Thursday, December 30, 2010

X marks the spot

This was the spot. The cache makers [or whatever the official title is] have confirmed that we were in the right place, the cache was frozen in the ground. We can mark it up as a successful first cache, the kids weren't too worried that we didn't find anything. We'll go back and look again when its warmer, they decided.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Girl, dog, snow

We've had snow and ice for so long this winter that it's beginning to feel normal. Today we walked for 6 plus kilometers in the frozen North, doing our first ever GeoCache. We found all the clues and the location of the cache but couldn't find the prize.
Never mind, we gave ourselves a prize; warm chocolate, mulled wine and 'bitterballen' in Café Hammingh.
Thanks to TeamPraat for guiding us firsttimers and TeamJip for being there.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lost my iPhone

.... for a few days anyway. Claudia's white phone has a mind of its own when it comes to making noises so we decided to send it back to Apple within it's first year to get sorted out.
My black phone then became Claudia's phone, almost worth doing just to see how effortlessly it all worked. 
Top marks to T-Mobile's ProAssist for coming up with a temporary iPhone [arriving Thursday] while ours is in the shop.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday is ...

... making Jamie Oliver's standing up cannelloni lasagne before St. Nicholas arrives.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Improbable cupboard meets stubborn carpenter

Good job there is only one of these aboard the No Limit 24.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

In the bleak midwinter

Much to Em's dismay her Dutch family have cancelled Saint Nicholas. Postponed by a week, to be fair, due to snow forecast.
Uncle David is on his way though, all the way from France, to save the day.

My sensible bike

I'd promised Dave a picture of my sensible bike. With snow and ice and salted roads I'm really happy with my choice of enclosed chain and drum brakes. On Wednesday morning it was so cold that the gears had frozen though.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Ice and snow have caused this weekend's Optimist training to be cancelled.
We drove to the club to collect Kwark and take her to the workshop. We had to put her in the van on her trolley; she was frozen to the foam rubber!

Suddenly it's winter

I drove down to Lelystad on Thursday evening to have supper with David. As I drove home very small snowflakes fell.
This morning we woke to a white world, 3 inches of snow had fallen.
The forecast for next week is for nights with minus 8 or 9 degrees. Are my ice skates sharp?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two down

Eric steers the 'Vriendentrouw' away from our wharf and back to his mooring in Heerenveen, following the 'Watergeus', who left us yesterday morning.
This leaves us with a couple of days work aboard the 'Harder' in the foreground, then off to No Limit Ships for this winter's 'away game'.


'Harder' is a North Sea fish and the name of the tjalk belonging to colleagues Willemien and Siebe.
With a new addition to the family just around the corner it's all hands on deck to get things done.
I'm working on a place for the washing machine and fridge, cupboards and a desk.
It's fun, more like a relay race than work; pick up where someone else left off, do your bit then hand over again.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Three more tjalks

From left to right, 'Harder', 'Vriendentrouw' and 'Watergeus'. I'm not going to make the mistake of trying to identify the province they were built in. I did that once before and got myself into trouble.
The two on the outside are ready to leave us through the Antwerpen bridge, the first on Friday morning, the second on Saturday. The Watergeus will be back in spring so that we can finish the rear cabin.
Now a week's work has to be done aboard the Harder before we pack our tools into the trailer and start our new winter project, 'on location'.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Serious bikes

Em and I both bought sensible bikes this weekend. This is Em's, a Batavus Beagle with dynamo lights, mudguards and panniers for lots of school books. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

More battens (thanks Dave)

Today is a day full of strange S-shaped battens under the rear deck aboard Watergeus.

Bekassinen warmth

Clocks gone back, force 6 wind, rain hammering on the deck cloths ... mmm, wood burning stove.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

More wood

Friday morning I took the 'Watergeus' owners shopping for insulation. I spent the rest of the day putting plywood strokes in with the Hilti nailer or PowerBond. The interior panels will be hung on this wood after insulation. The Dutch word translates as 'ground wood'. What is the proper English term?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My pleasure

I spent another grey, cold wet day in a rescue boat at the DTP Optimist Camp today - and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The trainers, two of our most talented Laser sailors, with a combined age of 31, pushed the Opti kids hard. Today they concentrated on turning - tacks and gybes - then combined that with yesterday's straight line speed in the races at the end of the day.
What a pleasure to watch these youngsters coaching, and watch the sailors getting better by leaps and bounds and all of us out in the open air all day.
In the picture Em gets the hang of the 'extension behind your back at the end of the tack', another big step forward.
I wish I didn't have to work tomorrow, and miss the third and final day.

In a post on apparent wind 'yarg' writes 'You gotta love those people who can’t get enough of the things they are passionate about'. Thats just about sums up what made my day so good.

This is how you do it

Jelmer and Thomas are this weeks trainers at the DTP Optimist Autumn Camp. Both of them sailed Optimists at National and International level, now they are passing it on.
Here they have a chair on the table to demonstrate to the kids the wrong and right way to sit on the edge of the boat. They have obviously learned how to keep the attention of a bunch of young Optimist sailors.

Another beginning

The 'Watergeus' is a tjalk with a 'paviljoen'. The skipper and his family would have lived here 100 years ago. Now we're going to make that possible again.
Here we are starting with the floor, trying to keep as much headroom as possible.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Eric's bed, inspired by the roll up roof on a Citroen 2CV.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Training and cake

It took until late last evening before we heard from
Em how well the DTP optimist training had gone.
Far more important was baking a large batch of cakes with last year's main rival/this year's sparring partner Pim.

Location:U T Delfiaweg,Groningen,The Netherlands

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eisma installation

Not just a carpenter, Peter whistles while he works on the plumbing for a small wash basin aboard 'Vriendentrouw'.

Monday, October 11, 2010


These last couple of [almost computer free] weeks Peter and I have been aboard the Vriendentrouw working on the owners bedroom. I've been getting the floor sorted with heating under the pine floorboards, while Peter has been working on the hull sided.
Now we'll turn our attention to cupboards and a bed.

New keys

When the keyboard on my MacBook started to misbehave I polished my credit card and headed for the Apple shop. Replacing the keyboard means a whole new top case, the Apple guy said. I could feel my credit card shaking in my wallet.
Is your computer less than three years old? he asked. I opened CheckBook and found that I had bought it on the October 22nd 2007 - not quite three years. Then it is eligible for a new top case. Wow.
Six days later I'm the owner of new keys and trackpad. I've upgraded to OS 10.6.3 and it literally feels like a new computer.
Thanks Apple for a great bit of service.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A table for Eric, Senna and Lieve

Seven of us sat round the new table to round off the project and say goodbye; Em, Sietske, Lieve, Senna, Claudia, Eric and I. Polo was under the table and Herman should have been there but was called away.
We drank tea, ate biscuits and said thank you's back and forth, a fitting way to wrap up this job that we have been involved with for nearly three years.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

X-ray specs

We went to see Toy Story 3 in 3D. The glasses were less irritating than I expected, the effect was surprisingly good but I reckon the film would have been just as much fun in 2D.

A day at the office

One of the last things to be done aboard the Willem Johannes was to build the 'office'. Eric's daughter Senna sketched her ideal workplace and we built what she had drawn. The combination of desk and workbench turned out rather nicely.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Too quick for the camera

This weekend we took Kwark over the IJsselmeer to Hoorn where Em was to sail in the National Combi finals. 
Saturday the kids trained in marvellous conditions - sun, wind and big waves. Em came in with a grin from ear to ear, 'Dad I was completely upside down'. Not possible on our muddy puddle.
The four races on Sunday were not easy. Less wind and sloppy waves left our lake sailors pointing too high and struggling for speed. They were sailing against the top Optimist sailors from the seven Dutch regions too. Em had to fight for every point of her 23rd. place. 
Next year more big wave training, was her conclusion.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sadlers First

We had marvellous weather last Sunday for the club racing at the DTP. Everyone came off the water smiling, not just the Sadler family [who won the Optimist race and the 16m2 race].
Thanks to Eric's dad Ad for a couple of great pictures.

Monday, September 6, 2010

OptiTeam passes it on

On Saturday we towed the Watersportverbond trailer with six Optimists to Assen. Eva, Lillian and Hans Jurgen [in the yellow shirts] introduced forty-something youngsters to sailing and the Optimist while Gijs [already afloat], brother Pim [in the green shirt] and Em [where is Em?] showed them how it's done.

Red, yellow, blue and green

Hannah, Em, Mette and Charlotte.

Crossing things off the list

Work on the Willem Johannes is coming along nicely. We have a list of things to do in the next four weeks and we are working our way steadily through it.
Here is a removable bench for those moments when ten people come to dinner. Now we know how big the table has to be. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Em at work

Em rounds the windward buoy in Kwark during the last race last weekend, with the wind blowing force 5 and gusting 7.
This is how hard she was prepared to work for her place in the National Combi finals in September.
Thanks to Luwe Stroosma for the great photo.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Em's an Optimist A

The DTP kids at the fourth and final Combi event wave their silverware. Em is holding her plate for fifth place in the Optimist B fleet. This means promotion to the Optimist A's for next year's events and that she qualifies for the National Combi finals on the 12th September in Hoorn.
This weekend Em had to really fight for every point. Nothing went her way but she never gave up and was so proud of her overall fifth. [Me too!]
Hats off to the Schildmeer team who succeeded in getting the full five races in on a weekend beset with squalls and thunderstorms.
More pictures and Dutch report on

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Third and final round

Lieve, Senna, Eric and 'Willem Johannes' are back at our wharf for the last leg. Tables, stairs, desks, the finishing touches.
It's good to have them back.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Last week

It's a funny, muddled last week of the holidays. Doing things with Em, getting the workshop sorted before starting up again next week, running errands there will be no time for when work and school starts again an doing a bit more building at home on the barge.
Coming weekend we're back on the Schildmeer for an Optimist Regiotraining then Monday it's back to the real world. It's been a great summer break.

Monday, August 16, 2010

More Groningers in Fryslân

Em spent the best part of a week with at Camp Praat in Heeg, Friesland.
She had a great time there with Pim, Gijs, Djurre and Jitse. It sounds as if they spent most of their waking hours in or on the water and Sandra's training seems to have paid off as they took the first four places in the Optimist class during Saturday's Brekken Race at Oudega. Jitse, who was determined not to be last in his first ever Optimist race, wasn't! Great sailing all of you.
Thanks to Charlotte and Hans, and Sandra and Gerard for making this all possible.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

DTP OptiTeam at Sneekweek

While we were dressing up in sunglasses and silly shirts, Erwin [L] and Dennis [R] Bouma were battling it out on the Sneekermeer in the Optimist B's.
After an exciting week with all kinds of weather Erwin's consistent sailing brought him another first place, well done Erwin. 
It was close though; Dennis' fighting finish of two bullets in the last two races landed him a solid third place and means he's in form for the last combi of the season over two weeks, back on the Schildmeer. Well done too,  Dennis.
Congratulations too to Wouter Vos for his fourth place, three Groninger Optimists in the first five.

The rest of the DTP sailors' results can be found here: Sneekweek 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


One of the first things Em would say every morning that we were away was, 'do you think Yoghurt is still there?'
No need to worry, one rattle of the cat food bag and Yoghurt appeared, as if by magic. [I hadn't seen that Em had opened the side of the bag until I had uploaded this photo :) ]

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another Schildweek picture

Another great Hanneke Gillessen picture during Sunday's only race on the Schildmeer.
This was our weather and we proved it by sneaking into first place on a long run down the lake and not letting go.
This first place in the Groninger Seaports Race was Claudia's first sailing prize ever, and we made the newspapers - an Englishman winning at Schildweek making it an international event.

Polo, the Hunk of the Sneekweek

We went to Sneek today to see how Em's friend Pim got on in his first Sneekweek. 
We had our photo taken too. Is Pim the Sneekweek hunk, or is it Polo?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Our own barge as obstruction

We took the whole fleet to the Schildmeer for the 65th Schildweek regatta.

We anchored the barge in front of 'Camping de Otter'. We thought that this was out of the way of the racing but during Saturday's racing we sneaked round the breakwater and then had to tack to clear our own anchor line. Strung up on our own rope.
Not that it made much difference. We were struggling in 16 to 18 knots of wind, an unusual course and a fleet full of talented sailors. We learnt a lot though and what marvellous weather for sailing.

Thanks to Hanneke Gillessen for this beautiful photo. More to come.

Breaking down the walls

Back from our sailing trip to the Schildmeer and back to work on 'Op Hoop van Zegen'.
Having built a new wall and doors further down the hold it's time to dismantle the old wall, now in the middle of the room. This was one of the first things we put in about fifteen years ago; strange to be taking our own work apart.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Daylight for Em

New wooden hatches replace the heavy steel ones above Em's bed. Now she has daylight too; after years of cave dwelling we convinced her that a bit of light was a good idea. 
It wasn't easy, change isn't exactly top of Em's list.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Racing next week on the Schildmeer

Em has 12 competitors in the Optimist B fleet at the Schildweek, starting on Saturday, and we are sailing in a fleet of 28 16m2, our biggest fleet to date. It's going to be fun.
First we have to find somewhere to 'park' the barge.