The year 2021, at least for your correspondent with Drascombe Coaster Medusa, has been awkward, the reason of course being COVID. While we all had high hopes for meeting and sailing, the March Spring meeting of the Dutch Drascombes was held as a Zoom meeting and the so-called Dry Smiscruise for preparation of the Spring Waddenzee Smiscruise had to be canceled. Morbihan was canceled. Any visits to the UK, despite very tempting announcements in Drascombe Association – Home (drascombe-association.org.uk) had to be canceled also for COVID, apart from Brexit result Customs regulations that might or might not be costing thousands of EUR for import levies or VAT not being paid on second-hand Drascombes and other nuisances.
At the early May Smiscruise experienced and less experienced Drascombe skippers met each other informally at the Waddenzee. Your correspondent is not really fond of this area due to its being shoal, need to remove the Coaster’s rudder and steer with an oar. But the Dutch Drascombes like it and anchor overnight and for day tidal stops not using marinas. As the weather threatened to be awful and cold, he met instead some boats of Natuurlijk Varen, see Natuurlijk Varen (in Dutch) at the Beulaker in the province of Overijssel while still trying to keep COVID away with social distancing. Evidently this is difficult… Mr. Branbergen with Coaster Struner brought his RC model Minimaatje along (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Muh54aS41PM) and your correspondent brought along Brave (a Gary Webb design called Emma, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYlwMVXxC9E). Of course the weather was not too bad finally but it surely was cold!
End of July your correspondent went sailing in France from Cherbourg to St. Malo with Offshore Yacht Charter | Zeilvakanties met Sightseeing (offshore-yacht-charter.com) (unable to visit the Channel Islands due to COVID) with another trip end of September Porto-Lisbon. Surely an old sea dog sailing as crew in 15 m yacht with following wind B5 and ocean swell is different, but it makes a refreshing change. Yet, single handed or with a friend or the wife in a Coaster surely is pleasant.
As the summer passed with COVID resting somewhat, mid-June the Natuurlijk Varen club organized the so-called Vechttocht, on a small river normally not sailed on much but recently made navigable with some new and unmanned locks, see Vecht 2021 – YouTube (in Dutch), 3 Coasters being present. Natuurlijk Varen advocates the use of sail and oars with outboards only for emergency and therefore Coasters are imperfect Raid boats. Only Mr. Branbergen with Struner is consistently raiding with oars, mast up and down, etc. although very occasionally he was seen with the outboard running as the locks were closed for traffic beyond certain hours. Assistance from the Province is gratefully acknowledged to have some manning at the locks to prevent them closing automatically and unforbidden with the Fleet inside!
The only NKDE event present with Coaster Medusa was the so-called Zomerweekend early September, Mr. Gijs van Kemenade acting as Admiral. He organized a Raid from Etten-Leur in the province of Brabant with a night at Breda and a tour of Breda canals, 4 Coasters, 1 Cruiser and a Scaffy being present. Breda is Dutch history, see Turfschip van Breda – Wikipedia as February 1590 a ship loaded with peat for Breda instead had 75 soldiers on board to capture Breda from the Spaniards in the 80-year war.
The Raid continued at the Biesbosch, a semi-tidal area with lots of little creeks as a remnant from the St. Elizabeth flood disaster Sint-Elisabethsvloed (1421) – Wikipedia. Your correspondent forgot to count the numerous Drascombes of all types but the visit to the museum and overnight in a small lagoon was fabulous. Having lived at the village of Lage Zwaluwe for some years and the local Chinese restaurant unable to bring food by boat, Medusa’s old 8 HP 2 stroke Yamaha swiftly brought the necessary. Evidently all other ingredients for an evening pick nick were already on board each of the ships. Again, a fabulous weekend.
Remains to report the mid-September so-called Dorus Rijkers Raid at Den Helder at the Royal Dutch Navy sailing club together with seagoing yachts, this year only 3 Coasters and 1 Gig present, last year 12 Drascombes being present. The issue is probably that despite the warm welcome at the club, the route around a few buoys at Marsdiep is difficult in wind-against-current conditions with Drascombes limited tacking and sailing sharp into the wind.
Regrettably the early November traditional Waddenzee weekend, for diehards, was sailed by only 1 Coaster TWW 2021 door Flor de Mar – NKDE, possibly due to the Admiral, Captain Chris, being absent due to an injury. Hopefully it will be sailed next year.
I wish you some very good sailing in 2022.