Day 5 – in the big boating house

Cadzand to Den Helder Ijmuiden

Andrew cleaning the cockpit

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt on our trip to far, it’s to be relaxed about where you’ll eventually end up! Aim far, but be prepared to rein it in, as the situation unfolds.

Den Helder on my mind

So it was on 24 June we left Cadzand’s pretty little harbour and beautiful sandy beaches, with our sails up heading up through the Scheldt Estuary, with Den Helder as our ultimate destination in mind.

They call it mellow yellow

We had light south/easterly winds, sunshine and calm seas. Idyllic. So out came our new bimini, which we put on back to front to start with! Easy mistake, believe us! With the new shade above us, we got out our cheese and pickle sandwiches, and then proceeded to fight off the plague of flies, dragonflies, butterflies and all manner of other flying insects that seemed to be attracted to anything yellow on the boat.

Our new bimini

Sunny, hazy, lazy days

The wind reduced, and our slowed pace gave us time to to read chapters aloud of ‘The Riddle of the Sands’, whilst keeping a weather eye on the numerous buoys we needed to follow. The sunny hazy skies cast a dreamlike quality over the horizon and shore line.

Our peace was soon broken, when the wind dropped entirely around 2pm. The engine was on for an hour, until we could sail again. We passed mile upon mile of container ships anchored in a long channel, like a giant lorry park, waiting for their turn to enter Rotterdam.

watching the boats go by

With the sea like a mill pond, Andrew took the opportunity to give the cockpit a good clean, and I had a go at cleaning the toe rail, with some handy face wipes. So much easier to get into those little gaps.

Another Abel and Cole mezze style picnic under the bimini at tea time, with little faces popping up out of the water to watch us go by. The first of a number of brown seal sightings.

Around 6.30pm we radioed ahead on channel 03 to the control area Maas Ent, to let them know that we would be entering the special small craft channel across the entrance to Rotterdam port. We were making 6 knots under sail at this stage, and were able to get across ahead of 2 large container ships exiting the port.

At 8pm, as the temperature dropped, we ate more cheese and pickle sandwiches and drank some tomato soup. Lush. We discussed whether to put into Scheveningen, the port close to Den Hague as we approached it. At this point we were still making 6 knots under sail, so chose to press on.

Around 10pm a sea fret started to come in, and we were back into our cold weather clothes with hats and jackets. The engine was now on to motor sail, and we took the decision that another 5 hours or so in these conditions wasn’t great. So we decided to put into the port of Ijmuedin (pronounced aymudin apparently).

Our night time entry into Ijmuedin was a text book lesson in knowing your lights at night! As we approached the channel to enter the harbour we could see three red lights, indicating the vessel was constrained by its draught, on top of a large container ship exiting, with the white over red lights of the pilot vessel in support. We waited until they were safely clear, and then proceeded in following the leading lights that took us safely into Seaport Marina.

There was no-one to raise by radio at the Marina so we chose a free berth and settled in for the night. And as it was dark, we didn’t take any pictures either, so you’ll just have to imagine it!

We didn’t have time to check out or use any of the facilities at Ijmuedin. What we do know is that there was very little water under the boat in our berth! And we could have downloaded an app to book and pay for the berth – which we’ve now downloaded but haven’t used as yet.

Our daily stats

We were under way for just over 15 hours, covering nautical miles, we motor sailed for around 8 hours, and sailed the rest. Our average speed was 5.6. We used 5 gallons of fuel. You can see our route on the AIS chart below. If you want to find out how you can track our progress live (most of the time), check out the chart on the Crystelle Venture page.


Don’t forget you can not only read about our travels, but also listen to them on our podcast – Two in a Boat. We update our blog with details when new episodes are or will be available here. So why not subscribe and see how we are getting on? We’d love to have you on board.

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