Refresher day in Harderwijk

The 'Karina'

Since our sailing adventure is starting soon, I decided to get some practice in beforehand. I booked a day course in Harderwijk, on the yacht 'Karina', owned by skipper Jan van Zadelhoff (www.jlcharters.nl). The yacht was a Jouet 37, a bit longer than our Jeanneau in Greece, and quite a nice boat. She was a bit heavy to handle, since the steering wheel was mechanical (rather than hydraulical) and her turning circle wasn't as small as that of modern yachts - she's from 1978. But this made maneuvering with her good practice; as the skipper said: if your can do it with this boat, you can do it with any boat.

There was quite a stiff breeze blowing on my practice day, probably 6 Bft. This, too, was good for me, since executing (motor) maneuvers is a lot harder with strong wind. Sailing out to Zeewolde, we reached a speed of 9 knots using only the jib sail! We also got some rain and even a little hail - a new experience for me on a boat. But apart from this, it was dry and even sunny from time to time. Nonetheless, I was very happy that I had donned my 'zeilpak'.

All in all, I had a great day on the water, practicing berthing in the wind, with wind from the side and wind from the back, berthing sideways and backwards, sailing backwards, making turns in narrow straits, etc. At the end of the day, we shared a beer in the cabin, then I made my way back to Groningen. With all my motoring skills refreshed, I can't wait to get out to our own little boat in Corfu and start sailing!