With the Summer weather turning more and more unsettled with loads of wind and heavy rain the weather stuck to its normal routine of being perfectly acceptable till the school holidays begin here in the last weeks of July, I’ve managed a little less sailing than desired, with an immanent weather window appearing in the coming days were heading up North to the IJsselmeer for a swift ten-day cruise, hopefully the weather holds but I have my doubts!
The other day I made an excursion to visit the Dutch Classics regatta in Helevoetsluis, it’s a bi yearly event that attracts a large number of the classic Dutch fleet and a few Brits.
It’s a four-day event where there are a couple of races a day on the Haringvliet, followed by a hearty meal in the evening.
Wind was force 6 + rain squalls when I arrived to see the yachts that would have normally been out racing at that moment of the day, race postponed unfortunately above force 6, things can get out of hand very quickly with 50 classics all thrashing around in a relatively small area, would like to attend this event sometime but not in this weather!!
Sevaral of these boats are very similar to my Vertue.
Helevoetsluis as a town is not so large but what makes a fascinating visit is the Ram ship Buffel, and the lightship Noord Hinder, both quite remarkable in their own way.
Both are now obsolete, this Ram ship was built for the Dutch in Glasgow Scotland, as the Dutch had not the technology then! It was designed to ram the timber hulled frigates of that day which were quickly replaced with iron clad craft within a few years so it never really saw much useful service.
I favour the Captains class over the Economy on the Buffel, he’s got a bath!
Light ship is also interesting, you have to all intense and purpose a ship, but on the bridge it has it’s compass binnacle but no steering wheel and no engine controls, got no engine!! Reckon the captain and helmsman had a pretty dull time!
These ships were permanently manned and were used for weather reporting as well as defending the shores for errant ships wandering over the sand banks, the men would live a rather solitary existence for up to a month when they would be swapped over with the next shift, if the sea was calm enough to exchange the crews by small boat. Apparently it was bloody frightening when there was fog as avoiding an oncoming ship was out of the question being permanently anchored with the mushroom anchor.