My first big trip in the Drammer 935 yacht: 6 days/420 km to Kampen

Sail Kampen is an annual event. It brings a lot of old sailing ships and all kinds of other vessel to Kampen.

BHPian Jeroen recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

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:,_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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

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!!

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

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 too much current from the lock sluice gates opening and there was still enough room for the barge to tie up behind me.

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.

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 didn't want to do that, so I thought I better fall back and get behind him

Some images along the river Nederrijn.

Another "pontje"

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?

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

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

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

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.

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

Tied up at the Jetty waiting for the lock

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

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

It had been a very long day. I must admit, I had been a bit apprehensive about 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 rememberArnhem 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.

But Arnhem has other sites as well. And a lively inner city with lots of cafes and restaurants.

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

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

A helmet will save your life