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Published in Dinghy Cruising Journal 256

Dorestad Raid 2022

Wednesday 7 Sept

This year's Dorestad Raid started in the marina of Hattem on the river Ijssel (which gives its name to the Ijsselmeer). Traffic was dense and we were on a tight schedule so I was in a hurry to launch Hatseflats. As Gerben-Jan and Klarie rowed Hatseflats to an empty box in the marina, I drove the car and trailer to Vollenhove, the destination for our trip.
I was in good company as I saw several Dorestad sailors driving ahead and in turn was followed by Emmanuel Conrath. Once we had parked our cars and trailers we all boarded a luxury coach to Hattem, where the hotel-barge In Dubio was waiting. There were 23 boats and some new faces: Mark from the UK with his Solway Dory sailing canoe, Emmanuel and Marco from France with a Silmaril XL and Viola canoe, Pierre-Yves from Switzerand with a brand new Michalak-designed Mixer, Gert from the Netherlands with a Drascombe Lugger and Hein who was crewing for Dirk in the Drascombe Coaster.
We arrived in Hattem where In Dubio was waiting in the marina. During dinner it started to rain. Emmanuels improvised boat tent collapsed during the night, leaving him tired and soaked.

Thursday 8 Sept

After breakfast on In Dubio it was still raining so the briefing was held under a tent on deck. The destination for today was the Reevediep which is a reservoir between the Ijssel river and the Ijsselmeer. Its main purpose is to prevent the Ijssel from flooding. Not much chance of that today. The water level in the Ijssel was extremely low due to the drought that had continued during the summer. The navigable part was so narrow and shallow that all pleasure craft had to stay outside the shipping channel.
After the briefing we left the marina and turned left into the Ijssel. We sailed to starboard of the lateral markers. There was a drizzle but it wasn't too cold because there was not much wind.

While we followed the bends in the river, In Dubio steamed ahead. We passed under several bridges and enjoyed the rural landscape. Just before Kampen we crossed the Ijssel and headed for the Reevediep. After lunch at a muddy beach near the Reevesluis we passed the locks and entered the Reevediep. It was now sunny and warm and there was a gentle force 3.

The bridges in the Reevediep were high enough for sailing canoes but most of us had to lower our rigs. We had been warned that the Reevediep was extremely shallow outside the shipping channel. After one of the bridges we ran aground in 30cm of water while hoisting the sail on Hatseflats. It was hard going to get ourselves unstuck and sailing again. We found In Dubio alongside a pontoon and moored at the jetty. Emmanuel was rigging up his tent in the grass hoping for a dry night.
Pierre-Yves was unlucky to capsize a few times with his brand new Mixer and was towed to safety by Boudewijn.

Friday 9 Sept

Today we were sailing from the Reevediep to our destination in the Kadoelermeer. We left the Reevediep and returned back to Ijssel and sailed towards Kampen. It was cloudy and a bit more windy. On Hatseflats I took a single reef.
After a while the beautiful old Hanse city of Kampen came into view.

Our lunch spot was on a stony shore opposite the waterfront. After lunch we passed the Ganzensluis lock which gave onto the Ganzendiep. The weather was cool and cloudy. I was glad I had reefed with the sudden gusts between the houses along the Ganzendiep. We moved from the Ganzendiep into the rural Goot. The wind increased but it was beautiful sailing. Finally we skirted the Zwartemeer which looked ominous under the dark skies. Then past the Kadoelerkeersluis and we were into the Kadoelermeer. We moored our boats around our mothership In Dubio and went on board for snacks and drinks.

Others had a more eventful trip: Bobs PFD went off while he and Steve were escorted to the Zwartemeer by Janko and Gerben-Jan. Lieuwe and Douwe capsized Amice with her innovative but heavy rig and were towed in by Dirk and Hein. Pierre-Yves was unhappy with his new Mixer after capsizing once again. Freek damaged his steering mechanism which triggered Hans into making an emergency repair. And finally, Koos capsized no less than 3 times.

Saturday 10 Sept

Today's trip was to sail from the Kadoelermeer to Vollenhove, then Blokzijl and then on to the Giethoornsemeer with a detour into the Beulakerwiede. As most of the route was to the north this meant much rowing. It was going to be a sunny without much wind so I shook out the reef. Dirk and Hein were towing Pierre-Yves' boat to the end point Vollenhove. This allowed Pierre-Yves to take it easy and sail with Emmanuel on the Silmaril XL. As we sailed past Vollenhove we passed the Royal Huisman yard. The super yachts were probably all sleeping in their huge buildings because we didn't see any. Once past the Vollenhoermeer the canal was too narrow for sailing so we took to the oars. Sybren stepped ashore and started towing Stirn to the historic fishing town of Blokzijl.

Blokzijl was busy with tourists visiting the market. We had lunch while waiting for the lock to open. There was much interest in our boats especially the pedaling mechanism on Wuptem. After the lock we had a briefing of the second part of the trip and continued towards the Beulakerwiede.

We sailed through the Noorderdiep and Valse Trog into the Giethoornse Meer and passed the cyclists' ferry at Jonen. It was a beautiful sight to see the canal littered with small boats reaching towards the Beulakerwiede. The sun was out and made it even more memorable. After a while it cooled off, the wind died down and we were drifting back to the Giethoornse Meer. Here we moored as a big raft against the In Dubio and went on board for our last evening together. Traditionally the last evening is 'variety night' which means anything goes. There was also a prize giving ceremony, awarding Emmanuel with the much coveted 'Pride of the Fleet Award' and prizes for the best sailor (Marlies) and the 'French ambassors' (Hubert and Koos). The prize for the best poem went to Sara and Freek.

Sunday 11 Sept

Sunday's trip was a short one from the Giethoornse Meer to Vollenhove via Blokzijl. There was hardly enough wind for sailing so we decided to row all the way back to Vollenhove.
During the briefing Sander suggested to pool our resources at the narrow slip in Vollenhove. Sander was made the beachmaster-general and asked to coordinate the hauling-out of 20-odd boats at the slip. Hans was promoted to master-driver tasked to drive the trailers of all the boats up the slip in his VW van. At this point there was only one thing left to do: the group photograph on deck of the In Dubio. As our usual photographer Joop Rikkers could not be with us, Sara took the shot.

Then it was off to the water.
It was warm and sunny again. Fortunately we were on the early side so many tourists were still asleep as we reached Blokzijl. Then it was a long haul to Vollenhove where the beachmaster-general and master-driver ensured that all boats and trailers were handled as smoothly as possible.

The routine was: get trailer to slip, park car standby, put boat near slip, pull trailer up the slip, hitch to car and drive off. It all went remarkably well. We said our goodbyes to Leo and Hannah, our hosts on 'In Dubio'. And so came an end to the most international Dorestad Raid ever.

The route for Thursday
Marco sailing on the Ijssel in the rain. Photo Emmanuel Conrath
The 'In Dubio' passing the fleet on the IJssel. Photo Sara Pleyte
Koos sailing on the Reevediep. Photo Sara Pleyte
Friday's route
Sailing past Hanseatic Kampen. Photo Sara Pleyte
Dark skies over Sander in the Goot. Photo Eliane Attinger
Moored alongside 'In Dubio'. Photo Emmanuel Conrath
Route for Saturday morning
Sybren towing Stirn towards Blokzijl. Photo Sara Pleyte
Ready to raid Blokzijl. Photo Sara Pleyte
Route for Saturday afternoon
Canal sailing towards the Beulakerwiede. Photo Emmanuel Conrath
Sailing on the Beulakerwiede. Photo Sara Pleyte
Route for Sunday
Group photograph. Photo Sara Pleyte
Mark steering with paddle. Photo Sara Pleyte
Retrieving our boats in Vollenhove. Photo Sara Pleyte