We left Seaport Marina, IJmuiden, Netherlands on a calm afternoon with fair winds. It was an easy exit as, if you remember from our Germany to Netherlands blog, we had picked a desolate pier upon entry where no other boats were on. We raised the main sail and made an 180 degree turn as we pushed of the dock sailing down wind out the exit of the marina.
As is seen in our passage video we had a very lovely sail and were able to spend a lot of time on deck. Wind was off-shore making our passage a reach down the coast and giving us flat water sailing conditions, my favorite. Our trip was around 32 hours and we sailed about 200 nautical miles, it was a pleasant passage, gotta love Messenger when it’s like this.
We arrived in Nieuwpoort, Belgium at night and had picked this place because it was suggested by friends of friends, who, to our knowledge, knew we were an engineless sailing vessel. They were also sailors so we took their suggestion and picked Nieuwpoort over the other ports in Belgium. As luck has it when we were at the entry to the Yser river which flows into the North Sea at Nieuwpoort, the tide was ebbing and it was upwind. There was a 2 knot current and wind was light, about 10 knots but constantly shadowed by buildings along the river.
Messenger performed like a large dinghy, it made perfect progress up the river and after a mile and a half the entrance to the K.Y.C.N marina was to our starboard, we had to enter through an opening no longer than 10 meters (30ft). We thought we wouldn’t make it but we tacked right at the sea wall on starboard and thought we would go to the first empty dock which was right there at the entrance on our port side when we saw a sign that read Visitors Dock and an arrow pointing ahead. So again we tacked right before the boats to our port and headed back towards the sea wall, we continued to make short tacks in this skinny area amazed at what Messenger could do under it’s captains grip of it’s tiller. We tacked for about 100 meters until finally we sighted the visitors dock to our port, winds were light so we didn’t perform much of a “crash landing” we just eased right up to the dock, as usual I jumped off with the spring line and tied it fast to a cleat to make Messenger come to a complete stop. A quiet entry late at night, like an evening mist that surprises you when you look out the window and see you are fogged in, the same way our neighbors must feel when they wake up and see a boat has come in right beside them.