To Amsterdam

by Adrian on November 17, 2010

We have just taken off from Amsterdam airport heading home to Brighton.

We left the UK 6am Sunday morning 4 days ago on a rather special delivery trip – delivering our boat Vagari to Holland with its new owner. With only 9 hours winter daylight per day and an unknown crew of the new owner and one friend we planned short hops to Dover, across the channel to Dunkirk and then Belgium and Holland.

A few days ago last week there were 60 knot storms in the Channel and North Sea, so we were quite fortunate that our weather window provided us with very slight seas and and calmer winds. Unfortunately the winds were too light so we ended up motoring almost all the way!

We arrived in Dover on Sunday evening cold and wet after almost continuous rain. Dover is a dump, and we spent a good hour walking around looking for a half decent evening meal. Amazingly, our last option before dejectedly returning to the boat turned up trumps, as we found a fantastic sailor’s bistro (Cullins) yards from the marina and enjoyed friendly service and a hearty warming meal.

After a good night’s sleep we were up again before dawn to set out across the busiest shipping lane in the world to France. It was busy, but not stupidly so. Fortunately the weather had cleared up and despite it being bitterly cold it was now dry and comfortable. Strangest of all was being clearly able to see France in the distance all the way.

Since the weather was forecast to be calm for the next couple of days we decided to continue motoring up to Amsterdam non-stop overnight. We had plenty of food on board so we settled into cold night watches and babysitting the boat whilst she chugged relentlessly north and eastwards towards our destination.

The night passed quickly as successive watches passed by Calais, Dunkirk, Ostend, Zeebrugge and Rotterdam – all busy with commercial shipping that we dodged and weaved between in an interesting night sail.

Changing of the flag ceremony:

We arrived in Ijmuiden at around 0700 on Tuesday and followed the huge canals two hours inland towards Amsterdam, where we moored up in a Marina close to the city centre.

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