DCA Rally on Lauwersmeer
- Carl with French-built Ilur
- Hubert and Klarie with home-built Norwegian pram 'Hatseflats'
- Rene and Monique with Micro Challenger 'Suus' on Saturday
- Marten-Jan Giesing with home-built Bolger-designed Chebacco Alskar on Sunday
The first ever DCA Rally in the Netherlands was held on 22-23 april on the Lauwersmeer.
The Lauwersmeer is a former estuary of the Wadden Sea which has been separated from the sea by a dyke since 1969.
Over the years, the salt water became bracken and later sweet.
It is a beautiful area for cruising dinghies.
Saturday 22 April
Saturday morning began mild and windless.
Rene and Monique drifted with Suus towards the marina at Oostmahorn and Hubert joined with Hatseflats.
There was hardly any wind but at least it was dry and there was a watery sun.
Carl arrived in the early afternoon to launch his Ilur.
By that time the wind was picking up and the skies were grey with rain clouds.
Since Rene and Monique could only sail on Saturday they sailed Suus back to their home port in Lauwersgat.
They wanted to get the sails down in time for the thunderstorm that seemed to be developing.
Carl and Hubert and Klarie took their boats out on the water for a short outing.
Hubert suggested to sail round the Schoenerbult island in the middle of the Lauwersmeer, but it was getting late.
Carl was trying out his new standing lug sail on his Ilur but wanted to sort out the problems with his downhaul in the marina.
So we decided to go back to the marina and give it another try in the morning.
It didn't look as if there was going to be a thunderstorm but the sky looked very grey.
When we sailed back the rain fell down and we were soaked.
We decided not to pitch our tents under the harbour office and instead sleep at our home, some fifteen minutes away.
Once changed into dry clothes we drove back to the restaurant in the marina.
There we had dinner with Rene and Monique, Carl and our friends Koos and Bert (Koos created the Raid Extreme event).
Sunday 23 April
On Sunday we made an early start because Carl had to drive back to Brussels during the afternoon.
It was dry with a SW4 blowing.
Hubert and Klarie sailed out of the marina on Hatseflats with Carl following with his Ilur.
There was not enough time to round the island so Hubert proposed a short sail towards Ezumazijl and back into the marina.
As Hubert was putting in a reef, Marten-Jan arrived with his Chebacco.
Together we beat towards Ezumazijl.
Marten-Jan was faster with his Chebacco but the Ilur and Hatseflats were well matched.
On the broad reach back into the marina we had glorious sailing.
We helped Carl to put his Ilur back on the trailer and said our goodbyes as he prepared for this six-hour trip back to Brussels.
We lunched with Marten-Jan on the Chebacco and decided to sail round the Schoenerbult island in clockwise fashion.
We reached into the canal between the bird reserve and the island.
It was like sailing into a funnel with the red and green markers creeping ever closer to each other.
Then the canal made a right turn and we had to short-tack our way to the southern tip of the island.
Marten-Jan sailing alone found it hard work to constantly tack jib, main an mizzen and furled the jib halfway through.
On Hatseflats we zigzagged our way down the channel until we reached open water again.
Here the Chebacco came into its own although Hatseflats kept close.
The downwind run towards Oostmahorn in each other's company was very enjoyable.
All too soon we reached the marina but it had been a wonderful weekend.
The next DCA rally will be on the Beulakerwiede on 27-29 May.
More details on the Dinghy Cruising site
and the calendar of Natuurlijk Varen.
Meeting up with Rene and Monique in glassy conditions on Saturday
Marten-Jan sailing Chebacco 'Alskar' on Sunday
Carl sailing Ilur with standing lug
Ilur beautifully sailing on a broad reach.
Hubert and Klarie on Hatseflats.
The Lauwersmeer, a former estuary of the Wadden Sea.