Wednesday, 6th AugustThe destination harbour today is Enkhuizen, a sailing distance of 12 Nm on the Markermeer and Hoornse Gat then via the Krabbersgat lock (10) into the Ijsselmeer. Rather than a race todays passage will take the form of a Parade of Sail on departing Hoorn then a cruise in convoy to provide a fleet arrival at Enkhuizen. We will be mooring in the Old Harbour which is accessed via the "Drommedaris" lift bridge and the tour guide does state "and try to fit in ... if needed with a shoehorn" so some more tight manoeuvring anticipated.
The cast-off time from the moorings at Hoorn is 10:30 with the Parade of Sail at 11:00 on exiting the harbour. The weather takes a hand, however, and with a fresh SSE F5 head wind and a choppy sea at the harbour exit it is not realistic to form up in close formation for a parade. The skippers opt for some sea room to set mainsails only (most reefed) for a motor-sail into the wind and sea to the first course mark. Nevertheless, the sight of the fleet setting sail was still impressive from where I was so should have been worthwhile for those ashore.
Once we turn around the first mark it becomes possible to stop the engine and with jib and staysail set and two reefs in the main Hyrst is perfectly set for the conditions and over the next few miles I have the best sail I have experienced for a long time. Dropping the sails on approach to the lock is a bit fraught in what are now uncomfortable conditions, then I find there is a nice calm pool of water just at the lock entrance which would have been much safer and more comfortable! Passage through the lock goes OK despite the wind causing some difficulties, then it is a short distance to the harbour entrance. The bridge lifts are only allowing a small number of boats through each time and the HM launch is on station instructing boats to keep clear until called forward, which is causing problems as further boats arrive and try to hold position in the strong tail wind conditions. As my turn to go through the bridge arrives I move closer and find that we have a cheerful lady HM who informs me that she has a man down, a curious bit of information I think. Then I notice that a hard-hat diver is working at the sea wall by the bridge entrance, no dive flag, lights, signals, safety boat or other measures in place, just guys on the dock handling the hose and lines! No wonder the HM is a bit hassled with our fleet arriving and restricted access. The narrow bridge passage becomes a boat handling challenge with boats queuing beyond trying to berth, however, I get clear and raft up outside of the Cat Boat at 14:40.
Once berthed I took a walk around the old town and the several harbours, returning via the bridge we had entered through. The couple of short videos below give an insight into the access typical of inner harbours. The fresh breeze is audible, my mutterings can be ignored.
The access channel to the bridge.
The bridge lift and view of the harbour moorings.
In the evening there is the formal 10th Anniversary Dinner and Party hosted at the Zeevaartschool, a unique establishment that trains professional seagoing officers for the sail trade. The rain and directions to the school test us a bit come the time to make our way there, but it is well worth the effort. After some informal introductory speeches and presentations between the national OGA groups the dinner and party activities get underway. An excellent spread of seafood is the focal point, with alternatives for vegetarians and a BBQ for non-shellfish types like me. Being a bit off-sorts I had a light meal and left early to get my head down as some rest seemed the best cure. From reports the evening was a great success, helped along with a good band and a great atmosphere.