When the mix is right, Wind, Water, a seaworthy ship and good companions, not much can go wrong.
As the lucky winner of a monthly raffle organized by Heech by de Mar we won a charter tour on a flat-bottomed boat and it didn’t take long to find the right crew.
A really good Crew.
Theo Coox comes from Belgium, but has lived in Lübeck since 1974. Before he was pensioned of he worked as a Dental Technician and at sixty is still young and fit. Since his time in the Belgium Navy he is an ardent Sailor. At weekends, weather permitting, he sails his seven meter Atlas on the Ratzeburger see, a wonderful ten mile long lake near Lübeck. In the winter he and a friend transport the bigger yacht’s here and there even over the Atlantic. Skipper Theo Coox and Co-skipper and friend Patrick Rhodes (Pat) from England, (who has also lived in Lübeck for Twenty-seven years) and two German Crew members from Lübeck Wolf Marke and Engelbert Rüpp.
Theo Coox has written this report for “Wassersport” Netherland “ Autumn Sailing Trip”.
Four Men in a Boat
Leaving Lübeck on Monday Morning
Wolf Marke was on the early train to Sneek while the rest of the crew met at nine o’clock and travelled in Engelbert’s car to Heeg where the beautiful Lemsteraak 9.50mtr. “Josephine” was waiting for us. It was love at first sight and we couldn’t wait to sail this lovely Flatt-bottomed boat. After we had stowed our gear and sorted out who would sleep where Wolf and Engelbert drove to Sneek to buy our provisions for the next few days, Pat and myself took a closer look at the ship and made ourselves familiar with the Electric and Navigation equipment. After Wolf and Engelbert came back with the provisions and we had stowed everything away, it was time for a Tot to celebrate, Pat just happened to have a bottle of Irish whiskey handy
(It should have been Rum I suppose) so we wetted our lips and said a welcoming Hello to “Josephine”. We spent the evening in Heeg with friends and good food; we talked about which route to take and organised the different tasks and duties for each person. From experience we made it an early night as it makes sense to start early in the morning without any stress or strain and a clear head, also the days were getting shorter so we wanted to get the best out of the daylight.
First a good English breakfast Bacon and eggs, we set of about Ten O’clock with the very powerful motor our aim was the Heegemeer. Here we wanted to test the ship and see how she sailed. A flat bottom boat is a bit different from the yachts we used to sail. I must say we were pleasantly surprised how well the ship sailed, and it didn’t take us long before we had everything under control. The lee-boards took a bit of practise but that’s the whole fun of trying something new. It was a beautiful Autumn day, sunshine, wind , and wonderful rural countryside, what more could a sailor wish for. Next came the Bridge and Lock Manoeuvre and Radio contact with the harbour Master who then showed us were to tie up.
The evening meal was a simple affair of Pea soup and German sausages, after which we made a small trip ashore, found a very nice little Pub and after a couple of beers back to the boat for a nightcap, what a great day.
The weather forecast for the next day or two was pretty stable, after that low pressure was moving in from the west. We decided to make the most of the good weather and explore the IJsselmeer. With a North West wind of three to four Beaufort it was the ideal sailing weather.
Close-hauled we set a course for Medemblik our next destination. We reached Medemblik after a couple of tacks before the harbour at about 1700 hrs. After paying the harbourmaster and doing a bit of shopping it was back to the boat for an evening meal of Gammon steaks, potatoes, our necessary veges and a nice bottle of wine (sailing is such Fun). After a walk around the town and a couple of beers it was back to the boat again for a nightcap, a couple of songs from Pat and his Guitar and then into our bunks for a good nights Kip.
The Low pressure arrived a lot earlier than expected, so we decided (notice the WE, very democratic on our boat) to give Hoorn a miss, which was a real shame as we had heard and read lot about it (then next year) and head for Lemmer. The navigation was once again spot on and we arrived without a Tack or a Gybe at the locks in Lemmer at 1600 hrs.
No problems with the Locks, motored through without even stopping, we are getting good at this kind of sailing. We looked for a mooring for the night, a little outside of the town were it’s not so loud. With a “Sundowner” in the cockpit and a few songs from Pat, Engelbert started on the cooking, homemade Frikadellen (very much like an inch thick Hamburger, without the bread roll) It didn’t take long before the people from the other boats gathered to listen to the music and after chatting to a few, we were told of a very nice Pub in town were the sailing people gather in the evening. It was quiet a long walk, but it was well worth it we had a very good evening and the long walk back helped to clear our heads, and we looked forward to getting back to our lovely “Josephine”.
This morning proved that our decision to leave the IJsselmeer was the right one, the wind was getting up and the weather was turning for the worst. We set of in the direction of Sloten and as we reached the Slotermeer we set the sails again for the last time, you can say what you like there is something really exiting about sailing these wonderful ships. As we reached Sloten we were pleasantly surprised that the sun had came out again, and we were able to have a pleasant walk around this lovely old town. We found an old historical Restaurant where we had a good lunch that set us up for the rest of the day. In the afternoon we set sail again in the direction of Woudsend, in the meantime the rain had started and after just over an hour we reached the town and tied up in the Harbour. You could tell that it was getting near the end of the season as there was not a lot going on at all. Just a few yards from our moorings was a very nice Café-Restaurant called “Tsjerkepleats” and after the first drink and the consent of the owner, Pat put his Talent to the test again. It was a very good evening with good music and friendly people who all joined in for a good old fashioned sing along, naturally that evening was a bit longer than the usual.
As can be expected we were a little late with the breakfast but that didn’t matter too much as it was just a few miles to Heeg. The weather had now taken a turn for the worst, with wind and heavy rain, so we were glad when we arrived at midday at Josephine’s home town Heeg.
In the evening we met up with our friends and spent a pleasant evening recounting all our adventures.
Today we visited a city nearby called “Sneek”, we made a citytour and the High-Light of the day was ofcourse visiting the “Scheepvaartmuseum”. Sure worthwile to visit.
After a good breakfast we cleaned and polished the ship (leave it as you would like to find it) and stowed away the sails and equipment, and then handed over the ship back to the firm “Heech by de Mar”.
To sum up.
It was an exceptional sailing holiday although we didn’t actually sail all that much, it was a wonderful experience for all the crew. We have already decided to come again next year, all being well. It was not just sailing the beautiful “Josephine” but also the scenery and the friendly and helpful People of the Netherlands that made it memorable.
Theo Coox and Crew, Lübeck.