Before we could set off I had to give an English lesson to one of my favorite students in Abu Dhabi via Zoom and Peter had a video business call with Saudi Arabia.
Walking to the showers a strong breeze was touching my face. It felt stronger than forecasted. Luckily no rain, but a thin layer of cloud that allowed the sun shining slightly through it. I decided that our first day of "only us" at sea together was going to be alright. After all, we managed to sail in that end tail of the storm from Mandal, so we should be alright.
Away from the safety of the marina the wind & waves were welcoming us in a generous way. Way too generously, actually! Peter was at the helm and navigated us safely out of the entrance/exit area of IJmuiden. A couple of large vessels pounded through the waves when overtaking us. Once they had passed, the sea was ours and we turned to port (= left) towards Scheveningen.
From a distance we could see three other sailing boats bobbing heavily on the waves and we watched their strategies when hoisting the sails.
Actually, before we had left the marina, we had already discussed our strategy: defensive sailing, i.e. a super reefed main sail and a full jib. The reefed main sail is to give us the needed stability and the jib to give us the needed forward speed.
Peter did a fantastic job hoisting the sails, whilst I kept the boat into the wind. Finally, the engine off and the sound of nature took over. Straight away, you could tell that Ocean Deva was in her element. She danced on the waves trying to find the most elegant path for us. Yes, there were some jumps and pushes to the left and right, but all in all she and we were fine!
We had an average windspeed of 22 knots and a good speed through the water of 6 to 6,5 knots. Unfortunately, the current and wind were against us, which slowed us slightly down by 0,8 knots. Considering how little sail we had up and how stable Ocean Deva was, we were delighted with our pre-set strategy.
We passed “het Kopje” van Bloemendaal, Zandvoort, and Noordwijk. Before we knew it (only 3,5 hours later) we arrived at the anchoring area near Scheveningen. Amazing and sad at the sight… tens of large cruise ships were anchoring out there. Probably already for months, waiting for Covid-19 to go…
We passed the Zaandam from the Holland America Line, took in the sails and whilst we made our way through the waves we saw hundreds of kite surfers. We would have loved to admire their skills, but we had to concentrate on our last segment of the journey: getting into the harbor and marina.
Still not totally at ease with the VHF radio and what to say to the other side, I had to call the harbor authorities. This harbor is pretty tricky from lay-out and on top of that it is a commercial harbor. I called channel 31 and said hello and asked them if we could proceed into the harbor. “Ocean Deva, yes go ahead”.
With the help of our chart plotter Peter knew sort of where he had to go, and I had to get the fenders out and prepare the lines for mooring. Whilst doing that, I heard someone saying: “Ocean Deva, Ocean Deva, port authorities, over”. Hmmm… that’s us. With my most professional voice: “Port Authorities, here is Ocean Deva, over”.
We were instructed hanging low on the right-hand side of the harbor and wait for a tender boat to come out first. Still not knowing what to expect, Peter got out of the way of the main channel and I had time to finish off my “preparing for mooring the boat” department.
Suddenly a pretty large vessel came out of nowhere and sped in front of us. Another call for Ocean Deva that we were good to continue our journey towards the marina.
Yeah…marina found. Nobody answering the VHF nor the mobile phone. Where to moor? Suddenly a small dinghy with two young guys showed up and they gave us instructions where we could moor up the boat.
Engines off & lines secured. Scheveningen here we are!