Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

20 th to 22 nd of July 2013 - Over to Zeeland

Crew : Helen, Andy and Nick
Destinations : Ipswich, Vlissingen and Zeeland.
Distance : 107 miles

Saturday 20 th and Sunday 21 st July 2013

The first day of a week's summer cruise, we're heading for The Netherlands with our neighbour Nick as crew.

We wanted to arrive on the continent at a reasonable time in the morning, rather than in the middle of the night, so we decided to set off in the early afternoon, locking out at 1325. The fresh north easterly allowed us to start sailing in the river. We needed a couple of tacks to get around the north end of Cork Sand then we were able to settle into our watches for the passage across the North Sea.

This was the first time that we'd crossed a major shipping lane in a boat with AIS, and it made the whole exercise much less stressful than it can be.

The wind stayed fair and we sailed all through the night, with Helen finally having to start the engine off Zeebrugge to help with traffic avoidance in the strong tide.

We made our way into the Westerschelde and locked into the Dutch canals at Vlissingen, rafting up on a large wooden yacht on the outside berth at VVW marina by 0930 UK time. Nick was only with us for the weekend so he left us to find his way home while we had a relaxing day recovering from the passage.

Monday 22nd July 2013

This morning we were woken by the sound of a powerful engine manoeuvering very close to our boat. We went up on deck to see that it was a Dutch customs vessel about to deposit a couple of customs officers on our aft deck.

The customs officers wanted to see our paperwork. They were particularly keen on our VAT receipt and it took some time to convince them that it really was for our boat, then they moved on to the registration document and we had to empty the lazarette so that they could match our official number with the one on the form. After asking what colour our diesel was (red of course) they finally left. It may have been my imagination but I through they looked a little disappointed that they'd not caught us out.

We spent the rest of the day cycling around Zeeland on our Bromptons in the sunshine.

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