Friday 2nd September 2011
Earlier this week we sailed the Pegasus on the IJsselmeer and everything worked perfectly! We could handle the boat very well together, so a plan emerged to sail to England together. Through Zaandam we arrived in Scheveningen. Friday morning we did some shopping, bought a seamap of the U.K., replaced a piece of handline and tanked some diesel. At noon we put to sea at Scheveningen, compass west.
Of course the GPS had to be set: Lowestoft 52 degrees, 28.31 minutes north latitude and 1 degree 45.39 east latitude. Another 95 miles to go. Also switched on the VHF radio and there was a repeating call from a ship to a sailingboat on channel 16. Since we were the only sailing vessel in the neighbourhood, Fred responded to the call. It was from a ship doing seismological seabed research and we navigated straight on his measuring equipment, that lay a few kilometres behind his ship. If we wouldn’t mind changing our navigational route a little bit more to the north, which we did of course with pleasure. All sails hoisted and with a calm wind of about 3 or 4 Bf course 240 degrees. Switched of our mobile phones, no coverage anyway. Like the FM radio. So we plugged in the MP3 on the radio and there was our music ringing out of the outdoor speakers. Suddenly we heard a horn. It turned out to be a oil rig at sea. Slowly it gets darker; I have never seen such a stunning sunset! Now comes the terrifying part, the highway of the ocean-going vessels: Shipping Lane.
Apart from a big containervessel that passes really closely, the first Shipping Lane was relatively quiet. However, when we arrived at the second lane, the visibility was less and to be able to react more alert, we let the motor run idle. Fortunately no ship in sight! After a nervously exciting night it gets lighter and lighter and we see a sunrise from out of the sea, something you can’t see in the Netherlands. It turns out we had too strong a flow direction north and thus we had to sail into the wind to go south. So sails down and motor switched on. After sailing 20 miles we see the English coast. Now find the buoys that mark the sandbanks near Lowestoft and then sail around them with a wide turn. Through the VHFradio we call the Royal Marina Lowestoft to find out if there is a slip. Luckily there is enough room and on Saturday 13:00 Dutch time we secure the Pegasus to the pier of the Marina. At the harbour office filled in the form with the name of the boat and the owner’s name and without any check (we didn’t even had to show our passports) we set foot on English soil. Very tired, but very satisfied we rested ourselves in the saloon of the Pegasus. Since the (rather strong) wind was mostly south the next days, we decided not to sail along the coast of England, but to wait for a milder wind to take us back to the Netherlands. Wednesday 7th we decided to sail back home. At 13:00 Dutch time we unhook the ship from the pier, to discover after 10 metres that the motor didn’t drive the propeller anymore. With the help from the bow propeller we could push the Pegasus back to the pier and secure the boat. Fred ducked in the engine compartment to establish that the prop shaft was again detached from the motor. The restauration the wharf in Lelystad had done, was insufficient. I, Caroline, went out hunting for a Loctite-like glue and Fred dismantled the brace that should have kept the shaft in its place. After an hours search Caroline scored a couple of glues and Fred assembled the brace with some glue on the prop shaft. Round 16:00 we left – yet again – Lowestoft harbour. Sailing in between the sandbanks it turned out that the wind was stronger than predicted and we decided to sail only on - a little part - of the jib. This was a good choice; with a standard windforce of 7 with peaks to f8, we spurted direction Ijmuiden.
We arrived there Thursday at 13:00.