Ever since Marinthe and Sam have been in a relationship, the plan has been to take a boat to London one day to visit Sam's parents and childhood home. But then again, when is there a week that we can all go? Better said, that Marinthe and Sam can in their busy student lives and that it will work out at Sam's parents. From 10-15 June appears to be the only possibility for the time being and we set it a while in advance. We have done this before, so it should be possible, at least if the weather cooperates a little.
The week before we still have a busy work schedule; until Friday morning Toine has a session with his team in Corsendonck 😎. Therefore we decide to sail to Vlissingen the weekend before (Whitsun weekend). So that we can leave Friday 10 June around 12 o'clock to sail up the Thames with the right tide from Vlissingen.
On the Friday before Whitsuntide, Toine parked his car in Vlissingen and took the train to Tilburg for the Hap-Stap festival at the invitation of Interpolis. I will be there with my car (via Utrecht for a work appointment in the morning and then walk 19 km of the Pilgrim path with Mieke from Den Bosch to Haren). Quite a logistic but that's up to us 😉 .
Whit Saturday is a beautiful day. We sail with a good wind and a nice sun from Bruinisse to Veere ⛵️. The kind harbourmaster assigns us a nice spot and that fits exactly. Next to us is a large rented motorboat where the skipper is still learning how to navigate. Toine and later the harbour master give them some tips 😉 .
On Sunday and Monday Eline comes by car from Maastricht to visit us. Toine has a terrible cold and is not feeling very well. Meanwhile the weather has changed and it is cold with lots of rain. Eline and I defy the rain and make a nice walk and chat. On Monday we continue to Vlissingen, with a lunch stop in Middelburg because we can only enter the Michiel de Ruyterhaven late in the afternoon due to the tide. And it keeps on raining 🌧🌧. In Vlissingen we have a nice Chinese meal and afterwards we bring Eline to her car in Veere.
That week we are working from Flushing. We regularly check the weather forecast for the coming weekend but it is still very uncertain what the weather will do and whether sailing to London is doable. Toine still has a terrible cold and therefore works at home on Wednesdays. This is good because I have a chain session in Apeldoorn on Wednesday and can take Toine's car there. That evening we decide to go to London by car because the wind is too strong. That gives peace. On Thursday Toine goes to Corsendonck and I take the train to Tilburg for work. On the way back I meet Marinthe and Sam who come from Maastricht by train with a lot of Sam's things that have to go with them to London (now that Sam has given up his room in Maastricht). So I can help carry them and that is still a big job with a half hour walk from the station to the boat 💪💪. Afterwards we are going out for a nice dinner at 'the Prison'.
On Friday morning, the wind turns out to be more southerly than south-westerly, which should make it possible to sail. Shall we go by boat after all? Yes ... and what do we learn from this? That it's better to make the final choice just before we leave and not worry so much about it in the days before departure ☺️).
In 23 hours we sail from Flushing to St Katharine's Dock in London. Luckily it is sunny and at night there is a big full moon. The first part with bft 3 against us, then with bft 4-5 and reef 2 and the cutter sailing high with the engine running. When the wind blows bft 6 for a few hours it is just possible to sail high without engine. Exactly when we cross the shipping lane and have to make way for large ships three times. It is spectacular sailing; Sam enjoys it fully and has no problems with seasickness at all. At the beginning of the estuary of the Thames, the wind decreases again but also becomes more adverse, so we start the engine again.
Once at St Katharine's Dock we have to wait a while for approval to disembark. Long live the Brexit 🥲. Sam's parents come over in comfort with lunch sandwiches and champagne. After an hour, I call Customs again and we get instant approval (they must have forgotten about us).
In the afternoon, we went with Marinthe and Sam by subway and train to his parents' house in Richmond. A beautiful area in the south of London near the narrowed Thames and the large Richmond Park. Sam's parents love to cook ... the food is really delicious ... slow cooked beef briefly broiled on the BBQ, with a spicy potato salad and vegetable dish (Ottolenghi's recipe). I immediately asked for the recipe. That evening we went to bed early. We hardly slept at all last night and Toine is still not feeling well and coughing a lot.
On Sunday we get a tour of the Richmond area. Through the large park with all sorts of deer and along the Thames with beautiful views. In between we stop in two real English pubs for a drink and at the end of the afternoon for 'The Sunday Roast' in a pub close to their house. It's a super fun day in a real English atmosphere, in a beautiful part of London 😃. On Monday we return to the boat and are ready for a day of rest. Toine stays on the boat and I take the subway to Hyde Park, advised by Marinthe and Sam.
Tuesday afternoon and evening we get a wonderful tour from Sam via the South Bank to the heart of London. In the evening we have dinner in a great little Australian restaurant in Soho that Marinthe picked out. Really nice with the four of us.
On Wednesday afternoon the two of us sail back home. While sailing away I have another call for my work and Toine afterwards as well. That's fine, with our house and home office, but it is a bit restless ☺️. Marinthe and Sam stay a little longer and fly back during the weekend. The return trip is very quiet; there is hardly any wind, so we do everything by engine. After 22 hours of sailing we are back in the club harbor of Vlissingen on Thursday afternoon and Toine is back just in time for a work session in The Hague 😎. On Friday we sailed back to Bruinisse via the Westerschelde and Hansweert Canal. Just in time for the HRC event!
We look back on a super fun but also a bit busy week where all the logistics fit seamlessly in between all the work sessions. It all goes just right 😎😊☺️.