Elwing 2015 Pt 2

Fri 3/7
From Breskens to Antwerp is 44 nm; going upstream, the tide is carried for 8 hours. Wind light easterly, sun scorching. Started at 10:00 and drank: beer, water, pop, orange juice. Pour it in, wait for a while to see if there’s any result, then pour some more in: repeat until you run out of drink. Arriving at Antwerp, it’s best to arrive at slack water as the sting is in the tail & the strongest flood is 3kt about one hour before slack water. This is bothersome if you have to hook onto the waiting buoy with 2.5kt still running; then try it single-handed; then allow for the Kármán street vortices making the buoy bobble back & forth across the stream; then notice that the vortices coming off the buoy throw you exactly the opposite way that the buoy is going. You over-react, just in time to meet the buoy coming back the other way. (A bit like Hoffnung’s barrel of bricks.) The boat is now covered in yellow paint fragments knocked off the buoy when I twanged it against the rigging. (Photo attached.)

Sat 4/7
Antwerp is a splendid old town with some great old buildings; & some great new buildings. It’s the bits in-between which aren’t so hot. Excellent views from the MAS museum. The building is a sort of cubic spiral. Each floor has the escalator going up one side, then the next floor is the next side…. Each floor has special lookout windows giving higher & higher views in different directions as you ascend. By the time you get to the roof, you’ve gone round 2 & half times and you’re up on a level with most of the tallest buildings. (Photos attached.) It’s also a couple of days before the Tour de France and there’s bikes & support cars everywhere. Oh, and to get across the river you have to walk through a half mile tunnel.

Sun 5/7
Back down-stream, starting fairly early, but only half way, then through the South Beveland canal. Quite a surprise here: the 2 bridges are rated at 8.5 m. My mast is a bit over 11 m. But it’s now low water and I scrape underneath with about half a meter spare assisted by a company of Belgian sea scouts doing observer duty to check the clearance. Scorching sun again in the morning–I’m getting a bit fed-up with cola but daren’t get sozzled on non-stop beer–but the afternoon clouds over & the wind picks up strong on my nose in the last 2 miles to Yerseke.

Mon 6/7
WSW 2-4. North through the narrow channel to the Eastern Schelde. The wind is only strong when it’s contrary. Otherwise a drifting sail up to the 2 big lock complexes: Krammer & Volkerak. And thereby hangs a couple of tales.

At the Krammer waiting pontoon, a motor cruiser comes up to moor, the man steering, the woman with the rope. The woman falls in, still holding the rope. Instead of swimming to the pontoon where we might pull her out, she swims instead to the back of the boat to get to the boarding platform. Meanwhile the skipper sees his boat drifting forward towards the next boat and put his engine in reverse. Clearly he thinks more about his boat than he does about his wife’s feet. Insurance would cover boat damage, even two boat’s damage, but wouldn’t be able to do anything about her feet. Some people don’t think. Would you sail with this skipper?

In the Volkerak lock, 2 Belgian yachts come in together; 1 ties up ok, the other secures his stern and goes forward to get the bow. Unfortunately he’s left the stern so tight that he can only just reach the forward bollard with the boathook held in one hand and takes lots of attempts to flip his bow line into place using the other hand. Clearly his crew should have been told to let out the stern line. But maybe his crew is incompetent (& who’s fault is that?) or maybe the stern line is simply to short. A couple of minutes later, I look up again & he’s lost the end of the bow line which is now hanging down the wall and he’s fishing for it with the boathook. There’s just enough length of line (and boathook) so that he can recover it. Perhaps he should make sure that he has a proper length of mooring line at each end, not just a bare minimum.

As the drifting has taken too long, I stop at the next harbour: Willemstad, where the evening diners are entertained by a shanty choir of about 40 performers.

Tue 7/7

I plan a short trip, to Dordrecht, but find I’m not going to get a convenient bridge opening & as the coastguard forecast that the SSE 3-4 is about to veer WSW & then become 5-6 & then 6-7, I go into ‘de Kil’ marina instead.

Wed 8/7

There’s nothing at ‘de Kil’, so despite the WSW 7 with plenty rain, I complete the move to Dordrecht: only about 7 miles but at least there’s something
there, including WiFi & shops. Berth right under the St. Maartens church/cathedral, otherwise known as the BIG church. Climb the tower, narrow spiral
stairs, fighting my vertigo & check the view: yes, it’s there. It’s 275 steps to the top & hope you don’t meet someone else going the other way
because there’s no room to pass.

Main photo is:
“The Antwerp waiting buoy”

Others are views from or of the MAS building.

In the event that the images don’t appear here, try at http://www.eaglebrowne.info/images/NL2015/ & identify as seems appropriate.

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