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The GOSSIP

Number 141 / February 2003

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only came into being following common sense. The main thrust of these is that you should never put yourself in the position of being out of control, having no water to sail in, or risking imminent collision. We did discuss whether to treat some of the rules seriously, and some not, but ditched that approach. For those of you uncertain about rules, the Group does have a nice little book (available from RodL), or there are plenty of books on the market. The IYRA introduced new rules in 2001 as some of you will have noticed with the starts, which are now with hooters/flags at 5, 4, and 1 minutes before the start, and then 'Start'.

The discussion then veered on to what were actual problems, and we concentrated on the starts. Unfortunately, maybe, we rely on partners/press ganged people/bystanders kidnapped etc. to provide the person-power on the shore, because we're all sailing, and we made a common resolution (I think) to make the briefings better, and properly brief our starters.

There is a kit with flags, horn, umbrella, buoys for marks etc, but there have been problems with transporting all of this. Briefly, if any sailor is uncertain about the start, they should keep back off the line, and not risk impeding other boats, or going over the line early. We decided to make a recall more easily seen, if there was a messy start. The other problem can be at marks, and the general rule to follow is that you can't impede or barge, and should be sailing 'a proper course' from mark to mark. If you don't know what this means, please ask. One final point - crowding up at the start, or a mark, only puts you in dirty air, as opposed to clean air, so avoiding all of this should do you good.

So, a successful weekend, and thanks to SteveR for organizing it. Last year's meet here was disrupted somewhat by building works. This time Lakeside proved to be an even better venue.

 

Canoe Sailing In Holland (PaulW)

Following a discussion with Jan & DaveP before dinner at the Boaters Restaurant on 5th October, about the possibility of sailing on the Dutch lakes, whether in Friesland or Zeeland, I wrote them a letter with some ideas:

There are three main sailing areas in Holland:

(a) the Frisian lakes in Friesland in the north;
(b) the IJsselmeer, south of the Afsluitdijk, between North Holland and Friesland;
(c) the Zeeland lakes in the south-west of Holland, which were created after the disastrous floods of 1953 by closing all the major sea-arms north of the Wester Schelde that lead from the North Sea to Antwerp, with large dams/dikes.

The IJsselmeer, which can be reached from some of the Frisian lakes through canals with quite a bit of paddling, would be alright on calm days, but if it blows or starts to blow, as the water is rather shallow, there can be very awkward, steep, short waves,

Scale: From Roermond to the Frisian lakes is about 130 miles.

which are no fun even in a 30-footer, let alone in a sailing canoe. Nor does one want to be caught in this a few miles from the shore.

The Frisian lakes or the Zeeland waters would be the most suitable for sailing canoes. The Frisian lakes range from small to quite large. They are fun, the landscape is very flat, and it is easy to let the canoes into the water from the various campsites-cum-marinas near the lakes. There are pretty old towns to visit as well on rest days. Masts will have to be shipped now and then to go underneath the bridges on the canals that link the various lakes. The Frisian lakes could be reached in four hours or so from Hook of Holland, whether via the Afsluitdijk or going via the IJsselmeer polders on the east side.

The Zeeland waters, which are really large lakes now, are wonderful for sailing. They, like the IJsselmeer, have brackish water - sluices/locks in the dams let the tide in and out to control the water levels created by the large rivers that feed the lakes - and there can be a certain amount of current. The great advantage of these waters is that, apart from the large Oosterschelde, one can seek shelter relatively easily if it suddenly starts to blow. Here, too, there are many campsites, most of them near the water, and the canoes could be launched easily. There are pretty towns to visit here as well. The Zeeland lakes can be reached from the Hook in just over two hours; if Dover-Calais was contemplated (it would I think be cheaper than Harwich-Hook) then Zeeland can be reached in four hours or so.

If the OCSG were to consider a Dutch outing sometime during the next few years, then I would be willing to make the necessary enquiries and arrangements with the campsites, etc.

Bernard suggested combining the Roermond trip with a visit to one of these areas - Ed.

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