Thursday, 7th AugustAccording to the tour guide the intended destination for today is Workum, a Frisian town on the eastern coast of the Ijsselmeer, however, the deteriorating weather conditions and forecast strong NW wind associated with Hurricane Bertha make this unwise for most of the boats, especially so for the return crossing. There is also the possibility that onward passage to Den Helder will be at risk later so the organisers arrange for the fleet to go to Den Oever today.
In order to avoid being weather bound some of the UK boats had already opted to turn back and today was a go/no-go decision day for other skippers, with a further three or four opting to begin their return jouneys. The crew of "Susan J", having managed to get this far without any ahead engine drive, will remain in Enkhuizen for gearbox repairs. I have no crew or time constraints to consider so choose to continue on to the tours final destination.
The passage distance to Den Oever is 18Nm following the western coastline of the Ijsselmeer to the Stevinsluis (7-9) where we pass through the Afsluitdijk into the tidal Waddenzee and then directly into the Waddenhaven at Den Oever (10).
The morning briefing is held at the church in the old town, with one of the Dutch members playing a selection of traditional and modern music on the organ while we have coffee and biscuits and for many a few moments of quiet thought.
The church was an unusual but equally appropriate venue for our morning briefing, I understand it is historically a "seamans church".
The recital on the organ was a bonus for me as I am a fan of organ music.
There is no "formal" race today but a suggestion that we make good progress to Den Oever. I exit the harbour on the 11:00 bridge opening and set sail, but with the wind light and variable/NNW we make a SOG of only 1 to 2 knots. By 12:30 we have only got as far as the De Kruepel island, which I have chosen to pass to the west of, and get headed by the wind so choose to motor. Then follows a period of alternate sailing and motoring as I chase what wind there is. Once clear of the island I have a usable breeze and manage to sail until 15:00. Boats that passed to the east of the island seem to have faired better for wind. The wind begins to freshen by the time we get to Den Oever, but passage through the lock and into the Waddenhaven is straightforward, although there are not that many alongside berths available and I raft alongside Elisabeth & Erik on Sven III again.
I had to give way to this somewhat larger gaffer but passed close enough for a good look and an acknowledgement.
Some of the reduced gaffer fleet in the Waddenhaven at Den Oever
There is a distinct change in the scenery and appearance of the waters in this area, with an open and exposed look compared to the previous few days. The character of the harbour also reflects this as witnessed in the working fishing boats of the North Sea moored in the adjoining harbour basin.
There are no further barriers between us and the North Sea.