DCA Rally on Beulakerwiede
Friday 26 May
Four boats attended the second ever DCA Rally in the Netherlands:
Sybren and Tineke with their 155 year old Frisian yacht 'Njord',
Jan and Inge with their sailing barge 'Wabberwyn', Koos with his Artemis sailing canoe 'Wolf' and
Hubert and Klarie with their Norwegian pram 'Hatseflats'.
We left early for Blauwe Hand because we expected that the marina would be crowded because of the sunny weather and the Whitsunday weekend.
We paid 30 EUR for use of the trailer slip and two days' parking (parking used to be for free).
We sailed with Hatseflats on the Beulakerwiede but returned in the afternoon since Tineke had suggested to go for an evening sail after an early dinner at the restaurant.
So we met up with the others at 1730 at the 'Havenmeester' for some good and plentiful food.
Since alcohol-free red wine was on the wine list we decided to give it a try.
Our consensus was that it tasted too much like grape juice that had gone sour.
It took brewers many years to learn how to make alcohol-free beer taste really well,
so given a bit of luck we may live to enjoy alcohol-free wine in 30 years' time.
After dinner Koos launched his canoe from a nearby public trailer slip and Sybren and Tineke readied Njord at their boat-house.
Jan and Inge had brought their steel 'vlet' which had been used by the Dutch sea scouts in an earlier life.
We sailed with Hatseflats, also a 'vlet' but since our wooden boat was much lighter we were much faster.
Then out of nowhere, Koos zoomed past with his sailing canoe.
As Jan and Inge returned to the comforts of their home we waited for Sybren and Tineke.
Once in the Walengracht Sybren and Tineke poled Njord along until we reached an island just off the Walengracht.
Here we put up our tents while Sybren and Tineke readied Njord to sleep onboard.
After drinks it was an early night, helped by the constant humming of the midges in their thousands.
Saturday 27 May
Over breakfast, Tineke suggested a scenic trip towards the Beulakerwiede and then on to a campsite for canoeists for the night.
We quickly broke up camp and got underway before it would be too crowded with weekend tourists in their motor launches.
In the Vaartsloot we were joined by Jan and Inge in their vlet and together we rowed through the narrow canals.
Some of the canals were nearly too narrow for Sybren and Tineke's 'Njord' but it was magical to drift between the reeds and
peatlands in the morning sunshine.
Jan and Inge took the shortcut towards their home in Ronduite while we continued on the Vaartsloot until we reached the Beulakerwiede.
From there we sailed to the bridge at Ronduite, into the Boswiede and ended up on the canoe trail until we reached the canoe campsite where we would stay the night.
We pitched our tents within 10m from the big pole as required by the regulations for wild camping.
Jan and Inge had gone home to avoid the midges.
It didn't take long to understand their decision because as the sun went down we were eaten alive.
Koos started wearing his midget-proof headnet and Tineke pretended for a while that the midges didn't exist but eventually Sybren proposed that we all board the Njord and sail to open water to get away from the midges.
So we motored into the Boswiede and had drinks until the sun had set and we were certain that the midges had gone to sleep.
On our return we still found thousands of midges swarming around so we quickly went into hiding in our tents to sleep uneasily.
Sunday 28 May
While we were finishing our breakfast Jan and Inge and Inge's sister visited with their sailing barge Wabberwyn.
We broke up camp and started the first part of today's trip: down the Vossebelt into the Mastenbroekerskolk untll the Arembergergracht.
Sailing in just a breath of wind we glided through a still intensely green jungle-like landscape.
I would not have been surprised to see tigers or crocodiles.
We snaked for another hour until we reached the Schutsloter Wiede where we and Koos moored alongside 'Njord' for lunch.
Afterwards we sailed along the outskirts of Belt-Schutsloot towards the western Belterwiede,
passed under the bridge in the Beukersgracht and entered the eastern Belterwiede and sailed along with Sybren and Tineke.
There were hundreds of power boats milling around in the stifling heat so we were very glad when Tineke and Sybren kindly towed Hatseflats all the way to the marina.
Koos decided to add another day to his trip and sailed on towards the camp site and restaurant at Muggenbeet.
This DCA rally was quite a success because of the local expertise of Tineke and Sybren.
The next DCA rally in the Netherlands will be on 30 September and 1st October.
The venue will be the Lauwersmeer unless there is a volunteer for a different venue, eg. on the Grevelingen in Zeeland or on the Fluessen in western Friesland.
Map with annotations by Sybren Kingma Boltjes
Inge and Jan sailing a steel vlet - photo Klarie Bakker
Sybren and Tineke with 155 year old Njord - photo Klarie Bakker
Sybren poling Njord along the Walengracht - photo Klarie Bakker
Camping in the wild - photo Tineke Bos
Protected by the headnet - photo Klarie Bakker
Medicine against the midges - photo Tineke Bos
Jan and Inge visiting with Wabberwyn - photo Hubert Bakker
Dejeuner sur l'eau - photo Tineke Bos