Dover to Sovereign Harbour

A relatively early start and it looks like there may be a good days sailing in prospect.

Take bunkers in Dover at a price of £0.55p per litre. The cheapest I have ever got in the UK.

Dover Marina are very efficient in opening the gate for me and I settle up after a longish stay. Good tariff and helpful staff. I like Dover marina.

Around Dungeness the wind veers and it is clear it will be a very long time to Sovereign harbour unless the motor is deployed. This is duly done and a reasonably fast if uncomfortable passage ensues. I dislike reverting to the motor if sailing conditions deteriorate but motoring is preferable to extended passage times against a foul tide.

Sovereign harbour locking and subsequent berthing are achieved with minimal fuss in complete contrast to last time here. Nothing like a trip through Holland to hone ones locking skills.

Dunkirk to Dover

Another early start sees us leave at 08:30. The forecast is for SE winds F3-4 veering to SW F4-5 which should make for a good sail across to Dover.

We clear harbour at 09:13. The sails are hoisted and the engine is turned off. At first it is a good days sailing but it seems that the wind has veered SW fairly quickly and by 11:00 we are struggling to sail our required course.

We cross the traffic separation zone at right angles but there are not too many ships and none come close. At 15:00 Sandettie is bearing 068 x 4.1 miles. The wind has increased to SW F5-6 and we are making a lot of leeway. This is setting us to the east of Dover. Sail has been reduced to 3 reefs in the main, and 1/3 yankee.

At 16:00 it is clear we cannot sail to Dover so the yankee is furled and we begin to motorsail. At 17:00 the wind has increased to SW F7. The seas have become quite violent and steep.

At 17:50 as we pound towards the western entrance to Dover the harbour launch comes out to meets us and because conditions are so bad they offer to escort us through the busy eastern entrance (ferry entrance). We follow and enter Dover harbour safely.

Initially we moor at berth E70 in Granville dock,
Dover marina. However, when they find that I want to stay for around 10 days they suggest Wellington dock which has more restricted opening hours but is cheaper. We move round and are all fast in berth 92 at 19:20.

Daily Run: 41.5 miles Berth to Berth 10hrs 50min

Kiriwina is cleaned and secured ready for my departure tomorrow. I have a wedding to attend.

Breskens to Dunkirk

We need to crack on today and so make an early start at 08:00.

The wind is variable during the day. We have spells of sailing but most of the day is spent motor sailing. We make good progress and are off Zeebrugge by 11:00.

At 17:05 we arrive off Dunkirk (east) harbour. This is a busy port and we have to wait for commercial traffic to clear before we enter. We then proceed to the waiting berth at YCMN where we are allocated our berth for the night. At 18:10 we are all fast in berth E3.

I eat on board before going for a walk. There is a beautiful tall ship moored in one of the inner harbours. Thanks to for the details.

On 7 March 1901, the sail ship Gross Herzogin Elizabeth is launched at Bremerhaven as German navy school ship. After WWI  the instruction start again on board in 1921 until laid up in 1932. Seized in May 1945 by the Royal Navy, she is given to France as war damage compensation, renamed DUCHESSE ANNE and tug to Brest where she is abandonned until 1980. Classified as historic monument in 81 and restored, she stays now in Dunkirk. The ship is 92 m long overall, the steel hull is 78 m long, 11,90 m large, 5.45 m draught, the main mast is at 48 m above the deck; rigged as a full-rigged ship the ship has 2060 sq m on 25 sails.

Daily Run 51 miles. Berth to berth 10 hrs 5 min. Marina Cost €21.20.

A greenpeace ship sighted at the Schelde entrance. I cannot read the name but from the profile it looks like their newest ship "Arctic Sunrise".

Goes to Breskens

We leave W.V. de Werf at 10:00. Our entrance into the canal is delayed a little as we wait for a fleet of British motor cruisers on a rally to pass.

At 10:45 we clear Goeesche lock and the canal and proceed towards Breskens. It is a nice sunny day with little wind. We transit Zandreeksluis lock at 11:42 and make good progress under engine to Veere locks at the entrance to the canal leading to Vlissingen.

We enter the canal at 13:55 and after a few delays waiting for bridges along the way we exit the canal via Veersteiger lock at 17:00 and proceed to cross the Schelde.

We are all fast in berth R17,
Breskens Marina, at 18:00. Marina Cost €14.90

After a shower I enjoy another fine meal in the marina restaurant.

Daily Run 26.3 miles. Berth to Berth 6 hrs 15 min

Roompot to Goes

We leave Roompot at 11:45 with the intention of going to Breskens.

I decide to go via the inland waterways. The weather is fine and we pass under a huge road bridge on our way east.

As we approach Zandreeksluis lock at around 14:15 I cannot resist another visit to Goes and carry on to the waiting berth at Goessche lock.

The lock is cleared at 15:10. We proceed in convoy down the shallow speed restricted canal towards Goes, passing the Wilhelmina bridge at 15:28 and the Ring bridge at 16:00. We are moored in W.V. de Werf marina at 16:10.

Daily Run 16.5 miles. Berth to Berth 4hrs 25min Marina Cost €12.00 including electricity.

Approaching Wilhelmina Bridge

Berthed in W.V. de Werf next to the clubhouse.

Roompot 2 Days

Sunday 13th July

Weather forecast indicates NW force 7 in Thames. I decide I don't want to risk being out in a force 7 so decide to stay another day and have a sunday layin. Roompot is a large marina attached to a huge holiday park. Not a lot to visit so decide to revist the scene of yesterdays navigational malfunction.

The breakwater is constructed mainly of lumps of recycled concrete which are heavily covered in weed and relatively flat. Impact seems to have been more glancing than full on which probably explains the comparitively minor nature of the damage. Antifoul is clearly visible at the point of impact. Very lucky that impact was not a bit further south or damage could have been much worse.

In the event local weather was OK during the day but the wind picked up in the evening with force 7 again forecast tomorrow.

Monday 14th August

Wind increased during the night and really started to blow around breakfast time. Added a second spring and checked all lines and fenders. Remain on board to clean up and do some reading.

Heavy rain and winds gusting to 32 knots (F7) by 15:00 at which time I check the moorings again. Constant surging has caused two fenders to work clear allowing the hull to rub directly on the pontoon. Some scratching but hopefully not too deep as I spotted it fairly quickly. Both large flat fenders are deployed and three tube fenders secured diagonally which seems to solve the problem.

A lot of boats are having the same problem and several of us assit by pushing fenders back on unoccupied boats. One boat loses a genoa as it unfurls and is shredded in the wind. Kiriwina is listing noticably to port under the force of the wind. Very glad I am not out at sea today.

Our piece of breakwater now marked with red antifouling.

Wallet marking our contact point - taken at low water.

Breakwater almost submerged as tide rises

From another angle.

At high water. Poles marking entry at top of picture.

Looking away from the marina.
Shows entry marker pole and last channel buoy.

Aerial view of Roompot.

Kiriwina pushed hard onto the pontoon finger by the wind.
Note wind has pushed adjacent boat off her finger.

Kiriwina heeled over on her berth. Note chop on the water whipped up over a fetch
of only 300-400 yards.

It's raining out there!

Stellendam to Roompot

While it would be a pleasure to stay in Stellendam for another night there is not much here and I have a wedding to attend in England. We leave at 10:55 and clear Goeerese lock at 11:45.

What a contrast with yesterday. Almost flat calm with very little wind. We have an uneventful trip motoring all the way apart from an hour or two with the main up to no great effect.

We enter Roompotsluis staright away at 16:55 and are clear within 5 minutes. I radio ahead to Roompot Marina and am allocated berth 570. There is a buoyed approach channel towards the marina but the entrance is set off to starboard between two marked poles.

On a lovely sunny afternoon with perfect visibility I manage to miss this deviation after the buoyed channel and strike a submerged breakwater. Fortunately we are not going very fast glance off rather than plough straight into it. A serious navigational malfunction. There appeared to be clear water between the end of the channel and the marina berths. It was high tide. A quick check down below shows no sign of water ingress or damage.

I sheepishly continue and berth at 17:40. The propellor noise seems to have started again and is quite loud.

Once along side I don the mask and snorkel and dive down to inspect the hull. We have been fortunate. There is a small fist sized indent in the leading edge of the keel about a metre below the water line. The gelcoat is breached but the underlying hull has not been punctured. On inspecting the propellor I find a large piece of blue netting wrapped around it. This takes several dives to cut away with scissors.

Once back on board and warmed up I listen to the forecast. A NW gale is forecast with heavy rain. We are not going anywhere tomorrow.

Daily Run 31.9 miles. Berth to Berth 6 hours.

Netting removed from the propellor.

Scheveningen to Stellendam

An early start sees us leave the marina at 08:10. We are cleared out straight away and exit the harbour at 08:20. All being well we should reach Roompot today but if the weather turns we will make for Stellendam.

The wind is WNW F4. We proceed under sail with 2 reefs in the main, staysail and 50% yankee. At 10:30 with the wind now W F5 we alter course to cross the Maas entrance shipping lane and report to Maas Entrance. There is not much traffic and we are soon across and clear.

By 11:00 it becomes apparent that the weather is worsening with winds now gusting W F6. The yankee is furled and we continue under reefed (2) main and staysail. We are being set eastward noticeably eastwards. Stellendam it is.

At 12:30 we are following the approach channel towards Stellendam. It is blowing a good W F6 with very steep following seas and not a lot of water underneath us. Slightly hairy situation and I put a third reef in the main while paying very close attention to the buoyed channel.

At 13:30 as we pass Buoy P4 the seas have started to ease and the channel has become deeper. It is now raining heavily with wind W F6. We continue sailing right up to the harbour entrance and arrive off Goeerese lock at 13:50.

We clear the lock at 14:30 and are all fast in Stellendam Marina (Berth G19) at 15:00.

This is a lovely marina. Shame it seems in the middle of nowhere. The facilities are excellent and I rate it as the best marina I have ever visited. #1! Cost €14.40 with showers and electricity included.

Daily Run 27.8 miles. Engine 2.2 hours. Berth to Berth 6hrs 50min


The weather forecast is poor and I am pretty tired so I decide to sleep in and remain in Scheveningen for another day.

I go for a long circular walk to the Scheveningen waterfront via the Hague and have lunch at a seaside restaurant. Scheveningen is a very large seaside resort with modern amenities and seems very popular.

After a visit to the cinema I return to the boat late in the afternoon eat on board and have an early night.

Den Helder to Scheveningen

An early start with the intention to go as far as possible today. The target is Ijmuiden but if all is going well will try to reach Scheveningen.

At departure the wind appears to be SW F3-4 but by the time we clear Den Helder approaches and turn southwards it is WSW F3-4. We motorsail until 10:05 as the wind is veering towards WNW.

We are having a cracking sail but the Aries does not seem to be working properly and I am having to fiddle with it a lot. By 14:30 we are approaching Ijmuiden and making very good progress. The wind has increased to WNW 4-5 and with 2 reefs in the main, the yankee and the staysail we are reaching speeds in excess of 6 knots.

When deploying the Aries I did not seat the lower oar properly and it has hinged to the horizontal. This meant I had to steer from around 14:00. In future the Aries will be properly deployed before leaving port.

We continue south at a fast pace with the wind increasing to WNW 6. At 19:45 we are off Scheveningen harbour awaiting clearance inbound. This is a busy port and clearance must be obtained before entry or departure. By now the seas are quite large.

At 20:00 we obtain clearance and enter the harbour. As we approach Yachthaven Scheveningen we are met by a mooring officer in a rib who directs us too a rafted berth on the seeward side of the marina where we moor at 20:30. A fabulous day's sailing. Maximum speed was 6.9 knots with an average of 5.63 knots.

This is another very full marina. At €15.37 it is the most expensive Dutch marina we have visited so far. It is also one of the worst. The marina is being expanded but facilities for a large number of boats on the seaward side comprise a couple of porta-cabins reached via a building site. On the eastern side there is access to better facilities but these are too far away. Thank goodness for the holding tank.

I walk into town for a take-away.

Daily Run: 62.5 miles Passage Time: 12 hours

Den Helder

The weather forecast is not promising and with strong winds and heavy rain overnight I decide to wait a day before proceeding.

Today is the first aniversay of my taking delivery of "Kiriwina". She was 8 years 4 months old at delivery.

Log at Delivery: 1,634.30 Miles Log Today: 3041.10 Annual Miles: 1,406.80
Engine at Delivery: 510 hrs Engine Today: 752.90 Annual Hours: 242.90 hrs

I deploy the Brompton and cycle along the waterfront before having a wander around the town. It is not a particularly attractive town with a strong similarity to 60's new towns in Britain.

Later in the afternoon I discover that the cause of the domestic radio failure was a separated fuse-holder in the battery bay. The port settee cushions are now well and truly dry and the washed covers are put back on.

Harlingen to Den Helder

Another early start at 07:45 hoping to beat the outbound rush.

By 08:00 we are clear or Harlingen harbour bound for Den Helder. The engine is off and all sails are up with the wind at NW F4-5.

Our course follows a buoyed channel slightly west of south, then turns slightly north of west before turning southwest again. On the westerly leg we have to tack twice.

By 14:20 we are approaching Den Helder. All sails are taken in and we resume motoring. We enter Den Helder harbour and proceed to the KM Yacht Club where we moor at the waiting berth. Later we shift to our allocated berth, C3, at 15:00.

KM Yacht Club is the Dutch Navy yacht club. It is very well run and very welcoming with a busy and friendly restaurant run by an entertaining Dutch couple.

Daily Run 25.2 miles Passage Time 7hrs 15min
Mooring €12.72

Leeuwarden to Harlingen

A reasonably early start for a sunday morning at 09:10.

By 10:00 we are clear of the Leeuwarden bridges and wave goodbye to the dutch yacht we followed in yesterday. They have turned east while we head west for the coast.

At 12:00 we moor at the waiting berth for Kiesterzijl bridge. This is in the middle of nowhere next to a horse paddock. Resuming passage at 13:00 we proceed along a virtually straight canal. By 13:52 we exit the Tjerk Hiddes lock into Harlingen outer harbour.

Along with another british yacht we mill about waiting for the Yachthaven Noorderhavn lock to open and are all fast by 14:25 at berth 49.

The marina is very crowded and by evening is pretty well full with much rafting. Harlingen is a very pretty little town and is obviously very popular. Perhaps a tad too crowded for a longer stay.

Daily Run 14.3 miles Passage Time: 5hrs 15min
Mooring €15.00 Shower €1.00 Electricity €0.50

Waiting berth Kiesterzijl bridge.

Lauwerzijl to Leeuwarden

Overnight the wind has dropped and when we leave De Waterwolf at 08:55 it is N F2.

At 09:40 in the Rietdiep I deploy the Yankee to do some motorsailing. After about half an hour the Yankee is taken in as we are now heading very close to the wind.

At 11:25 we clear Willemlonesluis and are retracing our path from the northbound voyage. It is a lovely sunny day with quite a bit of traffic on the canal.

We moor at the Schriersbruge just outside Dokkum at 12:45 and after a short wait resume passage at 13:05.

13:35 Altenabrug Dokkum Clog Tax €4.30
14:33 2nd Burdaad Brug Clog Tax €2.00
15:45 Eebrug (1st Leuwarden Bridge) Clog Tax €6.00

At 16:10 we are all fast alongside the Noordersingel grassy verge in Leeuwarden town centre. Cost €5.75
Draft reading is 0m and actual soundings show 0.9-2.0 metres. The boat is afloat but only just in places and sometimes settles a little on the soft bottom. An additional consideration on mooring was to ensure that there was a gap in the trees to avoid mast fouling.

I eat on board and go to the cinema later in the evening.

Daily Run 30.1 miles Passage Time 7hrs 15 min

Approaching Dokkum on passage to Leeuwarden

Berth in Leeuwarden. Note extensive tree canopy.

Delfzijl to Lauwerzijl

At 07:30 I move to the bunker berth to fill up with diesel before moving on. The harbour master is late arriving so "Aurelia" sets off.

I take 104 litres at €1.10 per litre and finally clear the Neptunus Jachthavn bunker berth at 08:30. Visibility is not brilliant with a fairly dense fog. As we leave the berth the log does not appear to be working. We clear Kleinsluis locks and proceed along the canal towards Groningen. We are again using the
Staande Mastroute and this stage will cover the portion missed on the northbound passage.

At 09:20 we pass "Aurelia" who has again suffered a cooling failure. They wave us on and we continue towards Groningen. The passage is uneventful comprising mostly straight canal sections through farmland.

The Groningen bridges close for lunch so we edge into a waiting area near the Oosterhavn bridge where we moor at 12:15. A quick check shows the log impellor fouled by some marine growth and barnacles. These are cleaned off.

At 13:00 passage is resumed. Quite a large convoy has built up and I am pleased to see that it includes "Aurelia" who have got the engine running again. Progress through Groningen is quite slow as the convoy negotiates some 8 bridges. As the afternoon proceeds the wind becomes quite strong at NNW 15-30 knots. The log is now working.

At 15:24 we clear the Dorkwerdersluis. This was a crowded lock with the wind blowing across it. We moored alongside a large Dutch sailing barge and it was difficult to control "Kiriwina" using only the midship port cleat. My standard locking procedure is to position the boat as accurately as possible with a minium of 4 fenders deployed. Then I secure a midship mooring on as short a nip as possible. With the boat stable I add a stern or bow line if necessary.

We are towards the front of the lock and I lose sight of "Aurelia" during the afternoon. I later find out that she suffered a series of engine problems but got as far as the UK where she was laid up pending resumption of her voyage south in the summer.

The last lock of the day is the Lammersburen. This is a nasty because the wooden fendering is vertical with no horizontal elements. I have not seen one like this before and the problem only becomes apparent when one is comitted to the approach. Gulp! It's too late to stop the approach and sort out some horizontal fendering.

I wonder whether it would be possible to just sit the boat in the middle of the lock. Not likely with the prevailing wind. Fortunately salvation is at hand when the skipper of a larger Dutch yacht beckons me to moor alongside.

We are soon clear of the lock and moor at the adjacent Jachthaven de Waterwolf where we are all fast at 18:10. This is an interesting stop. It is basically a caravan park with some moorings and a restaurant.

During the day I noticed an occasional rattle from the prop area. I put this down to the stripper rotating.

Daily Run 33.2 miles Passage Time 8.5 hours. Marina Cost €6.40

Delfzijl 2 Days

Wednesday 2nd August.

An early start to get on with the drying out job arising from the sea preparation malfunction yesterday.

All port lockers and storage in the main cabin and galley are emptied. The port settee cushions are removed and stripped of their covers which are cold water washed on the "woolen" program in the excellent marina laundry. They are then dried on low heat.

Fortunately the water ingress looked worse than it turned out to be. The lockers are soon dried out and cleaned and there seems to be no material damage to the contents.

I pay a visit to "Aurelia" where Joseph is trying to sort out the cooling water problem on his engine. He has stripped it right down and there appears to be nothing obviously faulty.

Later I walk into town and get a haircut. Very pleased with the result.

Wednesday 2nd August.

I spend the morning repacking the port lockers and drying the settee cushion covers. I will leave the cushions for a few days to make sure they dry properly.

The domestic radio is not working. The fault is not apparent and I cannot get the radio working. I hope it is not an equipment failure the radio is only 6 months old.

By mid afternoon all else is pretty well ship shape and "Kiriwina" is ready to proceed tomorrow morning.

Joseph on "Aurelia", with help from some locals, has got his cooling system sorted out and is ready also. We agree to proceed in convoy with an early start.

Borkum to Delfzijl

The forecast is for SW 4-5 veering W 5-6. This does not sound pleasant so we decide to proceed to Delfzijl and then on into the Dutch waterways.

We depart at 11:30. The wind is around SW F4 and the sky is overcast. I decide to try to sail but have to tack back and forth in seas which are increasingly short and steep with a SW wind over a flooding tide.

"Aurelia" is motoring and starts to move away. By Ems buoy 29 at 12:40 I drop the sails and proceed under motor alone. We make good progress with the strong flood tide but at 13:30 "Aurelia" suffers engine failure and Joseph requests a tow. "Kiriwina" is only 4 tons compared with"Aurelia's" 7.5 but we deploy a towline without difficulty. Fortunately "Kiriwina" has a robust stern roller and despite the very choppy conditions she manages to make headway of about 0.5 knots. With the flood tide we are making about 2.5 knots over the ground.

A quick check shows that at this speed we will not reach Delfzijl before the tide turns and Joseph wisely places a call for assistance to the Dutch lifeboat service at 13:45. They respond quickly and at 14:15, just past Ems buoy 41, we cast off "Aurelia" who are soon taken in tow by the lifeboat.

We resume our passage and with wind up to SW 5-6 and heavy rain falling we enter the Delfzijl channel at 15:15. At 16:10 we are all fast to berth 64 at Neptunus Jachthavn, Delfzijl.

After berthing I discover that prior to leaving Burkana Hafen I had neglected to fully close the port centre saloon window. Despite it being open only very slightly the choppy seas and heavy rain have ensured that a lot of water has got in. Several port lockers are partially flooded and the upholstery is wet in places.

I go into town and pick up a chinese takeaway.

DaiIy Run 15.6 Miles

"Aurelia" about half an hour before engine failure.