Amateur footage of a Vertue sailing

After a few software and format issues I have finally managed to join a number of average to poor video clips together and make a distinctly homemade and slightly amateur  video complete with the rather typical accompaniment, the type of music that gets into head and won’t leave for a week or so, you’ve been warned! Tis probably my best attempt till now, and yes I did actually trim out all the worst bits, but consider it a learning curve, from here on things may get better, anyway it should hopefully enthuse maybe a few prospective Vertue owners to take the plunge?


I made an extra perspex ring to cover my rust holes.


The extra ring will be painted with deck paint to match the rest.

Further I’m still fixing some very minor issues on the boat such as the  double spreaders which had been collapsing due to some rather dodgy repairs by a previous owner, where they should have been real strong on the mast bracket there were several blocks of wood glued into them and then disguised by painting the whole area white.



The old spreader is left taped together weher it broke!!


Four new spreader’s shaped up and coated with ipregnating epoxy.

Anyway they are kind of important  spreaders they kind of stop the whole rig from collapsing and falling overboard, prefer to have no wood joints in that area so have chosen to rough out some new ones in oak, shaped up with a slight curve on the top so the water runs off them.


The outward end re enforced with fibreglass cloth and epoxy.

The end grain  is always the Achilles heel of these thing and you often get water ingress where the bolt pass through them so as an extra protection have added a layer of fibreglass cloth and epoxy to seal the ends.






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More lingering rust !!


Time to tackle my boom gallows, I had my suspicions that the splits and warped blocks of wood on the bottom posts of the boom gallows were hiding some nasty rust as the slight seeping rust stains had indicated on the stern deck every winter, so it was a little apprehensively that I took a chisel and mallet to split off the base  hardwood pads to expose the real issue.

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Not surprisingly the rust was in quite an advanced stage, no holes though just severe pitting in places luckily have caught it in time, was another very awkward job grinding the rust out of all the surfaces before treating with owatrol oil.


Now busy re making the blocks from two halves this time maintaining the possibility of removing to access the metal underneath.

It’s nice to sort these minor issues as after more than sixty years of corrosion it is certainly overdue, hopefully they’l be then good for the coming sixty years!


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Oh no more rust!!

Now turned cold here in NL and glad to have the boat tidied up and covered for the Winter, time to check off a few jobs that aren’t too urgent but still require tending to.

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There’s a couple of ventilators and a Sampson post that seem to produce a small rust stains on the deck after every season, so guess  I better lift them and seal and re-bed them.


Now that’s not exactly what I expected!!


Does explain the rust stains on deck!!


Shock horror the front bronze ventilator did sit a little high on one side, now I see why there’s a 3mm cake of rust under it, the stainless bollard is not much better, but the aft ventilator mushroom was the worst having removed it a lump of deck fell out revealing a very moth-eaten hole with thick encrusted rust all round it.


That is awful rust!!!



This black rust has to be completely ground out to get to good metal to re prime and paint, I used grinder a dremel and pneumatic de scalar to remove it , horrible job doing the aft deck with your head through the aft locker and the grinder directly above it, makes a huge mess with rust dust getting everywhere!

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Here endeth another sailing season


Down with the mast.

Been a great season, had quite a lot of meaningful trips  and experiences this summer and a great holiday in Zeeland, and It’s rather sad to be taking her all apart and returning to my winter berth, especially as it still so mild and on the water it is now so quiet and the harbour are all empty, maybe next winter I’ll keep going through but for now there are further upgrades and adjustments planned for my Vertue this Winter.One of the big tasks I’ve been putting off is the stripping of the awful mahogany varnish on the spruce mast, was hoping that after I had relinquished the mast of most of its standing rigging I’d be able to potentially lift it off the boat and get it into my garden to strip and re-varnish it, it was without the rigging still a huge weight and on further inspection have concluded that it’s not at all hollow but solid timber so that explained why I can’t lift it!!


30 kilos of rigging!!

Change of plan and I’ve left it in the mast storage at the boatyard where for 30 euro’s I could store and work on it in the dry without breaking my back!! After craning it down we discovered that the starboard lower crosstree had broken on an old repair which was a little surprising,  so I have in mind to replace all four as I don’t like any kind of joints in crosstrees I wouldn’t want that bloody heavy pole falling down !


A mastless Vertue.

This is an interesting boat we saw passing through Zeeland, a centre cockpit Hilyard on a cruise from the UK was built for famous author Arthur Ransome, who sailed her for a few seasons before progressing to his next boat.

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Here is some Zeeland locks, had been warned for busy locks but it was generally quickly passed, could take and hour though if it was really busy, two tips watch the prop wash of the larger ships that have the annoying habit of leaving the engine in gear with the helm over creating a strong side current at one brief moment we were caught and thrust into the wall sideways earlier and harder than planned!! Second tip you have these bubble curtains to keep the salt water from mixing with the fresh water, we inadvertently had to stop over one at one point and got the bubbles up our bottom! What I mean is the engine intake sucked up the air bubbles and created an airlock which made the engine alarm go off that the water was not circulating round the engine, was remedied by opening the water trap to let the air out, just the kind of additional excitement you don’t want in a lock!

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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!!

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Historic boatyard.


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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!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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.





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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!



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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!

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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).

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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 !!


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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.

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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 .

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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!

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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.

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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 !

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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.

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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.





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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!!

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




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