Month: August 2018 - page 2

Heading to Gravesend

5th Augusts 2018 – After a good night sleep, we started the engine and headed for Gravesend. At Southend, we dropped anchor, had a swim and picked a crew member up from the pier. It was an old friend, who I helped two years go bringing over her barge to London.

Just before arriving in Gravesend, we dropped anchor, had a second swim and went of to the mooring It took us some time to properly get the boat in position. We had no space left and had to pull her in by hand. She is now moored in a nice small dock with a lightvessel and a Thames Sailing Barge. The old tug Kent is on the other side of the pontoon.



Sailing on the Swale with the Johanna

4rd August 2018 – We got up around 7 o’clock. I had a brief chat with the tenants of my neighbour before boarding the sailing barge Johanna. The Johanna is a Stevenaak built in 1901. She arrived a few days earlier in Swale, also coming straight from Holland.

My idea of boarding was to take some pictures, not to be turning the winches or pulling ropes. I had to unpack sails, mount them and clean the decks. I have nearly no sailing experience, neither did the owner of the barge I did the crossing with . We were standing on the front deck and managed to get the sails right, just after grounding. So we could lower them again and wait for several hours until it was high tide.

Once the ship was floating again, we started the engine and went back alongside Pro et Contra where we stayed for a while, having a drink and changing clothes.

There was a party in the evening on land, near an old shipyard. They also gave the prices for the winners of the contest and surprisingly enough, we won a price!

It is hard to describe the ambiance and the ambiance there was hanging at that yard. I met a few people of the DBA, had a nice chat and ended up around 9 in a small dinghy getting to the sailing barge we grounded earlier that day. Alongside was an old Dutch Coaster. We were introduced to the owner and had a guided tour aboard. Very impressive! There was a kind of house warming on the Johanna and later that evening, when drinks were gone, we went back to the coaster for some more partying.

The hardest point came when they had to drive us back to our own ship. Totally dark, only a few lights running. We managed to find her and went to bed!


Leaving Bruges

3rd August 2018 – After many preparations, we set of this morning at 11 o’clock, direction Nieuwpoort. About ten minutes later, we had to go to the side. The Scheepsdale bridge only opens at 12 o’clock. I jumped of board and helped my neighbour who was following us with the Frantsis. I put two ropes around the bollards so he could wait, just like us…

Once we passed Scheepsdale, the journey went fluently. At some point the Frantsis returned after cooling issues with the gearbox. We hoped he could join till Nieuwpoort, but the risk of damaging the engine was to big.

After we passed the lock in Plassendale, my old ship ‘Op Hoop van Zegen’ followed us until he hit the side of the Canal when his rudder got stuck. The small canal from Plassendale to Nieuwpoort is small and steering is a bit harder then on the other canals. Bridges were often built where the canal made a turning.

In Nieuwpoort, we left the lock and went straight to sea. We left at05:07 and arrived in Swale around 03:30 the next morning.

It was dark, only the light of the moon and some mast lights. It was great to see the cntours and the shadows of the Thames Sailing barges. They were all asleep. We moored alongside the VIOD II, who was anchored like all the other ships.


Trial for the Frantsis

2nd August 2018 – A lot of work needs to be done to get the Pro et Contra running, but my neighbour wanted to make a small trial with the Frantsis. So we all joined, including neighbours from another ship. There were a few minor issues but the trials were a succes.

That night, I had to pick up the skipper for the crossing. We first drove to Tordino to get a mobile generator, life jackets and some more equipment.