Dave and Shelby's boats.
The boats we have owned


The purchase was completed in July and we moved across the river to Winteringham, where we had been given a temporary berth.

The main topic of conversation, in the club at this time, was summer holidays and a small flotilla of boats were heading to Holland. We decided to join them and make Holland our destination. The next few weeks saw frenzied preparation for us and the boat. We purchased charts and planned our courses at home each night. Weekends were spent preparing the boat for her first sea voyage. Dave spent the last Sunday before the holidays at the top of the mast in the bosuns chair fixing up a windex and radio aerial, and checking the rigging. We fitted a VHF radio, and purchased a Seafix RDF. On Friday 23rd July we sailed across to Brough and began to stow the stores. At this point we found that although Maid Marian seemed enormous when we first bought her, she seemed to become smaller and smaller as we tried to find space for all our supplies. She has a 12hp inboard engine, and one of the main problems was storing enough fuel to reach Holland by motor if the wind dropped. The jerry cans were finally packed into the rear cockpit lockers and the radar reflector hoisted up the starboard crosstree. We were finally ready. After a good nights sleep we sailed out of Brough Haven at 10.15am on Saturday 24th July. We were the last to set off as usual, and as there was little wind we started the motor at the Humber Bridge, so we could get to Spurn before the tide turned. The river was as calm as a millpond. How is it that whenever we go downriver for a jolly or in a race the river tosses and bubbles like a witch’s cauldron, but when we need a bit of wind to speed us on our way there is none to be found?

We reached Spurn Point at 14.30and headed through the swell towards Ross Spit, with a celebration drink. Having escaped from the river at last, we were on our way! We were in the company of Bathsheba, Rigel, Sabre Tiger, Clar Innes and Josephine and as we headed south our small flotilla was joined by Fascination a 26ft Colvic from Bridlington, which soon made our acquaintance via the radio. There was still no wind so we all decided to head for Southwold on engine, and sail for Ijmuiden from there. Darkness fell and it became easier to see bouys. Sarah spent her time on the deck timing the flashes and finding the bouys on the chart. Unfortunately we were set a long way into the Wash, by the tide and as morning dawned we were plugging the tide off Sheringham with very little result. There was still no wind so we continued on motor arriving off Southwold too early to gain entry, so we hoisted the sails and drifted around for a couple of hours. Because Bathsheba has the deepest draft everyone waited for her to go over the bar. If she could get in so could everyone else. We were the last in and I put on the echo-sounder and found we had 21ft of water under us as we passed over the bar. We tied up at a small pontoon and everyone retired to the nearby pub for fish and chips and a pint or two. Next morning we walked into Southwold loaded with petrol cans to replenish our depleted stocks, it was quite a walk back with petrol cans in each hand.
The H.Y.C. contingent set sail at 1500 hours next day, the forecast was northerly 4 to 5. We passed over the bar and out to sea, with the working jib and one reef in in the mainsail. We had to put another reef in just after leaving Southwold at 1530. The wind seemed stronger and we set our course 85 degrees for Ijmuiden. The auto helm stopped working so Dave had to take the helm. I was little use at this time as I was sick, despite taking tablets well in advance. I could also smell petrol all the time and this made me worse. We lost site of the other boats as night fell, and the wind was still 4 to 5 and we were averaging 5 to 6 knots. Not having much freeboard we shipped a lot of water as the waves broke over the bows and the beam. There was a lot of fluorescence in the water and the deck was sprayed with green every time we hit a wave. Sarah retired below at 23.00hrs. We radioed Rigel and found that all the other boats were a lot further North, so we decided to alter course to 60 degrees to make some northing. I expected the sea to be completely dark at night, but saw lots of lights throughout the hours of darkness. At 3.00hrs we came upon the lights of the other 6 boats slightly north of us and we changed course once more to 85 degrees for Ijmuiden. Shortly afterwards we saw a long ship approaching, towing something. He was shining lots of lights at his tow. We headed slightly south to go around the stern of them and heard Bathsheba talking to the Captain, informing him that there were several small boats in the vicinity.

Dawn found us within sight of only one other boat, Fascination, who was about a mile off our port beam. We sighted a large platform on the horizon off our starboard beam and I went below to check the chart. The platform was not marked on the chart so we took a RDF fix on Skipol airport and confirmed that we were on the correct course.

At 06.00hrs we saw a storm approaching and the wind increased, and the waves got higher , I fastened my harness to the jackstay and went forward to put the third reef in the main. The boat was tossing about and as I sat down to release the kicking strap I was swamped by a big wave, all the water ran down inside my oilies and I squelched as I crawled back to the cockpit. Poor Dave had been on the helm all night, as I couldn’t steer in the rough weather, and he looked frozen to the tiller. I was still very sick and wet, so when I heard Bathsheba on the radio to Rigel telling them he was tied up in Ijmuiden, I felt like crying. We scanned the horizon for a sight of the chimneys, but it was another half hour before they came in to view. We altered course to 90 degrees so that we could make landfall to the north and run down into the entrance, and not be swept past it. The waves at the entrance were very bumpy and we surfed in on them and tied up outside the lock which would lead us into the North Sea Canal. Distance logged from Southwold was 109 miles. Facination came along side and John informed us that when we were putting in the third reef he saw the bottom of our keel and there is a 6” piece which hasn’t been painted! We locked into the North Sea Canal at 12.30hrs and motored to Sixhaven, where we moored on the nearest berth and went to sleep for 20 hours.

The following day we had to have the batteries recharged by the Havenmaster, and on investigation we found that the smell of petrol was not an overflow from the carburettor as we thought, but an overflow into the lockers and consequentially, the bilges from the spare tanks when the boat had been heeled over. We spent 2 days sightseeing in Amsterdam and then left Sixhaven on Friday. 29th July at 11.00hrs, in the company of Nick, Flo and their children on Clar Innes. We locked out of the North Sea Canal at 11.30 and went under the bridge into the Ijsselmeer at 12.00. The wind was NE 4-5 sp we had to tack all along the buoyed channel as our engine stopped and wouldn’t restart. We had a good sail up to Monnickendam and met up with Clar Innes in the marina.

After an evening stroll through the village we returned to the boat, where Nick and Flo introduced us to the “Happy Hour”, This pleasurable pastime found us sitting in the cockpit of Clar Innis with a glass in our hands, that was never allowed to become empty.

On Sunday morning at 11.30 we left Monnickendam and headed towards Hoorn there was very little wind, so once we were out of the channel I took the helm whilst Dave went over the side in the dinghy to wash off some of the North Sea grime. We arrived at Hoorn at 17.00hrs and tied up at the starboard side of the town quay, beside a nice grassy area for the children to play on. Clar Innis followed us and tied up nearby. We visited Hoorn museum the next morning, and it was so hot in the afternoon that we took Sarah and the children from Clar Innis out onto the Ijsselmeer, where we all swam from the boat to cool off. After our swim the wind increased to about a force 3 so we had a sail before returning to Hoorn for the night. We sailed to Enkhuisen next day at 3 knots, in very light winds, and tied up alongside an Etap 20 at 17.00Our happy hour that night lasted until 03.30am, in the convivial company of John and Iris from Facination and of course the instigators of this recreation, Nick and Flo. 08.00hrs next morning found us woken up by the boat on our starboard who wanted to make an early start. He was closely followed by others so we decided to set sail for Stavoren and perhaps meet up with the other H.Y.C. members. It was another scorching day so after motoring for a few hours we dropped the hook and swam for an hour to cool down. We arrived at the old harbour of Stavoren at 18.00 and rafted out for the night alongside half a dozen other boats. The harbour was very crowded and the next morning we decided to move around to the marina so we wouldn’t get so battered. The other club boats arrived that night and we had a get together in the marina bar that evening. Saturday 7th August we locked out of Stavoren at 12.30 and set course for Enkhuisen with Edam as our destination. The wind was 3 to 4 and we had a gentle sail locking through Enkhuisen at 16.00hrs, we arrived at Edam at 17.30 but the lock was closed so we moored for the night and locked through the next morning. Word of our arrival must have preceeded us, because as we sailed through the bridge into Edam, Bathsheba, Rigel, Josephine and Sabre Tiger sailed out! Our next port of call was Vollendam.

  The Town Quay was quiet and we had an enjoyable night on the town. Next morning we took the waterbus to Marken and found it to be a lovely place, well worth a visit next holiday. After lunch there was a good NW blowing so we decided to head back to Sixhaven, we arrived at 20.00hrs and prepared for the homeward voyage. We sailed to Ijmuiden next day arriving at 19,00hrs and tying up beside the rest of the HYC boats. Plans were made for the return voyage, and then we all retired to get a good night’s sleep.
09.30 hours Wednesday, 11th August we locked out of the North Sea Canal in a SW 4 to 5, which was forecast to turn NW later. We had 2 reefs in the main and the working jib, and set a course steering 270 for Southwold, 4 hours later we were still averaging only 3 knots so we altered course to 280 for Smiths Knoll and increased our speed to 5 .5 knots. The wind decreased and we shook out the reefs in the main and continued west. Rigel was on the horizon and at 22.00hrs we called the other boats. Rigel confirmed he was heading for the Humber and all the others were heading for Southwold. We decided to see which side of Smiths Knoll we landed and make our decision then. I was still very sick but found that taking the helm helped so I spent most of the first day glued to the tiller. We arrived within 300 yards of Smiths Knoll at 03.00 and decided to head for Dudgeon. The wind had disappeared altogether so we put on the engine and headed 315 degrees. We passed the Hewitt gas field at 06.00 and as the wind had not picked up decided to alter course for Wells via Haisboro. The tide was in our favour and we could have a good nights sleep. The 6.30 weather forecast gave NW6 occasionally 7 so we continued towards Wells on motor, passing Cromer at 09.00am. As we reached Sheringham the engine stopped so we hoisted the sails putting 3 reefs in the main in anticipation. Dave tried to get the engine going and had to swing it by hand as the batteries were flat. It ran for a short time. Then stopped again, changing the filter did little good so we decided to run with the tide to the Humber. The tide was taking us out of the Wash and we reached Dudgeon light vessel at 18.00hrs, with plenty of wind in our sails, and headed for Inner Dowsing. The wind shifted to WNW 5 to 6 and Dave was back at the helm. Darkness fell we had no lights, radio, echo sounder or any electrics so I had to shine a torch on the compass so that Dave could keep on course in the mounting seas. We sighted Dowsing light at 21.00 hrs and altered course for Spurn. The wind got stronger and the waves got bigger, but I wasn’t sick. It was hard spotting the lights because I lost count of the flashes as we disappeared into the troughs. The sea became noisier and the waves roared at us in the dark as the crests broke and came foaming towards us.
Sarah was fast asleep below and we had never heard a sound from her all night. At 23.30 we sighted Spurn light and decided that we couldn’t get into the river against the tide with no engine. We couldn’t anchor as the wind was really gusting and seemed to be getting stronger. The boat handled beautifully and surpassed all our hoes. We never felt unsafe in her even when the weather was really bad. We had been told that folkboats took bad weather well and Maid Marian proved it that night.
At midnight I went below to hear the weather forecast on the transistor. The RDF had stopped working in sympathy with the other gadgets. I listened I listened to the forecast. Hooray! I shouted, “Is it a good forecast?” Dave enquired, “NW 5 to 6 occasionally 7, becoming West later ” I replied. “That’s terrible” said Dave “what are you cheering at?” “All the other areas have Gale warnings” I replied.

Dave decided the safest thing to so was to go out to sea and heave-to, so that we could sleep until the tide turned. We altered course and sailed towards Dowsing for an hour and hove-to at 02.00. Dave hauled the gaz lantern up the backstay and went below for 2 hours sleep. I kept looking at the walker log, which had stopped turning when we hove-to. I didn’t believe we could stop forward motion with both sails up but the log never turned at all. The wind still kept blowing but we rode the waves rather than having them break over us, so I had a quiet peaceful watch. Dave took the watch at 04.00hrs and we set sail for Spurn at 06.00. We decided that as we had no engine we would go into Grimsby and sort out the problems there. As well as catching up with some sleep.

The wind was 4 to 5 and we sighted the Humber light vessel at 08.30. We had to do a big tack to reach Spurn light vessel at 10.30. The tide was with us now as we reached Spurn Point and sailed into the sanctuary of the river. We reached Grimsby at 12.30 and dropped anchor beside the lock gates. We had been at sea for 51 hours and logged 214 miles from Ijmuiden. We changed into our last dry clothes as we went below for a rest. We came on deck to go through the lock gates and the heavens opened up soaking us once more, we cursed our luck and went below to sleep for 18 hours.

The next morning Dave fitted a new fuel filter, and the engine started so we headed back up the river to Brough arriving on the afternoon tide. Of course the engine stopped just as we entered the haven, so it was all hands on to the jib once more. I really cursed engines that day, in fact all electrical gadgets and could quite happily have dumped them over the side. We were glad to be back. As we slowly dried out, all the soakings and sickness and bad weather faded away as we remembered the sunshine on the Ijsselmeer, and the Happy Hours, and the Happy Hours, and the Happy Hours. (Hic!)



Maid Marian's Maiden Voyage continued....
  Dave and Shelby's cruise to Holland on 'Maid Marian' a 25foot Folkboat.