Monday, 24 November 2014

Durgerdam to Edam, with rations and a RTIR

Monday, August 4th

A significant change to the tour today as we are into open water sailing on the Ijmeer and Markermeer, plus the organisers have thrown in a "Round The Island Race" which brings the passage distance up to 22 Nm.

The day begins with a briefing at 09:00 which provides us with our first view of the course. Then we are issued with a pack of local produce "Survival Rations" consisting of a litre "sausage" of frozen fish soup, a large loaf of bread and a generous portion of cheese. We should obviously expect a long and testing day if we need survival food! In fact the survival rations prove to be excellent fare and will probably last me a few days (maybe not the soup). The race start is set for 11:00, giving us time to extricate all the boats from the tightly packed harbour.

The outer channel marks at Durgerdam form the race start (1) with the course taking us to the island of Pampus where we have to do a complete circumnavigation (3 to 7) before proceding south to the entrance of Muiden (9), then north to Uitdam, a leg east (11) with a return to the peninsula off Marken (12) then to the finish off Edam (13). For reference, Pampus is a formerly fortified island not much larger than a Solent fort but lower profile and with a rocky shoreline. It appears popular as an anchorage for local boats, whose crews seem a bit perplexed when they find a fleet of gaffers careering around them.

It is a fine day but with a fresh F4-5 SW wind suiting the larger boats well and they rapidly leave Hyrst and a couple of more tidlers trailing behind on the leg out to Pampus. We have free choice on which direction to round the island, so I elect to free off the wind a bit more and go clockwise around, catching most of the faster boats out to the north of the island with me on starboard tack and them on port as they have all taken an anticlockwise circuit. Being a tail-end-Charlie I have nothing to lose  with my tactic but my advantage is lost due to the longer distance then getting caught out on port tack on the second half of the circuit by the mid fleet boats. The beat down to Muiden is a tough one and not managageable on one tack, however, I do go around the mark unlike the two boats behind me who are magically in front of me when I turn north - I seem to be taking the racing bit too seriously! During the "race" I receive a text message from my son, who is following my progress on AIS, enquiring about my antics going around in circles and random directions, probably thinking I am totally lost without canal banks to follow. The sea is choppy enough to take the edge off Hyrst's speed but nevertheless it makes for enjoyable sailing, and I am off the point at Marken (12) at 14:45. I make a mess of the navigation on the final leg to Edam and loose more time by initially heading for the Volendam entrance marks rather than Edam. Poor practice on my part by not checking the course but just entering waypoints on the chartplotter, then discovering that the co-ordinates provided for the final mark and the finish line were incorrect. I eventually reach the Edam entrance channel marks at 16:21. I can confirm that the harbour entrance is indeed inconspicuous, it took me two circuits around the approach to find it! The harbour is compact and well packed with the fleet in, I end up rafted six out at the end of the fairway but in time for the evening activities.

The lighthouse off Marken.
The bulk of the gaffer fleet is just visible (dots) on the horizon.

The local yacht club is our venue for the evening providing a bar and excellent facilities, with the external grounds providing views over the Markermeer. The accompanying chef provides an excellent outdoor grill then we have the prizegiving to round off the formal activities. Hyrst of Eremue is a prize winner (not based on peformance) and we come away with a filter coffee sytem and fresh coffee, not a bad evening at all.

Open water at last!
Hyrst of Eremue on the Markermeer.

Footnote: the nasty chop set up with the F4/5 wind was a little surprising, but considering the depth of water is only 2 to 3 metres I should have anticipated it. Apparently the local rescue service can be quite busy in strong wind conditions.

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