The trip continued through the Dutch canals, then we sailed across the Ijsselmeer from Lemmer to Enkhuizen. The Ijsselmeer is the North part of what used to be called the Zuider Zee before it was dammed. The whole area is 2 to 3 metres deep and Ti Gitu was close hauled in company with many other Dutch boats, both modern and traditional. None of us could quite lay the course and it was interesting to see our Junk rigs pointing ability. We were actually about in the middle of all the others. Some of the very modern yachts were higher and some were lower.
Enkhuizen has an anchorage where we stayed for several days as both the crew had really bad colds. But the town was really nice and the enforced stay was fine.
Then onto Hoorn where we anchored for a night before going South through Marker Meer, hoping to get through Amsterdam to a small marina close to the West end of the North Sea Canal. Big problem was that the very last bridge we had to pass through had been hit by a ship the night before and was not opening. There were horrible thoughts that we may have to go back North to leave from Den Helder.
Anyway the next morning the engineers decided to have a test opening and let roughly 100 waiting yachts through at the same time. Phew!!!
Ti Gitu then headed for the marina at Spaarndam to get ready to cross back to the UK. The marina is nice and inexpensive BUT directly under the flight path for Amsterdam airport. Very noisy. But we stopped 2 nights and prepared for the passage including catching up with the washing etc.
The forecast was good with Easterly winds forecast so we left through the sea locks and started out with a good force 3 wind over the quarter which was giving us 6 to 7 knots but it didn’t last and we ended up motor sailing for most of the way, arriving in the Walton Backwaters on Sunday morning, just in time to watch the GP. Still wasn’t worth all the fuel we used.
Holland is really nice and all the people are really friendly. There are plenty of free stopping places but during the last 2 weeks of July and all of August it is the holiday season, apparently with the country split into 3 areas, each taking a 2 week turn to be on holiday. This makes the canal system really busy and we found that during this time we needed to have stopped and claimed a berth by about 3pm. Otherwise they were all full.
But we always found somewhere to stop.
There is a book called ‘the standing mast route’ which shows the way a yacht can pass through Holland and also shows opening times of bridges and locks and also shows stopping places with the prices charged by marinas and some towns for mooring. In a few places you also have to pay to go through the bridges. The bridge keeper hangs a clog down and you have to put the payment in that. Usually it is just a few Euros, the most expensive was for a whole towns bridges at 6.5 Euros.
The architecture is really great and in many places subsidence is causing the houses and some large churches to lean alarmingly. But the locals seem to ignore it.
All the marinas and the towns where we stayed had free wifi, which was good as I was heavily into researching how to make the batteries aboard yachts last. I will be publishing the results shortly.
Holland is good to visit or to use as a route to get towards or back from the Baltic.