dinner.


Our accomadation for the weekend


Historic sailing koftjalk

I had the chance to steer the ship for quite some time and it was a remarkable experience, it is 46mtrs long and weighs 200 tons!!, actually it quite tricky to keep on course, as we had the two mainsails and only one foresail , apparently with the second foresail it would have been better in balance, as it was the gusts would cause her to luff considerably to windward, needing considerable correction, what also surprised me was hoisting the main was done manually with five of us, was very heavy!! I coiled the tail and couldn’t believe how long it was took tem minutes !

DSC01259 DSC01269 DSC01279DSC01277


After steering that huge ship I felt that my boat was really not much bigger more than a bath toy, in fact the bowsprit on the ship was of a similar length! The anchoring system amused me as I watched for the anchor to drop the leeboards both dropped instead effectively rooting the boat to the bottom in the shallows close to the shore.

father and Ben 2

It’s actually very high above the water!!

The return trip was made a few days later with my boat sailing against a light to moderate ( so they said) South west wind, well it was quite strong form the start, and we left Enkhuizen under my smallest foresail over a bumpy sea that was inappropriately lumpy for the moderate wind, we were scooping water over the foredeck!! This was frustratingly slow progress till we got closer to Hoorn where the wind abated slightly leaving us under canvased so we changed up to the working jib, until it fell even lighter, then the genoa came out, then tem minutes later it got real strong bugger!!, was hesitant about changing sail for the third time but finding the Leeward side deck was permanently underwater and the water level was not far off running into the cockpit I really had no choice, OK back to a small foresail and how about one reef!! Well got that sorted and quarter of an hour later we were in light winds again and under canvased *****!!!


Lovely sunset, bloody bridge!!

At this point I decided I was beat and on went the engine and down went the sails and we slowly motored the last bit into the channel by Durgerdam and up to the Schellingwoude bridge, which usually reliably opens every 20 mins 24hrs, except it didn’t was then 7pm and it would not open till the next morning at 10am!! That was a bit of a blow as I had hoped to transit the night bridge opening through Amsterdam, and my crew had no overnight bag as I was supposed to drop him off in Amsterdam, so there we were stuck on a waiting stage till the next morning unable to get ashore, nothing to it but to drown our sorrows! , and reflect on one of the most frustrating sails I’ve had on the IJsselmeer, it is a tricky place to sail when the wind is moderate to strong against you as it quickly builds into a very short bumpy ride which knocks the speed out of your boat and ruins your tacking angle, tis great going the other way I must add.


Markermeer being the lower half under the IJsselmeer.


Arrived back rather later than planned at the Westeinde plas and reminded myself of what a delightfull water that is as you can bowl along at good speed in all wind strengths and your never far away from a nice secluded anchorage, there’s a lesson there I’m sure.





Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Two is company and three is crew!


A nice meal at anchor, after a blissful afternoon sailing in the sun!

It’s lovely to get on the water after waiting patiently for all of us to be free on the same day, (as I have to work in the weekends) and the weather to work in our favour, last Thursday we all got the chance to fire up the Mk2 and speed over to the boat for a sail and anchor for evening meal.


Jag Mk2 3.4 1961.


The matrix of islands and bays along the edge of the Westeindeplas.

We had this freak weather it was all a bright blue above and blue below delightful, was like being back in Belle isle a few weeks earlier, wind was nice and breezy occasionally gusting up to 18knts lovely just enough to keep us at a steady 5 to 5.5knts as we bowled our way up and down the lake, not a cloud in the sky.


Up with the mainsail !


And the working jib!

After a couple of hours we rounded up and gently tacked into one of the concealed bays along the edge of the lake and dropped the hook in a windless sun trapped spot for first tea and later supper as the sun slowly sank below the horizon, bliss!!

005 015



Yes I can confirm there is nothing not nothing quite so worthwhile as messing about in boats!!




Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

All systems go!

Been enjoying a few day sails lately at last !!! bit of warmth sun and wind, something magical about the first sails of the season, what’s more everything is working! Been no farther than a few times around the lake, the intrigue was would the AIS I installed in the winter actually work without some extra tweaks, and delighted to confirm I can see all the ships in the vicinity and beyond, apparently I can call them directly by selecting the list on the VHF radio, haven’t experimented with that yet though, the VHF is the Standard Horizon unit with the AIS and what I didn’t realize was you can actually set the alarm up to warn of approaching shipping, could be very handy crossing the north sea in the night, this eliminates having to run the plotter if you wanted to conserve a little power, you can also set up the alarm on the plotter to warn of ships, as it is there easy to see and the data is available should you want it.

2016-05-29 13.05.01

Really I prefer to keep things fairly simple but if you have a look at the density off shipping in the Netherlands and on the North sea it’s considerably safer and re assuring if you can see the ships and more importantly they can see you, should your family want to follow your progress they can log into www.marinetraffic.com and enter the name of your boat into the seek function, and see how slow and erratic your course has  been and would automatically know to expect you a day or more later, should you wish to make any unscheduled stops not cleared with the management you better switch it off for that bit of the journey, otherwise it will be apparent exactly how long you were anchored off the Dog and Duck free house, as well as the even more erratic course line having commenced with the journey, so it’s not without its risks but on the whole a very worthwhile upgrade.


Force 6 + and one reef!



it’s either a lot of nothing it seems !


My son Thomas at the helm.

005 004


Now looking forward to planning a trip to Zeeland ( the south of Holland) for a holiday with my family aboard in the company of a number of friends on their boats at the end of July for a couple of weeks, it will involve passing through Amsterdam and heading out to sea via Ijmuiden and down the coast across the entrance to Rotterdam before entering the Haring Vliet for the begin of the cruise around the Delta area, never done that before so looking forward to seeing some new places and waters, shall keep you posted .

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

The virtues of Belle-ile.


The Virtue is at last ready to sail again, mast up and tensioned, mainsail bent onto the boom, looking good !!,, now just a bit of good wind and weather!


With the arrival of our National May two week holiday the weather did an unexpected dip into single figures and there was frequent wintery snow showers with strong winds in the first week with not much better outlook for the second week, so having prepared the boat to sail we looked for an address south to escape the cold temperatures and booked a small house set into the cliffs on Belle-Ile in Southern Brittainy France.

Belle ile 2016 008

Honfleur in the rain!

For those who aren’t familiar with Brittainy it is the most fantastic sailing region of France lying deep in the bay of Biscay it has its own micro climate and the most wonderful coastline and archipelago of islands all with a different character, the largest and probably the most beautiful is Belle isle, which was formerly a heavily garrisoned military barracks with several small fishing communities, these days it is superb holiday island frequented mainly exclusively by the French, the nature and the coastal paths are quite breath-taking with its rocky cliffs and sandy beaches some of the best in Europe.

Belle ile 2016 119

panoramic view of La Palais


Belle ile 2016 177

I was last here in 1995 when I sailed the entire coast on my way the Mediterranean, I only spent a night in the historic harbour of Le Palais but it was one of the more memorable magical places I had discovered by pure chance.

Belle ile 2016 336


The history is quite fascinating, the island has the most incredible fortifications and everywhere you walk you come across discarded  early forts and bunkers from the second world war, the island was repeatedly attacked by the Dutch and the English eventually falling to the English who took a month to break through the walls and take over the island, it remained British for three years of ruination then was returned to the French in a swap with Nova Scotia, the French immigrant population from Nova scotia were the compulsory removed from Canada and deposited on Belle isle.

Belle ile 2016 027

Leaving Quiberon on the ferry.


The 1000 km drive from Holland to Quiberon to catch the ferry is best spread over two days as especially the first half getting through Antwerpen and lile is often very busy and can delay the trip, we overnighted in the beautiful Honfleur, another gorgeous stopping place and just next to the main road.

Belle ile 2016 053 Belle ile 2016 140

In Quiberon you dump your car and take the ferry which take 45minutes to cross to le Palais, the opalescent turquoise sea is a sight for saw eyes after our rather dirty dark waters in the Netherlands.

We had rented a really quite remarkable house on the cliffs overlooking the harbour and just above a small beach, it  would be difficult to find a more attractive spot, the house had been in the same Dutch family since the 20’s and the guest book went all the way back to 1931!! .

Belle ile 2016 060 Belle ile 2016 062

Bikes are to be rented locally and the Island is easily accessible, although there is may steep gradients that need to be walked up and down.

Belle ile 2016 146

There’s a number of steep gradient, best walked up!

Coast path is an awe  inspiring experience, and can be walked right round the island , best to take a bus to the end and then walk back home.

Belle ile 2016 072 Belle ile 2016 130 Belle ile 2016 135 Belle ile 2016 152 Belle ile 2016 187Belle ile 2016 189

Belle ile 2016 323

Picture in a book of the harbour packed to busting with fishing boats!!

The harbour is generally quiet unless the French are on holiday then the contrast couldn’t be greater as a huge number of yacht descend from all direction on the tiny harbour basin of La Palais, there is a sluis gate which opens at high water to relinquish its yachts and to re-stuff full before closing, the boats that don’t fit end up on buoys next to the harbour entrance, where they are narrowly missed every hour by the ferry which enters at great speed tooting its horn and spins round with remarkable skill to berth.

Belle ile 2016 082 Belle ile 2016 302 Belle ile 2016 328Belle ile 2016 070

On our last evening I enjoyed the mass arrival of the French and observed 20+ yachts waiting to be allowed to enter the harbour as the capitenarie shoe horned them in individually , an unlucky few were left outside the harbour wall tied to visitors mooring buoys , was a little lumpy due to the wind being onshore.

Belle ile 2016 091  Belle ile 2016 094

Belle ile 2016 306 Belle ile 2016 307

The second harbour of Saucon is something not to be missed and it has a secluded tranquillity that La Palais   doesn’t offer, it does entirely dry out at low water, it was nice to see so many yachts using beaching legs as well as drop keelers, bilge keels and catamarans, blissfully sitting in the mud !

Belle ile 2016 276 Belle ile 2016 296

Belle ile 2016 111 Belle ile 2016 100 Belle ile 2016 114 Belle ile 2016 112

The beach and cliffs at Donant are a remarkable sight, the power of the Atlantic swell throwing the occasional 4mtr roller onto the beach makes it a surfers paradise, Monet was here for 75 days trying to capture it on 36 canvas’s, In my view you’ve got to see it in reality it quite breath taking !!

Belle ile 2016 168 Belle ile 2016 167


Inevitably driving back to the Netherlands we watched are car thermometer spiral upwards to reveal the Netherlands was basking in a mini heatwave and was the hottest place in Europe!!!

Belle ile 2016 166

Now that’s a serious lighthouse !

Southern Brittany is a wonderful destination for a cruise, but for me to get my 5 ton of old boat down there would require a rather large weather window and probably about 12 days sailing, which with my work commitments and family will have to stay on the thing to do list when I have more time!!

Or shall I add a trailer sailor to my fleet?



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Moving the boat to the Summer mooring.



At last it’s time to get moving from the winter berth in front of my house to the tranquillity of the Westeinde plas ( lake ) for the summer, weather is still not  that warm and the forecast is still for April showers, it takes a couple of hours to motor the 18km down the river through five bridges, I pass under all of them except the Bosrand bridge which has to open specially, no problem it is opened after pressing an adjacent button from the previous bridge, they have a clear view of you from a number of remote cameras, so it never comes down before you’ve passed out the other side.

It’s always delightful to arrive back on the Westeinde as it’s really in the middle of nature with islands and trees and bird, there’s always a nice sheltered spot to anchor for lunch and the sailing on the lake it’s usually just large enough to satisfy your sail lust, swell in a strong breeze won’t exceed a half meter.

I’ve been playing around with a new camera so here’s a quick time-lapse video of the trip, I’m on the bottom end of probably a long learning curve at the moment so I’m afraid the execution and excitement could be and with any luck shall be improved upon in the coming video’s, we all have to start somewhere! Have also made a note of the fact that my slightly balding head( sensitive subject) appears central in most of the footage, shall be covered in future films!!

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Virtue is virtually ready !!

Off with the winter covers, let’s have a look at my handy work under the scrutinous sunlight! This is now the best part of the long winter season working on the boat, putting everything back together and there seems to be no end to the things to tick of my list as sorted.

016 002

With the mast exposed from under the cover, was passed with a brief touch up of some slightly bare abrasions, have been debating whether to strip and re-varnish it as I’m not sold on its apparent mahogany colour.


It is coated in the same coloured Novotech varnish that the whole boat was treated previously with by the last owner, it has the advantage of being designed for very exposed timber on buildings, it is a good solution and has the advantage that it can be easily touched in each year without it showing which is tricky with conventional varnish’s.

Varnishing a mast like this is a time consuming operation as 6+ coats are needed and achieving good results outside in the elements is a nonstarter in the winter and right now I’m just keen to get sailing again!!


All aboard!


The beauty of having the steel hulled boat is that firstly I can stay in the water all year round, and can have the boat in front of my house for maintenance in the winter, it is also almost completely fresh water so the growth on the bottom is minimal presuming a half decent antifouling paint has been used, so this will be my third season without being slipped for a clean and re-paint, just as well as I’ve nearly broken my back doing the rest of the boat the last two winters.


New outlets left the heating and right the bilge pump.


note the original back toe rail, with silver powder coated original fittings, much better!


No red varnish on the gantry this year!

Have had a camera on a stick over the side to check out the bottom, couldn’t see much pitch black, been also round scrubbing with the yard broom, didn’t find any shells so guess it’s ok for this season, next season it will have to come out for a re-paint!

I’ve checked the engine cleaned the filter, ah,,, when you release the filter from the housing turn off your tank first otherwise you fill the bilge with diesel, bugger!


Aint that cosy !!

Also drained of a jar of diesel from the bottom of the tank to see if there is any water in it, there wasn’t but there was a few crumbs of dirt, the tank is not large and it hangs on a bulkhead under the cockpit seat, it has a steel pot welded on the bottom to catch the water and dirt in, important to check that at least once a year!


Toe rails!!


More toe rails !!


The new toe rails make a huge difference to the overall appearance as does the paintwork on the gunwale under them, as it was navy blue but now matches the outside hull colour of Ivory white, it is strange but the whole form looks different with it in white.


What’s this you may ask well this is a photocopy of an extract out of Edward Deveson’s ( my surname is Deveson) notebook from the 1870’s, his father Samuel Deveson had a fleet of ships, coaling schooners and fishing smacks, based in Ramsgate, these are the names of the ships and the Deveson shield and flag, I guess it was there creation? Been meaning to stitch one up some time for my masthead, a nice touch I thought.

The coaling schooners used to run up and down the coast from Newcastle, one rather interesting incident was when there own  southbound schooner collided with there northbound schooner at sea on a fine day in good visibility, luckily the local lifeboat was on hand and rescued both crews, both ships sank, remarkable coincidence ? or an Insurance scam ? Could easily be the Deveson luck!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment