The weather was getting progressively worse but everyone was itching to get going and finally hit the open waters. When the green light indicated our turn to enter the lock the sense of nervousness and trepidation increased as the conversation dropped. Once the gates had closed behind us we had a fifteen minute wait as the lock filled and rose to sea level. We were all looking at the red traffic lights and waiting, wondering what the open water had prepared for us.
Back on the Ijsselmeer we continued to get to grips with the boat. At one point I accidentally tacked, which in stormy conditions can be the end of the boat since the boom can swing round the wrong way and put too much pressure on the wrong side of the mast, which could snap it in two. Mistake number one!
Although Ijsselmeer is only three metres deep it behaves very much like the sea. With fairly strong winds we unfurled the mizzen, the sail at the back of the boat that’s used to stabilise it in strong winds. With the slashing rain we were the only sailing vessel on what is normally a busy bit of water, and when the storm that had been predicted by the weathermen finally came over the sh!t really hit the fan!
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