Boat life continues

We are continuing to isolate ourselves on the boat. Staffan works every day and I have been busy sewing clothes. I brought a lot if my fabrics and my sewing machines onboard.

Cutting the fabric
A new pair of jeans

I have also insulated the compartment under our bed, since we have some issues with condensation on the wooden boards

So we bought Armaflex and attached it to the hull. It works great! I also made covers for our hatches to get some insulation there and to avoid condensations.

Armaflex 19mm

We go for an hour speedwalking everyday to get some exercise and one Sunday while walking and talking I (Eva) tripped on a branch and fell.

Gggrrrrr

I could barely walk back to the boat and we quickly realized my arm needed to be checked. I was convinced it was broken. The doctor did not think it was broken since it wasn’t swollen… So she suggested to keep moving my arm and to take Paracetamol. Just moving the arm hurt so bad it made me cry. After a sleepless night I went to the hospital and the X-ray clearly say the fracture, and my arm was not swollen still. I got my arm in a cast.

At the hospital

Two weeks have gone since I fell and I have a new cast since a few days, when I had an appointment with the doctor. I still cannot move my arm without lots of pain, so I got a new cast. My whole left part of my chest hurts from many pulled muscles and probably a broken rib or two. This is super frustrating for me since I cannot keep active and doing the things I like. I can bake with one arm, so we have fresh bread and cakes all the time. But time will heal, and it will get better.

Thin bread made in a pan
Brownies

Stay safe, stay inside and take care!!

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We are back!

After a long silence, it is time for an update. We have not done any improvements on Varuna during the winter, but did the “normal” spring routine of cleaning, adding two layers of antifouling, polishing before launching it March 6.

Antifouling going on

January and February was so cold, but it didn’t stop me from working on the boat.

Ready to launch

In the water!

That same weekend we moved onto the boat. We had sold our house we lived in for 10 years, got rid of a lot (!) of stuff and sent some to storage to Sweden. We are so happy and comfortable onboard.

We went for a day sail beginning of April with our daughter and her boyfriend. Due to Corona we cannot and do not want to go to other towns around here. we were surprised that the forecast suggsted winds up to 6 knots, but we had to reef maximum when the winds were a lot stronger. Kept us on our toes, and it felt good to be on the water and being active.

We play a lot of board games!

All of April has given us beautiful weather! During Easter we went sailing and anchored in a nice, calm spot.

Easter dinner!

We even went for a dip, and I can say it was very refreshing!

We recorded a short video of our life onboard through our cats’ perspective.

Vacation!

On July 13 we left for our vacation. We topped up the diesel before we headed out. As soon as we had moored there the worst rainshower came over us and we escaped down below and just waited until it had stopped.

img_0870

Well, that cleared up a bit, but it was in a bit of a misty weather we sailed towards Amsterdam and IJmuiden. So while we motored through Amsterdam, and I always need something to do, I made us some fresh baguette.

We made shrimp sandwiches. Yum!

We stayed for the night in IJmuiden Marina. Not a very exciting place actually, but we didn’t want to head out to the North Sea at night when the wind had picked up.

July 14

We left IJmuiden to to sail south on the North Sea. We had winds between 12 and 25 knots, and some uncomfortable swell, but we sailed along the Dutch coast steadily.

We moored in the very crowded marina in Scheveningen in the afternoon. We were the 3rd boat alongside, and it was very tricky to get in there among all the boats.

Full focus on tennis! 

We rushed ashore to find a bar we could convince to turn on the Wimbledon final.

We enjoyed a fresh summer dinner in the cockpit.

July 15

As the boats inside of ours were leaving at 6.30 in the morning, we decided to leave as well. And it showed to be a wise decision. We headed further south past Hoek van Holland in the same crazy swells as the previous day. We had about 10 to 13 knots of wind and up to 2 knots of current with us, so we had good speed. We came into Goere lock at 11 to wait for them to open it, but they had suddenly decided it would not be opened until 2 pm! We had to wiat for 3 hours for this lock to open. Glad we left early. From here we motored through the landscape and went through Hellevoetsluis, a bridge that needed to be opened, before arriving in Willemstad at 7 pm. What a cute little town! We went for a long walk after dinner.

July 16

Before we continued our trip, we went for a walk around the fortification shaped like a star. The town was just waking up and as we came back to the marina the boats were leaving.

This was the day we finally could change our winter clothes to summer clothes. Going from sailing with fleece, foul weather gear and winter hats, we were blessed with sunshine and warm winds, finally! Motoring through locks and bridges and nice landscape we kept ourselves busy with reading, playing card games and baking. We arrived to our next destination, which was Yerseke.

Summer temperatures!

The very old village of Yerseke has about 6,500 inhabitants. It is known for its aquaculture. They farm oysters and mussels since the 1870’s. Of course we could not resist tasting this delicious “Zeeuwse platte”!

And for dinner we had the other delicious seafod Yerseke is famous for – the “Black Gold”

The tidal water differs with 4 meters!

July 17

In beautiful sunshine and complete calm seas we left Yerseke and motored through Zeeland to a town we have wanted to go to with the boat for a long time. Veere. We went there by car, and it is another one of the very picturesque towns in the Netherlands. We knew we had to come early, becuase it is a very small harbour. We moored alongside in the middle of town.

When the sun comes out we like to take out the solar oven GoSun to bake or cook food. This time we made cinnamon roll.

July 18

We went through the Kanaal door Walcheren, via Middelburg to Vlissingen. Six bridges were opened and we went through two locks, so the 10 NM took us 5 hours! We could have never imagines it would take such a long time! The last lock, Buitenkeersluis took us out to the North Sea again, before we headed into the Michiel de Ruyter harbour. We were not aware that during the few days we would be there, they temporary fair was in town. Constant music and noise from all the people and merry-go-rounds were quite annoying.

The town of Vlissingen gave us a firework show on the first night.

Unfortunately Ida had to go back home after a week with us, and we waved good bye as she got on the train.  

We left Vlissingen for a day with the ferry and a bus to go to Bruges in Belgium. It is one of the towns we have wanted to go see, so this was perfect when we were so close to it.

There was so much to see in this cute town, but we only had one day. We headed back the same way with the ferry.

Sailing with crew

June 15

Our son came and sailed with us. Although they are now grown up, we love that they like being with us on the boat. We came to the boat in the evening, met up with Staffan, who had finished work,  at the local beach bar and had a drink. We made dinner onboard, and had a beautiful sunset, as we so often do. We are so lucky.

The following morning we went sailing for the day, as we all had some plans we could not be gone all weekend. It was nice and warm, the temperature in the water was already 19 degrees. With extra crew onboard we could trim the sails, and we came up in some really good speed considering our boat is quite heavy and not exactly a racing boat. 🙂

Lunchtime!

This crew is not as helpful, but very nice to have onboard! 

Our new rig

Last Thursday we went to Medemblik to Varuna. We wanted to come there in the eveninng to test all the new mast LED lights after our mast had been refitted. All worked well.

We brought the cats with us, and they adjusted well. I am not sure they loved it, but I think, if we are happy and calm, they will be too. They stay down below, and are not interested in moving around in the cockpit or on deck. We let them take their time.

On Friday we went through everything the riggers had been working on.

We have new standing and running rigging. That feels very good, safe and secure. We have installed a removable inner forestay, jacklines, a radar reflector. A couple of mast steps at the top of the mast.

We have a whisker pole and a permanent preventer mounted on the boom. The gas spring in the rod kick has been replaced snd the electric furler for the main sail has been serviced. We are very happy with all of the wirk Rake Rigging have done.

Glass cabinet

We used to have a TV installed in one of the cupboards in the salon on our boat. Since we don’t watch TV, and could not really see a purpose in keeping it we took it out of there. And while this could be another great storage compartment, I felt I wanted to do something special with it. We had some wine glasses and dessert wine glasses on the boat already from the previous owner, and they were kept in their original cardboard box. Then we were gifted with these beautiful Hallberg Rassy cups, that we just could not keep in the regular galley storage.

My (Eva’s) second cousin who previously owned a Hallberg Rassy gave these nice cups to us. They are no longer in production.

We basically needed a special cabinet for our fancy stuff. So we installed a light that comes on then the cabinet door opens and two shelves from plexigalss which we cut holes in, in sizes to fit whatever we wanted to put in there. It turned out pretty good we think and it is a pleasure to open it and be able to use these nice items to make it feel more like our home.

This is the final result.

Safety first

We have four fire extinguishers onboard. One in the forward cabin, one in the salon, one in the owner’s cabin, and one in the cockpit. They are most likely from 2005, when our boat was built, and we did not feel they are reliable anymore. So we decided to change them all. They are all powder extinguishers, and although that causes major mess if used, that is what it needs to be on a boat.

2 kg fire extinguishers

We also installed 4 smoke detectors, since there were none before. One is in the forward cabin, one in the engine room, one in the slaon, and one in the owner’s cabin.

In the galley we have a fire blanket.

We just hope we never have to use them!

Hull

We have put in some extra work on the hull the past few weeks. We scraped off part of the old antifouling, sanded it for a smooth surface and put a layer of primer Seajet 017 on the hull.

Painting primer Seajet 017

Then we painted the hull with 3 layers of antifouling Seajet 023. That is what is allowed to be used in the waters around the Netherlands. It was a lot of hard work but feels so good now that it is done.

First layer of anti fouling we did red, the next 2 layers were blue.

Here the second layer is half done.

We cleaned and polished the hull. I (Eva) really dreaded doing that, since I did that on my own. My frozen shoulder wasn’t looking forward to holding a polishing machine for several hours. But it went much better and faster than expected. The weather was nice and “almost” warm that day, so now that is super shiny! Polishing the deck we’ll do later when the boat is in the water.

 

We have changed the stoppers on the gori propeller. Removing them was no problem, but putting the new back was a lot trickier! We tried several times before we finally put the rubber stoppers in hot water to make them more workable, and then it was quite easy to put them in place.

We have moved the propeller shaft a little more aft to make room for a rope cutter. It has been attached.

The shiny new rope cutter

Work during winter

This past winter when our boat has been on the hard, we have of course missed sailing, but it is really good to be able to do some needed work. Since our mast has been taken off we went to service the 2 winches on the mast, which we feel is much easier when the mast is down. They were not as bad as the ones in the cockpit, but yes, it was needed! We also cleaned the whole mast to give it a good protection for the coming years.

It is a loooong mast!

Greasing the winch

Engine upgrade

I spent the whole day of yesterday on the boat. We had two service engineers from Marine Service Loosdrecht there to help us with some things. Our turbo was completed corroded and had to be changed. We moved the shaft aft so we can put a rope cutter on it. We installed a new diesel filter. And we had a pump installed for getting water out of the diesel tank.

At this time of the year it is so cold to be there. We have a small heater, but it is so old that it quit working yesterday. So we started the diesel heater and it got warm in no time! Very comfortable. I am surprised that it does not feel humid onboard in spite of the wet weather it is in the Netherlands all winter.

In the meantime I had some smamler jobs I wanted to do. We have a cupboard in the salon where the previous owner had a TV. We never used it and sold it, so we will make a glass cabinet for our wine glasses, and nice cups. So yesterday I installed a LED light that turns on when the cabinet door opens. I will also make plexi glass shelves and install.

skåp1

I am also working on dividers for the drawers in the galley drawers. I cut all parts out and assembled them and have started to varnish them.

That is it for now!

Boatlife in the winter

It is January and it feels like boating is far away, but actually we can put the boat back in the water in only two months! We cannot wait! I went to the boat yesterday, and it is on the hard. The wind yesterday was quite strong, about 28 knots, and I was happy we don’t have the mast on our boat. But I was a bit worried the ladder would blow down, since the yard was not exactly crowded with people… Luckily my husband works nearby, so in case of emergency he could come and save me.

A boat on the hard in the winter is not the coziest place on earth. No textiles are there, we removed all cushions, food and anything that might get affected by cold temperatures and humidity. But I was surprised how much I just love being there. I play music, put the tiny heater on, do some chores and bring a packed lunch and just enjoy it.

The new curtains are now up in in the aft cabin, and every little step to make the boat our in every sense is great. We still have lots on our list, but we are slowly getting closer to better safety and learning everything about the boat.

I am going back tomorrow to take some measurements for the next project.

You might have read about the container ship that lost 270 containers on the North Sea, some with dangerous substances. They have found very few of them… I hope they will be retreived before we go out sailing there again. It is sad for the environment, the beautiful beaches, the wildlife, and boaters when these things happen.

https://www.fleetmon.com/maritime-news/2019/24685/mega-container-ship-lost-containers-north-sea-some/

 

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.

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 Spodsbjerg 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 sailed 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.