the International Wayfarer Rally 7/29/11-8/7/11
a report by
Maribeth Fletcher

Friday 7/29/11  (cloudy, 20ºC)   Even  though we arrived early for sailing at the International Wayfarer Rally,  Joke and Lous met us at the train station and drove us to Heeg, baggage and all.  Hans and Lous and all of the Dutch people were most gracious hosts the whole time, making sure that everyone had what they needed.  Jim and I got a boat ride to the In Dubio where we unloaded our bags and stayed for the next six days.

Saturday 7/30/11  (cloudy 20ºC)  After breakfast, we made our sack lunches for the day.  Jim and I sailed with Julia and Al across the same lake where In Dubio was anchored.  It was quite windy, so we had to "heave to" in order to eat our sandwiches and drink our drinks without spilling anything.  Beautiful scenery with many different types of boats out sailing in the lake.  When we got back home, we ate dinner at a restaurant and came back to the boat to sing songs from the Wayfarer song book.  Accompanying us were: guitar, ukulele, sax, flute, and harmonica.  It was lots of fun.

Sunday 7/31/11  (cloudy 20ºC)  We sailed into town where we walked around until a ferry took us to  ATALANTA, an old-fashioned sailing ship anchored near the In Dubio.  We all took a ride on the boat and helped hoist the sail.  It was so windy we only needed one sail.  Our destination was Heeg and we returned to the Watersport restaurant where we were properly welcomed by Hans and Lous.  Wooden shoe souvenirs and Wayfarer decals were given to everyone.  The six countries represented were also given souvenirs: UK, Ireland, Canada, US, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

Monday 8/1/11 (sunny 16ºC)  Narrow canal sailing was the order of the day today.  The canals that we sailed in were filled with motor and sail boats, so we had to tack about every 20 seconds.  Sloten was the beautiful quaint town where we stopped for lunch.  The most exciting part of the day was the bridge that we came to where we had to sail underneath keeping our mast at a 45º angle because the bridge was low and would hit our mast if we kept our boat straight up.  We were towed three times because of light air.  Langweer is the town we stopped at for the evening anchoring with In Dubio and Atlanta.

Tuesday 8/2/11  (23ºC)  Winds pushed us down the canal today.  The highlight was going through three bridges that we had to be towed through.  The railroad bridge came apart diagonally so that the tracks were out of the way.  We anchored for the evening at Grouw.

Wednesday 8/3/11 (23º cloudy)  We sailed across the lake at DeGeau.  We all went to the Theihaus restaurant and walked around the city.  It was interesting to see how they transported tractors to different cities by using ferries and stopping all boat traffic.  We were towed twice today.

Thursday 8/4/11 (sunny, windy  23ºC)  Sailing out of Grouw, we passed through a narrow lake and into a narrow canal.  Each tack lasted no longer than 15 seconds for two hours!  We were towed by Jan ad Dieuwke to the town of Akkrum to hear the tolling of the bell.  We missed our bridge opening and waited one hour until the next one.  We ate our lunch and talked in our boats, which were tied up to the sides of the canal.  Julia lost one lens in her glasses and she couldn't sail, so Jan and Djuke towed us to their house and we stayed there while Jan put his boat away.  Al Schoenborn and Dick Harrington fell into the water and the rest of the fleet sailed into a safe harbor and the cruise ended.

Friday 8/5/11 (sunny, windy 23ºC)  No sailing today.  Jim and I walked into town to do laundry.  We looked into renting bikes for the next day with Bobbi.  We visited a maritime museum of the area which was very interesting.

Saturday 8/6/11 (partly cloudy 22ºC)  Jim, Bobbi, and I rented bicycles for the day and visited a 400-year-old working windmill (above).  This windmill was used to cut wood.  We watched the master sharpen the blades of the saws in the mill.  Then we carefully walked around the inside of the mill and walked to the top.  All three levels were available for tourists to see.  The best part of riding bikes were the sights and sounds of the countryside.  On the other side of the dike from you, were cows sometimes, boats sometimes, cities sometimes.  Then we rode our bikes to Workum, to visit the Jopie Husman museum. Jopie was a self-taught artist who drew and painted breathtakingly realistic pictures and paintings.  The very modern museum nestles in a quaint village and was crowded.  In total, we biked 38 km.

Sunday 8/7/11 (overcast, very windy 20ºC)  We were  going to watch the Sneek Week races, but they were called off for the day.

Monday 8/8/11 (rainy, 23ºC)  left for Amsterdam with memories of an enjoyable sail and newly-discovered friends, having experienced a truly unique culture.

Maribeth Fletcher