So it’s March, and as we have posted back in December we were planning on moving Aquarius to a marina in our hometown.
Our original plan was to do the trip at the end of March. But after studying the forecasts I decided that this weekend would be the best time to sail. Still cold, but fair winds and no rain make it do able.
So a week ago we washed and cleaned Aquarius to prepare her for the trip.
The weather was great, and we washed the hull and deck with international supercleaner to get rid of all the dirt and grime which had accumulated during the winter. She still need’s a professional polish job, but I’ll seek a company to do that in spring.
A couple of days later we installed the sails again. And they still look as new, so that’s great.
Some people might ague that starting a trip on Friday the 13th is a bad idea, but we thought it was fine. We invited a close friend of ours to come with us.
We passed a couple of bridges to our first waiting spot at the Schinkelbrug, which is the starting point for sailing vessels passing through Amsterdam at night. We had to wait a couple of hours for the trip to start, and at 0:00 we got ready to pass that bridge. It consists of four separate bridges: two highway bridges, one metro bridge and one railroad bridge.
The lights turned red/green to get prepared and then turned red again. We got informed by VHF radio that there was an issue with one of the bridges and that a mechanic had to come to fix the problem. We got delayed by two hours.
At 2:13AM the problem was solved and we could proceed into Amsterdam. We were the only vessel heading northbound, there was a barge with a heavy crane heading southbound so we would have to pass that in the narrow canals a while later.
The bridge operators had us waiting in a small canal, but I was very unpleased with that. If they had let me pass there would be a wide space for me to wait until the barge had passed. Instead it got a bit unpleasant because the barge was moved by two massive tug boats and those things in a confined space moved us around as if we were a small cork.
Normally I would have tied up somewhere, but there were no points to do that. Luckily the tug operators where not complete idiots so they stopped their propellors when they saw we got sucked towards the barge. After a couple of exciting minutes we passed the barge and the bridge we had been waiting for without any damage.
The mast had only touched some thin tree branches which was close to the shore. But there doesn’t seem to be any damage to that also.
We carried on passing the rest of the bridges and at 04:00AM we passed the last railroad bridge and we completed the transition through Amsterdam again. On the way we heard that another bridge we needed to pass was closed due to broken remote camera’s, and that it only operated manually at daylight.
So we berthed at Amsterdam Marina to catch a couple of hours sleep and we would continue at 9:00AM.
After passing the Oranjesluizen (lock), and the Schellingwoude bridge that had to be manually operated we could finally set sail towards our new Marina. Our trip only took a couple of hours and with 4 to 5bft of wind we maintained 6 knots on a reefed genoa.
At 12:30 we arrived, cleaned up, and went home for some hot tee, a hot shower, and some more sleep.
Our season has officially been started!