Summary of our first season

What a summer and fall it has been! We were sailing in shorts and t-shirts in October in the Netherlands. We have been able to really get to know our boat and to know what we want to do to make her even better! We did a lot of sailing, all locally.

Hoorn. A very cute little town.

I did a lot of cooking with my GoSun. A solar powered cooker for meals as well as baking. It worked out great! Here I made some fresh brownies.

Medemblik. They had to open the little bridge you see in the background for us to come into the inner harbour. This is were our mast is right now to get a proper upgrade by Rake Rigging. This is also where they build the Contest Yachts.

Next stop Texel. We rented electric bikes and went around the whole island. It was really beautiful, and exotic.

We went to the Kaap Skil museum. It tells us all the stories about shipwrecks around the Waddensee. 

One part of the museum shows what the “professional” beachcombers have found on the island. You can only imagine all the stories behind thes items! 

Walking through the sand dunes.

Sailing into Amsterdam is really something special. We stayed at Sixhaven Marina where it is always very crowded. The harbour master will always find you a spot, even if you think it is full. It is located on the north side of the IJ river, and you can take the free ferry across to explore. Another plus is the large Jumbo grocery store walking distance from the marina. 

Bikes of Amsterdam

De Gooyer Windmill in a very cozy part of town.

We always had fresh herbs onboard. Good food is very important for us!

The lighthouse of Marken

One evening in Enkhuizen the fire department came to the harbour area and sprayed water like fountains! It was so hot so people were running through it and jumping into the canal.

Now Varuna is on the hard. We are continuing the maintenance and improvements to make her a safe and comfortable vessel.

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Sailing Denmark to the Netherlands

The AIS guy eventually came and did the installation. He skipped his mother’s birthday party to help us. Very kind of him. We had issues with the antenna cable, so luckily we had an emergency antenna that we could use for the trip.

We sailed away Saturday morning from Karrebaeksminde, Denmark. There wasn’t much wind but we made it to Spodsbjerg on the first day. We tried some fishing, since there is really good fishing waters around that tiny town. Lucky us our friend Geert caught a flatfish and 2 cods.

Beautiful sunset in Spodsbjerg

The cute town of Spodjsbjerg and the Harbour office.

Day two we went all along Langeland island, which is very long…  down to the beginning of the Kiel Canal and moored in Stickenhörn. Very boring marina, not very guest friendly. It was a Sunday, and everything closes early if they are even open. We had a delicious cod dinner onboard.

Day three we got up at 7 and got underway. We purchased our tickets to go through the Canal on the right shore side of the old lock.

Very convenient. It cost us €35. You are obliged to purchase “Merkblatt für die Sportschiffahrt auf dem Nord-Ostsee-Kanal”, but we could not figure out where to do this, and suddenly we were in the canal and it was forgotten about. Once we had entered the Canal, we had a great breakfast with egg and bacon. It started as a chilly morning with some rain, but turned out to be a beautiful sunny and hot day!

Our dear frineds brought these nice hats for us on our maiden trip!

You see all kinds of interesting boats on Kiel Canal

Going through the canal was quite nice, with a lot of activity on the canal as well as next to it. We exited at 4 pm as calculated to match it with the strong current we would have with us going out on the Elbe river. The water was completely flat, absolutely no wind. As we were motoring and having checked the weather we passed Cuxhaven and continued on to Helgoland directly. We had an amazing sail there, sailing into the sunset with the moon rising behind us.

Sunset

Moonrise

We moored in the moonlit harbour at about midnight as the third boat from the jetty. The first one was leaving the next morning at 6 am, so the guys were kind to get up and rearrange the boats.

Day 4 I got up relatively early to get some provisions and made us all blueberry pancakes. We were then ready to explore this tiny, but interesting island. The nature and bird life is beautiful and we had a really nice walk around it.

When Staffan was walking by some other boats he heard his name, and it was a colleague from when he worked in Singapore on his yacht. He was sailing it down to the Mediterranean. Funny, what a small world it is!

Day 5 we had to take care of our battery issue. We had realized when we were motoring, our batteries did not charge. Very strange. We tried different things, as changing a fuse, and checking the power on all connections. But as we all have limited knowledge about this, although our friend Geert can fix almost anything, we had to wait until we came to the next marina to get this one solved. This was the time. After consulting with the local electrician, and 2 other good friends that have a lot of knowledge we were suggested to get start cables and it would be sorted. Easy! Well, if you are on an island without cars it is not easy. We had to go to the electric company that provides the whole island with power to help us. They did not seam too busy so they gladly made too thick cables for us at no cost! That is some good service! We connected them and started the engine and voila! Worked like a charm!

After that, we left Helgoland and its mystery and moved further south. We had a overnight sail to get to Texel, and we split the night up in two watches. Debbie & Geert started with the 22-02 watch, and Staffan & I did the 02-06 watch. It was quite cold that night, although we had had very warm weather and a bit too light winds actually. The following day (Day 6) as we approached Texel it was pouring with rain. Since Geert believes that if he doesn’t get wet, dirty and tired, it is not real sailing, we gladly stayed below while he volunteered taking the rainwatch. We supplied him with hot coffee and soup, and he seamed to be happy. Texel has incredible tide water. Now during full moon the difference was 2 meters, so we had about 20 cm under our keel as we cam into the harbour.  A bit nerve wracking.  It cleared up and we had a lovely meal in the cockpit with local oysters and bbq’d shrimp and fish. Unfortunately Geert cut himself quite badly while opening the oysters, so I was glad I had updated our first aid kit.

The cute island of Texel

Day 7 we left in the morning to sail into Amsterdam. We had fog all day and that was interesting as we came closer to IJmuiden and boats and ships were coming and going. We had great training on our radar that day.  We entered the lock and went through the Nordzeekanaal to Amsterdam Marina in a bit of drizzle at times. This Marina has the most amazing service building. On the second floor are the showers. At the end of this corridor there are two rooms that have bathtubs overlooking the marina and the IJ river. Really fascinating to sit there and see that!

Amsterdam Marina

Day 8 was our last day of this maiden voyage on Varuna. We went through Amsterdam with all its ferries, sailboats, tugboats, cruise ships through the Oranjesluis out into the IJmeer to our new home port of Muiderzand.

Busy Oranjesluis

It was with mixed feelings we arrived. We were so very happy everything had gone so very well, with big thanks to our dear friends Debbie & Geert and we were a bit sad it was over.  We saiked 442 nautical miles. Now we look forward to sailing on the Dutch waters and explore the many cute little towns around here.

Splashed!

We are so excited to finally be on our boat. We came here Tuesday afternoon. Varuna was out of the shed on its trailer and we moved in and got sorted. We had a very basic first meal onbord, but of course the best one ever.

The following morning we were ready at 7 am, when the crane and the truck came to lift Varuna and drive it down to Naestved harbour. Everything went great and she was in the water – floating.

It was a beautiful day with really warm weather and no wind. We were so lucky!

Mast and boom came on and lucky us, the bridge opened and we could go through and out to Karrebaeksminde. Staffan went with Niels, the previous owner while Eva went provisioning.

When Eva was back and had stored everything, our friends had arrived in Naestved by train, so she went to pick them up. We had a great dinner with them onboard, and immediately continued fixing things for us to get ready to leave.

Lovely gifts from our friends

Thursday morning we started with putting the head sail up. It looked like it has never been used, as it was bought last year.

Then we continued with the main sail. Both are furling, which makes it easy and convenient while sailing.

It was time for our test sail, and it went really well. We tried most of the systems onboard, and we are so happy.

It was our last day with the rental car, so Eva and our friend Debbie went provisioning for our trip while the guys worked on the boat.

We shared a beer with the previous owner, said good bye and had a celebratory dinner made on the Magma bbq!

Today is Friday and we are ready to leave if it wasn’t for the guy that we asked to install our AIS. He has had 4 month to do this, and he has not managed to finish it yet. A cable was missing, we provided that, software needed updating, took him 2 days, and now he says our antenna is not ok. To be continued…

A boat needs a name

Every boat needs a name. We have had a hard time renaming our boat. On our two previous boats we kept the names they had from the previous owner, but this time we wanted to change it for two reasons. We didn’t like the name it had, and we wanted to make it more personal. So we asked around for suggestions, searched the internet for a name that felt right. We have now come to a decision.

DRUMROLL

The name will be

Varuna

In the Hindu ancient text, Varuna is the god of oceans, his vehicle is a Makara (part fish, sea creature) and his weapon is a Pasha (rope loop). He is the guardian deity of the western direction.

This is a beautiful picture of Varuna, that is made by the painter Pieter Weltevrede. I have his permission to post this.

We think this is a perfect name for our boat. Another reason why we like is that we have lived in India for a few years and have learned to love the country and culture.

We would like to hear the names of your boats and the story behind it, so please leave a comment.

Glasses

What kind of glasses are you using onboard? We currently have glasses for cognac, wine and shots in real glass. Nothing in plastic. Very nice if you want to have really fancy dinners and serve all kinds of different drinks.

For those of you who know me, will understand this will end up with us having NO glasses very soon.

So I have been looking at options and many recommend Govino glasses. Made of very thin plastic, and they look very nice. Since this was not highest on our priority list I have not ordered them online. Then last week when I went to town to look for a pressure cooker in the local kitchen appliance store that have EVERYTHING, I of course went by the clearance table and I found these glasses for sale.

The one to the left is a champagne flute, and the one to the right is a wine glass, or anything else you would like to drink. The original price was €15 for 4 glasses, and now they were €5. What a bargain! I was so happy  as I went to pay for them, and then realised that it was half off the already lowered price. So I paid €2.50 for 4 glasses. I always like a bargain. As you all know, when you buy anything for the boat it is usually much more expensive than buying for a house.

 

Spring cleaning started

We have spent the whole Easter weekend on our boat. We had a looooong list of things that needed to be done.

We started by scraping off the antifouling.

We washed the deck thoroughly by hand, and the hull with a long brush.

We were so lucky to be able to use a fork lift so we could easily clean without having to use a instable ladder. When this had dried completely we polished the deck and hull, including the stainless steel, the mast and boom.

Then we painted the bottom with antifouling.

We checked the bilge plug. Looked ok, so we screw it back again.

We cleaned the inside everywhere. Vacuum cleaning and wiping off all the surfaces with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. I went through the galley completely. What is there and what we need to buy or bring. Cleaning the galley took so long. I still have not been able to get the oven clean, so it is very dirty still. The super duper oven cleaning product I bought did not do anything. I have now been recommended using bicarbonate soda and vinegar, so will try that when we come back to the boat in May. We will also unscrew all the floor boards and clean there, as we did not have time for that now.

We attached a life sling to the pushpit. we checked all the light bulbs, as we want to change them to LED.

We tested the emergency tiller, so now we know how that works.

We painted the chain every 5 meters, as that is what had been done before.

We cleaned the anchor chain locker. Not the easiest thing, as it is very deep.

We removed the current name and home port from the hull, and we will order letters for our new name.

We measured the deck for attaching jacklines.

We went through all manuals, checked what had been done for winter service earlier.

The seller was there visiting every day. He has been so helpful answering all our questions, and showing us tips and tricks.

We are so happy with our boat. We cannot wait to get her in the water and sail her to her new home port.

We are also very excited that he could sell us some things we will need onboard. We now have 2 foldable bikes, a Magma gas BBQ, an emergency VHF antenna, and 2 extra water pumps.

 

Doing all of this inside this hall was so nice. We drove there in full snow blizzard, and it was a very cold Easter weekend.

Now we still have a long list of things that we need to do before we head up there in May.

Foul Weather Gear

We just bought ourselves shiny new foul weather gear. Our old ones were 20+ years old, big, bulky and uncomfortable. The material wasn’t breathing these newer materials hopefully are. So it felt like wearing huge plastic bags. These new ones are more fitted and much more comfortable. I cannot wait to sit in the cockpit wearing these to keep me warm and dry.

We wanted different colors and we wanted same brand. But because fit is so important we got one set from Helly Hansen and one set from Musto. They look very similar though.

I also need to rave about our foul weather boots. I have never liked rubber boots. They are so clumsy, and they never fit. Then we found Lizard Spin. It feels like wearing sneakers. Completely waterproof, warm and great fit. I can wear them always, unless it is weather for sandals.

I just want to claryfy that we are not being sponsored to rave about great products. However… if someone has an idea and love us and want us to try something out, maybe we can work something out. 😊 We do have lots of stuff on our wish list.