The 2003 International Rally
a Dutch perspective
What do you mean, Sweden is a long way to sail to?
By: Lous de Bruijne (W5852)
Translation by: Ton Jaspers (W5011)

A couple of years ago, we moved and are living in Vught now. It is here that our long sailing career is revived. The club boat ever here is the Wayfarer. So, after selling my Laser two years ago, we bought one, too. This double-chined open boat is an international class, of which more than 10.000 have been built. On the English east and south coast, rows of them are parked at the various Yacht Clubs.  The class insignia looks a lot like that of the Dutch Waarschip (True-ship).
So, when we sailed the Solent in 1975 with our Waarschip near Chichester, we thought, at first glance, that we were seeing many Waarschepen, well, from a distance, of course! Anyway, the members of the Dutch Wayfarer Association looked for cooperation with the very professional United Kingdom Wayfarer Association and the Wayfarer International Committee, which is very active in various countries all over the world. A national championship and a national rally are open to all Wayfarers from the other countries. Also an annual International Rally is held each year where Wayfarer sailors from all over the world meet each other.

This year, in addition to the Dutch Nationals on Lake Braassem, we sailed the Danish National championship that preceded the International Rally in Sweden. The latter took place from the small Island of Malö north of Göteborg. The four Dutch boats that took part in the Danish championship and the Rally agreed during the skippers' meeting at our club “IJzeren man”, to meet on the Friday in Copenhagen. The Danish championship was being held out of the beautiful harbour of Hellerup, just north of Swannemölle harbour. Hellerup is also the home port of Paul Elvström. Hellerup Sejlklub has a beautiful clubhouse with a terrace that overlooks the Öresund and is filled with Paul’s sailing trophies and beautiful photographs of this four times Olympic champion. We camped out on the also beautiful camping site at Fort Charlottenlund, an old bastion that has a beautiful view over the Öresund.

For three days we sailed in a field of about thirty Wayfarers, including us, the four Dutch boats from IJzeren man SC. I sailed with Ans, and we were the only all-female crew. Hans skippered the boat of our fellow club member Ton. In the end Hans and Ton received the Most Improved award.  Yes, the Olyslagers firm, Dirk and Arnold, added honour to their title of Best Vught sports crew of the year by finishing as best Dutch crew. There were three races a day and we had to stay out on the water all day. Every day ended with a happy hour with free Tuborg beer, a meal on the terrace, beautiful weather and our own Wayfarer band that played Wayfarer songs.

Monday, after the championships, we left for Malö, a small island in the beautiful Bohuslan archipelago, near Ellös north of Göteborg, where the Halberg-Rassys, Malös and Nayads are built. We camped near a shallow, protected bay where we had to hammer into the bottom, a pole to which the boat was moored for the days to come - right in front of our tent. From Malö we made day trips depending on the wind and the weather. Inshore, where the rocky coast gets more and more covered by trees, or seaward where naked rocks stretch like big bald walruses floating on the surface of the sea. Among other places, we visited Gulholmen; anyone who has visited the Swedish west coast knows this town. Originally it was a harbour of refuge for fishermen that were looking for shelter. Nowadays it’s the “Volendam” of the Swedish west coast, but it is still beautiful and not overcrowded! Beautiful bright coloured cottages are set against the rocks with a view over the entire area.

Our group was made up of Danes that had also participated in the championships, Norwegians, Englishmen and an American. Many Brits did not come over because they were sailing their Nationals in the same period (Al's note: an optimistic thought, I'm afraid). Nice was the goodbye we waved to a Norwegian/American crew that sailed through the archipelago back to Oslo.

We enjoyed beautiful weather all week and had only one day without wind! That day we rented bicycles. That wasn’t a success because of the bicycles which were far too small and old - with dysfunctional gear shifts and tires that we did not trust much. So we asked if we could take a repair kit along. Well, they had never heard of such a thing!! If we were to have a flat tire we should just give them a call and they would bring us a new bike. You can guess what happened, after biking about half an hour it happened. Luckily there was a house nearby with friendly people that even spoke English and helped us. And yes, after half an hour a car arrived with a children’s bike in the trunk. Ans, the “little one” of the company, sacrificed herself. All in all a very beautiful ride but steep, and not really great with inferior bicycles. Ask Arnold about it.
So, if you would like to sail Sweden or Scotland in good company, consider the purchase of a Wayfarer as a serious option. We would also like to have more members!!!!! A few are still for sale.
The Wayfarer is a seaworthy open boat, with lots of buoyancy, suitable for cruising and racing. The cruising version is often equipped with a large tent, like the Germans use over the cockpit of their yachts. The English use the tent to anchor and enjoy the silence of the East Coast rivers with a dog and two children, as our guest Liz Feibush explained. Along the entire English south and east coast, Wayfarers are parked everywhere and races are held. Fowey and Falmouth week are examples of this. The International Secretary, Ralph Roberts, sailed with the Dutch chairman, Jan Katgerman, from Harwich via Den Helder to Workum to join the rally in Friesland. Isn’t that sport?!
A couple of years ago, a beautiful rally was organized by an Englishman in the Hebrides in Scotland. The safety regulations were very tight because the currents are strong and the weather can be bad and the islands are hardly inhabited. Water and food for a couple of days needed to be taken along as well. But the stories about anchoring in bays where seals are enjoying the sun on the rocks …… that is what we want to experience, too. But first we will join the annual rally in Denmark again with, who knows, another Danish Nationals?