The bad stuff about the trip is forgotten already, like night sailing through a fishing fleet and arriving in a strange town harbour at 4pm with a temperature of 32°. The good stuff outweighs the bad massively.
Holland was remarkably neat, well organised and welcoming - as long as you do things their way!
We accepted the fact it was a 'motoring' holiday with only the occasional blistering sail thrown in as a bonus. Compared to our previous trips, we did a lot more sightseeing and that was fine.
Our experiences were logged into the Cruising Association website for other sailors to read. I very much enjoyed the Dutch food especially the cheese from Gouda!
Lesleys impressions of the trip
I'm still surprised by how nerve wracking it is to sail at night in seaways you don't know, such as the night passage during our 140 mile trip across to Holland. The strange lights you see that might spell danger, the constant checking to make sure there's nothing new in sight and the struggle to keep your night vision while still checking a lit chart plotter.
Loved the beautiful architecture of Holland, the clean neat streets, the general efficiency of the bridge and lock operation and the mind boggling achievements of engineering in creating dykes and polders and giant lifting bridges. Also loved the Oude Gouda cheese and Stroopwafels.
It was a special kind of journey with almost zero sailing but huge practice in mooring and unmooring, sometimes 10 times a day as we tied up to wait for bridges and locks. Also lots of practice at manoeuvring at close quarters in very small spaces. And some bumps and scrapes as evidence.
Our distance run looked poor compared with previous trips..only about 500 miles but then we were going very slowly and inland!
The ever inventive Nic designed DIY mozzie nets for the hatches using midge netting and turquoise gaffer tape. We didn't suffer a single bite, even on the hottest night in the canals. Result.
From both of us.
Would we do this kind of trip again?
We would recommend any sailor to do the Dutch canals once. But then, we do own a classic sailing boat which doesn't really belong on a canal. She needs her freedom.