A week after preparing Voyager we finally treated ourselves to some proper sailing, taking the boat across the huge Ijsselmeer lake that’s actually wider than the English Channel, in storms and force 6 winds. This was excellent practice and gave us all the opportunity to get to grips with the handling of the boat. 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! Surrounded by cloud and rain the heavens opened, thunder cracked and we were left standing on the deck like penguins with our back to the winds trying to keep the stinging rain off our faces.
After having to wait for another storm to pass before entering a lock we finally moored up in Enkhuizen, a proper Dutch town with an old harbour, sloping buildings and a discreet little coffee shop! Unfortunately I had forgotten my camera so I don’t have any pictures of this place, and I couldn’t find anywhere that sold postcards for me to send either. I did, however, find a tobacconist who wanted my ass so badly he followed me out of the shop for a pointless conversation about English holidays. Weirdo.
Unfortunately because of the weather we’d all endured we quickly came down with colds and spent the next two days sniffing, getting on each others nerves and sleeping.