Anchoring, Dutch Style

  Saturday, August 29, 2015 / Stephanie / Sailing Exploration  

It's been over 1-year since we dropped and set an anchor from aboard S/V Rode Trip and now, for the first time along our canal travels, we had an opportunity to anchor Detour.  Just like riding a bicycle, right?  Previously we had a completely manual, fantastic system.  We'd communicated well with one another and used the same technique for dropping and setting the anchor each time; we'd anchored so frequently that each of us could do it independently (provided good conditions) and rarely did we have to utter more than two words from the bow, "You're IN!"  As we entered the Leukermeer, a fabulously large lake opened before our eyes and we looked at one another with delight.  We were both thinking it, oooh goody, we can anchor!  An then, I shattered the moment with one, logical question, "How do you anchor with a windlass?"  Brian thought for a moment and responded, "Don't know, never used one."  And so we continued farther into the Leukermeer ready to just figure it out! The Leukermeer was bustling with activity.  The lake had two large marinas, one smaller marina providing guest spaces, and two large campgrounds.  There were motor yachts, dinghies, row boats, and sailing yachts buzzing all around the lake.  Using our ANWB navigational app for the iPad, we scouted the mooring places.  Indeed, each mooring space had two or more boats but there was something a bit different about these moorings.  The boats were moored to the shoreline, bow first, all in a row.  Interesting.  Farther still into the lake there were two boats anchored, yet still the same shoreline moorings.  We thought about this for a while.  "Let's try it!" Brian proposed.  I was hesitant.  We'd certainly moored to the shoreline along the canals, but I wasn't sure how this would work.  I hemmed and hawed while Brian went straight to work getting the stern anchor from the storage locker as the boat drifted in the open water.  "Ok," I finally agreed, "there are larger boats moored the same way, it should be alright for the boat.  Besides, if we are going to stop here we might as well be able to get ashore since we still don't have a dinghy."  Anchor out, docklines ready, stakes and hammer available, we scanned the shoreline and selected a quiet looking spot with only one other sailboat moored. As we approached the mooring space, the couple aboard S/V Gibson hopped out of their sailboat.  Not only willing to catch a shoreline, when I cautioned them this was our first attempt ever at this type of anchoring, they were each reassuring and totally walked us through this process.  I can't thank Rob and Susan enough!  Brian drove Detour slowly toward the shore while Rob explained what lines we would need; two from the bow, two from the middle.  I went to work prepping lines and threw them to Rob, followed by our stakes and hammer and he hammered the stakes into the ground.  Meanwhile, Brian had dropped the stern anchor while continuing to inch forward.  The bow just touched the shoreline, boat still floating no worries.  Rob attached lines to the stakes in the ground and handed me back the free ends so the lines could be adjusted from the boat.  Susan continued to hold the bow rail, ensuring the boat would stay positioned.  Once two bow lines were loosely tied, Rob told Brian to check the anchor.  "If it's not in, we'll have to do this again," he said.  Brian pulled, and pulled, and pulled on the slack anchor rode...finally, hooked!  The anchor was set.  Brian then joined Rob ashore and I remained on the boat per their instructions to adjust the shorelines.  We were anchored, Dutch style!Rob looked up, mission accomplished, and said, "That's a big boat."  Now moored next to Gibson, roughly the size S/V Rode Trip had been, we had good perspective on our upgrade.  Rob's comment began a conversation that went on, and on, and on as we quickly got acquainted.  Rob and Susan are our age.  They had resurrected Gibson, Rob's father's boat, from the boatyard and have been sailing the boat during holidays.  They'd just begun a week's holiday at the Leukermeer, which is very near their home port.  We kept chatting and chatting and when Rob and Susan began explaining the layout of the Leukermeer and it's trails we realized we still hadn't solved the problem of getting ashore.  Climbing over the bow rail, under the overhanging mast would be no easy feat!  Rob and Susan had a nice, secure ladder coming ashore from their bow; obviously professionals!  I hauled the gangplank out of the storage locker and brought it to the bow.  "Let's use this!  We never get to use this!"  At this idea Brian was hesitant, "I don't think that'll work."  But Rob was optimistic, "Sure it will!  Do you have any rope?"  Brian fished some rope from the storage locker and Rob soon fastened the gangplank to the anchor roller on the bow.  A walkway fit for a princess!  We chatted and chatted some more with Rob and Susan and then finally broke for a little exploration of the lake, only to return later for beers and conversation aboard Detour. Brian and I walked around the Leukermeer.  It was blackberry season, which made for a nice appetizer prior to dinner.  There were people everywhere enjoying the fresh water and sunshine.  It had been a hot afternoon.    Making a wrong turn, we stumbled into a field of flowers.Back on track, we'd reached the opposite side of the Leukermeer and had a splendid view of Detour and Gibson.We crossed the bridge over the entrance to the lake, after nosing through one marina, then got distracted in the campground looking at all the neat water toys for the children.  It's times like those, when cable-bridges and ropes courses are available, that we wish we had our little friends along to give us an excuse to play!   The next morning I went running to explore the neighboring lake, Reindeersmeer.  The Reindeersmeer is separated from the Leukermeer via a lock.  The lock does not allow boats into the Reindeersmeer because it is a nature preserve.  The lock actually has a restaurant inside!  The nature preserve had great hiking trails and was absolutely gorgeous.  It even had a cable-bridge that I got to use to pull myself across the Reindeersmeer!  I woke Brian with my adventure and I think for once he was actually a bit jealous that he hadn't gone for a run too.  We had a great tour aboard Gibson and more wonderful conversation with Rob and Susan.  Susan had me practicing Dutch words that she had taught me the night before.  We learned much about the Nederlands and made wonderful friends during such a short visit to a beautiful location.  We departed the Leukermeer that afternoon, anxious for the next discovery.    


  1. From Stephanie Grandjean on Sep 05, 2015
    Hi Rob en Susan! So happy to receive your message! Brian and I are very well, actually thinking of you because we are at Vlieland and just in time for Into the Great Wide Open music festival. Unfortunately, it is very windy and rainy so we cannot leave until the weather improves. I think the people in tents are not happy about the weather, but we are dry and can hear the music from the harbour. The Wadden Islands are beautiful! And, yes, we spent 2 days at SAIL Amsterdam - it was AMAZING! Ik spreken klein Nederlands (still trying!) en drinkt goed bieren! I now have your email, so I will keep you informed of our location. Would love to visit with you both again! Next week we return to the Ijsselmeer. You should come sail with us! Love, Stephanie & Brian

  2. From Rob en Susan on Sep 05, 2015
    Hi Brian and Stephanie, How are you? Still doing fine? So nice to hear from you again and what a beautifull blog! Thank (bedankt) you for the honours ;-) , we were glad to help you out! Hope you made it to sail Amsterdam in time. We are both working for several weeks now and almost in need of a holiday again :-) Stephanie hoe gaat het met je Nederlands? Gaat het goed? Nog wat lekkere biertjes gedronken ;-) Hope you were able to figure the dutch out..... Are you still in the netherlands? Maybe we will be able to plan a visit? We look forward to hear from again! Lots of love Rob en Susan

  3. From Stephanie Grandjean on Aug 31, 2015
    Grandma, the Netherlands are fabulous! Good question about the marigolds, I suppose it is likely they are a commercial crop, not often you stumble upon a field of "wildflowers" that are all neatly in rows. I will try to learn more. Hope you are fantastic!

  4. From Stephanie Grandjean on Aug 31, 2015
    Grey, it's wonderful to hear from you again! I hope you are doing well. You may be happy to know that we are once again sailing, mast up, getting familiarized with Detour's set-up and thoroughly enjoying the IJsselmeer in the Netherlands. Soon to come on the blog... Maybe your wife is checking in from time to time with us because we certainly feel blessed with good fortune!

  5. From Grandma on Aug 30, 2015
    The Netherlands sound more inviting than some things about France. I enjoy reading everything you write about your sailing. Were the marigolds grown commercially? They can be useful plants and repel bugs. It all looks so interesting and your pictures are great.

  6. From Grey McGown on Aug 30, 2015
    I continue to enjoy your wonderful web site and your meanderings...wish I could go too. My wife who also was one of your fans has died during the exsitance of your blog...hope she's getting it somewhere...I look forward to a book based on your reports at the end of the voyage....fair winds and following seas...