11 June 2013

Back to Friesland

On Sunday morning the 2nd of June we rolled our ten-piece luggage train the block and a half from our Vancouver loft to the SkyTrain for the ride to the airport. Our flights took us without hitch via Montreal to Brussels and we breezed through Immigration, with Edi’s new Dutch passport allowing us to do the very short EU Passports line; the Other Passports line looked thirty or forty minutes long.

Our car was waiting for us at the Hertz Gold Counter and less than three hours later we were looking across the canal at Zonder Zorg. She looked wonderful in her new colours. Her leeboards had not yet been installed, and we could see work underway with hatches open fore and aft, one of the entry doors standing on the side deck and the carved artwork leaning against a shoreside hangar wall. 

After a quick visit aboard, we went up to the office to announce our arrival to Klaas and to get an update from him on the progress of the work and to find out where our stored bins were. We were shown to a third-floor loft in one of the hangars, where from our pile of belongings we selected two bins in which we could see tableware, stemware, cutlery and cooking utensils and vessels, and we lugged them down to the boat. We then hauled our ten pieces of luggage onboard from the car and drove into town shopping for ingredients for dinner and breakfast. 

Back onboard we unpacked and began organising. The rough sorting was easy with all the sliding doors removed from the fronts of the compartments. There are twenty-two compartments running all the way along the starboard side. With six each in the salon, galley and bedroom and four across from the heads, sorting by place of use was simple. The five drawers and two cupboards beneath the galley countertops easily swallowed everything we threw at them and still seemed almost empty. The bins beneath and behind the settee are huge and they remained nearly empty.

While Edi continued to sort, I prepared dinner. There were no cooking pots in the bins we had brought down from storage, and the hangar was locked for the night. With just a wok and a sauté pan to work with, we skipped the green beans amandine and had a simple meat and potatoes dinner. At 2200 we dragged ourselves to bed, thirty-one hours after we had sprung out of bed in Vancouver.

The next morning we saw Sfinx sitting in the slip around the corner from us. She was one of the three tjalks we had winnowed to our short list from the seventeen we looked at. Looking at her and at Zonder Zorg now, we are delighted with our decision. Looking at the tangle of rigging on Sfinx, we are thankful that we decided not to restore Zonder Zorg to sail; the rig would have been in the way most of the time for the style of boating we want to do now.

Through the following four days, as the yard workers tended to some of the remaining small details aboard, we hauled more things down from the storage loft, We also shopped around in Harlingen for an espresso machine, a bean grinder, a toaster and other comforts of home. On Wednesday and Thursday we made trips to Ikea in Groningen and each time came back with a stuffed car. Thursday afternoon we bought two lightly used bicycles in a shop in downtown Harlingen, and in the evening we tried them out with a grocery shopping trip into town. On Friday we returned the rental car to the Hertz office in Leeuwarden and took the train back to Harlingen.

On Saturday morning we headed out in Zonder Zorg for a shakedown cruise to try out her various systems. We found a very simple and practical way to secure the bicycles aboard, with a fender on the mast tabernacle and a bungee cord. The sluit cover makes a perfect wheel chock.

We headed up the Van Harinxmakanaal toward Leeuwarden under scattered clouds in gusty crosswinds. Among the many boats we saw were a few sailboats on beam or broad reaches along the canal.

Zonder Zorg’s new larger diameter propeller gives her helm a much more stable feel. Previously, the tiller needed to be tended full time, and with considerable effort. Now, the tiller can be let go for short periods and it is much easier to handle.

We motored through Faneker and admired the canal-side homes, many of them with mooring slips where driveways would be in less boat-oriented parts of the world.

We turned off the main canal into a narrow one heading southward. The sign at the canal entrance confirmed the notations on the chart that gave the maximum bridge clearance of 2.4 metres, but with Zonder Zorg's 1.95 metre air draft, we easily passed under.

We wound our way through pastures and tiny villages for a few kilometres, and then turned off the small canal into a tiny one and secured alongside in a tiny wilderness park.

Earlier in the week we had paid €12 for an annual membership in De Marrekrite, a recreation group that provides 3500 free mooring spots at 285 locations throughout Friesland. For the fee we received a burgee which allows us a year of free moorage and map to all the locations. We settled-in and relaxed. It may take us a while to become accustomed to this pace, but we are confident that with practice, we eventually will.


  1. Wow wat een leuk skutsje, ziet er nog zo authentiek uit, moet wel met zorg behandeld worden volgens mij.

  2. Wow wat What!!

    The above in English.
    Wow what a nice skutsje, looks so authentic looking, must be handled with care to me.