2020 report on Dutch Association of Drascombe Owners

Henk Wels schrijft elk jaar namens de NKDE een verslag voor de engelse zustervereniging, hier zijn verslag van 2020

The year 2020 has been very special indeed. It made planning events very difficult, created practical difficulties when quarantined and brought reports of personal tragedy. Luckily your correspondent managed a surprisingly large amount of sailing with Drascombe Coaster Medusa in the Netherlands, none of it abroad for COVID reasons.

There is a long list of the NKDE events that did not take place: the Spring Meeting, the Waddenzee Smiscruise, the Slenk cruise, the Traditional November Waddenzee trip were each cancelled.

Those events that did take place were fabulous. The Lockdown may havehad an effect on the condition of the fleet as many owners including your correspondent started on tasks of polishing, refining equipment and painting that they would not have bothered withotherwise. Getting the Drascombe outof winter hibernation, getting the outboard back from the dealer, etc. required careful planning to make sure that our Government’s travel restrictions were obeyed.

Early June saw some lovely as well as hot days to spend sailing. Your correspondent went to Heeg  Friesland, formerly sand extractions and now lakes on the river Maas, and toured the IJsselmeer and Randmeren as well as visiting the Overijssel Lakes. There was only one disaster … while I managed taking the mast down with the main still on, getting it up again was something else and it fell sideways,splitting the base. This required some speedy repairs at Michel Maartens, luckily completed in time for the next trips.

The early September Summer Weekendat Edam was fabulous. A fleet of 26 Coasters, Cruisers, a Dabber, Drifters,Longboats and Luggers met and stayed at the marina just outside the historicallocks, while keeping separated in line with  Regulations. On the first day weall sailed out due south with following winds to the Marken Lighthouse,to see its silhouette known as “Het Paard”(The Horse). I am sure, as photographed by the owner of the Strandbad pavilion https://strandbadedam.nl/, a magnificent sight.

The lighthouse has a small beach and despite this being a lee shore with concealed underwater protection we made it and toured the lighthouse,which is not normally open to the public. We wondered why there was a large police vessel present, but this must have been to guard our retired Queen Beatrix who was anchored with her Lemsteraak Groene Draeck also at the lighthouse.

Back against choppy waves to Edam for a Lebanese dinner served precisely under formal COVID restrictions at the marina and next morning a canal cruise in Edam. All masts down and very limited space to navigate but very do-able and a great cruise.

In the Netherlands there is a group called Natuurlijk Varen sailing raid boats and your correspondent could not resist being present at the Dorestad Raid, only being possible under stern Covid restrictions at Heeg Friesland. They are happy people sailing and rowing around in various open boats, the only exemption being Dirk Branbergen in his Drascombe Coaster Struner, who as usual was never caught motoring. Not so Medusa whose assistance as “bezemboot” (boat with broom in the mast in reference to our famous Dutch admiral Piet Heijn sweeping the 7 Seas) gathering stragglers from force 5-6 leeshores and impassable low bridges with its 8 HP Yamaha was appreciated by those involved.

For most of us the final event was the Dorus Rijkerstocht at Den Helder, where a group of Drascombes was guest of the Royal Dutch Navy Yacht Club in a contest at the Texelstroom. Dorus Rijkers was the famous skipper of the rowing rescue boat stationed at Den Helder in the early 1900s, saving the lives of more than 500 sailors. At force 5 the Texelstroom was too choppy for your correspondent who left the contest early after 3 hours wind-against-current and went to the Navy Museum instead. The contest was won by Victor Vandersmissen, sailing the restored Pride of the Fleet of his father Hans Vandersmissen, with the trophy won by 80-year old skipper Frans Zegers on board Drascombe Coaster Skua. Open Longboat Witte de Wit came in last but not least.

Happy sailing in 2021

By Henk Wels

Coaster Medusa