Hoorn and Enkhuisen: 6 August, 2014

Edam to Hoorn, Netherlands Tour, 2014

Tuesday 5 August is declared ‘Ladies day’ with every OGA vessel commanded by a lady. The hot sunshine and light fair winds provide excellent conditions for the race over the Hoornse Hop from Edam to Hoorn, with line honours going to ‘Gwenili’ and young helmswoman Abbey receiving the ‘exchange’ prize of a giant OGA cushion at the prizegiving in Enkhuisen on Wednesday night.

Once again, the fleet was made most welcome at the Yacht Harbour in Hoorn, taking over the restaurant for an evening meal and being provided with berths together, in a cosy corner of this historic town dating back to 1250, and an important port for the Dutch East India Company from the 16th century. A large group of skippers and crews took up the chance to sail on a botter during the early evening, a typical boat of the area, with a specially arranged visit to the small museum of historic vessels.

Wednesday dawns more cloudy and windy than the fleet has been accustomed to, as we begin to feel the effects of Hurricane Bertha’s tail end. Everyone sets sail for Enkhuisen, looking forward to the anniversary dinner and celebrations at the Zeevaartschool.

As they arrive into Enkhuisen, the fleet of around 40 boats causes quite a stir with a throng of enthusiastic onlookers. The bridge-master opens and closes the bridge, alternating access between the steady procession of OGA boats under motor, and groups of pedestrians and cyclists going about their daily business.

Enkhuisen was famous for it’s herring fleet, working into the 1930s when the closure of the Zuiderzee prevented herring coming into the lake. Alongside the fisheries, many farmers lived in Enkhuisen, rowing out to tend their meadows in the hinterland. Today, the city remains an important maritime centre and includes the only sailing school in Holland training professional officers for the sail trade. In the grounds of the school, there’s a replica square rigger used for training.

It’s here at the Zeevaartschool that skippers and crews are provided with a magnificent feast of fish soup on arrival, seafood in abundance, with fresh breads, meat and vegetarian options to keep everyone’s dietary preferences well-satisfied. The sailing school made us most welcome, with plenty of space for our large gathering of around a hundred gaffers.

Cees van Spierenburg, Dutch OGA President, gave an address, awardomg the Victoria Trophy to Keith and Julie on ‘Maryll’. After the speeches and prizegiving, everyone danced the night away to the jazz, jive and blues sounds from excellent band, Let’s jump!