The Low Pressure System passing South of us, travelling between South England to the Danish coasts, keep giving us good NW-ly winds, but also frontal areas where squalls can easily develop. Good sailing conditions though, brought us inside the Frisian Islands in the afternoon, where we drop anchor and wait for tomorrow morning, When the flood stream will give us a good support to sail the last stretch to Harlingen.
But before that we all had a busy day… starting in the early morning with both permanent crew watches on deck to brace square and take the course to cross the large maritime traffic separation scheme as we approach the busy Dutch coasts. Sailhandling didn’t stop there as during the night, several times we had to gybe to cross those sort of sea highways in the most perpendicular way possible, following the Collision at sea regulations. Cargo and fishing ships follow them; windmill fields and oil rigs on our way don’t help to keep a steady course.
With almost all our canvas set but Main Royal Staysail, Gaff Topsail and Flying Jib, we make our way rolling practically downwind and in moderate following seas.
On that fashion Europa reach the buoyed natural channel that runs between the islands of Vlieland and Terschelling, bracing constantly back and forth to steer between them in the most sailorly way.
With the Captain giving orders from the Poop deck about which sails to dowse, with ones to keep, in what order and how to continue bracing fore and main masts to slowly approach anchorage and stop the ship wit the sails, at the beginning of the afternoon we drop anchor close to Vlieland shores, without the use of our engines and completing a full crossing of the North Sea from Norway to the Netherlands under sail.
A busy afternoon followed the busy morning. After a late lunch on deck, several jobs and activities still to do. Yards had to braced, sails had to be furled, engine tours with our engineers were proposed together with a zodiac tour to neighbouring sandbank shores.
A barbecue dinner on deck put the cherry on the cake for a great sailing trip to the Norwegian fjords. Tomorrow late morning the tide would be proper to start our way to Harlingen Harbour.