From De Kreupel to Vlieland

By |Published On: May 18, 2023|Categories: Europe, Netherlands|734 words|1 Comment|

The next morning, we take it easy and don’t sail off until midday, with the destination being Kornwernerzand. This is where we want to anchor for the night, so that the next morning we can go through the Lorentsluizen (Lorentz locks) from the IJsselmeer into the Waddenzee. The winds are light but are forecast to pick up later in the afternoon. And of course they are from the north so on the bow, which means a lot of tacking. Not having sailed for a while, this is good practise for us to get to know the boat.

While making our way up the IJsselmeer towards the Afsluitdijk, we decide to try out one of our new toys to make sailing life less tiring and more comfortable on board, namely our windvane. This is a mechanical steering apparatus that is connected to the wheel and can steer the boat by the wind. And it is magic! Once you have set up the sails correctly for the direction you want to go in, you engage the windvane with the steering wheel and off you go. Every now and then it needs a bit of fine-tuning, but overall, it takes over the steering of the boat, which is particularly important on longer distances when continuous hand steering is not desirable (or safe for that matter).

Using the windvane, and some hand steering every now and then, we zig-zag across the IJsselmeer, from De Kreupel to Medemblik, across to Stavoren then Hindeloopen, then towards a whopping big windmill park near North Holland again, and back towards Kornwernerzand. There we arrive early evening and spent a lovely quiet night at anchor behind the Afsluitdijk with a few other sailing boats.

When we wake up the next morning, we realise that we should probably have filled up our tank with diesel on the way somewhere along the way. We’re not sure whether we can get diesel easily in either Harlingen (our next destination) or Vlieland (our waiting post before crossing the North Sea). So instead of going straight through the locks, we turn around to go to Makkum, fill up, and turn around again to go through the locks.

These locks are also for large commercial traffic, but luckily when we go through there is only one other sailing yacht in the lock. And lo and behold, customs are on the dock to inspect our passports, and David’s new residency permit. All is good and we are allowed to proceed through the locks and into the Waddenzee. It’s so nice to smell the sea again! And soon we’re treated to our first seal.

Smelling the salty Waddenzee


The trip to Harlingen is hard motoring as the tide was against us. Not planned very well on our behalf! Luckily it is not that far, and soon enough we’re entering the harbour in Harlingen. This is a new experience as it is full of large sailing barges which are part of the so-called Bruine vloot (Brown fleet). These are traditional Dutch sailing barges, now mostly used for professional charter business but originally for transporting freight. The name comes from the original colour of the sails which were brown from the tanning process. We carefully motor through the canals with these enormous ships on either side and find an empty spot in the North Harbour for the next day or so.

Harlingen is a beautiful city with a great atmosphere. The centre is full of gorgeous old houses and buildings, and importantly, it has a great ice cream shop! This is certainly a place we would like to return to, but first we need to get to Vlieland, Norway, and hopefully, Spitsbergen. So when the weather has calmed down after two nights in Harlingen, we pick the outgoing tide and leave for Vlieland, with a slew of other sailing boats.

Sailing in the narrow channel from Harlingen to Vlieland, together with fast ferries, huge cargo ships, fishing boats and imposing sailing barges is quite the experience! We try to keep out of everyone’s way, while also trying to avoid the mudbanks on either side of the channel, and end up making it safely to the harbour in Vlieland, phew!


The jachthaven has heaps of space, so we find an easy berth and go through the final preparations, including checking weather forecasts, before crossing the North Sea to Norway.

One Comment

  1. Caro Imming June 21, 2023 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    Mooi hè Harlingen. En knap varen in de vaargeul. En Vlieland is ook al zo leuk.

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