27 June 2013

To Gaastmeer

Zonder Zorg was built in Gaastmeer in 1908 and we wanted to visit her birthplace. However, with the  continuing heavy rain and howling winds, we decided to stay a third night in Workum, hoping for better weather. 

On Saturday morning we pedalled into the centre of the old town to do some browsing and shopping and simply admiring the wonderfully maintained old buildings.

Onboard I monitored the evolving weather with the buienradar.nl site, which showed the passing of the main nimbus system we had been under for days. After 1400 there were just a few smaller patches of rain heading our way, so at 1500 we flashed-up the engine and headed out.

We wore around in the narrow canal and headed southeastward along the Lange Fliet toward the Friesian Lakes. Light rain alternated with heavy drizzle as we motored along the canal and there was a strong crosswind from the south.

Taking advantage of the winds were many sailboats, in a wonderful mix of new and old, large and small. This century-old classically maintained wooden botter was among them.

As we reached the lakes the winds were building through Force 6, so we decided to seek shelter. At 1552 we secured to a wilderness wharf on the lee side of an island on the western edge of Grote Gaastmeer. This mooring place is part of the De Marrekrite system, for which we have a burgee. The wind continued unabated and the rains came in waves through the remainder of the day.

Overnight, the rain eased, but the winds remained strong. In the early afternoon on Sunday as we were planning our onward trip across the lake to Gaastmeer, we were told by a man from the boat moored astern of us that the winds were predicted at Force 7 late in the day. We decided to seek better shelter in Heeg, so at 1429 we slipped from the wharf and crossed the Gaastmeer in building winds, using the lowered leeboard to stabilize Zonder Zorg in the short, steep breaking chop.

Across Gaastmeer, we entered the short Yntemasleat, which lead us to De Fleussen  and shortly into Heegermeer. There were many sailboats out on the meeren scurrying for home from a Sunday sail with deeply reefed sails.

As we approached the entrance to Heegerwâl, we had to crab a full 30º to maintain our track in the crosswind. At 1530 we found lee in the basin and shortly we secured to a solid wharf with a thick stand of old trees breaking most of the wind. The winds increased overnight, but we were snugly comfortable with a good wifi signal from the office across the way. 

The rains had stopped by the time we arose on Monday. After a large breakfast of local sausage, scrambled eggs on toast with tomato slices and fresh basil washed down with steaming cups of espresso, we headed out.  

We pedalled into strong headwinds the five kilometres to the village of Gaastmeer. Thankfully, our bicycles are seven and eight speed, so the pedalling was eased, though rather slow.

Near the centre of the village Edi spotted a sign indicating the Wildschut werf was down a small side street. It had moved a few dozen metres around the bend of the canal from where it had been when the Wildschut Brothers had built our skûtsje in 1908.

We pedalled into the yard and introduced ourselves to a worker there. He told us that the owner was out, but should be returning shortly. As he spoke, the owner drove in. He was a bit rushed, but we interrupted him for a short while, telling him that we owned the skûtsje that his company had built in 1908 as De Nieuwe Zorg. He confirmed that he was a descendant of the Wildschut family, but in the rush we didn't even get his name, though we did remember to give him our boat’s calling card along with a few questions, which he promised to answer by email.

In the single slipway was a skûtske casco from the same era as ours, though built by a different yard. It had been completely stripped-out, primed and was waiting for someone to buy it and have it fitted-out to their own specifications.  

We told him we were looking to fill-in some missing pieces in the Wildschut family history and that of the company, which is now called Jachtwerf Wildschut. We asked him to look at Zonder Zorg’s website and to email us any additional Wildschut details he might have.

Our pedal back to Heeg was downwind and very much easier. When we arrived back in the basin, two skûtsjes were moored just ahead of us on the wharf. Each was overflowing with teenagers on deck, excitedly preparing for a sailing adventure on the meeren.

With the wind still a bit high, we opted to stay another night in Heeg, relaxing and enjoying the good wifi signal.

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