Sailing Holland

What comes to mind when someone mentions Holland? Tulips, canals, famous artists? For us, today, it meant sailing. After helping the small crew raise three huge sails, we felt our three-masted schooner rock gently underfoot. Soon we were scooting briskly downwind with a following sea. Texel, here we come!

Texel is an island north of Holland, bordering the North Sea, where we are spending the night. “We” is a group of four girlfriends from the Washington DC area who decided this is the best way to see Holland in the spring. We first spent two days touring Amsterdam and are now embarked on an 8-day “Bike-and-Sail” on board the Mare fan Fryslan with eight other adventurous tourists. It’s our 3rd night on board. We’ve biked one day and sailed one day. Tomorrow, we face strong winds in a bike tour of this island that seems owned by the sheep. Stay tuned. See captions below. (I’m doing this post by phone so please forgive any typos.)

Andrea, Susan, June and I prepare to board the boat. We took a tram and then a bus from our hotel to the dock, in Saturday crowds, muscling our luggage the whole way.
This 177′ boat was originally a cargo ship. With 14 cabins, it can fit more than 22 passengers but has only 14 on this trip, its maiden voyage of the year. (Read more about the boat here.)
Our touring group includes people from the UK, Canada, Singapore and the US. Our guide Tom (center front) is Dutch. Naturally! (I’m missing from this photo because I’m taking it.)
We boarded the boat in Amsterdam and are now on Texel Island.
During our 1st day on board, we got acquainted with our 7-speed bikes, lined up here next to the boat awaiting their first excursion
Our first stop was the town of Volendam, a Catholic holdover from the days of the Protestant Reformation. Like other countries in Europe, there is so much history here from both religious wars and world wars.
On our 2nd day, we arrived by bike in the charming town of Hoorn just in time to join the local population in the square on a sunny Easter Sunday.
Biking is a form of transportation more than a sport in Holland And it’s not only young people. This white-haired man is pushing something large.
Susan is wearing the bright yellow vest because she played sweep, taking the back, on our 1st bike ride.
See the 2nd house from the right? How it’s leaning forward? Dutch homes are often built deliberately this way. Some say it’s to help move furniture to upper floors. Some, to help rain fall off the roof
Some, to make the house look bigger.
We’ve gone through three locks so far and passed by a 30-mile-wide dam. The Dutch sure know how to manage water.
We hoisted three of the boat’s four sails today. It wasn’t easy.
Here, Susan is trying to help me by adding her weight to mine to get the crank to move. The higher up the sail went, the harder it was to raise.
David from Canada, Nikki from the U.K. and Randy from Georgia join me in admiring the sails aloft. (My hands are still on the crank.)
After we raised the sails, we also helped to trim them. They are such big sails, it took several people on the line – including First Mate Marvin, in the black hat.
Evenings on board are spent playing cards in the dining area…
….or visiting in the bar…
…or enjoying the hot tub. (I’ve never seen a hot tub on a sailing vessel before!)
Tonight, on the island of Texel. We expect to see a lot more sheep as the boat heads south.

5 thoughts on “Sailing Holland

  1. Have a wonderful experience, Mary! You have an adventurous spirit and a strong constitution. But raising that sail requires some help!


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