Captains log 7th Aug, left Aalsmeer 18.25, Aalsmeer bridge 19.00, A9 bosraand bridge 20.00, Nieuwemeer lock and night opening 00.50 till 2.40, sleep till 8.00, 9.18 departure, oranje lock 10.20, 11.15 off Durgerdam, 12.30 off Pampas, 13.18 sailing under the Hollands bridge, 14.30 mooring up on island the schelp. ( mooring charge 5.50)
It’s always quite a task getting away from the land locked Aalsmeer and up through Amsterdam through all the bridges, mostly it goes like clockwork, although night passage is sometimes a trial. The weather being predominantly unsettled with SW winds we had chosen to navigate the Randmeren which is the name of the route around the Flevo polder encompassing some lovely ports and a number of secluded wooden islands with small harbours.
The depths are shallow in places so we stick to the very wide buoyed channel, the islands have to be approached with care but are in theory all dredged to about 1.75, in reality my depth gauge dropped to virtually zero at one point approaching the Schelp, the bigger threat is the weed however as it clogs your water inlet and gets wound into the propeller shaft, we had no trouble as the patches are easily avoided and the buoyed channel is kept clear.
After a delightful quiet night on the Schelp we departed wind behind for Spakenburg, some 20 miles further up. Delightful run entering Spakenburg on a festival day with market stalls live music and all the fishing botters taking sightseers to and fro.
Lovely to see so many old botters together and the ladies in their traditional costume. ( mooring WV Eendracht 10.50)
Next day the gale arrived with winds up to 45 kn SW, we stayed put, and were anyway waiting for our friends to arrive on there Dehler, needless to say they had quite a lively sail mainly under reefed genoa, wind behind.
Following day the wind had dropped to only 6-7 beufort from an 8 so we left in the direction of Hardewijk, was awe inspiring as we approached a top speed of 6kn under working jib alone, and the waves one these lakes were really quite remarkable, all went fine and we arrived in Elburg, having transversed the new aqueduct in Hardewijk, the only tricky moment was coming into a lock with this strong wind behind made it very hard to stop the boat, first time I’ve done 4kn forward with full reverse on!!
Elburg is a delightful place to stop, historic walled town extremely well preserved and very picturesque.
Next day we headed up through the ketelmeer, unfortunately we had come to face the strong SW wind we had had behind us till now so we motored till we were out on the Ijsselmeer where we had a fairly bumpy on the nose sail into Urk, which was somewhat exposed and windy destination, otherwise charming port, it used to be an island and still has quite its own character, very strict protestant population, we were there on Saturday night and it was remarkable that the population was all partying and quite extravagantly merry. The next morning it was very quiet and only the church bells were to be heard!
Very pleasant stay moored in the old harbour in Enkhuizen, lots of lovely classic boat all around, great restaurants ate out in the old fish market delightful.
Leaving Enkhuizen the following morning unfortunately still had that infernal strong SW wind which meant fighting it of the shore and the whole length of the Markermeer, it is a very frustrating sail wind varied up to about force 6 then dropped to virtually nothing by the time we reached the bottom, due to the shape of the meer the wind gets quit distorted around any of the headlands, so despite effectively going round a corner it never makes the wind any more advantageous from direction, arrived back in Amsterdam around 7pm to discover the bridges were out of order for 24hrs bugger!! Had a rest day waiting for the next evening to return through to Aalsmeer.
In reflection the Randmeren is a very pleasant trip with a lot of similarities to sailing in Zeeland, for us a lot closer though and with the eight islands if you just want to get away from it all for a few days it’s really to be recommended.
Was quite surprised at how cheap the moorings were last year in Zeeland we paid often in excess of 21 euros per night but the islands worked out at 5-6 euros and the other stops were all under 15 euros which was a lot more palatable!!