Later than planned, but that had everything to do with the preparation. . . .
The technical problems beforehand
After the usual maintenance of the engine and the testing of on-board systems, a few things come to light. We start relaxed at the engine. The engine oil and filter have to be changed, as well as the 1st fuel filter. This all goes according to plan. Then I replace the 1st fuel filter. Then the engine has to be bled and the oil level checked. So the engine is started, but just like the horror of someone who wants to start his car after a cold freezing night to go to work, there is not much more than a barely spinning starter motor from underneath. Batteries empty!!! Now you should know that where a car has only one battery, I have five of them, each weighing 75kg, divided into two groups. The start group has two and the light group three, so you can always start if you have used too much battery capacity with lights, oven, coffee machines etc. So I fear the worst for these two batteries, only 5 years old at € 500,- each. Further investigation shows that the batteries were not charged in 6 months but had some users. Just a stupid but expensive mistake of myself, so now I am forced to buy 2 new batteries. I won’t buy those expensive Mastervolt batteries anymore, but I will buy the same capacity semi traction AGM. To save time I will buy them myself at a place near Dordrecht. Heavy guys of 75 kg each. I can just lift one to put it in the luggage compartment. I ask CeesJan to help me lift the old batteries out of the engine room and put in the new ones. When I have connected them I start the engine again and after some venting of the pipes it starts quite easily. The engine runs like a dream and I let it warm up for one hour.
When I later check my logbook to see how long the second and third diesel filters have actually been in there, it turns out to be 800 hours, while the written procedure is 400 hours, so I decide to renew those two filters too. After venting and starting, the engine runs for 2 minutes and then stalls. Days of trouble shouting follow. I replace the pump, no effect. Together with CeesJan my friend we try to isolate the problem, it seems that there is no fuel coming out of the tank, although there are 500ltr in it. So with a compressor I blow back into the tank. Also the air vents on the outside are blown clean with the compressor.
Because after repeated venting still no fuel is supplied CeesJan decides to exclude the 1st filter by connecting the supply line directly to the 2nd and 3rd filter. The problem is isolated and is therefore in the 1st filter after all. I loosen the filter to look at it again and check whether the seals are in place, but when I loosen the filter I let the glass fall out of my hands. This is a filter housing with a glass bowl that is 50 years old, but there is nothing wrong with it. I now decide to buy a completely new filter. After that has been installed, the engine is running again.
Leaving at last
We praten inmiddels woensdag 6 april. Het is guur en koud weer en er staat een straffe westenwind 6-7 Bft. CeesJan zou naar de haven komen om een stukje te filmen als ik afvaar, dit om te gebruiken voor mijn 2e Youtube filmpje. De auto is geparkeerd onder het viaduct bij Jonkman en uit de belasting en verzekering gehaald, de autosleutel en de stroommeter ingeleverd bij Jonkman. Er staat een harde WNW ten wind 6-7 Bft. Als ik uit de box vaar maak ik de bocht te scherp, waardoor de dinghy achter een meerpaal blijft hangen en rukt daarbij allebei de ophang ogen uit de dinghy, dat kan er ook nog wel bij. Het bootje hangt nu nog met een kabel aan de Davids.
Now I have nowhere to moor, so when I’m out of the ditch to the marina, I decide to anchor behind an island in the lee to save the whole thing. Indeed, both suspension eyes turn out to be torn. I take the hook and hook the boat to the front while lowering it on the David’s line that it is still attached to. There is a towing eye at the front with which I can tow the boat, I attach two towlines to it and so the boat can be carried for the time being. After I have retrieved my anchor, I continue to Westeinder to spend the night there and visit my niece who lives on the east side of Westeinder with a jetty. When I contact her, she says, “Peter it’s very low here”, to which I reply that I will disappear between the islands and spend the night there.
Mooring problems lake Westeinder
When I arrive at an island where I often moor, the strong wind prevents me from putting the boat on shore and I have to do a lot of manoeuvring and yes, the lines on the dinghy are not floating lines so they sink and my propeller sees its chance to grab that line. Wth a big bang, the last eye at the front of the dinghy is torn off and I see the boat floating away. I will not repeat what I said here, but up in the sky they were not happy about it. I sail behind my dinghy and fortunately it gets stuck behind a mooring pole before heading out into the wild Westeinder. Without further problems I manage to catch him with the pickaxe and now attach two short lines to the side of the dinghy and to the port side of the Asmara. Now it’s just a matter of mooring, and that’s still not going well. The mooring poles in the grass are only 10-15 inch high and when I throw a line on them, it slides right off. The strong wind put me in all sorts of positions I didn’t want to be in, and to make matters worse, when I turned back to get to the shore, I found myself and my masts in a giant weeping willow. With a lot of creaking and thundering, half the tree and quite heavy branches fall onto my deck. After jumping onto the shore with two lines in my hand, I manage to secure the front line and, with combined efforts, pull the stern of the boat towards the shore with the other line. After setting out four more lines, I have conquered the weather gods and the Asmara is moored. When I come back on board, my deck has taken on the colour of the willow tree, so at least they don’t have to prune it anymore. It takes me more than half an hour to clear away all the rubbish from the branches. And Simba keeps squeaking that she wants to go outside. I have earned that drink now.
I am still in touch with my cousin, but it is no longer possible to visit her. On Saturday, the wind subsides a little and I sail to the Nieuwe Meer lock for the standing mast route through Amsterdam, which takes place at night. When I arrive, I am told that the lock has a malfunction and is not working. In the end, I could only pass through on Monday night, 11 April, around midnight. While I was lying there, a journalist from AT5 approached me and gave me a short interview. I don’t know how long that link will work but this is the interview. (Dutch spoken)
Passing through Amsterdam at night, I arrive at the other side of Amsterdam, the Houtmankade, at 02:00 on Tuesday 12 April. After a few hours sleep, I leave at 10:00 and decide to sail via Lelystad because of the wind direction. After picking up some drift lines for my dinghy at the IJ in Amsterdam, I sailed through the Orange locks onto the IJsselmeer. I put up the mainsail and the Genoa and with a bakstag wind I sail to Lelystad, where I pass around six. I then decided to sail on to Stavoren, because the IJsselmeer was nice and quiet. It is a pitch-black night on the IJsselmeer with little traffic, at 00.30 I sail into the harbour heads of Stavoren lock and moor for the lock, which of course has long been closed.
Baking Easter bread with spice
The next day, Wednesday 13 April, I sail from Stavoren to the Fluessen to celebrate Easter at the Kruispolle (my favourite stopping place). Unfortunately, I forgot to buy an Easter bread, so I bake one myself.
Sinking the Moskva
During my stay here, news reached me of the sinking of the flagship and command centre “Moskva”. On the snake island in the Black Sea off Ukraine, the commander ordered the Ukrainian military to surrender, resulting in a middle finger and the cry “warship, go fuck yourself”. The soldier escaped but the ship was later sunk by a missile. This was a reason for the Ukraine to issue a stamp, the stamps are in high demand and have won a prize.