Sunday, 13 July 2014

This blog is a contact point and record for a trip with my Yarmouth 23 gaff cutter and our participation in the OGA (NL) 10th anniversary celebration.

 "Hyrst of Eremue" goes Dutch

Old Gaffers Association Netherlands
10th Anniversary Cross Country Cruise
 The Invite.
I had been considering a canal cruise in France at some time when this invitation was received

 Skippers Ahoy
Next year, in 2014, the Dutch OGA will celebrate her 10th anniversary. Of course we will celebrate this proud event of the youngest daughter of the international OGA family. And like any birthday party we hope that besides our direct family the relatives from abroad will take the effort to come and visit our party. So we are pleased to invite you all to come to the Netherlands next year.

What are the plans? Following the great success of the RBC this year and taking into account that we don’t live on an Island, we will organize a ‘Cross Country tour’ through the Netherlands. From Friday July 25th to Sunday August10th we will offer you a trip including nautical, cultural and social events. You are most welcome to join us at the opening event at Wemeldinge in our Zeeland delta on July 25th. From here we will guide you on a trip through the low lands. Through rivers and canals - which you can navigate with your stepped mast - we sail to visit ancient city’s, including a stopover in Amsterdam. Once we all survived this costly city you can have the experience of sailing on the biggest pond you have ever seen. The IJselmeer - without tides - gives you the opportunity to sail at any time. And you can taste the atmosphere of the ancient rich VOC period. Then we will bring you to the north, through the Frisian waters, to end in the Dutch historical naval city Den Helder on August 10th (don’t be afraid of Michiel the Ruyter, since he died ages ago).
Of course all plans are weather prevailing. The details, at this moment, ‘only the Dutchman knows’. But be sure we will do our best to make the trip worthwhile. We realize that the low lands are for many foreign sailors a bit out of reach to sail to. Therefore we intend to facilitate crew to sail on boats available in our fleet for those unable to bring their own boat. And when demand is high enough we can try to charter barges to sail with us on this tour. Enough reasons for you to change your holiday plans for next year and to head for the Netherlands. But as we are living in a crowded little country, especially on the waterfront, we have to settle with harbour authority’s etc. So please to let us know if you intend to come. Just to know how big our international OGA armada will be.

What a great way to combine a coastal cruise with a canal cruise and with the companionship of the OGA as a bonus.

The Preparation.

This was never going to go to plan, and just on the boating front we have had an unscheduled lift ashore to replace the rope-cutter, failure/replacement of the service (house) batteries and corroded VHF aerial cable requiring replacement throughout. An Echomax radar target enhancer has been added and a chartplotter installed. The VHF radio was not performing well (aside from the cable issue) so has been replaced with a Standard Horizon unit with integrated AIS and ATIS capability. Note: despite comments to the contrary both OFCOM and the RYA state that ATIS is required in the Dutch waterways, thus An OFCOM ship radio licence variation was necessary - hopefully this will come through by email before I get to the inland waterways.

Several (expensive) charts and pilotage books have been purchased and also electronic versions from ANWB for the inland routes, recommended for all the bridge and lock details.

Documents obtained/checked: ICC (with CEVNI endorsement),  VHF operator licence, ship radio licence, insurance docs, Schengen crew list forms, and so it goes on ....

AIS reporting has been set up using an Android phone app so that I can't hide away and pretend to be cruising. Hopefully it will re-assure my shore contacts a bit.

Treated myself to a new lifejacket for improved comfort (went for a Crewsaver Ergofit Offshore), the old one had seen umpteen years of regular use and needed a full service and re-arming kit.

Still lots to do with not much time left!

The Schedule.

As far as any plan holds the schedule starts out like this

Passage to the tour start
Wed 16th July:  Lymington to Shoreham (Lady Bee Marina) 51 Nm, passage time 13 hrs
Thur 17th July:  Shoreham to Eastbourne (Sovereign Harbour) 27 Nm, passage time 7 hrs
Fri 18th July:     Eastbourne to Dover (Marina) 44Nm, passage time 11 hrs
   alternative:     Eastbourne to Boulogne (weather alternative to Dover) 50Nm, passage 13 hrs 
Sat 19th July:    rest/contingency day
Sun 20th July:   Dover to Dunkerque 43Nm, passage time 11 hrs
   alternative:     Boulogne to Dunkerque 50 Nm, passage time 13 hrs
Mon 21st July:  rest/contingency day
Tue 22nd July:  Dunkerque to Blankenberge 33 Nm, passage time 8 hrs
Wed 23rd July: Blankeanberge to Vlissingen 23 Nm, passage time 6hrs
                          (may continue inland via "Kanal door Walcheren" to Middleberg if conditions suit)
Thur 24th July: rest/contingency day
Fri 25th July:    Vlissingen to Wemeldinge (Veerse Meer to Oosterschelde ) 23Nm, arrive 17:00 hrs.
                         Start of OGA (NL) Tour

The Cross Country Tour
Sat 26th July:  Wemeldinge events
Sun 27th July: Wemeldinge events
Mon 28th July:Wemeldinge to Dordrecht, 37 Nm, passage time - a long day!
Tue 29th July:  Dordrecht to Gouda, 17 Nm, passage time half day (pm) if timed properly, else overnight anchorage/harbour en-route
Wed 30th July: Gouda events
Thur 31st July: Gouda to Haarlem, passage time 2 days with overnight anchorage at Braassemermeer
Fri 1st Aug:      Haarlem visit/tour
Sat 2nd Aug:    Haarlem to Amsterdam (City Marina), evening event
Sun 3rd Aug:   Amsterdam visit then evening move to anchorage at Durgerdam (East of city)
Mon 4th Aug: Amsterdam (Durgerdam) to Edam, open water cruise/race
Tue 5th Aug:  Edam to Hoorn, open water cruise, local events
Wed 6th Aug: Hoorn to Enkhuizen, open water cruise, event - OGA (NL) Anniversary Dinner
Thur 7th Aug: Enkhuizen to Workum, open water cruise, informal evening
Fri 8th Aug:    Workum to Den Oever, open water cruise, informal evening
Sat 9th Aug:   Den Oever to Den Helder, open water cruise/race, informal evening
Sun 10th Aug: Den Helder, local events and end-of-tour gathering

Return Passage
Option 1, offshore route (tricky, subject to weather and tide constraints):
Mon 11th Aug: Den Helder to Ijmuiden, 30 Nm, passage time 8 hrs on favourable tide
Tue 12th Aug: Ijmuiden to Sheveningen, 25 Nm, passage time 6 hrs on favourable tide
Wed 13th Aug: Scheveningen to Stellendam (Haringvliet barrier South of Hoek of Holland), 28 Nm, passage time 7hrs on favourable tide or possibly make Roompotsluis (Oosterschelde barrier), 53 Nm and adverse tide ?
Thur 14th Aug: Stellendam to Blankenberge, 53 Nm, passage time ?? adverse tides
Option 2, inshore passage but by quickest route, subject to local advice

Option 2 most predictable and with options to leave boat parked up for later return passage.

For either option then further 7 days reverse of outbound route, or follow French coast and cross Channel further west.

The Reality.

Monday 14th July.  Updates received on two other single-handers from the Solent area also in 23' boats heading for the CC Tour, one has reached Dover and the other in Fecamp. Also two other crewed boats at Dover. The Raid is coming together, 30 UK boats (12 from the Solent) and 30 Dutch boats, it should be an evenly matched Naval event!


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