Cruising with an inflatable Sailboat

 

My first Sailing Voyage with my lil boat BEA from the 22nd August 2014 till 07th September 2014

Part 1: 22nd August to 29th August 2014

How it all started:

I guess, before telling you about my first Sailing Voyage, i have to explain, why i choose a little inflatable Sailboat. Even while i really love BEA, I have to admit: She isn’t the typical cruising boat. There is no such thing as comfort. And cruising with her isn’t as cheap as you might think. Often i had to pay fort her AND for the tent. So it was at least as expensive as cruising with a 20 feet Sailboat. Maybe a little bit more. But when I started planning the voyage, it was mend to be a usual voyage. Charter a Boat for two weeks, have some fun and that’s it. But sometimes in July, my Crew – the 2nd Hand – told me she wouldn’t join me. That be said, I was alone. And a boat, for two weeks – alone? I hadn’t that much experience with bigger boats – everything over 20 feet is big to me. And, to be fair: It would have been kind of expensive for me. So i looked around, using the world-wide web. Maybe a little, open boat? And then, just sailing on a little see, somewhere near? While thinking about it – it didn’t actually feel right to me – read about inflatable sailboats. Cool idea – but could that actually be something? Thinking about inflatable boats, I thought of those you can buy for very little money in a supermarket. Nothing I would trust to sail. But, after talking to some people happily sailing such boats, I decided to give it a shoot. There was one – my BEA – for really little money so I got her. It was cheaper than what I would have to pay for just one week with a 20 to 22 feet Boat in the Netherlands so… what could go wrong? BEA was the only cheap inflatable Sailboat at that point of time I could get into my car. It’s a smart, so there isn’t that much place for a boat. And I didn’t just plan on getting a boat in there. No – I also wanted to get some other stuff like a tent, sleeping bag and clothing in it. So yeah… that was a limiting factor.

But I still wasn’t sure about that so my next plan was: Sailing BEA on a small see near to where I live. But after calling the camping ground I was really pissed. I would have to wait the first half week of my holiday before there was a free space for a tent. No – I didn’t want to wait. So that was, when I decided not to compromise. I wanted to do some cruising. So that was, what I was going to do. Frisia, here we come!

But before that, I had to fix two things: First, the hull. Some water came trough it. And second: BEA wasn’t named BEA yet. The ex-owner had her named some long, male name you couldn’t read anymore. I decided that my boat needed a nice, short and, important, female name. So BEA it was.

meet: BEA

With 3 and a half kit bag and two Backpacks and – of course – BEA, I started for my first Sailing Voyage as a skipper.

After a way to long drive with my car, I arrived around 14.00 in Stavoren at the Tourism Office. There I bought a Marekritte-Flag. Soon after that, I drove to the next gas station. I really needed one – there was less than one litre in my car. But using those Gas stations without personal was a challenge itself. On my way to Stavoren I had tried one before and quit, cause I couldn’t figure it out. But now I had to – and it worked.

From there, it was a short ride to Warns, a little village near by.

The harbour master remembers me immediately after I told him, that I would be the guy with the inflatable sailboat. He showed me a place where I could put up my tent for the night. I decided to make sure it was ready for the night, even while there was still some time left. That was more important than the boat right now. I just got ready with that task when it started to rain. And rain. And rain. I waited around half an hour inside the tent before it stopped raining and I finally started building up my boat. Getting all the air inside was some hard work. To say the truth: It’s the only thing about my boat I really don’t like. They call sailing a sport. But the real sport with BEA isn’t the sailing. Well, at least most of the time. Usually, the sailing part is relaxing. But getting the Air inside the boat, that’s some hard work and I needed a break after doing so. Why the hell didn’t I buy an electric pump? But no, I had to do it all by myself…

After putting the hull together I went for a walk. It was nice to be in the harbour. All the water and the boats…. Well, it felt right, like if I would be meant to be here.

After enjoying it for some time, I went back to my boat. Getting the rig on it is quite easy, just a couple of minutes and I was ready to go. But not with the boat – it was still next to my tent and on land. No, I drove with my car back to Stavoren, buying some Cheese, bread and vla.

Around 7.30 pm, I’m back in the harbor. Since I hadn’t really eaten for a long time – the last meal was sometime early in the morning, i was hungry, The fastest Food to cook was a soap with some beef in it. As desert, I ate some of the Vla I just bought.

Now, anything I wanted to do today was done. And, like it would have waited for that, the weather got really nice. Some white clouds, sunset, an atmosphere I really enjoyed, sitting in the harbour.

 

23rd August, 2014

From Warns to De Kuliar (Koudum)

I got up at half past six. Even while I could have slept longer, I decided to get up and ready for the day. But it wasn’t before 09.30 when I untied the lines. To do so, I had to get BEA in the water first. That was a little adventure itself. There wasn’t a good way to do it so I just dropped her down a wall, into the water. She took it well. The plan was simple: Out of the harbour and setting course east. But BEA had some other plans. She didn’t even think about sailing out of the port, no, she wanted to stay inside. Maybe it was a little bit stupid – usually you should listen to your boat – but since it was the first day I planed to cruise, it felt to me like I had to leave port. If it was just for the short way down the channel to the next harbour, max 5 minutes – okay. But I needed to get this voyage started.

After way to many times trying getting her out sailing, I picked up the paddle. This worked and just a couple of minutes later, we where out. And guess what: All that stupid wind, holding me back in the harbour, taking BEA in the wrong direction? Out here, it was all fine. Nice downwind sailing. At least till there was the first bridge, so just a couple of minutes. Than I had to wait. Theoretical, it would have been possible to just climb about my stuff and remove the rig but like I said: I would have to climb over all my stuff. So I waited for the Bridge to open for me.

Most of the time I was trying to sail out of the port it was raining and there was quite a bit water inside of BEA. Time was one thing I had, waiting for the Bridge to open and I used it to get all the water which entered my boat out.

When some other, bigger boats came to the bridge, it finally opened and I had a chance to get through it. Sailing. That was kind of fun.

The fun ended soon after I left the last harbours behind me. First I heard, soon after that I saw a thunderstorm heading in my direction. For bigger boats, something like that might be hell of a ride. For me it was a scary thing. I didn’t want to know what would happen to my inflatable sailboat if it would hit near to her. As fast as it would get, we sailed to the next harbour. But when I saw it, I choose to get to the next one. The first one had a castle-like hotel on it’s area. Definitely nothing for a sailor – or even more a boat – like me and BEA. The next one was much more likely our type. It was De Kulliart, a camping ground with a harbour. For sure, it wasn’t as expensive as the first one but I still had to pay 16 € for one night. And that, for a 7 feet boat. Okay – and a Tent. But still, I hadn’t expected that much. With better weather I might have chosen to set sails again and try the next one. But with the conditions out there right now, I hadn’t much of a choice.

Weather can be an asshole. While walking back to my boat, the thunderstorm stopped, sun got out and it was quite nice. Perfect sailing conditions again. But now I had paid. And after paying 16 € I wanted to see what I paid for.

Some water entered my boat trough the bottom, I didn’t want it to spend the night in the water. That – and the fact that leaving here in the water would have costed me even more, was the reason why I choose to get her out and next to my tent, which I had set up.

After that it was still early afternoon. There wasn’t much to do, the next town was quite a walk away. But there was a little swimming bath, which was part of the camping ground. And with paying for a night, I had already paid for it.

One hour was all I could take. It was more of a playground for family’s than anything else. On my way bag to the tent I saw some childs sailing an Optimist in a safe area inside the harbour, the parents watching them, knowing they couldn’t sail far away.

Before dinner, I had some bad thoughts. Was it really possible – to cruising with a boat like BEA? A little, inflatable sailboat? Cooking some pasta didn’t help much. Shortly before sleeping I realised, that this might already be the end. After just one day. But I wasn’t sure how I could get on.

 

 

24th August, 2014

 

From De Kulliart to Heeg

 

Being happy is one of the greatest things that can happen to you in the morning after a day like the day before. When I woke up, I knew in my heart that this wasn’t the end. No, not just that this wasn’t the end. I knew that this was just the beginning. A great feeling.

There is some really nice weather and I’m feeling alive.

Instead of just going to the toilet to pee, I decided to take a walk. It was nice out here. As early in the morning as it was, there was as good as nobody outside and I had it all to myself. Unbelievable that there would be hundreds, if not thousands of people walking around that area in just a couple of hours.

Back in the tent I enjoyed my (first) breakfast and looked up a nice goal for today. Now I knew where I wanted to get. But before set sails, I went to the camping ground supermarket and bought some good-looking food. And, since it looked reeeaally good, I enjoyed my second breakfast. No – I’m not a hobbit.

 

I would have been under sails at half past nine, if there wasn’t all those people asking me questions about BEA. A part of me just wanted to untie the lines and leave but I was flattered and proud of all this sailing folk asking me about my little boat. So I stayed and answered there questions.

Around ten a clock it was time. I set sails and left port. Good weather – around wind force 3 and sun – almost perfect. Some clouds would have been nice for some shadow, but I was happy the way it was.

Sadly, it woulden’t stay long this way. Some strong wind and rain where coming my way and I had to seek shelter. There was a little Island near by with a bay. There the wind shouldn’t be that strong. Sailing near to some trees, I had to use the paddle. There was almost no wind – but just next to the trees. The second there was more than one or two meters between us, wind got soon stronger and stronger. On my way inside the bay I lost my cappy – no way, I just bought that for this voyage. So I turned around and got it out of the water. Strike!

Shortly after that, I’m inside the cove. But there is now way for me to get my boat out of the water and on land. Instead of berth, I sail inside the cove. That works – but a nice family invites me to get long side there sailboat and onboard. I get invited for something hot to drink. Ragna, Bob and Klaas are a german-neatherlands-Family. And, way more important: They are really nice. From them I’m getting some pictures of me and BEA. They even took some of me, getting my lost cappy back. It looks crazy, me on this little boat out on the water at such bad weather.

Time goes by and the sun comes out again. We all want to go on. Even while it was really nice meeting them, we had to say good-bye. But it will take hours before I lose sight of them.

Here some of the photos they send me:

A little bit before four o’clock, I reached an island near Heeg. It’s time for a break. I could stay here for the night, it seems like this place would be part of a harbour, but there is some time left till dark and I want to sail a little bit more.

After leaving this place, I needed some time to find the channel I was looking for. It should get straight forward, east. But the channel I find me sailing on had a lot of curves. Strange. On the map, this looks really different. I expected to find a channel, heading straight forward for miles. Not… this.

It took me quite some time to realise that the channel I was looking for was like what I expected – but that it wasn’t the one I was sailing on. Instead of looking where I could be (there was just one option!) and heading to the next port, just a couple of meters away, maybe 5 Minutes sailing, I turned around and headed back for the island I had the break. Of course, half of the way I had to sail against the wind. Stupid like I’m sometimes, I refused the help of a motorboat, which offered to tow me out of the channel. Well, everybody is stupid sometimes I guess. For me, this meant rowing for two hours. The good thing I’ve taken out of this experience is that my boat can’t sail on a little channel again force 3 to 4. Specially with the waves coming with the wind.

Back on the Lake, something bad happened. The sheet got lose and I had to take the Sail in my hand – literally. With one hand holding course, with the other holding the sail so the wind could get us forward, I reached the island I left around 2 a half or three hours before.

I was pretty nervous. Not cause of the sailing part, shit happened, it wasn’t hard to fix. No, I had decided to let BEA stay inside the water for the night. It was her first night and I tied her up as good as I could. But it was a good place for that, the waves of the lake had no chance of getting to her.

Also it was possible to me to put up the tent right next to her. Soon before Sunset, the harbour master visits the island and everybody paid for the night. He refuses to take money for more than two meters even while BEA is 2.40 long. With the tent, it was around 8 or nine 9 Euro I belief – so way less than the night before.

While getting ready to sleep, I listened to music, sung by a group also staying here for the night. It was nice – they knew what they were doing.

 

 

25th August, 2014

 

From Heeg to a place near Heeg

 

At 4 o’clock I woke up. A chopper had decided to fly over the island. And – of course, not just once. No, it lasted quite some time. Around half an hour before it got quite again. Why the hell did he have to do that? Why?

However, also something good came out of it. Since I was awake, I had to go to the toilet. On my way, I found some really cute rabbits, jumping and running around. Beside myself, nobody seemed to be awake and the rabbits didn’t care about me, looking at them.

After some more hours of sleep, my day started at 7 am. Soon after waking up, I got ready to leave. Even breakfast had to wait – I wanted to sail to Heeg first.

That wasn’t a long way to go and soon after waking up, I already entered the real harbour.

After a comfortable, warm shower i was ready to go for the supermarket. The way there was quite nice – Heeg is an old town, with a nice atmosphere.

Beside Vla, Eierkoken and some Sweet Crème, I decided to buy a One-Time barbecue. It would be a nice dinner for today evening. So why not?

Back in the harbour, the next thing to do was to enjoy my breakfast. I was up for about two hours now and it really was time to eat something.

Finally, I set sails again. Going West, I entered the Johan Firsochannel. Just a couple of minutes later I reached my goal. A nice Marrekrite-Place. That was the place, I wanted to get to yesterday. But thanks to the fact that I did a pretty bad job navigating, I hadn’t found it. The weather wasn’t nice. All grey..

Without even thinking about what that meant, I put up the tent.

Would I really stay here for the night? After all, it was less than two nautical miles away from the island I’ve spent the last night on!

While thinking about it, I couldnt help myself then watching a group of sailors. It looked like they where some kind of sailing-school. The older one’s wore Viking helmets.
The whole place smelled a little bit like cow-poo, but after some time there, I got used to it.

shouldnt I set sails again? Get to another place? It wasn’t that nice here. Not bad also, but still.

But watching to the sky was kind of frustrating. All grey, the only blue was north. And not coming any closer to me.

When it started raining, it got clear to me that I would stay here for today. Instead of sailing, I read a little bit – about 200 pages.

In the late afternoon – or was it the early evening – I got out for a walk on the little island I was on. While walking around, I met an interesting men. He was here with his canoe, just for a break before heading home.

He gave me a weather report – and some blackberries.

Later, there was also a nice old couple with a funny named boat. But that were all the people I met while being there.

So I set down and tried to do my barbecue. It didn’t work out as I wanted it – the coal had no interest in getting hot, ignoring the fact that I was doing exactly as the instructions said. I gave up – and just made my beef with my camp cooker. It’s okay – but the beef isn’t really tasty. Just okay – nothing more.

Before laying down, I pumped up BEA while she is swimming in the water. That quite an interesting experience – sitting in a floating inflatable while getting more air in it. Don’t want to think about what would have happened if the tube would got out.

 

 

26th August 2014

Johan Frisochannel near Heeg to Woudsend

Soon after striking down the tent, the last grey clouds disappear. It’s such a great feeling when the sun shines. Not trusting the weather report, I still decided to wear my sailing gear.

It was a smooth sail south, towards Sloten. At least that was the goal for today. I had heard that Sloten would be a nice little village so I wanted to see it with my own eyes.

Shortly after entering Woudsend, a town on the way, I had to pass a bridge. Quite nervous I looked at it. It was the second one on this cruise – and since this was the first cruise in an area with bridges, my second bridge at all.

I was lucky – the Bridge Guard was quite nice. He told me that, usually, bridges aren’t opened for open sailboats. But since I could see, that it wouldn’t be easy for me to get the rig down, he would open it for me. But not completely – just as much as necessary for me to get trough it. Before he could open the bridge, another open sailboat reached the bridge from the other side. It was way bigger then mine (and not an inflatable), the sailors got ready to lay down the Rig. The Bridge guard smiled at them and told them, that it wouldnt be necessary this time. Since to open sailboats were almost like a yacht (well, kind of – but it’s a nice way to look at it), he opened the bridge for us.

Sailing through an open bridge is quite fun and, even with both of us sailing, it wasn’t a problem.

Behind the Bridge, I saw my first windmill for this voyage! I love those – they look just great!

A happy sailor

 

Slowly, we move down the channel. Between the houses and Trees, there is just a little bit of wind, just enough to sail. I’m happy. It’s a smooth sail, nice to sit here and enjoy it.

But all this changed suddenly after entering the Sloter Meer.

Out there, the Wind wasn’t smooth at all. Strong winds blew into the sail, made BEA heel. If I wouldn’t have done my job, she would have flipped over immediately.

She starts to glide over the water – something she doesn’t do usually. Not with me and all the stuff I took with me for the cruise. The waves play with us like with a little toy. Up and down, up and down. Than, big wave came near and near….

Instead of taking us up and down, the waves just went overboard. BEA can’t stop the wave, it just rolls over her, leaving a lot of water in the hull. But still – it’s a lot of fun. So much fun! It’s action, it’s fun!

I’m feeling like if we would fly over the water. A great feeling.

Way faster than I had expected we come close to the channel towards Sloten.

Then – absolutely unexpected – I hear a noise. A really, really terrible noise. A scary noise.

Looking down, I can see a big crack, about 10 cm long in my tiller.

Fuck!

One second not looking out for the course was enough – BEA moved west, to downwind sailing.

It seemed like the crack would not be enough – now the prow went under water. And I really mean under water – a thing I hope to never see again. Water got inside the boat – there was quite a lot water inside. And no way to get it out – with conditions like that, there was no way for me to get it out.

To get in an at least a little bit better situation, I used the tiller. It did it’s job – got me away from my downwind-course. But not without it’s price. There it is again – this ugly noise of breaking wood. But the tiller is still complete – the crack is just in the middle. Still – I can’t use it anymore without risking to break it completely.

Now, that’s a bad situation. To much wind for my boat, no good chance to sail against the wind. But to get to Sloten, I have to!

Using a paddle as an emergency-helm, I try to sail against the wind. It’s hard work, there is a good reason why sailors usually use a paddle as a helm. But, however, I managed to sail a little bit. But that’s it – not enough. If I’m lucky, I hold my position. If not, I just got further away from the channel.

What now? Of course, I could just sail to the land near by. But there was a lot of wildlife I would have to destroy to get on land there – and the voyage would probably be over. No, not as long as there was any other possibility. And there was also another boat near by. Tow, to be exact. Another open sailboat and a motorboat. I tried to make them realise my situation by waving and shouting out to them. That worked out pretty well – I thought. The motorboat actually came near to me. But instead of helping me in my situation, they made pictures – and then, they left.

What a….

But still not willing to give up, I thought about my possibilities. It was impossible for me to sail against the wind. And there was no other boat near to me that could hear me with all the wind.

Downwind also wasn’t an option – not after what happened before. So, there where just to options left. Sailing to the next coast – damaging wildlife and ending the voyage – or sailing back to Woudsend. About the whole sea – fighting with the weather once again, facing big waves and strong wind.

Well, there was just one option: Going back to Woudsend. And trying to find someone helping me – steering with the paddle was a lot, but not fun – and not really good. If anybody would come near me, it could get hard to elude. And that was by using the paddle and the sail for steering – one alone would do an even worse job.

The way back wasn’t really fun. It felt like if the wind and waves would have gotten even stronger, again and again waves run overboard. Hanging half outside BEA, it was really hard to get her holding course.

Every time, I saw a ship near by I tried shouting. But it didn’t help – seemed to be like if they wouldn’t have heard me.

To all my worries, there was one more I couldn’t resist thinking about. How long until my rigging would decide to not take this kind of wind anymore? It was definitely way to much for this little boat.

Shortly before hitting the channel, another boat realised that I was in a bad situation. My waving and shouting actually paid of – they came and helped me. A young, german couple took me and BEA to Woudsend. We make sure my little girl is well towed to the bigger sailing boat before I get aboard. But even with her towed, I can’t help myself but holding the rig. The sail got cut down with a knife to be sure that it would make no problems.

My whole body is shaking. That was some hell of a ride. My body and my soul are exhausted, I feel like if there would be no more power inside of me. And still, I have to hold BEA, make sure she is, despite all what happened, fine.

Over the channel and through the Bridge, we reach the harbour “De Rokken”. Here, the wind is harmless and we untie BEA from the sailing vessel and to the harbour.

The hull is actually half full with water. And all I have to get rid of it was a sponge! I got saved again from the german couple. They lend me a bucket wich I used to get all the water out of my little girl.

I also had to realise that one of my sea bags wasn’t as waterproofed as promised – and, of course, it was the one for the important stuff. Documents, Camera… ya know, the important stuff you definitely don’t want to get wet. That sucked. Hoping that this would help, I laid it all down in the harbour, using the sun to dry it while I got rid of the water inside BEA.

After giving back the Bucket I said good by to the couple, thanking them very much for the help. I would have loved to invite them for a coffee or something – but they refused.

Again, I was in one of the expensive harbours. And again, I had to stay. Well, kind of.

At least I got free Wifi – and an advise. There seemed to be a Nautical Shop in town.

So, after I tied BEA to her place for the night and put up the tend, this was the next thing to do.

Hoping to get a new tiller, I asked the salesman. But, how could it be other – they had no matching tiller. Well it would have surprised me. That was no problem since he assured me that I wouldn’t need one. All I would need was some tape to fix the mess. One role would be more than enough. I bought two – and a bailer. How knows, when something like that happens to me again.

Fixing the tiller with the tape was quite simple.

 

Little note while translating the hole thing: Now, almost 11 month after all that, I still use the same tiller. It works quite well, the tape is doing a great job! It’s a little bit MacGyver, but since when is this a problem?

 

I don’t know where all the time went – but back in the harbour, it’s already evening. Beside the time I need to cook and eat some pasta, I spend most of the evening using the WiFi to check out what’s new in the internet.

 

 

27th August 2014

Woudsend to Sneek

After some well tasting vla and eierkoken as breakfast, i walked to the reception. I’m looking for an opportunity to buy a new camera. My old one is broken since the hell ride I had yesterday. They tell me i should try my luck in a EP, it would be the only shop which might sell a camera.

But, how could it be different, they didn’t sell any.

On my way back, i stopped at the nautical shop to buy a knife and some other stuff.

Back on the harbor i took a shower. Ah… Great feeling.

Soon after that i was ready to untie the lines without setting up the sails – there is almost no wind and the little bit there is, comes from the wrong direction.

On my way out of the port, a men started to make pictures of me. Now, where my camera was broken, i had no chance to take some myself. So i just rowed to him, asking if he could send me the pictures. No problem! I would get them. And i shouldn’t wonder about getting a mail from the police – he was a police officer.

A huge Thank you to the Netherlands Policeman for the pictures!

Leaving Woudsend, I realised that there was more wind than I had expected. And the direction wasn’t that terrible neither. So I set sails and enjoyed some sailing.

Following the channel north, I managed to sail the wrong way once again. But, of course, I had to sail up all the way until the end of the wrong channel before realising my mistake. So I had to turn around the wind, coming from north should have made it nice downwind sailing. Just one thing was missing for that to happen: The wind! Argh…

So we had to go back south until we are on the right channel. Now, being right again, there was some wind. And – with this little bit, it was possible for me to sail north, even while that was where the wind was coming from.

A little bit after crossing the Johan Frisochannel, where I had stayed to nights ago, there was once again a bridge. Just seconds after arriving at it, a bigger boat came by and the bridge opened.

But then the wind almost died, a good part of the time I had to row. Not really liking that, i took every second with enough wind to sail and used it.

Somewhere between the bridge and Ijylst, a open Powerboat stopped next to me offers me to tow BEA and myself to the next village. Happily I said yes. After saying no before, I had learned my lesson. Since this had bought me some more time I now had the option to sail a little bit more – not staying in Ijylst but in Sneek for the night. Evan the fact, that I had to wait half an hour at the next bridge for it to open didn’t change that. Ijylst checked out to be a pretty beautiful village. And, at least as important – near by the bridge was an public toilet. Oh, I really needed this place.

Around 7pm, somewhere in the middle of Sneek, some folks from a big Powerboat greet me. They have seen me leaving Woudsend and are impressed that I made it all the way to Sneek.

But what surprised me the most was the fact, that the bridges in the middle of this city opened for me – alone, not waiting for another boat. One even opened before I was there and stayed open until I passed it. I happily said thank you to all the bridge guards smiling at me.

It have been eight hours since I left Woudsend when I finally entered the port. The harbour master already left, the only way to get permission to stay was using an intercom.

But it was no problem – he told me a place where I could tie up BEA and put up the tent right next to her.

It’s already after sundown when I managed to cook dinner: Pasta.

28th August 2014

From Sneek to Witmarsum

 

I had vla as lunch – again. But since you don’t get the good vla in germany, that’s fine with me.

Exactly at 9 o’clock I paid 15 € for the night. And I was lucky – I just had to pay for the tent, not for the boat. Otherwise it would have been 25 €. So I was quite happy about that.

Since I had planed a route which would lead through several bridges which couldn’t open, I build down half my rig.

But after rowing to the first bridge, I realised that I had missed that one. If I wanted to take the way I planed, I would have to build down the rest of the rig. And I had not interested in doing so. Instead I just took the way back to Ijylst, where I was yesterday. Seems to be a thing I do quite often. At least, this way I was capable to sail.

Again, the bridges in Sneek opened for me faster than I could get to them.

The wind is now coming from the west and since this is the direction I intended to sail, I had to beat against the wind. This costed me a lot of time – my boat isn’t build to sail against the wind – but that was fine as long as I could sail.

In Ijylst, I had to wait one more time for the bridge. The guard had a break – like yesterday. And, like yesterday, I used the time wisely by going to the toilet. After that I met a boy (well, a hole family) that told me he would have seen me before. Three times to be exact – in the morning while he had breakfast, than on the water and now, in ijylst waiting for the bridge.

I couldn’t help myself but smile. It’s so nice to realise, that people see – and like – your boat. I love my little girl, she is just so perfect.

Back aboard, I eat some eierkoken before the bridge finally opened and I continued my cruise.

But it didn’t last for long. Again, I had to wait at a bridge. It was a trainbridge which just opened to some special times – and the time was not now. Waiting wouldn’t have been a problem if the wind didn’t try to push me away. I had to wait 15 minutes in this situation before the bridge opened and I sailed north.

But what was going to come was more than just worth it. There was this really nice, pretty peace of frysia waiting for me. A lot of nature, great housings… and almost all the times, I was alone.

The bridges opened very early, often they where completely open minutes before I even reached them. The guards seemed to be happy seeing me.

I came till Boulsward like this – then I had to stop. There was that one bridge, that didn’t open for open sailboats. Which wasn’t that bad – after this one, there where a lot more wich couldn’t open for any boat. So I got my little girl ready for some rowing without the rig standing up high. After doing the math, I decided to head further. My original plan after changing it in sneek was to get here and stay the night in Bolsward. But now, there was time left. And I wanted to use this opportunity.

The only bad thing about this was the fact, that it was impossible to sail around here. I would have loved to do so, but with all the bridges, it just wouldn’t have made any sense. And then, there was the fact that there wasn’t enough place. It was just to small to sail!

Even while most of the time, this part of the day wasn’t that great, there was one picture I just can’t forget. There was that little windmill right next to a big wind turbine. Beside that, it wasn’t a nice area. A lot of cars, driving on the streets nearby and bad weather did a god job destroying the atmosphere.

After rowing – once again – into the wrong channel, i managed to get to the camping ground in Witmarsum at the end.

It had been nine hours of sailing and rowing – and all together I enjoyed it. Even the last part wasn’t that bad – just the cars and the weather annoyed me.

The camping ground was almost empty, they told me to put up the tent somewhere next to long-term campers.

But that wasn’t the thing bugging me. I couldn’t see BEA while being on the camping ground. It was a terrible feeling, spending the night away from her.

After writing a little bit about what happened today and charging my electronics at the toilets I go to check on my girl. The wind has gotten pretty strong and I’m worried about her. But she is doing well – strong girl!

Dinner…

 

29th August 2014

From Witmarsum to Harlingen

 

I don’t know if it is the good weather, a tasty breakfast or the fact that I had slept quite well: This morning, the area seemed to be much prettier than the day before. Still on the tiny channel, I had to row all the way. First, the wind was with me, pushing me forward. Bad soon this changed and I had to row against the wind. Not to much fun but still, it was all good. How? I don’t know – but I enjoyed the rowing!

The landscape and the animals are so beautiful. Especially five horses are great – they followed me as long as they can. Just kilometres before Harlingen, some folks told me about that huge festival in Harlingen – right now. I just could hope that there was still a place for me free at the camping ground. On the last part of the channel, some boating-folks came by, driving there powerboats. But they were nice. I was quite surprised about a group of boys with their power-dinghy. After expecting them to not slow down while passing me, it was a great thing I was wrong. They almost stopped really early, giving me a lot of time and as good as no waves to worry about. After I had passed them, they waited a little bit longer until I was out of the range of their waves. This happened a couple of times – and I was really grateful to them for being so thoughtful.

It took four and a half hours non-stop rowing for me to reach Harlingen. 50 hours ago I left Woudsend. 22 of them I had spent on the water, sailing and rowing my way up north to the sea.

Now I just had to tie up my boat, get ashore, talk to the guy at the reception and… break a unwritten rule.

usually I put up my tent and make sure everything is ready before walking around. But there, just meters away from the reception is the dike. And behind that… the Waddenzee. I just had to get there! It had been four years since I had seen the sea. It was before I started sailing.

It had been half an hours between getting up the dike and back to the camping ground. I can’t exactly say what happened. I know, that I found myself, sitting right there on the dike, watching out to the sea. Dreaming. Seeing the future. Knowing in my heart what I wanted to do. What I would do. Dreaming. Knowing.

Getting back to BEA, there is that wired feeling in my stomage. I love my little girl. She is such a great boat and I would do some more cruising with here – not just the voyage I’m on right now, no, also some more voyages. But, one day not to far away I will need another boat. A boat, which I could sleep on. A boat, with wich I could sail out there – at sea.

After putting up the tent and getting all my stuff inside, I found myself back on the dike. This time not sitting and forgetting the time but still enjoying the view while walking into town.

The town is really beautiful but, thanks to the fest, very crowded. Next to a harbor, I found a place to buy some fries – Mollys – and have a nice chat with the young woman selling them.

Later, I bought myself a waffle to eat on the way back to the camping ground.

My emotions were going crazy and I had to read a lot before getting to sleep.

To read about the second week – PRESS ME!

This was the first week of my first cruising voyage as the skipper. Follow my blog and make sure not to miss what happened next – using my Facebook-Page!

Sebastian

2 Comments

  1. It can be done I think comfort level would have been dramatically improved with even just 3-4 more feet and a attachable cover to keep things dryer Trip you wont ever forget

    • Hello,
      you’re probably right. But the boat had to fit into my car – an old smart. This is a limiting factor, there aren’t many sailboats out there which you can pack into an smart (Fortwo). And yes – I can’t imagine forgetting this voyage 🙂
      Greetings,
      Sebastian

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