Elwing II cruise pt 4

Tue 14/7

From Dordrecht northward, first to Leiden. Weather again “Af-en-toe regen” but more “toe” than “af”. Clear trip up to the 1st low bridge at Algera, then some other boats collect during the half hour wait. Up the Hollands IJssel to Gouda, planning to arrive at the lock with 1/2 hour to spare before the railway bridge. The railway times are now MUCH friendlier than they were 2 years ago but you still don’t want to miss an opening. However, we have to share the lock with a barge & the lock is full with 2 boats alongside just before me. The lock opened 5 minutes before the railway bridge time & that’s a kilometer away. Big scramble to get out of the lock then warp speed up the channel to the bridge: I’m last yacht out because of the 2 ahead of me. Squeeze through the bridge just before it closes 4 minutes after the opening time. The majority of boats now form an informal convoy as bridge after bridge waits till we are all together before opening. At Alphen-a-d-Rijn, 6 boats head direct for A’dam & the night convoy; the other 3 (with me) head west for Leiden. There is a break in bridge working for yachts from 18:00 to 20:00 but a passing barge gets us a free pass. Pass another barge motoring backwards because he can’t turn round: seems to be in control. Leiden is apparently full and we eventually find places at the last marina on the way out. 40 Minutes walk into town for a meal, trying to memorise the route, & 30 minutes back hoping I’d remembered it correctly. Supposed to be wifi in the marina but I haven’t seen the HM so don’t have the code.

Wed 15/7

Find that I have 5 minutes to pay the HM & download some web-stuff before I need to leave for the next bridge. Weather again “Af-en-toe regen” but perhaps more “af” than “toe”, though not much in it. Clear trip to the 1st (low, railway) bridge at Sassenheim. This also used to be a killer but is now much friendlier. A new convoy forms as we wait for the bridge. And again, the bridge men/women keep us all together. A large Swiss motor cruiser tries to jump ahead of the convoy at the 1st bridge but is reined back in at the 2nd. We get stopped at the bridge just before Haarlem and find that we get an escort, another barge, that only just fits round the bends. But it only goes half way & we have to wait again. Everyone has to stop at the northern end of Haarlem to pay for the passage, weighted for size, & E10 for me. Being thoroughly fed up with getting rained on, I stop at the Haarlem Yacht Club marina. “Visitors this way” on the sign but the chart says shoal water. Don’t touch anywhere and get assigned a box. Loads of hot water in the very comfortable showers & lightning fast wifi. (So I can post cruise notes.) An even longer walk into town, but at least I get a map to follow.

Thu 16/7

Easy start with a bridged lock and a motorway bridge. (How would that go down on the M25?) Then another easy bridge into the North Sea Canal. As it’s early, I decided to go right through Amsterdam, and waved to the big new marina which seemed full. Out the other side, lock then bridge, into the Mzrker Meer (bottom part of the IJssel Meer). Finally got the sails up again after 2 weeks and drifted north to Marken. Weather fair, warm but not baking and wind light & of course on the nose. Marken is a quaint little island, now connected to the main land by a causeway built after the place was almost destroyed in a gale 99 years ago.

Fri 17/7

Didn’t see the HM till after 12:00, but the weather forecast: ENE 4-5 (6->) -> SW 3-4 was in reality SW 6-7 already, so an easy decision to stay in & work on this note. May take some photos pm if I can stand up in the wind.

Sat 18/7

From Marken to Medemblik via Enkhuizen. Wind WSW 4-5, was a bit on the edge for full sail, but temperature OK. Saw the island in the middle of the meer: didn’t know it was there before, but quite visible. All mod cons at Medemblik including a European junior dinghy regatta. Not as busy as Hayling Bay but still had to watch out as I got caught between 2 fleets both heading for the same mark.

Sun 19/7

Drizzle at 1st, then drizzle with no wind. (E 2-3 -> SW 3-4 -> WSW 4-5(6); ir; g mip.) Didn’t see the point of going out.

Mon 20/7

Dry, light SSE. Ghost northwards towards Kornwerderzand locks. Get most of the way but give up & motor. A large (long) motor barge goes into the lock 1st: no problem. Then a trawler. Straight up the middle, with no apparent thought of tying up. Get athwart the stern of the barge & just sits there, doing nothing. The yachts all sit & watch. After a while a bow-line is put ashore but nothing else happens. The yachts all sit & watch. Then a deck-hand goes ashore and takes a stern-line in hand; and just stands there holding it. The yachts all sit & watch. Eventually the stern-line is put on a bollard & the stern hauled in. The 3 yachts now proceed with their tie-up. 2 OK, 1 has obviously been watching the trawler too closely & attempts the same diagonal approach, which didn’t work well for the trawler & does no better for him. Come on, guys! It’s not difficult, it’s not rocket science. You go in, slowly, close to your chosen wall (preferably the up-wind wall because it will be down-wind inside the lock), with prepared bow- & stern-lines. Walk a step or 2 forward & put a loop of stern line over a bollard, continue walking forward to the foredeck, by which time the stern-line will have stopped the boat, place a loop of bow-line over a bollard, using the boathook if necessary, carry the falls back to the cockpit, pick up the falls of the stern-line and you have everything in (one) hand. Finish at Harlingen, through the main lock, in the quiet marina.

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