Combine Friends with Food and you have the recipe for memorable times.

27th May - 18th June

Where to begin. The Netherlands coastline according to what facts I could find is 451 km in length ranking them 115 in the world compared to Australia who happens to be ranked 6th with 25,760km. So how has such a small area of coastline - considering if you were to ignore the islands and sail straight as the crow flies it is all of around 250nm - kept us for a record time of just over five weeks to date. It definitely has nothing to do with the sailing. Its purely about the people. 

150603 2 Return to Delft Town Hall150528 12 Delft A beer at Theuns uni pub Andrew150603 7c Return to Delft view from Church Tower Nieuwe Kerk of Ould Church150604 6 Ride Day Alblasserdam Kinderdijk Newport - Kinderdijk150604 17 Ride Day Alblasserdam Kinderdijk Newport - Kinderdijk150605 2 Guests for Dinner Theun and Andrew150607 8 Canal Trip Day 2 Oud Zuilen Muiden Ijsselmeer Aalsmeer Nyenrode Business University150607 12 Canal Trip Day 2 Oud Zuilen Muiden Ijsselmeer Aalsmeer Nyenrode Perfect Coffee stop150609 4 Sailing Veerhaven Rotterdam to Scheveningen Andrew and Marcel

As reported last update we began our Netherlands experience by checking out the region of Zierikzee with Marcel and Elly followed by playing tourist in Rotterdam with Berend and Kirsten from Amsterdam.

Our next Dutch experience was to catch up with Theun - our gun trimmer from the Gold Cup 2013 - who just happened to have opened a new office in Rotterdam the week we arrived.  Unbelievably the view from his new office was the stern of Katherine. We intended to catch up for a coffee but instead ended up driving to Delft for lunch and getting the best tourist guide one could get for a town - Delft through the eyes of a ex-university student. We laughed our way around Delft seeing this town not from just the historical factors -  but from the antics of a university student who got up to a lot of mischief in his day.

The last weekend of May saw us back in the company of Berend and Kirsten for a very chilly but entertaining tour of Amsterdam by sloop. In some ways it was a blessing the sun was not shining as there was enough boat chaos in the canals without the extra volume of boats that will no doubt appear in the peak of summer. 

The following Tuesday we were back on local transport for a short train ride back to Delft. Delft is not only a University city but home to Delftware. Delft Blue is a traditional blue painted porcelain that has been produced in the factories of Delft since the 17th century. At its peak of popularity there were 33 factories in Delft of which only one remains today. To get the best view of Delft we climbed the tower of the Nieue Kirk - new being relative as the tower was actually built between 1396 and 1496. We also visited the Oulde Kirk founded in 1246  where worn tombstones in the floor dated back to the 1500’s, and admired its tower which had a rather disconcerting lean to it. 

The next big day out was a ride day to Kinderdijk, a group of 19 windmills built around 1740 to drain the low lying land enclosed by the dykes or high embankments. This group of mills is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. 

Long story short we set out from Veerhaven with our mountain bikes onboard a Ferry Bus to Albasserdam  on the 4th of June. We rode past Kinderdijk and headed for lunch at Nieuwpoort before riding back along the canals to the ferry stop for our return trip to Veerhaven. We saw more windmills, appreciated more waterways and smelt a lot of cow fields whilst achieving a personal record of around 45kms on our bikes.  To top the day off we finished the night with a meal of shrimps on toasted sourdough bread at home onboard Katherine surrounded by the old boats of the harbour  - sometimes the best restaurant is no further than your kitchen if you have the local ingredients.

To finish off another great week we welcomed Hanneke Theun and Peter onboard after they had fought their way through Friday peak hour traffic to have an Aussie bbq complete with pavlova for dessert.

Saturday no time to delay we had to leave Katherine early to catch the train for Gouda (Houda as we now know). Here after a little bit of google maps assistance and scrambling through scrub we joined Berend and Kirsten onboard their sloop Jost Van Dyke for a grand tour of the canals. Over two days we covered some 100nm of canals from Gouda, through Utrecht overnighting in Oud Zuiellen and back to Alsmeer via the Isjameer. Though there was little time for stopping we passed through some very pretty villages, saw some amazing properties, passed through many locks and were entertained by the antics of impatient drivers who tried unsuccessfully to run red lights on opening bridges. The highlight of the weekend was definitely our accommodation in Oud Zuiellen  at the beautiful B&B Swanenvecht and dinner at the neighbouring restaurant Belle. 

On Monday 9th June it was finally time to move on from Veerhaven to the next port Scheveningen. 23 nights in one harbour we think must be a record for our cruising time. Marcel decided to join us for 20 miles of motoring and the short sail - around 12nm once outside of the River Masse - unfortunately wind and tide were not agreeable and the short sail was a reminder of what beating to windward feels like. Cold and uncomfortable even on Katherine, but then again it may have felt that way because we had become so comfortable in harbour. As Andrew would say "all the more reason to keep sailing!" For Marcel it was just a great day in “The Office”.

The strategy for heading to Scheveningen Harbour was to try and see if we could secure a berth in the harbour for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race Festival in Den Haag from the 18th - 19th June. Previous enquiries had indicated definitely no space. But as luck and local help would have it the Harbourmaster found us a place and plans were immediately underway for a gathering of the Gold Cup Crew of 2013 onboard Katherine for the Volvo Festival.

But thats definitely the next update. 

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© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain