The OGA fleet left Amsterdam for a short, leisurely passage to Durgerdam on Sunday 3 August. The historic Waterlandse Zeedijk at Durgerdam, originally constructed in the 13th century, rebuilt after a flood in 1421 and once again rebuilt after a fire in the 1687, was of major importance. It protected the hinterland, below sea-level, from the powerful waters of the Zuiderzee. In 1905 Durgerdam’s fishing fleet numbered 135 vessels and 256 fishermen.
The OGA fleet was made most welcome at the Yacht Harbour, with a party ashore and ferry service provided by Fred in his motor launch for those at anchor. The multi-coloured, wooden houses stretch along the dyke, making a picturesque backdrop to the 300-berth marina with anchorages just offshore. Several gaffers enjoyed an excellent evening meal at the only restaurant, de Oude Taveerne in an idyllic setting overlooking the Ijsselmeer.
Young East Coast trainee boatbuilder, Abbey, joins the crew of ‘Gwenili’, arriving by train and taxi in the evening. Concerned at the likelihood of storms in the wake of Hurricane Bertha, ‘Lillibulero’, ‘Witch’ and ‘Cygnet of London’ leave the fleet at Durgerdam to make passage back to the English East Coast.
As dawn breaks on Monday, there’s excitement amongst the gaffers at the prospect of sailing at last! There’s no shops in Durgerdam and it’s a long way to walk in Edam, so ’starvation rations’ comprising freshly baked bread, a wedge of fine Dutch cheese, professionally prepared fish soup (frozen for convenience on board) along with a bottle of OGA NL10 specially brewed beer were distributed to skippers. At the 0900 briefing outside the Harbour Office, a chart was provided alongside the rations for skippers to create their own race to Edam.
Following an excellent day sailing and racing round the buoys, the fleet was made most welcome in Edam with a special meal of roast chicken, salad and potatoes followed by an amusing approach to announcing the results and prize-giving by Rik and his ‘able assistant’ Fred. Awards were based on pulling names from a hat, rather than computing handicaps, everyone was a winner, whatever their achievements, with all the prizes typically ‘Dutch’.