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Old 2nd April 2024, 20:53   #91
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Addition to Sirion thread!

I have just returned from my first BIG trip with Sirion. With first mate Mrs D out on an event of herself in the UK, I had the whole of the easter weekend to myself.

I had decided to go and visit Sail Kampen.

We have been to Kampen, a nice old town on the gorgeous river IJssel. From Wikipedia:

Kampen has one of the best preserved old town centres of the Netherlands, including remains of the ancient city wall (of which three gates are still standing) and numerous churches. Also notable are the three bridges over the IJssel which connect Kampen with IJsselmuiden and Kampereiland, the agricultural area between the branches which form the IJssel delta, and a windmill (d' Olde Zwarver – the Old Vagabond). Since November 2018, the town and some communes have been on a river island. Between the 14th and 16th centuries, it was one of the biggest towns in the Northern Netherlands (modern-day European Netherlands). The town is about 90 kilometres northeast of Amsterdam.,_Overijssel

This Sail Kampen is an annual event. It brings a lot of old sailing ships and all kinds of other vessel to Kampen. The inner city is closed off for the weekend, with various activities in and around the water. Sounded good to me.

My eldest Sister Hilde lives in Zutpen, again on the IJssel. More about Zutphen later. I was going to pick her up on the way.

This would be a round trip of approximately 6 days, 420 km, 5 major waterways, 3 major locks and one local lock !! So I spend a lot of time planning this. The good news, other than on the first day on the Merwede canal, I did not have to request for bridges to open. You will see, the bridges across all major rivers in the Netherlands are very different from the many many bridges we encountered when we picked up Sirion a few weeks ago.

So I spend a lot of time, behind the computer and my iPad, looking at the route and everything I would encounter. Checking opening times, VHF channels, phone numbers and so on. I try to make a pretty detailed plan so that I can track my progress against it. So I will note the mileage from my charts and apps and when sailing the route I will note the times we are passing the various milestones.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-kampen-tripplan.jpeg

It would not have been a big thing, if for whatever reason I could not make Kampen. But the better prepared, the more chance of success. When sailing on a motor vessel, a couple of things can throw off your plan completely. Transient times in locks and bridges (if they need opening) are difficult to estimate. On this trip, the biggest unknown was the current in the various rivers. More about this later.

We also had to provision the boat for six days. I discussed this with Hilde as well. We decided to only provision for breakfast and lunch. All diners we would have ashore.

At the end of this trip report, I will also show some statistics about how it all went, compared to the plan. How much fuel we used, the cost of the marinas and so on.

I left home on Wednesday morning around 05.45. it's only a 10-minute drive. I put away all provisions, did my usual pre-cast-off and start checks, started the engine, fired up all the electronics, and loaded the route onto my iPad. Ready to cast off.

Today we would leave our marine in Arkel, sail up the Merwede Canal, pass through the locks at Vianen and turn starboard onto the river Lek. We would continue through the lek, crossing the very busy Amsterdam Rijn Canal and continue east on the river Nederrijn, all the way to Arnhem.

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This trip would be about 86 km. I would be running into the current most of the way, both the River Lek and the River Nederrijn have a lot of water coming from Germany!!

I won't show anything about the Merwedekanaal. I covered that on our initial trip, this was just going in a different direction. I had to wait for almost 25 minutes for the railroad bridge to open. Need to time that better next time. The lock at Vianen went very smoothly.

Once onto the river Lek we encountered a strong current about 4-5 km/h.

Very quickly we came to the first lock on this trip. It is a combined dam/lock at Hagestein. This dam has so-called visor gates. They are called visor gates because they are shaped like a visor. They can completely shut off the river or raise the visor bit by bit and let more and more water through.

We are passing the dam with the visor gates on our starboard site. Lots of currents and eddies in the water. I needed full power and manual steering to stay in the approach channel towards the lock.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-kampentrip2.jpg

I had already established VHF contact with the lock control and they directed me to enter the lock right away and tie it down behind the barge. No matter what, you try not to tie down directly behind the barge. If anything tie down on the other side other lock! You don't want to be caught in his prop wash!

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You can get a pretty good impression of how much we will be raised in this lock. Several meters by the look of it!!

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Whenever I near a lock I put out all the fenders on both sides of the boat. I manoeuvre alongside the lock wall and tie up, initially just with one line in the middle of Sirion. I can do that without leaving the steering stand! Never tie down the rope, always keep it loosely attached. Notice my special hawser/line cutting knife at the ready, just in case!! Accidents happen in locks easily and frequently. Lines get tangled, people get caught in them etc.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-kampentrip5.jpg

When I expect a lot of current and eddies in the lock I will add bow and stern lines too.

Continuing on the IJssel. Gorgeous and peaceful. But make no mistake, this is a very busy river, lots of currents, lots of ferries!!

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I passed this loverly little tug moored at the marina in Culemborg. We will see many more vintage tugs!

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As I mentioned, many ferries (pontjes). A lot of these ferries are so-called yaw or swing ferries. So they are tied with a large thick wire that runs across multiple pontoons to the middle of the river. The ferry skipper can alter the direction of the ferry in such a way that the current will push the ferry across. These days, they all have an engine as well.

Here you see the ferry and the pontoons.

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The pontoon upward of the ferry, you can see the wire holding the ferry in place going into the river where it is attached with a very large anchor on the bottom of the river.

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A very frequent site along all Dutch rivers are old brick factories. There are dozens and dozens of them. Few are still in use, most are not.

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After a while, we passed the lovely little town of Wijk bij Duurstede. Which is right on the crossing of the Amsterdam RijnCanal and the Lek becomes Nederrijn. A very busy crossing. Many rivers in the Netherlands have special traffic centres along these busy rivers and crossings. They ensure a safe and smooth passage. I called "Sector Wijk bij Duurstede" on the radio when about 500 meters east of the Amsterdam Rijn Kanaal. I could see on my plotter there were various barges coming from multiple directions. The operator told me to keep going at the same speed. Got through without slowing down or speeding up!!

Wijk bij Duurstede is a charming town. We visit it several times a year, which makes for a good destination with the Spider. They also have a maritime weekend every year. This time I will visit it not in the Spider but in Sirion!

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Only a couple of kilometres further up the river another lock /dam combination at Amerongen. Again, a visor gate dam.

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I called the lock operator. He advised me to tie down on the jetty leading up to the lock. It was going to take a while before he could let me in and we also had to wait for a barge that was about 25 minutes behind me. Pretty large locks.

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He told me to go in first, ahead of the barge, but tie up about 40 meters off the lock doors. That way I would not get to much currents from the lock sluice gates opening and there was still enough room for the barge to tie up behind me.

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Looks like we will be going up quite a bit!! Notice I am using a bow line here as well. I had read reviews of this lock and people had got caught out, lots of water coming in through the lock sluice gates and the water in the lock rises very rapidly.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-kampentrip15.jpg

It all went very smoothly. I left the lock ahead of the barge, but called him as soon as we had left the lock. I let him pass me. A lot of current here too, but those barges will run full power 24/7. I don't want to do that, so I thought I better fall back and get behind him.

Some images along the river Nederrijn.

Another "pontje"

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-kampentrip17.jpg

This is what many Dutch people (and a lot of tourists) will do when the weather is a bit better. Sit yourself down at a nice terrace, overlooking the river, boats coming by, pontjes shuttling back and forth. Some drinks and some nibbles, maybe lunch?

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Of course, endless fishermen. A few fisherwomen too. Maybe I should use the term fisher person?!

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Constantly being overtaken by barges, is a given on a river.

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And barges thundering down the river, doing 25 km/h easily sometimes more!

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I spotted these interesting-looking houseboats. Look closely, they are sitting/resting on concrete pillars. They are moored to the outer or winter dike of the river. So they will only float in the water when the water is much higher than currently.

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Bij 15.45 we reached another lock/dam combination, Driel. This time, the visors were fully raised!!

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Tied up at the Jetty waiting for the lock

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Finally, at around 17.15 we reached the town of Arnhem.

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At 17.40 Sirion was tied up at WSV Jason, Arnhem.

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It had been a very long day. I must admit, I had been a bit apprehensive of doing this long stretch in one day. Three major locks plus all that current.

I was very happy to have made it. Very happy with how Sirion performed. So I walked into Arnhem. I know Arnhem pretty well. We come here regularly for various things. Many people will remember Arnhem as one of the places of very heavy fighting in world war 2. Remember that movie "A bridge too far"? that was all about the bridges around Arnhem and Nijmegen.

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But Arnhem has other sited as well. And a lively inner city with lots of cafe's and restaurants.

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I found myself a nice restaurant and had a very good meal.

Last edited by Jeroen : 2nd April 2024 at 20:58.
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Old 2nd April 2024, 21:58   #92
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Re: Addition to Sirion thread!

On Thursday morning I was up early. The plan was to reach Zutphen and see my sister Hilde. Less distance than yesterday, only 67 kilometres and almost all of it would be on the river IJssel going downstream!

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I like to cast off at first light. That ensures I have some 12-13 hours before sunset.

Got underway no problem. Quite a strong wind coming from the rear as I manoeuvred out of the box Sirion had been moored in.

Within a few kilometres, I had to make a bit of a tricky manoeuvre. The Nederrijn and the IJssel meet at a point known as the IJsselse Kop. It is a known trouble area. Lots of currents, lots of vessels. Coming from Arnhem as I did, you need to make your way well past the IJsselse Kop before doing a 180o turn on the Nederrijn and keep starboard shore to dive into the IJssel. The river is running here at 5-6 km/h, with lots of traffic too. So carefully timing, eyes outside and scanning my plotter for radar and AIS positions.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-kampentrip30.jpg

When I approached the point of my intended turn, I found there was a barge too close for comfort, so I proceeded further up the Nederrijn before making my turn.

Lots of traffic on the IJssel.

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This is a so-called Rijkswaterstaat-vessel (RWS-vessel). These guys are from the Dutch water authorities. They help police the various waterways, help out during calamities and so on. Very pleasant folks! Always friendly, always willing to help and advise anybody. Not a bad job, driving a boat like this all day, waiting for things to happen, doing some inspections and so on.

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The weather was not great. Endless drizzle. This means, even just by myself, Sirion cabin windows start steaming up. I do keep the heater going, but that is not sufficient. I have two of these hot air blowers (essentially cheap hair dryers). They are very efficient in dissolving condensation!

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Doing good time, with a constant 4-5 km/h current behind us.

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I pulled into a Marina in Doesberg. My weather app suggested the weather might improve. I wanted to have a look around. It had been quite a while since I had been to Doesberg. I was running ahead of schedule, so why not? In the end, I spent two hours, tied up at a grotty Marina, with no facilities, still pouring rain.

Disgusted I started Sirion up again and made for Zutphen.

By the time we got to Zutphen, the weather had improved quite a bit.

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Hilde has lived here for probably more than 30 years or so. I am pretty familiar with it. Nice little town. As you will see, interesting town centre with lots of interesting shopping. Few big chains, proper owner-operated shops!

Hilde and I had been discussing where I would moor for the evening. Zutphen has at least four different marinas. This one here is right in the city centre. But when I checked it out on Google Maps, I found it quite narrow. Strong wind and me being solo, are not a good combination.

Looks nice enough though

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-kampentrip37.jpg

So we decided on the marina most north of the city centre, WSV de Mars. I had read mixed reviews about the harbour master. But I am always a bit suspicious about those "personal" reviews.

Entering a new harbour is always a bit exciting. Where do I go, where is my mooring?

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I found the harbour master quite a helpful chap. We had a good constructive chat. One of the problems is that it was still early in the season. So they did not have the full toilet and shower facilities up and running. But he promised some would be up and running when I got back from town. Also, electrical shore power was on too!

All tied up, shore power hooked up!

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Hilde is 70 and she is not as agile as she used to be. So we had agreed she would come aboard on Thursday evening. Just to see Sirion and see if she would be comfortable getting on and off the boat, getting into her bunk, moving around the boat and so on.

Hilde was very impressed with Sirion and luckily there were no problems with her making her way onboard. We had not seen each other for a while, so lots to catch up with. We had some nibbles on board.

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Hilde had brought her car, so after a while, we went into town. Zurtphen has lots of very interesting and nice restaurants. We decided on BioToko ( We had dinner there before. It's a biological Indonesian food place. Rudimentary tables and chairs, but excellent food.

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Hilde trying my cap for size. Suits her!

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We had a very pleasant dinner. Hilde drove home afterwards and I decided to take a little stroll through Zutphen. As you will see, quite a photogenic town.

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Zutphen is full of these small shops. Selling all sorts of unusual things.

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Lots of restaurants and cafes. Not quite sure, but it all appeared quite empty. Very few people about. It was probably the weather. Although dry and partly sunny it was quite chilly. But even then, just like in Scandinavian countries, the Dutch like to sit outside, chat, drink, nibble and chill. So most terraces have heaters and there will be blankets. Anything to stay outside!

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Quite some narrow alleyways. I like the sign, pedestrian-only. Like somebody is going to drive a truck through here.

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When you say the Netherlands, you say cheese. It's not just a touristy thing, the Dutch love their cheese. Here a magnificent cheese shop with a huge variety of mainly Dutch cheese.

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Ended up strolling along the IJssel, just before sunset.

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I walked back to the Marina, about a 20-minute walk. Very pleasant day and evening.

Last edited by Jeroen : 3rd April 2024 at 09:02.
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Old 3rd April 2024, 09:31   #93
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Re: Addition to Sirion thread!

True to his word, the harbour master had seen to open up a couple of toilets and showers. In all marinas, you tend to pay a mooring fee. It is based on the length of your boat. You might also have to pay a "tourist tax". Tourist tax is a council tax and not all councils enforce it on marinas. For one thing, it is a bit tricky to administer. Tourist tax is due, per day, for everybody, not being a citizen of the respective council for every night they stay. So even the marina members who are staying overnight on their boat, but live in a different council from the one the marina is located at, are technically required to pay tourist tax.

For a boat the size of Sirion, just under 10 meters, I would end up paying around Euro 1,20-1,50 per meter, per night. Tourist tax, when applicable is just over Euro 2 per night

Next to the mooring fee and tourist tax, the marina might charge extra for shore power and showers. Here in Zutphen, they charged Euro 2 for everyday shore power. Sometimes marinas have coin-operated meters for their guests. Shower, if extra, usually works on coin meters as well. Euro 0,50 gets you a long hot shower!

Note to self: Preparation for next trip: make sure I have enough Euro 0,50 and 1 coins for the electricity and shower meters!

Most marinas have locked entry/exit gates and sometimes the toilet/shower facilities have locks too. Their permanent members have tags and the temporary guests need to use a pin code to open the locks. Works well. I make photographs of the pin codes, so I have them on me all the time.

Hilde arrived the next morning around 0800 hours. We would be doing 67 km, but all downstream, no locks, no bridges that required opening. So I was confident we would be in Kampen around 15.00 hours or so.

As per previous days, it was a bit wet, and grey at first. But around noon the sky opened up to show a lot of blue. Today was Good Friday, which is an official holiday here in the Netherlands. We did not expect too much traffic on the river. Sure enough some barges, they sail 24/7. Because we were still early in the season there were few pleasure craft about.

We made excellent time, an average of 4,5 km/h of current running behind.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-kampentrip41.jpg

It looks like I might have myself another first mate!! Hilde enjoying herself.

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When we arrived at Kampen there was this barge waiting in front of this rather odd-looking bridge. I could pass under the bridge with no problems, but with the barge holding position just in front of the bridge, I did not want to pass him. I called the bridge operator on the radio. She was going to open up the bridge in a matter of minutes for the barge. I told her I would remain behind the barge and would follow through.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-kampentrip42.jpg

Odd looking bridge. Hilde and I thought it looked as if it came from a cartoon. You sort of expect Donald Duck to show up.

As soon as passed through the bridge this was the sight awaiting us on our port side. Row after row of vintage sailing vessels moored at the main quayside of Kampen.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-kampentrip43.jpg

And we came across this lovely steam tug, Maarten. A friend from my engine model build forum is one of the skippers on this tug. He has also made an incredibly good-looking model of it.

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Kampen has at least four marinas and there are three more on the other side of the river IJssel too. Initially, I had decided to go with one of the marinas close to the centre. But after studying the various event maps I decided to go for the most northern marina. About 900 meters north of the centre, it would ensure we would be well away from all the noise of the event. Turned out to be a good choice.

We ended up in this little marina. Very pleasant. No harbour master was present. I had spoken to him on the phone earlier. In a post box near his office, there were envelopes. You just inserted the correct amount of cash for your stay in the envelope and popped it back into the post box. Pin codes for the gate and toilet/shower facilities were provided in the envelope too.

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Quite a nice marina. The one thing I did not like that much is they don't have jetty's. you tie up at the rear with two lines to these poles. When sailing single-handed as I do, that is a royal PITA. Also, very surprised to see they did not have floating jetties. I checked but overnight the level of the river IJsel had risen by about 10-15 centimetres. So you want to watch your mooring lines constantly.

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After we had tied up and tidied up Sirion, arranged the formalities with the envelope and so on, we locked up Sirion and headed for the city centre.

This is one massive event. With lots and lots of different vessels present. We walked along the main quayside and found ourselves a nice little terrace in the sun. Had some drinks and watched the vessels and the hustle and bustle on the quay side and the vessels.

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This one I had come across. Check out my earlier post about Sirion maiden voyage, bringing her home. We passed this vessel moored on the river Vecht with a huge mobile hydraulic crane next to it, fitting its mast and sail. Now here in Kampen in all her glory, ready to be admired by the crowds.

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As we sat and watched more and more vessels cast off. They all sailed a few kilometres down the IJssel, turned and lined up for the big opening parade

Hilde and I got up and walked around a bit more. At 17.30 there would be the formal parade of all participating vessels. So just before the first vessel arrived we found ourselves a nice little bench, right on the water front to watch the proceedings.

A very nice, smart-looking little vintage tug. Immaculately kept.

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Sailing vessels

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All vessels were lined up in one long string along the IJssel and made their way slowly towards the end of the quay, almost in front of that bridge we had passed earlier. Just before turning they gave a salute to the various dignatories gathered, including the mayor of Kampen.

The parade was started by firing this cannon. Almighty bang

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There were numerous rowing boats involved too. We would come across these ladies the next day near Zutphen, doing a rowing boat race.

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Maarten showed up in the parade as well, of course.

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This is a replica of a so-called VOC ship. Hard to believe, but in those days they would sail across the oceans in little ships like this. This one is called Halve Maan, Half Moon. Look at the shape, properly named.

She gave her own gun salute.

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A few pleasure craft sailed along the parade as well. Not officially part of the parade. We could have done so too. But we enjoyed seeing the parade from the shore. This particular boat is a Botnia Targa. Built in Finland it is known as the 4x4 of the seven seas. Incredibly tough and versatile. Many of my Swedish colleagues owned one of these. They used them to get to their islands in the Swedish Archipelago for the weekend. Very fast. Very expensive. And a very long waiting list. If you place your order today, you will be lucky to get your Targa 2-3 years from now.

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It was an endless parade, so many vessels.

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After about an hour and a half, we had seen most vessels. And as the sun was about to set, we were getting a bit chilly. So we decided to walk into the centre and have some dinner.

The next day we cast off at 08.00 again. Another 67 km to go, but this time against the current.

A last look at all these splendid vessels.

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The first commercial vessel we encountered on our way back up to Zutphen was this massive cruise ship. Probably heading for Kampen.

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Last edited by Jeroen : 3rd April 2024 at 11:07.
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Old 3rd April 2024, 12:34   #94
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Re: Addition to Sirion thread!

The trip back to Zutphen was very nice and very uneventful. Just very pleasant leisurely cruising on the river IJssel.

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Hilde had brought her painting equipment and spent a couple of hours painting the scenes we passed through.

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Near Deventer, we got caught in a rowing boat race. Some 40-50 team were rowing their boats 6 km upstream and 6 km downstream. Some of the boats we had seen the day before in Kampen.

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These days we have lots of storks in the Netherlands. But I had never seen anything like this. A couple of trees with many Stork nests. Look carefully and you can see the Storks on top of their nests.

Storks form lifelong couples and tend to return to the same nest. Although Storks and other birds tend not to migrate south for the winter anymore. More and more birds stay put in the Netherlands, or rather western Europe. Climate change means even during winter it is mild enough for them to survive.

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Very pleasant, very relaxing sailing!!

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It took us a bit longer going upstream back to Zutphen. We moored at the same, familiar, marina. Hilde made her way home. The marina had its own cafe/bar and I ended up spending a couple of hours there in the evening. Having a simple meal and chatting with other boaters.

The next (Sunday) morning I left Zutphen at around 07.30 for Bijland. A 56 km trip up the IJssel and down the Pannerden Canal. The Pannerden canal connects the river Waal with the Nederrijn and IJssel. I had no idea about what to expect in terms of current. As it turned out about 5km/h against the current all the way!

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Came across this F104 Starfighter enthusiast's farm!

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It was Easter Sunday, very quiet on the water. That is until this guy came powering by. Going fast is allowed on this particular stretch. Funnily enough, these sorts of power boats going at 25-35 km/h draw a much bigger wake than a 150-meter barge doing 20 km/h. Sirion was bouncing all over the place.

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Soon I was back at the IJssel kop. It might have been Easter Sunday, still quite a few vessels out there. Keeping a close look on my chart plotter and the AIS positions, courses and speeds to determine how I wave through!

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Leaving the IJssel kop behind me

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Look at these Power line pillars. They are built on top on of concrete foundation. These are positioned in the flood plane of the river. And the concrete is shaped so it faces the current and will break up chunks of ice coming down stream.

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This is how the cockpit is set up when I am cruising along: iPad for an overview with the route on top. It also allows me online access to each and every bridge and lock details, notification to vessels, everything relevant to my trip is up there. I have the remote control for the autopilot and a paper chart nearby. I usually have the steering chair positioned in the centre, so I sit right of the steering stand. But I have easy access to all relevant buttons.

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I always have my second, portable, VHF radio within reach, just like my knife.

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Behind the steering stand on the port side, I keep some more charts, my trip plan, notebook and my log.

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This is how I determine the current. As you can see we are making 2400 RPM and are having a ground speed of 7,4 km/h.

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This engine RPM versus boat speed tells me at 2400 RPM with no current, we would be doing 12,6 km/h. So the current we are going against is 12,6 - 7,4 = 5,2 km / h!!

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There are a lot of shipping-related industries along this part of the Waal. Like this shipyard. They pull out the barges sideways.

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I had to cross the Waal into a large lake. The entrance was difficult to see properly from the river. Took some careful manoeuvring as the river was pushing Sirion down stream. Not a very wide entrance. Here you see it as I had just passed it.

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At this marina I had to tie up at the harbour master office first. Pay and then make my way to my assigned berth. Many marinas will have dedicated guest berths. During the season it is all about a first come first served principle. But during season, some of the regular members might be gone for some time and they will happily assign you an empty member berth too. Guest passages are a big revenue stream for marinas. Many of these marinas are clubs. Run mostly, if not completely, by volunteers. Just like my home marina.

Tied off at Bijland:

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This is a BIG Marina. Lots of German vessels. The harbour master was German too. She did not speak Dutch. Luckily I do speak a bit of German. But we are still in the Netherlands here, but very close to the German border.

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Not quite sure how the (German) owners of this yacht enjoy their boat. Could do with a good scrub. And having a lifeboat as a plant display is not very nautical I think.

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After having secured and tied up Sirion I walked over to Tolkamer. tiny little town, with some impressive waterfront property.

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Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-kampentrip88.jpg

It has a little boulevard with about 5-6 cafes and restaurants and terraces. So I settled down and ordered a drink and some nibbles. Gorgeous weather.

At Tolkamer the river Rhine enters the Netherlands. Funnily enough, it also changes its name. We don't use the name Rhine or Rijn at all.

Last edited by Jeroen : 3rd April 2024 at 12:52.
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Old 3rd April 2024, 13:47   #95
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Re: Addition to Sirion thread!

The next morning was Easter Monday. Today I would be doing the longest stretch of this whole trip. About 96 km from Bijland, all along the river Waal back to Gorinchem where I would enter the locks and sail the last few kilometres on the Merwede Canal and the river Linge, back to my home marina.

The river Waal is the busiest in Europe. 24/7 365 days of the year you will get dozens of barges per hour going upstream and dozens of barges going downstream. The Waal which, is essentially the Rhine, connects the port of Rotterdam with large parts of Germany. A lot of goods still get transported by barges.

I slipped Sirion's mooring lines at about 07.25. Notice that Summertime had started the day before. So 07.25 was about Sun up now.

Long trip, I was expecting a good steady current pushing us all day. I was not disappointed. Here at Nijmegen at one point I had more than 7,5 km/h current pushing me forward.

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The weather was grey and wet. When sailing on rivers like these, with so much traffic your concentration can not slip for a moment.

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There is constant chatter on the radio. Skippers coming upstream often take the inside curve of the river. Less current. But that means they often find themselves on the port side of the river. They need to show a blue board with a white flashing light in the middle. Traffic coming downstream would also move to the other (port) side of the river. you would cross what is known as starboard to starboard. (As opposed to regular crossing which is always port to port)

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As per the previous days, the weather improved as the day wore on. Makes for spectacular sky views.

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This somewhat somber-looking building is one of the Netherlands' decommissioned nuclear plants. Dodewaard. (

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large parts of the river Waal have traffic control. These are divided into several blocks with different frequencies. Pleasure craft such as mine don't require a VHF radio. But if you have one on board, like I do, it is a mandatory requirement to listen to the appropriate channel and respond when needed.

One of those moments is when coming to the crossing with, again the Amsterdam Rijnkanaal. Busy intersection. Traffic control likes everybody to call in and tell them their intentions. Continue on the river, turn into the Canal etc.

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It can get very busy, and cramped. This is a very wide river. But if several barges want to overtake and pass one another it gets tricky!!

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I was making excellent time. I was only making revolutions for about 10 km/h, but I was averaging ground speeds well over 15 km/h due to the current.

Famous bridge for the Motorway A2 and a separate railroad bridge next to it, near Zaltbommel.

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Here Zaltbommel with its famous church without its church tower spire! There is a children's song about how this church lost its spire. the truth is more likely to be the congregation ran out of money!

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Sirion had performed flawlessly. However, there was one odd problem. Sometimes Sirions actual heading and how it was shown on the plotter and radar did not align. I could not figure out what was going on. All of a sudden I noticed what the problem was. The steering chair is positioned right above the compass. When you move it about, it affects the magnetic field and the compass goes haywire.

I will need to see how to fix this. Either move the compass, as shown below. Or find a different chair?

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Passing another one of the Dutch big castles. Slot Loevenstein ( It had a famous prisoner, Hugo de Groot. He managed to escape in a book trunk!

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Big container vessel. Talk about a blind angle! These guys do have cameras at the bow. Even so, you don't want to find yourself too close to their bow, ever!

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Only a few hundred yards behind the container vessel, the local sea scouts were making their way through a choppy river Waal.

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A very happy-looking tanker making its way to the east.

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Almost home. The lovely town of Gorinchem. This is only 5 km from where we live. So we know it well. We do all our shopping in Gorinchem and often eat out here as well.

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Almost there. The Merwede locks at Gorinchem. Had to wait about 10 minutes for the lock to be readied for us.

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Once I pass the Merwedelock it is about 20-25 minutes sailing at a maximum speed of 9 km/h till I reach our home marina WSV de Gors.

I spotted these; watersports come in all kinds of shapes and formats.

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I was tied up in my mooring at around 14.35. I must admit I was dog-tired. Seven hours of non-stop concentration. Battling it out with some very large barges was no piece of cake.

But I am very glad I took this extended trip. Some people might have chosen to gain experience bit by bit. But I was confident enough in Sirion and my capabilities to do it all in one go. I have now sailed across some of the busiest rivers in the Netherlands, experienced several BIG locks, and experienced lots of currents going both ways. Lots of manoeuvring.

A little recap of the six days

Day 1: Arkel to Arnhem
Distance: 86 km
time taken: 11 hours, 10 minutes
Fuel used: 45 liters
Average fuel used: 4l/h
Average speed: 7,9 km/h

The first two hours were easy going on the Merwede Canal, but as soon as I entered the river Lek, I encountered a 4-5 km/h current all the way. I was making revolutions for about 12-12,5 km/h.

Day 2: Arnhem to Zutphen
Distance: 47
time taken: 4 hours
Fuel used: 10 liters
Average fuel used: 2,5 l/h
Average speed: 12,5 km/h

almost all the way downstream on the IJssel. Making revolutions for about 9 km/h.

Day 3: Zutphen to Kampen
Distance: 67,5 km
time taken: 5 hours, 10 minutes
Fuel used: 10 liters
Average fuel used: 2 l/h
Average speed: 13,2 km/h

As the previous day, more current!

Day 4: Kampen to Zutphen
Distance: 67,5 km
time taken: 6 hours, 20 minutes
Fuel used: 35 liters
Average fuel used: 5,4 l/h
Average speed: 10,5 km/h

Opposite of yesterday

Day 1: Zutphen to Bijland
Distance: 56 km
time taken: 7 hours, 20 minutes
Fuel used: 35 liters
Average fuel used: 4,7 l/h
Average speed: 7,6 km/h

Again a long day with a lot of current against us. Making revolutions for 12,5 km /h

Day 6: Bijland to Gorinchem
Distance: 96 km
time taken: 7 hours, 10 minutes
Fuel used: 15 liters
Average fuel used: 2,5 l/h
Average speed: 13,5 km/h

Massive current all day long. The fastest and most efficient way of sailing!

In all, I did 416 km. I used about 150 litres of diesel. Diesel costs just under Euro 2. On average I spend between Euro 14-20 per night in each marina, including shore power and showering.

There were no fees for any of the bridges or locks.

My new Raymarine plotter keeps some statistics too. Given the fact that I have had Sirion in the water for less than 4 weeks, I think we are making very good use of her!!

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All in all, I am very pleased with how this trip went. I am very happy I spent so much time preparing. It helped a lot during the actual trip. I have also managed to fine-tune some of the onboard routines. Especially when sailing solo, you need to think ahead. When you enter a lock or a marina, you need to have the correct fenders out on the correct side. You also need to have the lines prepared so they can be thrown across bollards without getting tangled, or getting across the wrong side of the railing.

I have also been working on various checklists. I am a great believer in a check list. Used them in the merchant navy, used them as a pilot, flying my planes.

More to come!

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Old 4th April 2024, 15:25   #96
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Re: Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic

Thanks Jeroen for sharing, this is such a wonderful to read your sailing experience.
I have a stupid question (pardon me please for my ignorance) - where do you refuel your Yacht - Sirion ? Do you carry onboard or there are stations enroute considering Netherlands having such a wide network of waterways?
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Old 4th April 2024, 17:58   #97
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Re: Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classicma

Originally Posted by dmplog View Post
I have a stupid question (pardon me please for my ignorance) - where do you refuel your Yacht - Sirion ? Do you carry onboard or there are stations enroute considering Netherlands having such a wide network of waterways?
Not a stupid question at all.

There are quite a number of fuelstations, or bunkerstations as we call them along the rivers, canals and various lakes. Even so, you will have to plan how and when to visit them.

There are bunkerstation that cater for the professional barges. They tend to be pretty large facilities, often they operate bunker boats as well. So the bunker boat will go to the barge, or even come alongside whilst still underway.

Many of these professional bunkerstation cater for pleasure craft as well. But they might offer much more limiting opening hours.

A number of Marinas offer refuelung options too. If they do it will always be Diesel. If you have a petrol engine, outboards usually are petrol, and some high powered speedboats have petrol too, getting fuel at a bunkerstation is a problem, they might have it at a marina.

I did an earlier post about Sirion’s first refueling: (Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic)

Sirion diesel tank holds about 330 liters of diesel. For a boat just under 10 meters that is actually quite a large tank. But then again, Sirion also packs a big engine, 100 HP. Which again, for a 10 meter full displacement boat is a lot.

Typically yachts up to 10-12 meter will usually have a tank of 110-140 liters and maybe 50-60 HP.

The correlation between speed through the water and engine horsepower is a power to third. So to go twice as fast you need to have eight times the horsepower.

But, full displacement boats have a theoretical maximum hull speed.

Hull speed can be expressed as a simple mathematical formula 1.34 X the square root of the length of the waterline (HS = 1.34 x √LWL).

So I can get Sirion up to about 17 km/h, which is a bit above her theoretical hull speed, but her fuel usage goes up considerably.

At cruising speed of around 9-10 km/h she uses 2.2-2,4 l/h, but when I open up the throttle to full power that will more than triple. And my speed won’t even double at 17 km/h.

So planning for refueling is very much about what speeds you will be traveling. Of course, as I showed at the end of the trip report, due to currents your fuel efficiency in terms of l/h or l/km differs vastly.

I will be doing another bunker run soon. We might sail all the way up our own local river, running in front of our house, de Linge. Longest river in the Netherlands. At Geldermalsen, about 30 km up river there is a marina that does diesel too. But it is a day trip due to very limited maximum speeds on the Linge. So it will be a very relaxing and calming refueling or bunker day.

Hope this helps.
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Old 5th April 2024, 01:38   #98
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Re: Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic

Jeroen... As an insular Brit (and I think it was my first foreign visit too!) my eyes were opened when taking on your fuel in your country.

On coming alongside, the lady attendant greeted us with the question, "How many gallons would you like?" Noting the yacht's flag, she offered the British unit. She then went on to ask what money. we would like to pay in, naming about six European currencies.

Even thought this was early nineties, a notionally metric Brit would, if offered fuel by the litre at home, been likely to ask what a litre was! And it was hard enough to get any retailer to accept, say, a Scottish currency note (yes they exist[ed]) let alone something that was not even Sterling.

The open-mindedness and flexibility was a great lesson!

And sailing in your country was a lovely experience.

Coming to sailing, I can already see why you did not want sails. Considering the currents and traffic density that you have described, they are just not to be contemplated with any sanity at all! Does anyone tack along the waterways you've mentioned? Are they allowed to? And would one ever make progress against those currents?

Sirion seems to be the perfect vessel for your locality. And that powerful engine must be wonderful.
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Old 5th April 2024, 09:54   #99
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Re: Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic

Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Considering the currents and traffic density that you have described, they are just not to be contemplated with any sanity at all! Does anyone tack along the waterways you've mentioned? Are they allowed to? And would one ever make progress against those currents?.
Thanks for sharing your pleasant experience with the Dutch!

Sailing and tacking is allowed. There is a mandatory requirement to have the engine stand by and ready to be started immediately.

In practice nobody will try to sail upstream with these sort of currents and if you have to tack , forget it.

Also, when in tacking, you will need to give way to all vessels staying on the right(starboard) side of the waterway. So tacking on a busy waterway with lots of current is a no no.

As long as you can go with the current a sail boat would be ok-ish.

Over the next few months the currents will become a whole lot less. It also means the navigational part of the rivers tend to become smaller and the water depth becomes less as well.

So again, not ideal for tacking!

You will see sailboats on smaller canals and rivers with little or no current. And of course all our lakes and the main large open waterways in the South east, province of Zeeland.

You will also see lots of sailing boats motoring across the big rivers in the Netherlands rather than sail. There are special “staande masten” routes. So routes where you leave the mast up to get across the Netherlands.

I don’t think there is a single sailing boat in our marina. I don’t recall exactly, but I can’t remember having seen any sailing boats in any of the marinas I visited during my All motor boats! But there are plenty of marinas where the sailing boats outnumber the motorboats by a good margin.

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Old 7th April 2024, 12:10   #100
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Re: Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic

My best friend and spanner mate Peter came over the other day. We went on our annual trip to the immense classic car show Techno Classica in Essen. But not before I showed Peter around on Sirion of course.

Of course, we fiddled around a bit and did the odd job too. I had ordered a longer power shore cable. So I have one 20 meters and the new one is 30 meters. I have had to use them both, hooked together already. But Sirion has finally moved to her permanent birth in our Marina and I need the 30-meter-long cable there as well. Which meant getting a different plug once again.

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Our daughter Ellen came over yesterday with her husband and two grandchildren. Of course, they all wanted to have a ride on Sirion too. It was a gorgeous day, almost 24oC. So we loaded up a cooler with drinks and some nibbles and went for a nice gentle sail across our river Linge.

Bella loves driving Sirion!

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I put Sirion on auto-pilot and steer with my remote. Bella can spin the steering wheel to her heart's content!

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Lucy enjoying herself too, inspecting the decks and eating everything she finds!

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The first time we saw our home from the river!!

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Ellen and Bella doing their Titanic thing. Which apparently, all women are required to do, within 5 minutes of boarding a boat, any boat. Let's hope we won't come across any icebergs on the Linge!

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6588.jpg

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Old 9th April 2024, 23:31   #101
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Re: Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic

Yesterday our good friends Annelies and Cees visited us. You might have come across them in various other threads of mine. We met many years ago as committee /board members of the Dutch Alfa Romeo Spider Register.

These days Cees and Annelies own and operate a gorgeous B&B in the Lorraine, France. ( We visit them every year with some of our other Spider friends. Our next trip to Le Paradis is in about 4 weeks.

They usually visit the Netherlands in the wintertime and early spring. As we find ourselves often travelling, they often house- and cat-sit for us.

They happened to be in the Netherlands for a few days so they dropped in on us. Of course, we combined it with taking Sirion out. Both Annelies and Cees are seasoned sailors.

We took Sirion on her second "bunker-run", again to the bunker station in Werkendam.

Annelies relaxing on deck on the river Linge.

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Save navigation by old sea dog Cees.

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I did the docking manoeuvres and Cees handled the lines. Here we are in the Grote MerwedeSluis (Large Merwede Lock).

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At the bunker station, we took on some 170 litres of Diesel. So Sirion tanks are full to the brim and ready for the next trip!

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Today, my first mate Mrs D and I spent the whole afternoon on Sirion. A long list of odd jobs, but mainly giving her a good cleanout. We have had some Sahara desert sand here and Sirion, our cars, solar panels and everything else is covered in a fine layer of sand. Mrs. D concentrated on cleaning everything inside, I did the outside. Sorry, no images. You have to take my word for it, Sirion looks fine again!

I want to do a few more jobs later this week. Fix the 12 VDC power to the battery control panel and move the magnetic position to a new position.

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Old 15th April 2024, 17:37   #102
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Re: Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic

We had a friend from Delhi and the US staying with us for a couple of days. Of course, they wanted to see our boat. So we took them for a little tour of the river Linge. Very nice, we have summertime now in the Netherlands which means the sun doesn't set till about 20.30. So we went out to Sirion around 16.00 and sailed for a few hours.

The next day I took our friends to the bus station so they could travel back to Amsterdam and went straight onto Sirion. I had loaded up my Jeep with tools. There were two jobs I wanted to do. Reposition the magnetic compass of the autopilot and fix the battery monitor.

On that first one: I had discovered that the magnetic compass is influenced by the steering stand chair. When moving that chair around it could cause changes in magnetic direction of 30-40 degrees. That meant two things;

When sailing on autopilot and moving the chair, Sirion would change its heading!! Not a good thing! Also, it meant that on the chart plotter, it looked as if Sirion was crabbing along. Which also meant the radar overlay on the chart was incorrect.

I had spoken to Raymarine specialist Michael. He told me there should be plenty of spare cable on the compass to allow it to be moved forward.

The first thing is to figure out where to position it. It needs to be away from any metal object and preferably also from any electrical wires. Also, I had to be able to get the cable routed there.

In the end I decided on a little cupboard underneath the port bunk bed. There is very little metal there. It did mean its wires would run in parallel to the power and control cables of the anchor winch and bow thruster. I decided that was not a problem as I don't need an accurate compass when using either.

I had to open up several panels in the front cabin, the toilet and the main cabin.

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Here you see the floor panels in the main cabin near the steering stand lifted. The green tank is the freshwater tank. At the front, you see this black cylindrical thing mounted. That's the compass!

In front of the fresh water tank, the black tank is the waste water tank and you see a bunch of hoses. All to do with wastewater from the toilets to the waste water tank, waste water pump, water outlet and so on.

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The compass is connected with one cable to one of the electronic boxes of Raymarine.

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Far left cable. Says flux gate. I took a few photographs just to make sure I have a reference for re-wiring it.

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I had brought my special cable-pulling tool I made a few years ago for a wiring job on the Jaguar. It is just a meter long, 35 mm wide, 2 mm thick piece of plastic. I drilled a hole in one hand and rounded the edges. It makes it easy to stick through various bits. The problem with cars, and boats, is you cant always see what you do when running cables, so you need something firm yet flexible to push through.

Success, managed to get it from the bow, back into the space next to the wastewater tank!!

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I hooked up my cable-pulling wire and pulled that back from the rear all the way to the front.

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So now I had a (nylon) cable pulling wire in place. Next, I attached the cable/wire from the compass. You want to make sure there is a good solid connection. So I use very thin metal wire and lots of tape!!. The tape also ensures this combination doesn't snag anywhere.

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Managed to pull the compass cable in one go all the way in! Redid the wiring on the electronic box.

I drilled two new holes for the compass inside the cupboard. There it is: Safely tugged away from any metal object interference!!

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6657.jpg

I had to drill out a few of the screws in the various panels. Ad, the previous owner, had left all of his spare parts behind including this wonderful box of screws and bolts. Very handy!

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6655.jpg

I powered up the electronics and my first impressions were good. Nothing went up in smoke, no fuses popped and the magnetic heading I saw was pretty much spot on. A proper sea trial was needed of course.

But not before I fixed the battery monitor. This bit of kit had been working before. But after Michael had done his installation work it never worked. I spend several hours trying to trace the fault. It was simple, it just wasn't getting power, but tracing back the cable proved to be very difficult. When I was reading the installation manual, they actually suggested hooking up the 12VDC to the instrument light's power source.

So that is what I did. Opened up the panel. Made one small jumper wire from the back of the tank-level instrument lights to the battery monitor!

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6658.jpg

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6659.jpg

Sure enough, with the 12VDC power supply re-established the battery monitor works again. This monitor looks after both the engine starter- and service batteries. It monitors the power usage, state of charge and a bunch of other stuff.

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So two jobs were completed successfully. Took all but three hours or so. Time to close the various hatches, panels and put away all tools and go for a sea trial!!

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I got Sirion ready to get underway. I decided to load up with water as well. We have two moorings in the marina with a water hose. One is right at the entrance, which also happens to be right across from our mooring. So I literally reversed into the water loading spot.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6661.jpg

Water is free of charge. Although the marina does have a little box next to the tap and everybody is encouraged to put some change into it, when loading up water. Sirion can hold well over 300 liters of water. I took on about 200 liters or so. Takes some 15 minutes. Chatting with the harbour master.

Onto the Linge and through the Merwede Locks onto the river Merwede once again.

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It might have been a Sunday afternoon, but as I mentioned before, this is Europe's busiest river. Lots of barges and some pleasure craft about!

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I decided to travel upstream towards Woudrichem and the oude Maas.

Woudrichem has a nice old traditional marina. I just went in there to look around. I will revisit it some other time, moor and look around. We know Woudrichem pretty good. Lots of old buildings, and some interesting shops and some excellent restaurants here.

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Woudrichem is almost next to the famous Slot (Castle) Loevenstein. I sailed into the Oude Maas and encountered this tiny foot/bicycle ferry. I have taken it myself often. It is just a large rowing boat but with an outboard. Still, it is equipped with AIS too!

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One more time, Slot Loevestein

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Busy on the river!!

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On my way back to the main locks at Gorinchem

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All in all, the sea trial was a big success!! I am very happy with the repositioning of the compass. All the compass heading interference has disappeared. Everything works as advertised.

A nice surprise as I was back onto River Linge about 500 meters from our Marina. Steam tug Jan de Sterke!! I am a volunteer with this steam tug. You will be hearing more about this steam tug in some of my future posts.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6683.jpg


Last edited by GTO : 18th April 2024 at 17:55. Reason: PM coming up :)
Jeroen is offline   (21) Thanks
Old 16th April 2024, 14:02   #103
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Re: Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic

I am a great believer in checklists. Checklists are used in many different industries and applications.

Professionally I have used checklists as an engineer in the Merchant Navy, during various operations in telecommunication networks and also of course, as a pilot flying planes.

Some people might think using a checklist on a little boat like Sirion is overkill, or plain ridiculous. I disagree. Using and adhering to a checklist does not make you a better sailor. But statistically, it puts you in the group of sailors that are less likely to run into issues and problems.

Checklists and checklist routines are the number one deterrent to simple, routine mistakes. Especially those tasks that are performed from memory. Humans are not very good at doing mundane tasks.

The idea of checklists is not necessarily to read the various actions and perform them one by one, sequentially. Checklists are usually divided into different sections. All actions in that section can be done in one go. Next, you read off each item and confirm it is done correctly.

Sirion checklist is pretty simple. I have developed two checklists. One for getting underway and one for leaving Sirion at her birth.

These lists are not finalised completely. I had them in my notebook during the last couple of weeks, amending them on the go. But I feel this is a good enough start. I will use these for the next few weeks. Once I am happy that I have captured all relevant items and actions I will make a nicer plasticised version

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-sirion-departure-check-list.jpeg

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-sirion-leaving-check-list.jpeg

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Old 20th April 2024, 12:01   #104
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Re: Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic

There was one bit of electronic kit that was not working. It never had, according to Ad, —the Radio CD player.

You will find that the radio is just an aftermarket car radio on many recreational boats. Sirion is no different. Apparently, Ad, the previous owner, replaced the radio some years ago with the current Sony one. Quite a nice one too. But it does not work.

The radio is mounted on the side of the steering stand. There are four speakers, two mounted inside the cabin and two mounted outside in the open cockpit.

The wiring underneath the panel is a bit messy.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6753.jpeg

I managed to get the radio out of its little cuby hole, without the typical radio extractors. Just some luck and some long pointy tools!

The Radio has power, and it appears the speakers are connected too. At least when I fiddle with the various knobs and buttons, I can hear the occasional crackly.

I also discovered there was a CD stuck inside it. I hoped that would be the root cause of all problems. So I took it apart. My experience working on car radio's is that more often than not, they can be a real PITA to open up. This Sony was very easy and very easy to extract the complete CD unit.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6752.jpeg

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6751.jpeg

It looked as if some pin was bent out of whack. Fixed that and managed to extract the CD. But the radio would not work! When I cycle through the various menu options on the source, I can get FM, LMW, and aux but not CD.

Also, I noticed the radio would not autotune.

Just for good measure, I checked the wiring and the connection to the speakers. That appears to be in order.

I also took the antenna apart. It is one of those T-antennas with a little amplifier. But it does look a bit old and I don't trust the wiring. So I ordered a new antenna online for a few euros. Just to see if that might make a difference.

I forgot to bring electro cleaner (note to self; buy electro cleaner for boat). The various connectors inside the radio look dirty.

Once the new antenna arrives, I will give it another go. Clean everything properly, install the new antenna and take it from there,

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Old 22nd April 2024, 13:08   #105
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Re: Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic

A friend of a friend had lent me a car radio. He had several, but I picked this one because it had a good connector with all the wires connected. So easy to wire it into Sirion.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6780.jpeg

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6779.jpeg

So I hooked up the black and red DC power wires to the old plug on Sirion old radio. Switched on the power, nothing!!

After looking a bit more closely I noticed that the wiring on this new plug is incorrect for the radio! I suspect that this plug does not belong to this radio at all. I will have to try again.

Also received the new antenna

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6781.jpeg

Hooked it up and it made no difference at all.

Oh well, as they say, back to the drawing board!!

So I was done radio trouble shooting within 10 minutes. I decided I might as well take Sirion for a little tour along the river the Linge by myself. Weather was half decent as you will see.

Just some images of the river Linge. The longest river in the Netherlands (15km) and one of the prettiest too. I have been riding my bicycle and my Alfa Spider on the banks of this little river for the last 7 years. Everything looks very different from the water.

Our Marina is at what can be considered almost the end of the Linge. From the marina, it is a few kilometres to the locks at Gorinchem, where you enter the main river Merwede.

Going upstream from our Marina, there will be various tiny villages on both sides of the river. The first small town you will come across is Leerdam. It is known as "the city of glass".

It has, you guessed it a Glass factory.

It also has some very pleasant houses, built right onto the water as you will see

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6782.jpeg

Apartments, but with a very nice view of the river.

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This is how the "other half" of Leerdam lives, as they say!

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At one of these large villa's I spotted this very nice little boat. I have no idea of the brand/model. But I like it, it would be ideal for my son and his family

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We will see some more of Leerdam on the return leg.

I came across this small river cruise boat. It is based out of Leerdam and takes passengers on the Linge. This area of the Netherlands is also known as the Betuwe and is famous for all the fruit that is grown here.

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After about an hour and a half I reached the village of Asperen. Our good friends Berndt and Loes live here. Berndt and his oldtimer cars figure in my fiddling with car threads. There are two adjacent locks here. Not particularly wide. Only five meters. That cruise ship I showed earlier is able to pass these locks with only centimetres to spare on each side.

A little easier with Sirion. With fenders out, its just under four meters wide.

Just as we passed through the lock.

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I turned around and sailed toward the other lock

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Passed it too without any problems

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These double locks are controlled by means of automatic traffic lights. So you wait for a double green light before entering.

These are called locks, but in essence, are just gates that can be closed to protect the area behind from too high water in the river Linge.

It was the time for Ducklings and sure enough, there were plenty. A couple of times I had to stop to let a family of ducks cross in front of Sirion. I never stop for ducks normally. They are pretty dumb animals, but they are smart enough to get out of the way of a boat approaching, but only at the last minute.

But when I see a duck family with ducklings that are about to cross I will slow down. It's so cute and I am not convinced the little ones will be able to scatter from Sirion's bow on their own.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6795.jpeg

Back passing Leerdam once again. These are pretty regular houses for the Netherlands. What makes them stand out is of course the fact that they are built right onto the water. With an individual mooring for each home owner!

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6797.jpeg

I sailed into the centre of Leerdam. You can just about see the old city wall. The jetty is owned and operated by the local marina. I often ride my bicycle here, stop for a coffee, and watch the boats. This time I was the one being watched.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6798.jpeg

The main bridge for the provincial road into Leerdam. The yacht coming towards me, was going very slowly. I was not quite sure whether that was because he was not sure about his height or depth. What is remarkable is that there are no markings or signs on this bridge showing you were to pass. I will need to check my almanack to see if I can find any information. Although I knew I could easily pass underneath, I was not so sure about which entry to take depending on depth.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6799.jpeg

Here you see two barges. They are moored in front of the glass factory. These are the largest barges that are allowed to sail on the Linge. They bring sand for glass making. We see barges passing about 3-4 times a week!. The linge has an average depth of about 4 meters. Which is plenty for these barges. The barges, when loaded have a speed restriction of 6 km/h. All of the Linge has a speed restriction of 9 km/h and some stretches only 5 km/h.

Note the traditional windmill on the right of the image. Every town/village in the Netherlands will sport some traditional wind mills.

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Leaving Leerdam behind us

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The weather was improving gradually. Very pretty and very relaxing sailing at 9 km/h on this gorgeous little river!

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Skipper D at the helm!

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This is the dike on the northern bank of the river. It is higher than the one of the south bank (where we live). Apparently the reason is the landowners north of the river were more concerned about flooding than the ones in the south. Also, in those days the northern part was more wealthy, so they had more money to spend.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6812.jpeg

I was surprised about how few boats were out on this sunny Sunday. But there were a few.

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Look at this!!

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This little house/shed is a former 'weighing station'. I am a member of our local historical society. We have a lot of information on it. It is owned by the council, but we have the key and are allowed to use it for displaying some of our collections. Every year all museums and places of historical interest open their doors to the public for free. We open up this little place. We will have volunteers that provide information to visitors. The Linge is very popular with cyclists and walkers, so we always get a lot of visitors.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6816.jpeg

These contraptions are known as "blokhutboot". It is a little timber hut on a pontoon. It has a little engine. You can rent them, very popular and a nice way to explore the Netherlands by water.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6817.jpeg

After three and a half hours I was back at our marina. Having done less than 25 km. I have shown some images of the parking lot of the marina where all the boats get stacked for the winter. Last Saturday all those boats were put back into the water. I had wanted to attend and help, but I had already promised to help my friend Berndt who sold a couple of his oldtimer cars. See my fiddling with cars thread for the story on those.

It does mean we have a lot more parking space.

Bought a Yacht | 2006 Drammer 935 Classic-img_6818.jpeg

I used my new check lists for the first time. Pleased with those. I am on the look out for some additional fenders for our little jetty. I am planning to visit a couple of watersport shops later this week and see if I can find some that will work for Sirion.

Jeroen is offline   (24) Thanks

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