three hulls, two people, one trip around the world…

Transferring The Ship: Amsterdam-Den_Helder-Wilhelmshaven

We had two days in Amsterdam, but not enough time for sightseeing. There is always something to keep you busy on the boat and we had to stock up. A Plus-Grocery store was only 1.3 km away, a good distance to walk. Nicer than sightseeing was that Mathias Dutch colleagues visited on both days. In the Netherlands everyone seems to be quickly in Amsterdam from everywhere 😉 Very close to the marina is a ferry dock, from which a ferry goes directly to the main station, so our mooring was easy to reach. The ferry is free of charge and is used by pedestrians and cyclists alike. At the jetty, a wide platform folds down and the cyclists simply ride directly onto the ferry without dismounting. How nice would it be if something like this existed in Hamburg.

Do not open the windows of the basement

On Sunday we went on, now only the two of us. Immediately the first hurdle proved to be difficult. We had to go through the harbour lock back to the North Sea. The mooring in the lock chamber didn’t work out so well. It is not easy to balance our heavy lines with the boat hook. To top it all, I hadn’t extended the boat, so I didn’t succeed to fasten the boat on the starboard side. The wind pushed us to the other side of the lock. That’s not bad in itself, but we didn’t have a fender hanging across the rearmost corner of the outer hull. The way once around the boat is long, so I came too late with the extra fender and we rubbed along the quay wall. There is now a nasty scratch. Fortunately Mathias is always very relaxed with scratches, that are relatively easy to repair. The rest of the lock process went smoothly.

We continued through the surf and into a high swell and once again were heading against the wind. A rockety ride, which set everything in motion below deck, which usually is sufficiently secured by a non-slip base. With my talent I also managed to bang my forearm against the door frame. This will teach me to wear my forearm protectors in future (which I still have left over from karate training), 

We reached Den Helder when it was still light. Unfortunately it turned out that the marina entrance had wave protection on either side and the remaining opening looked clearly too small for us (later we found out that it is 10 m wide, we are 9 m wide). Behind the entrance were two big ships moored, which left little room for manouvering. We therefore went to the next harbour basin and squeezed the boat between two poles. I tried again to handle the lines with the boat hook and the boat hook broke off! This time help came from land. When we had just made ourselves comfortable, a harbour master came and told us that the quay belonged to the military area and we had to park elsewhere. By now I am almost used to handling the radio and the harbour traffic control directed us to the waiting area of a bridge. The bridge would not open again until next morning, so we could spend the night there well protected.

Meanwhile it was midnight and we were supposed to leave at 6 o’clock, which meant an early start.

First we went under motor through a narrow strip between two small islands, then the rough weather set in, again 18 kn wind, 2-3 m wave hight and heading against the wind. Not my weather, not my course, not my leaning position (not even with the trimaran). I went to bed.

Fortunately, the windspeed soon decreased and the wind angle was better. The boat calmed down and the trip became more pleasant. A strong gust and a freighter, which happily drove into our way, were the tricky moments of the day, otherwise it was quiet. Only, Wilhelmshaven was still a way to go. We didn’t want to arrive in the middle of the night, so we tied 2 reefs into the sail for the night and set the jib. With such precautions you only have to pay attention to the other ships and buoys. Shortly before the jade exit channel we were preparing for a jibe when we saw a fast moving ship on the AIS. Almost at the same time we were radioed by the Weser-Jade-Traffic. The departing ship was a 400 m long container giant, to whom you really don’t want to get too close to. 

Approach to Wilhelmshaven in daylight. Our third lock process. The lock chamber is huge and there are floating jetties for mooring for sport boats. This time everything went well. (Maybe because Mathias jumped onto the jetty and I followed his instructions at the steering wheel). Obviously driving through locks still has room for improvement, but we have only done it three times yet.

After the lock came two bridges, which were opened specially for us. At the second, smaller one onlookers took videos of the boat. You certainly won’t see such a big and wide trimaran in the narrow canal everyday.

We will stay in Wilhelmshaven for a while to have some additional work done to the boat.

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