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Sunday, 1st July 2012 - Raining On The Goudplaat

Usual Saturday morning shuttle over to the boat, except that we stopped off in Goes to visit the KPN Shop in order to try and find out how to put credit on our local internet dongle that we bought from the Mediamarkt about a month ago. The guy in the shop spoke excellent English and showed us how to add the credit, but when we tried in the shop, Kim's credit card was not accepted. Not to be put off we headed off to Delta Marina with the intention of having another go whilst using the marina's wi-fi to access the KPN site. However, no matter which credit or debit cards, whether Kim's or Wendy's, it just wouldn't work. Not sure where to go next on this one.

Anyway, having given up on the internet we headed off in the direction of Veere. For once it was pleasantly warm and quite sunny, though not the balmy weekend which had been forecast and prompted Wendy to pack her swimming costume! The wind was south-westerly, so we motored up to the Bad Hotel, then put the sails up and sailed up as far as Kamperland. We then turned round and ran back down under genoa. The Haringvreter, both the main harbour and the unattached jetty were packed out. For some strange reason the Goudplaat was empty, it was on the lee shore so somewhat exposed, so that was probably what was putting people off. Anyway we got alongside without any problem and settled in for the evening. We managed a beer and nuts in the cockpit before the heavens opened.

Later, the rain stopped and whilst it remained pretty overcast we did get treated to an exceptional sunset.

Goudplaat Sunset

The wind then died down a bit overnight, but by 8.00am Sunday morning it was blowing up to 20 knots, yet again totally at odds with the forecast 10 knots! It was not quite broadside to the beam, being on the starboard bow, but it was still pinning us on to the jetty. Probably why people had avoided it. Anyway we rigged a nice long spring from the stern, reversed back against it and the bow slowly swung out. When out 30 to 40 degrees from the jetty, Wendy whacked it into ahead and off we went. An almost perfect text book departure except Kim wasn't quite as slick bringing the spring back on board and so we ended up with a wet mooring line.

We motored down to the Bad Hotel and then turned onto a run with just the genoa. Whereas we had departed the Goudplaat in blustery sunny conditions, the sky now became darker and more menacing and we were soon in full foulies. Progress was okay and we were in no hurry, but Wendy was watching the weather rolling in behind us and decided that it would be prudent to put the engine on and get back as soon as possible. By the time we turned into our berth it was raining and Wendy had to contend with 18 knots of cross wind. She put the boat in perfectly and Kim stepped off with the centre spring. The only slight hiccup was that the stern line ended up in the water, but the boat was secured nonetheless. Another wet mooring line!

Ten minutes after we had tied up the wind dropped to nothing and the sun came out. However it wasn't to last and later on the sky blackened, the wind returned and the rain lashed down.

At one point we had thunder, lightning and even hailstones! Overall it was a pretty successful weekend as we contended with some pretty difficult conditions and managed not to get completly soaked. We even managed to load the car in between the downpours.

The journey back to Calais started in torrential rain (as opposed to the "light drizzle" which was forecast), but that soon cleared and we had a really good run back. Only marred by the Shuttle being extremely busy, somewhat disorganised (in Kim's opinion anyway!) and delayed by 15 minutes or so, but we still got home by 7.20, only fractionally more than 4 hours after leaving the marina.

One thing that did niggle over the weekend was the apparent speed at which our new service battery seemed to go down, Kim had noticed this previously, so it will be a 'phone call to the marina to get them to check it out.

Swimming? No, we didn't get to go swimming!


Sunday, 8th July 2012 - Zierikzee With Andy

This weekend Kim went over with his friend Andy. As Andy was keen to spend as much time on the boat as posssible, they caught the 18.36 Shuttle on Friday evening. Even allowing for a quick sandwich and coffee in a motorway services they were still on the boat by 23.00.

Saturday's weather was as forecast, sunny, cloudy, force 3 to 4 and the rain stayed away despite some rather ominous clouds at one point. The trip through the Zandkreeksluis went okay, Andy getting the bow line on first go. Once out of the Zandkreek the wind was firmly over the stern so they ran up to the Zeelandbrug under genoa only, going through on the 14.15 opening. By 15.15 they were tied up in Zierikzee, outside boat on a raft of five. The Havenmeister said it wasn't that busy, but it looked pretty busy to Kim & Andy.

Zierikzee

After just lazing around on the boat for the rest of the afternoon, they headed in to the town looking for the Eetcafe Marktzicht. Andy had a fish mixed platter and Kim had the mossellen. Kim and Wendy have eaten there a couple of times before and the food is always good. The bill came to less than €60, so good value too.

Being on the outside of the raft and bearing in mind that "ships time" is one hour behind the Dutch, Kim thought it prudent to get an early night as in the morning they would probably have to make a fairly prompt departure.

Sunday morning was grey and wet. After bacon rolls for breakfast Kim & Andy were away promptly at 09.00, not that anyone else was showing any signs of wanting to leave. Once through the bridge they put the sails up and started tacking back towards the Zandkreek. The wind was fairly moderate with a few gusts and lots of dark grey, threatening clouds. It sort of rained a bit but nothing too much. The big problem was that the wind was not very constant and with a two knot tide ebbing out, they were frequently only making 2 - 3 knots over the ground. Add in the fact that they were tacking, so not sailing directly towards the Zandkreek, the "velocity made good" was probably only about a knot! Clearly, they did not have time to keeep that up for long, so soon furled the genoa away and motor-sailed to wards the kreek.

Just as Kim & Andy were about to enter the kreek, they were overtaken by a huge Swiss registered river cruise liner heading up to the Zandkreesluis, obviously on its way to Veere. By the time they arrived at the lock, the cruise liner was inside and the various yachts and mobos were tucking in around it. They were just about the last boat in before the gates shut.

Zandkreeksluis

The exit was a bit fraught, as the lock staff wanted all the small boats out first and a Bav 30, a few boats in front of Kim and Andy cocked it all up, lost the bow and went broadside across the lock, before finally ending up facing the wrong way. The poor crew had no option but to exit the lock backwards, the passengers on the cruise liner must have thought it an odd way of driving a yacht!

Once clear of the lock it was a quick dash back to Delta under engine - the wind was pretty much on the nose, time was running out and it was starting to rain properly. The entry into the berth at Delta was a bit of a mess, with Kim making the turn too early and too slowly, such that the stern got blown back before they were properly in the 'box'. Nevertheless, they manhandled the boat in without hitting anything, so it it wasn't that bad.

They drove most of the way back to Calais in pouring rain, but had at least had a good trip to Zierikzee. This was the first time Emjaaytoo had been out of the Veerse Meer this year and two years since the last trip to Zierikzee.

Next weekend Kim and Wendy are back for weeks holiday on the boat, so will be keeping a watchful eye on the weather, which quite frankly has been pretty dire so far this summer!


Thursday, 12th July 2012 – Last Minute Change Of Plan

On Saturday, we were supposed to be going to the boat for a week’s holiday, perhaps have a trip up to Willemstad and the Harringvliet, but then we looked at the weather forecast – the Veerse Meer is on the right.

Next Week's Weather

Then we looked at the forecast for Brittany, where we have booked a camp site for September – the one on the left. Now where would you rather be spending next week?

Yep! We decided that we would swap the weekends round. So on Friday night we will load the car up with camping equipment and on Saturday, instead of driving from Calais to Kortgene, we will drive down to Quiberon on the Gulf du Morbihan.

We will now have our week on the boat in September – the weather can’t be any worse than it is now and at least this way we should get a good bit of sunshine next week and no rain.


Wednesday, 25th July 2012 – A Different Sort Of Sailing

Our decision to go camping in Brittany was the right one and we had a very good time. The highlight of the holiday was on the Saturday before we came home when we went for a boat trip to the island of Houat, about 10 miles off the coast of Brittany. This wasn't just any boat trip, but a trip in a 1909 period Langoustier called Krog E Barz.

Krog E Barz

A Langoustier was a sailing lobster catching boat and this reproduction was built in the 1990's in the traditional way out of wood - a real "old gaffer". There were about 12 or so fare paying passengers plus the skipper and first mate. The trip out to the island was pretty sedate, being 9.00am there was no wind, so we motored all the way. The trip back was however a lot more fun as the wind had got up to a Force 4 and with three sails up the boat stormed along.

Krog E Barz is 22m long including the bowsprit and 15m long on the waterline. She weighs in at 27 tonnes. All in all she is as different to Emjaytoo as it is possible to get whilst still being a sail boat. Because of her size, once she got going she was getting over 8 knots. The highlight came when the skipper asked if Kim would like to helm. Some of the other male passengers had had a go at helming, but whilst out in the open sea and under constant instruction as to which way to push or pull the tiller. Kim's session on the helm started as we entered the confined waters of the Golfe du Morbihan and as the skipper knew that we had our own boat he just left it to Kim to steer in the general direction of the harbour, telling kim to cut through amongst the rows of moored boats. He even got to tack Krog E Barz which was very different from tacking our boat. Since Krog E Barz is such a heavy boat it took quite a lot of effort to keep the tiller pointing in the right direction. In fact Kim's antics in hanging on to the tiller did look a bit posey!

Langoustier helm

The skipper only took the helm back for the final approach under power to the little harbour at Port Navalo. Kim's experience in helming boats was apparent to all and he got complimented by the skipper as well as the men who had helmed earlier. The whole day was absolutely brilliant, we even went for a swim in the sea from the beautiful sandy beaches of Houat. To then crown it off with the sail back at the end was fantastic.


Sunday, 29th July 2012 – Leaving It All Too Late!

Have been trying to book a Shuttle for the next couple of weekends, but have left it too late. We have had to book a DFDS ferry for next weekend, but for the following weekend when we go over with Zachariah the best we can get going out is a Shuttle at 2.50pm which means we will not get to the boat until about 6.00pm. If the weather looks okay we might dash up to the Zandkreekplaat, otherwise it will have to be a day sail on the Sunday. We had this problem last year. We looked at the following weekend and that was even worse, there wasn’t a Shuttle until after 4.00pm and nothing coming back on the Sunday evening at all!

Next year, we really must book all the July/August trips well in advance.


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