As we mentioned in our last update we were planning to head to the Netherlands early April but we did not leave Burnham until the 12th April. We had number of problems to deal with before we could leave. Some were minor such as the diesel heater switch that fell apart in Graham’s hand. More seriously the new sail sliders would not pass freely over the gate on the mast as the battens had sliders with outer wheels. A number of phone calls later and it became obvious that an off the shelf solution did not exist. Graham drew up a plan for a new gate cover to be made from stainless steel that would be much thinner and the new sliders would pass over it. We managed to find a local workshop that could make one for us. This was fitted successfully, a barrier paste was applied to the underside of the plate to isolate the stainless steel plate from the aluminium mast.
A test sail on the Crouch proved successful and we were finally ready to leave. We would not have left earlier even without the problems as the weather in the first part of April was characterised by strong winds.
We were almost ready for leaving but Graham needed to see a doctor as he had an ear infection that was not getting better. On the Monday Graham saw a doctor and was prescribed a spray.
We were ready to leave and on the 12th we set off on the morning tide for Harwich. We had a good wind and made fast progress to Harwich. We decided to stop at Halfpenny Pier for the night. This has a reputation of being a bit bouncy but the weather was kind and we had a good night’s sleep.
We set off about 9:30 for IJmuiden, once outside Harwich harbour we set the sails and waited for a gap in the ships leaving Harwich to cross to the channel to get to the north side. For once the wind was perfect and we were sailing very comfortably at about 6 to 7 knots. There was quite a bit of shipping and a number of large wind farms as we crossed the North Sea. By early evening the winds lightened and our speed dropped to around 5 knots but still comfortable and in the right direction.
About 9pm just after sunset the winds died completely and we had to motor the rest of the way.
We arrived in IJmuiden about 9:30, the 125 mile trip had taken about 24 hours. As we prepared to enter the marina we were joined by a large police launch. One officer boarded us from a RIB to check our papers. They then proceeded to follow us into the marina and directed us to go alongside a free pontoon. Customs then came aboard and lifted a few hatches and inspected our fridge. We thought we might need to dispose of our milk and cheese as we have heard that since Brexit EU customs have been confiscating meat dairy and milk products but they did not seem to be concerned with them.
Satisfied that we were not carrying any contraband they went on their way. We found out where we needed to moor, moved the boat and then started to tidy the boat up and rest.
We decided to stay a week, IJmuiden is a port city and suffered terribly in the war. It is a modern clean and functional city but is somewhat lacking in old historic buildings. only a few survived the war. It does look like a pleasant place to live, the library looked like a bookshop with some stylish seating.
There was a good bus link from the marina so we decided to visit Amsterdam. Amsterdam was busy, probably something to do with Easter holidays, we enjoyed walking around the canals and managed not to get knocked over by one of the many bikes hurtling around the city,
We planned to go to Keukenhof Monday but found out you needed to book. How can looking at tulips be so popular? We managed to get a booking for Friday so we will take the boat up to Amsterdam Thursday and travel from there.
We have used our bikes a lot over the last few days, cycling in the Netherlands is great, we cycled about 10 miles to Haarlem, we were on cycle paths all the way and cars have to yield when crossing these.
Haarlem is an attractive city the canal passing here is on the standing mast route. (The route yachts with masts can take as all the bridges open). We chatted to the crew of a British yacht here, they were delayed as one of the bridges was not working.
We also discovered Haarlem was the home of Corrie Ten Boom. She hid many Jews in the 2nd world war and was sent to Ravensburg concentration camp, the rest of her family died but she survived. Unfortunately, the museum was closed so we had to do a virtual tour, if you are interested you can find the virtual tour on the museum’s website click here (allow about an hour to view it.)
After Amsterdam, we plan to go on to the Markermeer, an inland sea. We look forward to exploring new places