The Standing Mast Route – Part 3

By |Published On: April 12, 2024|Categories: Europe, Netherlands|634 words|0 Comments|

Early Sunday morning at the Prinsentuin.

Headwind from Leeuwarden

The next morning we left early from Leeuwarden, this time with a new crew. The sun was still shining and Caro and Peter were coming along with us to Harlingen.

Our new crew for the day, Caro and Peter.

To get out of the city we had to pass through a few bridges, including the very odd and special ‘Wiebertjes’ bridge (see the photo).

Old and new bridges in Leeuwarden.

Once out of the city we motored onto the Van Harinxma canal and headed towards Harlingen. Out in the open the southwesterly wind was right on our nose the whole way and gradually got stronger and stronger as the morning progressed, often gusting up to 30 knots.

It was windy, and cold.

Given our time limitation, the choice to do the Standing Mast Route instead of sailing via the open waters, had clearly been a good one!

Through old locks and bridges

Once in Harlingen, we were taken through the old locks and bridges right in the city centre of Harlingen.

Entering the old city centre of Harlingen.

Normally, recreational boats have to travel through the large commercial boat locks from the Harinxma canal into the Wadden Sea. However, these were not operating due to maintenance. Through another Ovni sailor we had obtained a 06 number and had managed to get a passage through the winding, narrow canals and locks of the old city itself. This was just fantastic.

These canals are getting narrower and narrower…!

The old locks and bridges are still operated by hand and on this day, it was three old blokes who had to labour over each set of windlasses to open and close them.

Passage through the last lock in Harlingen. All opened and closed by hand!

Once we were through and the bridge or lock was closed, they jumped on their bikes and wobbled off to the next bridge or lock to open it up for us.

And the last bridge, opened by hand, before we enter the Noorderhaven.

And all of this along tight canals lined with old brick houses and warehouses, quays and old sailing boats from the brown fleet (the traditional dutch cargo boats).

Pontoons in the Noorderhaven in Harlingen.

Unforgettable, also for Caro and Peter who own a house in Harlingen, and especially for Peter who grew up in Harlingen.

Yuma moored up in Noorderhaven.

Delicious ice creams in Harlingen

In Harlingen we had to wait a few hours for a favourable tide (or so I thought), so with time to spare we moored up in the Noorderhaven and went on a tour of Caro and Peter’s house and sampled an ice cream at our favourite ice cream parlour, Min 12. Afterwards, Caro and Peter left for Leeuwarden and we continued on to Makkum.

View over the Zuiderhaven, with vessels from the brown fleet.

Wrong tide…

At the appointed time we slipped through the last of Harlingen’s bridges and locks and made it out onto the Wadden Sea to discover…that our cunning plan was way too cunning indeed. Contrary to my (F’s) calculations, the tide turned out to be flowing in exactly the opposite direction. Bloody Wadden Sea, this was the second time I got the tidal currents wrong between Harlingen and the Afsluitdijk…! Sigh, I should have paid more attention during my Marine Biology courses on Texel. We had no choice but to turn on the engine again and motor against the current. Fortunately, the headwind decreased considerably and, in the end, it took only a little bit longer than estimated to arrive at the locks. These were opened immediately for us, and soon after we were moored at the Marine Makkum Marina, just on dark. Here we were to spend the next month.

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The Standing Mast Route - Part 2